9 months postpartum

Hi everyone, today's post is something I have wanted to blog about for a really long time and its taken a little while to consolidate exactly what I want to say regarding my experience of pregnancy and postpartum. First of all, I have to say that the point of this blog is purely to be transparent and honest about my own experience. 

During my pregnancy I found such confidence in reading blogs about other ladies pregnancies with the whole 'what to expect' question in mind. It really helped me to remain as open-minded as possible and I also found it highly informative to know some of the realities of child-bearing and bringing up babies- no matter how hard or un-glamorous! 

With this in mind, I just want to say that I'm aiming this post at other new mummies, expectant mummies and people who are genuinely interested in topics surrounding postpartum, sorry, but if you feel there's a bit of 'TMI' going on...this probably isn't a relevant post for you! :)

I'm hoping to do Noah's 9 month update soon, so I will cover everything to do with his development then. This month it will be 9 months since Noah was born and I feel like i've really come through a huge transformation in myself, physically and emotionally. I can't quite fathom the fact that Noah has been on this side of the womb for a whole 9 months now- that's a whole pregnancy in itself! Its funny because looking back, I felt like I was pregnant forever but it only seems like Noah has been born for a few months!
I really loved being pregnant, its the best thing my husband and I have ever done! But one of the things I found quite tough was my weight gain which completely surpassed the ‘averages’ I read about online and my own expectations. I mean, it simply just seemed to appear overnight! 
Just to put it into a bit of context, I have always been naturally quite skinny and I have never had to, or really sought to lose weight before. I’ve always fallen into that rather annoying bracket of people who could eat exactly what they fancied and never suffer on the scales for it! So when I fell pregnant, naturally, I did make some dietary adjustments. For example, gone was the beautiful soft cheese and the evening glass of red and I fully expected to begin to get heavier- but not four stone heavier! 

During the first half of pregnancy my weight seemed to literally pile on at a crazy rate. Although I didn’t weigh myself all that often, I did notice my rounder shoulders, legs and face, as well as the stretch marks beginning to creep into the picture- uninvited! I remember weighing myself around 20 weeks, the halfway point, and feeling incredulous at the result. By my due-date I had put on just under four stone and although I had such feelings of excitement and joy, I also really struggled with worry about the other side of labour. It was lovely when everyone around me complimented my ‘bump’ and said how much I was ‘glowing’, but I started to feel worried that once the baby was out, I would just look like an overweight frump with no excuse! How was I ever going to lose four stone when I had never had to lose an ounce before, and I had spent the last few months in a near constant state of pregnancy induced hunger!? The odds did not look too good! 

Needless to say, the weight didn’t fall off as quickly as the internet promised! Breastfeeding definitely helped, but I had a long way to go! During Noah’s first few weeks my attention was souly on him and our new little family unit. I really didn’t think too much about ‘glamorous me’ as I had a much more noble 'wind-covered', 'poop-splattered' job in-hand and I really just wanted to focus what energy I had on getting to grips with caring for a newborn. I had my own physical recovery to think about too, one which I was not prepared for! *TMI coming up!* Although thank God, my labour was very straightforward and I was lucky enough to get through it naturally with the help of my husband, I did have a small tear. I was offered stitches for it but told at the same time they weren’t completely necessary, so, rather confused at the time, I turned them down thinking it would be much better this way! But let me tell you now I wish I had them, the pain afterwards was unreal! Mummies, you know what I’m talking about! I can laugh about it now, but for about a week afterwards I had to pee in the bath because the stinging was just horrendous! Thankfully, this didn’t last and every day there was improvement. Swelling was reducing, tummy was going down, postpartum contractions were easing away too. It took me a few months, being completely honest, to feel like I had healed completely, but after the first month the worst of it was definitely over.

 I had managed to escape getting stretch marks on my tummy area, but my hips and thighs definitely still tell what my body went through to bring life into the world. Though in the beginning they were quite viscous looking and did on occasion bring me to tears, they are now much reduced and faded and I look at them with more pride than dislike. They are a constant reminder that I actually did it! And right at the end of labour when I thought I couldn’t go on…I still did it!

I was breastfeeding Noah, but from about week three we supplemented with formula feed to help his weight come on and from this point he really thrived! I managed to keep breastfeeding him till he was 6 months old, when he really needed more than I could offer and so it was a very natural transition to begin solid foods and keep going with the formula. When I did completely stop the breast-feeding and my boobs went back to their almost non-existant, not quite on the alphabet, pre-pregnancy size, I felt like my old figure was beginning to return. Gradually, through joining a gym and trying to stay active I found I was losing weight too. Now, at 9 months postpartum, i’ve managed to shed most of my ‘baby weight’, and I just have a matter of pounds left to lose to be back to where I started. Obviously everyone has their own postpartum struggles, some amazing ladies probably get through without any! I read up on just about every concern out there, from changing figure, saggy breasts post-feeding, sex after babies amongst many other topics. They aren’t necessarily glamorous, but they are real issues for women and I definitely had my own worries amongst them, so I was hugely relieved to realise that I wasn’t the only one out there!

Here's my postpartum belly at 9 months- ahhh how I've debated whether to show you guys this or not! But, as I reminded myself, the whole point of this post was to be honest...so there you are! I know during pregnancy I was so curious to know what a postpartum belly actually looked like and if it would look 'normal'! I actually googled images at one point in pregnancy…like a crazy woman! I’ve always been quite body-conscous and started to worry that i'd never feel like myself in a swimming costume again! This is mine nine months after birth…its soft to the touch now and my old 6-pack is definitely still hibernating! haha! But I can definitely see my old shape returning, I'm fairly happy with where I've got to. :) 

I think its important to share that although family life and babies are amazing, rewarding and beautiful, it's not selfish or worth feeling guilty, as I did for ages, for having concerns about your body after having a baby. I remember reading the old line ‘it takes 9 months for your body to make a baby, so expect it to take at least 9 months for your body to get back to its normal self,’ and feeling soo impatient! Everywhere I looked, women in magazines and in the media were having babies and snapping back into their figures the next day it seemed. It definitely made for a tough act to follow!
Whilst I spend my days in awe of my beautiful baby, I’m also very proud of myself for getting through the last 9 months. It hasn’t been easy or what I expected it to be. Negative body image has definitely been my personal struggle through the process, but i've been surrounded by support and motivation and I’m extremely grateful for that. My husband saw me give birth and everything that goes with it…. and he still thinks I’m beautiful and tells me so everyday!

If I could say anything to women who might be struggling with some of the issues I’ve mentioned, it would be to take your time with your journey. No, unfortunately, the changes you want to see might not happen overnight, but you will and can reach your goals! It’s okay to admit that having a baby is really really hard on your body and your new life as a mummy, but with time your new life does become the norm, and not only that but it becomes hard to imagine what life was before your little bundle of joy!

4 weeks pregnant!

About 30 weeks pregnant...not sure what the weird expression is all about!

Just back from the hospital!

Newborn Noah

Classic 'breastfeeding the baby' in a family photo! haha! (Hanging out with Eddy's family in the summer!)

 Newborn sleepyhead

9 months postpartum

Cheeky 9 month baby

That’s my 9 month postpartum update anyway, be sure to check back for Noah’s 9 month update coming soon!
Love Bunty


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