My Postpartum Reality: Baby #2

This is my postpartum reality. 6am. After a night of tossing and turning while my babies slept. Up several times through the night, once even to find that I’ve wet myself. Yep 21, and I’ve wet myself. So 6am, I’m in a bath of Epsom salt with my 2 year old.

Recurring bouts of vaginal thrush has my head in a mess. A constant burn. A constant itch. I say vaginal because nipple thrush can also be really common postpartum, though I don’t have that type. I can fix it for a day or so with creams and tablets only it comes right back again. I’ve had ten weeks with only the occasional day of relief. And a fantastic doctor truly searching for solutions.

I haven’t brought myself to write about this yet because it’s “taboo” and talking about my nether regions apparently makes people uncomfortable, but I’m a sharer. And I suppose if this kind of discussion makes you uncomfortable then you can always leave the page.

It’s a silent struggle. Because physically I look very well for someone who had a baby 10 weeks ago. But this is the reality of postpartum for a lot of mums, you might not see the change or the the pain they’re in. Yet, they persevere.

This is in no way a comparison, or to say I have it worse. Some women definitely have it worse, and I am so incredibly thankful to have had largely beautiful experiences birthing my children. Though that doesn’t change the fact that I find intimacy incredibly difficult now, and that my patience is almost constantly thin because of the burning feeling I’m dealing with in the background. At the moment, my life is different because of childbirth although it may not look it, and I’m still learning ways to manage these new challenges my body presents. I can’t even begin to imagine how much more difficult this journey is for women who didn’t get the birth they wanted, or the body they anticipated to have afterward.

So please remember be patient and to be understanding. Not all battles are visible, especially on this postpartum road. We’re all walking our own lanes but to have one another to fall back on, even if it’s just to cry to, makes an incredible difference, no matter how we brought our babies into the world, or how we feel about our bodies afterward.

Physically, otherwise, I feel stronger. Stronger than I did 10 weeks ago, though still lacking the strength I once had to enjoy sport and exercise the way I used to, but I’ll get there.

I can’t help but think about the women who have longer harder journeys of recovery, and send them all the love I can muster. I see you, I get it, I know you’ll make it to the other side of this. Pregnancy, labour, birth and motherhood, it’s hard. But you’re stronger than you realise and that little baby you have in your arms… YOU are what love is to them. You are all they know and they love you like nothing else in this entire world exists (because they don’t know that anything else exists haha) but still, it is a deep, gravity defying love all the same. You’ll make it through this

And if you ever need someone to talk to, my inbox will always be open.

Xo Emily @ Loving Little One

A Note on Postpartum Self Confidence

Our bodies go through a hell of a lot to bring our children into the world. Things get stretched, in more ways than one and our body goes through some pretty crazy hormonal sh*t. Pregnancy and childbirth changes you, whether you’re up for it or not.

I could ramble on about the details, and there are plenty. But the reality is, like I’ve stated a million times before in my previous blog posts, it’s different for everyone. Some of us get stretch marks, some get pelvic floor issues (lots of us actually hahaha), some wind up with back problems, and others bare scars on their bellies (and some in secret places too, shhhh).

And though not all of us have physical reminders of the tiny life we carried inside of us, 9 whole months of memories from pregnancy is something every mother carries with her in her heart, whether her pregnancy was easy or challenging.

I personally have had a lot of comments on my postpartum journey- not that I don’t encourage it. I share regularly on my Instagram platform about my journey with my body beyond birthing my babies, particularly in my story highlights. I feel as though it is a very important journey to share, and fortunately a lot of other influential mamas out there are doing the same these days. It helps remove the facade, that we carry these babies for 9 months and then immediately return to how we looked and felt prior to pregnancy, because that seriously isn’t the reality.

In my own way, sharing it makes me feel a lot more confident, because although none of my old clothes currently fit and I’m a bit chunkier in some places that I didn’t used to be, I have SO much love and support from the people who mean the most to me.

The reality is, postpartum self confidence, despite the name, is derived from the strong foundation of people you surround yourself with. Who lift you higher in all of your endeavours and encourage you to seek to find the love for yourself that they hold for you, not only as a new mother but as a seperate human being who deserves love a validation.

If you don’t have this support network, I beg you, go out and find it. There are groups of women all over the world who will support you and love you for who you are. Especially in your new role as a mother. And if you can’t find them, reach out to ME, there won’t be a day that passes where I won’t tell you how incredible you are.

It’s also important to remember that it’s okay not to feel perfect with your new body. It’s okay to have a goal to lose weight, or tone up, or even put weight on. Life is about growth and change, and if we aren’t striving to better ourselves then what are we striving for?

A tiny new baby in your arms does not mean you don’t have the right to miss your old body because of what it gave you. But it’s important that you know how much of a badass you are for bringing a whole new little person into the world… stretch marks, lose skin and pelvic floor issues included.

Xo Emily @ Loving Little One

Pregnancy, Week 23: Ethics and Questioning my Sanity

You know you’ve been binge watching too much of Netflix’s “The Good Place” when just about every thought that pops into your head, you manage to somehow link back to moral ethics. And this week/last week… we watched the whole two seasons (again). So now, I’m sitting here questioning the ethics behind feeding my toddler left over roast veggies because I couldn’t be arsed grocery shopping, again.

Don’t get me wrong, the veggies are healthy and she LOVES them so it’s not the act, more or less the laziness behind having zero groceries in the house for about the 6th day in a row.

At 23 weeks, my brain is mush and the absolute last thing I want to be doing is grocery shopping. It’s always crowded, and about 8 degrees colder than I find mildly comfortable. PLUS last time I went grocery shopping I got stank-eyed by a 2 year old (not my child, surprisingly. Though she has got a good stank face) and its really just something I don’t have the strength to face again just yet… He was a MEAN looking 2 year old.

little bean is now big enough to show easily in pretty much anything I wear. Which is both good and bad. Good because it’s more obvious now that I’m having a baby and its not just pudge from my last one. And bad because pretty much all of my non maternity pants no longer fit, including my favourite tights. But alas, this bump will only grow bigger so I’ve again reached the crossroads between sucking it up and continuing to wear the same wardrobe week in and out, or buying more maternity clothes. Which is never really a good idea if we’re being honest, they’ll only be needed for a few months longer, then they just become baggy house clothes that you spent too much money on.

My memory is currently about as awful as my bladder capacity. And whoever said you should have less frequent trips to the toilet in the second trimester is a LIAR. Swift kicks to the bladder make it pretty difficult to go any longer than about an hour between loo visits. I forget where I put my phone, my keys, my wallet, Violet’s nappy wipes, the TV remote… pretty much anything smaller then a carry-on bag you can bet I’ve misplaced. It certainly doesn’t help that Vi tends to hide these things regularly, but you know, you can’t blame everything on the kids.

Beyond losing things and stretching clothes, the last couple of weeks have been super all over the place for me, emotionally. I tend to swing wildly and randomly back and forth between “everything is okay, we’ve got this” to “holy crap what the hell are we doing”, and although both feelings are pretty normal, I’ve felt myself internalising them a lot more than usual this pregnancy. Which means bad news when the bottled emotions come spilling out all over my coffee in the form of panicked wails.

Dan and I are no strangers to this whiplash kind of emotional rollercoaster, just seems to be heightened for the both of us at the moment which can be both stressful and confusing. We do have big things going on in our life beyond the baby and Vi that are obviously contributing, it’s all reached quite a pivotal peak and we’ve just been left clinging on to faith that we’ll reach the other side relatively unscathed and hopefully in a better place as a family.

The irony of life really rears its head in moments like these, the most challenging things often come around at what feels like exactly the wrong time. But then again, is there ever really a good time to face trialling adversity? Probably not, much like there never really being a good time to go to the dentist or call Centrelink *shivers*. But we push forward, whether it be by choice or by the force of change and time.

The one thing I am sure of is my love for Dan and the family we’ve created together, beyond the crazy hormones and shitty life situations. They give me my sanity, a constant in a world that is so uncertain for us at the moment. They’re all of my good mornings and all of my goodnights, and soon we’ll have one more little person to cuddle for all of those.

These 23 weeks have certainly been wild, and very very fast. In fact, I really can’t believe we’re here already. We’ll be seeing you soon little bean!

Adversity is like a strong wind. It tears away from us all but the things that cannot be torn, so that we see ourselves as we truly are.

-Arthur Golden

Xo Emily @ LovingLittleOne.com

“Who the hell am I” : Challenges with self image in Parenthood

From the moment you lay eyes on your first born, you feel a shift. Suddenly, everything you once deemed important becomes a shadow behind this tiny little human that lays quietly (or loudly) in your arms.

The first moments are often peaceful and relieving, and most often remembered through a haze of exhaustion and hormones, no matter how your birth took place. Though the one emotion that will forever be cemented in your brain is the tremendous amount of love you felt, and still do.

Your days become a giant mixing bowl filled to the brim with crazy things you would have never imagined in your life before your baby. Not only learning to navigate feeding, sleep, changing and settling your little one, but doing the same for yourself whilst in full blown recovery from likely one of the biggest physical events your body has ever been through.

There is no use in trying to be polite about it, your body is a mess. Your hormones are through the roof, you bleed for weeks on end, you leak endlessly from your significantly larger (and significantly more painful) chest balloons, all while getting the equivalent of about 3 hrs sleep every 24 hours (depending on circumstance of course). So really, there’s no wonder you may be sitting on the couch at 3am with a newborn attached to your boob thinking, “who the hell am I?”. In fact, your life changes so much after having children its no wonder at all if you’re still sitting on the couch at 3am long after your toddler/teenager has gone to bed thinking “who the hell am I?”.

There is a lot to be said about the way we think about ourselves. Outside influences almost always contribute to this, so it is only natural that your self image changes after becoming a parent, for women and men alike. I know, as a mum, there is almost a constant looming pressure to provide the absolute best experience for your children as you can. From tummy time and sensory play when they’re tiny, to outside park play and time spent with other children in toddlerhood. I find myself almost always analysing our days wondering if we’re doing enough. Even though I can almost guarantee that if you’re there for your kids, they’ll feel like it is enough regardless of what you get up to.

Beyond those moments, there is the downtime, when you’re alone and left with time to think about you. Social media for me, is one of the major things that triggers these moments. It’s more or less allowing myself to think about the fact that I am really not sure of who I am beyond parenthood. I’m not sure of my style, or what people think of me as a person beyond being a mother (not that either of those things should matter). I’m sure this is something other parents experience, and even people who aren’t. The path to understanding yourself is very complex, and often confronting. But it has definitely been something I have been left to contemplate quite often.

The main thing I take away from it, is that its okay not to know these things. And it’s certainly okay for now, to let “parenthood” be my definition, even if its just for a little while. Because the truth is, what defines you is something that is constantly evolving. I mean, many aspects of my life have defined me; my love for art, reading and learning, my determination to improve myself through the sport that I loved (squash), and even the places that sport took me throughout the years, as well as the people I’ve grown up with, and the people I’ve met along the way. Every detail of the events and people in my life have helped create “me”.

And for better part of the last 3 years, parenthood has been a massive part of who I am. My life, twenty-four seven, 365 days of the year. So yes, I am a mum. I’m also a lot of other things, some of those things I understand, and some of them I don’t. But for now, what I most understand is my life with my loving partner and my soon to be two children. And right now, I’m totally okay with that being all I know, because more that will define me is yet to come.

xx Emily @ LovingLittleOne.com