Pete and I

Peter and I when I was just pregnant with my first, Oliver-the vomiting had not yet begun!

My first pregnancy was pretty tough with daily vomiting continuing until I was 28 weeks. Not fun. At. All. It also meant living on walkers,  dry biscuits and dairylea (whatever I could stomach) daily and sadly no exercise (even a ride in the car induced puking).

I put on a healthy 2 stone whiles pregnant but after my emergency C section which was highly traumatic*, I  struggled and put on a further stone (breastfeeding equalling weight loss didn’t work for me).

My choices weren’t particularly healthy it must be said, they were all about survival but I ended up feeling really uncomfortable physically as well as emotionally post birth, 3 stone bigger than usual and overweight for my frame.

Fine you say, you had a baby. And yes, I high fived my womb but when I remember how tough life was in those early months, to feel bigger than you feel comfortable made life that bit harder. It’s true.

This time round, I’ve felt totally different-no sickness, lots more energy and generally happier: different baby, different pregnancy. I’ve craved salads, fish, brown rice with soya sauce and lots of fruit (I know, mental right!). Feeling well has also meant gentle exercise too and of course running around after a toddler means being more active generally (no choice there).

I remember how hard it was for me to lose my baby weight with Oliver-a year of pounding that treadmill and swimming like a demon-and to be honest I’m hoping this time round won’t be as hard. I’m a healthy weight, I eat a lot but mostly the good stuff. I’m no way starving myself or dieting. My bump comes first, always- and I believe no one should deny themselves in pregnancy or otherwise. If I want chocolate, I eat it (usually the dark variety).

I suppose I’m just making more careful choices-eating balanced meals bursting with flavour, so I feel better and to help me if I get OC (a hereditary pregnancy liver condition) again in this pregnancy. The weight needs to come on regardless, it’s not about being tiny in pregnancy, it’s about feeling good- sugar has never been my friend and those energy slumps and irritability on top of hormonal nosedives need to be avoided where possible. For my husband’s sake at the very least!

Let’s not pretend though that pressure doesn’t exist for ladies to look great in pregnancy in the same way it does in everyday life. Celebrities make it look easy (insert Victoria Beckham) but they have teams of staff to look after them pre and post birth (sashimi and frozen grapes on the tap for VB don’t you know). Leaving hospital in Loubs and size 6 jeans shouldn’t be the prime image drummed into new mums’ minds-it’s hard enough anyway without that.

Googling healthy eating in pregnancy directed me to articles on Pregorexia, which saddened me massively. Yes some of  the affected women suffered before pregnancy but for some, the immense pressure to be slim throughout pregnancy leads to extreme, dangerous dieting. Hospitals are trying to help, not weighing women frequently in pregnancy and offering advice on healthy eating throughout but the pressure is apparent and it’s real.

For me, I’d like to think it’s about balance-eating well most of the time if you can when pregnant and then 9 months on, 9 months off (or however long it takes) if you choose to lose the baby weight afterwards.

Would love to hear your thoughts.

Photograph ©Vicki Psarias-Broadbent.

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24 Responses

  1. Metropolitan Mum

    Completely agree that there is lots of pressure for women to look good – with or without being pregnant. However, pregorexia is not really that much of a big problem if you look at the stats. Being overweight during pregnancy is much more of a threat to most pregnant women and their babies. I think the whole ‘pregorexia’ thing has been completely blown out of proportion by the media.

    • honestmum

      @MetropolitanMum thanks for your comment, I don’t know enough about pregorexia to comment but I assume must be unhealthy for both extremes-under and overweight in pregnancy as it is generally. I personally was not deemed overweight with my first pregnancy but a good friend was and she was luckily given a lot of support and advice to help her lose weight to prevent a lot of weight related pregnancy complications like gestational diabetes etc.

  2. Circus Queen

    Oh my goodness, I’d never heard of pregorexia. That makes me so sad. Your body is doing a beautiful thing bringing a baby into the world. To me the pressure on women to hide any signs that they’ve carried and birthed a baby is another sign of the misogyny prevalent in our culture.

    Sorry that you to deal with obstetric cholestasis last time. They thought I had it and were going to induce me two weeks early then realised just before induction day that I didn’t have it. Hoping you end up having a complication free round this time.

    • honestmum

      @CircusQueen Pregorexia is so sad isn’t it. I agree, the pressures are insane. On my part, it’s all about health and as I have high odds of getting OC again (60-90%), eating well is more important than ever. So glad you didn’t have it in the end x

  3. motherventing

    I hated being flabby once I’d had Moo. I didn’t realise that I’d put on quite so much weight, whereas I think, in fact, my entire body shape has changed, and will never go back to what it was. Now I just try and accept myself for what I am – which is bloody gorgeous, or so I’m told – and revel in the fact that my body made a baby. Women are under so much pressure. It’s not healthy. At all.

  4. CB

    Relieved to hear that you are having a better second pregnancy. I was quite sick with my first and it’s the one thing that scares me about getting preggers again!

    As for losing the baby weight, nobody told me you leave the hospital still looking pregnant! It was a bit of a shock to me, being the first from my friends and family to have a baby. It took me about a year to lose the baby fat but I’m still not at my pre-preggers weight or shape. Oh well!

    Hope you’re having a great 2nd trimester! x

    • honestmum

      @CB thanks for your comment. Funny that no one tells us that-I had an emergency C section and wish someone had told me what my tummy would look like (forever!). I think it’s about being kind to ourselves. Weight loss not the priority but as I’m feeling well in this pregnancy I thought best to try my best to eat as healthily as possible for my sake and the bubba’s! x

  5. Alexander Residence

    Great post. Having lost weight and got super fit for my wedding, I was gutted to lose my shape and fitness so quickly in pregnancy. It’s been a long haul through another pregnancy and some pretty tough times, I’ve tried and tried and not quite got rid of the extra stone, because life gets in the way! But I feel like now might just be the time, it happens when it happens, unless you have a will of iron. My daughter is learning about healthy choices at school which spurs me on, although I DO make very healthy choices and exercise, BUT to shift that last bit I know I have to make sacrifices, grrrr! Media pressure is crap though. I saw a well known TV personality whose suddenly lost all her curves and looks skeletal, it really shocked me that our vision of healthy has got so blurred by constant media bombardment.

    • honestmum

      @Alexander Residence-I think you always look fabulous when we meet. You are super healthy too. For me, I found I loved running and that’s what helped me lose my last bit x

  6. writeonmum

    Great post honestmum! I grew to the size of a large horse with each of my three. Doctors did tell me off every time and I know it wasn’t all ‘water’ (which was my lame excuse) but I did lose it afterwards…very slowly. I think we should just enjoy carrying our babies inside us and make the most of being their home for the 9 months. Afterwards, being a new mum is so taken up with the baby/ies that we should relax and make the most of it. There are years ahead of us to hit the treadmill…or not…when the kids are older. Good luck with your growing bump – enjoy it!! x

    • honestmum

      @writeonmum you are right-it’s always down to the individual and getting big in pregnancy is natural. For me, it’s about health and of course eating chocolate when I need it x

  7. Mirka Moore @Kahanka

    A fab post, I had 2 completely different pregnancies, and during the second one I didn’t put that much on as doing loads of exercises, swimming and power-walking…nad now less than 3 month after giving birth fully on running with my buggy and soon swimming too ;)))

  8. honestmum

    Thanks Minty, that means a lot and it does sadden me that there’s pressure there. IMy focus in on health and it’s always down to the individual-you can be bigger and still healthy but after O it was a hard slog and no doubt will be again but luckily this time round my body will let me eat more healthy foods x

  9. Minty

    I never weighed my self during or after pregnancy. When the nurses had to do it – it was in lbs and it meant nothing to me – I deliberately didn’t convert in into stone…wasn’t going down that road! I’m still a size bigger than I was pre-pregnancy and it’s 2 years later, but I’m honestly fine with that. (I could definately do with eating a bit more healthily but who couldn’t?) I’ve read so many posts about weight – pregnancy weight, diets when breastfeeding, etc – it makes me really sad. I like that yours is more about health though, and you look fab to me hon x

  10. Colette

    Great post.
    I too experienced two very different pregnancies. Not with anything pregnancy induced mind, purely the weight.
    With my first I embraced the “eating for two” I piled on near on 4 stone with my first, and this did nothing for my already excrciating SPD. Granted, this didnt help the exercise stakes either (was extremely painful to walk) and I was waddling more for my thighs rubbing together than my growing bump.
    I too felt hideous after. Finding excuses not to exercise etc etc.
    So when I was pregnant with my second I vowed never to puit myself through that again.
    We were lucky enough to fall pregnant on my eldests 1st birthday so I didnt really have the chance to shift the weight (excuses). But this time I was certain not to but my mind and body through that again.
    I was conscious of my weight, and didnt gain anything except healthy baby weight. This put me in the right mindset to be able to lose the weight healthily and slowly after my second (and last!) child was born.

    • honestmum

      @Colette thanks for your comment. I think you let go more with the first and I thought it would be easier than it was, to lose the weight afterwards.

  11. I Am Into This

    Brilliant post honey, and one which I completely agree with. I’ve been more aware of my body in pregnancy than I ever have been, and as you know I’ve been getting endless comments about being too small – just as others are ‘too big’. We can’t win!

    At the end of the day, it’s about making the healthy choices for you and bump. My diet hasn’t changed at all since I fell pregnant, I’m still eating healthily and exercising five / six times a week – I’ve just scaled it down a peg or two!

    I’m hoping that it will help me shift the weight afterwards, but I’m trying not to pressurise myself too much. What’s important is that us and our bumps are healthy and happy – and that’s more important than anything else!

    • honestmum

      @IAmIntoThis totally agree with you lovely-you are one wise lady. Exercising if you can in pregnancy helps so much with keeping energy up and preparing you for childbirth and after of course.


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