Scarlett turned nine months a couple of weeks ago, and this milestone got me thinking about all the changes that her first nine months brought about in her momma and the mums around me. To all my baby-carrying and new-baby-having friends reading this: congratulations! And you probably don’t want to read this post. I probably wouldn’t have wanted to read this post when I was in your gently-expanding shoes. That’s probably why none of the baby books bother to tell you any of the following:
“Baby weight” has very little to do with that weight you put on in pregnancy
Thanks to a combination of running around like a woman with three jobs and not craving fried lard, I put on a relatively manageable 10kg during my pregnancy. Most of this was baby plus placenta; the rest was extra blood (yup, totally a thing), water, and a little extra boob. Once Scarlett was born my weight rapidly returned to pre-pregnancy levels, albeit distributed a little differently than it was before; and thanks to breastfeeding (they do call it Nature’s lipo) I dipped down to two kilos below my pre-pregnancy weight after about a month. Hot mama.
Hahahahaha here’s the punchline: that stuff you put on in pregnancy, when you grow a baby? That’s not baby weight. Baby weight is what you put on in the following six months of sitting under a baby, eating vast quantities of Dairy Milk in a bid to stay awake after a night of growth-spurt induced wakefulness. Baby weight is what happens when you never leave the house and let Ocado bring all your Dairy Milk. Baby weight is not hormone-related or gender-specific: ask Darien, he’s just lost his (and very trim he looks now).
I’m now in the process of wavering my way back down the weight chart in a bid to look more like a person and less like a barrage balloon. Track my success at www.isLiseperson-sizedyet.com (not really, even I wouldn’t do that to myself).
New adventures in hairlines
Here’s a thing the baby books vaguely mention while you’re gestating: pregnancy hormones stop hair fall, so for six to nine months your hair gets thicker and fuller and glossier and in every way more like a supermodel’s. Then, sometime after you give birth (a little later if you breastfeed, a little sooner if you don’t) those hormone levels drop and so does your hair. All of it. All the time, all over your house. Also, any hair that isn’t falling out by itself will be ably assisted by your baby once she gets the whole hand-eye-hair coordination thing going on.
I don’t have a fix for this; all I know is my hairline is entirely populated by just-grown-in baby hairs and they don’t look nearly so cute as the name suggests. Short bob? Pixie cut? Sinead O’Connor circa Nothing Compares 2 U? There must be a tonsorial solution.
Two words: pelvic floors
Pelvic floor muscles are useful things. They stop your bladder and bowels doing things they shouldn’t. You’ll miss them when they’re gone.
If you’ve ever picked up a flyer from your GP or children’s centre and thought ‘Post-natal yoga? Why in the name of all that is holy would I want to do post-natal yoga?’ the answer is pelvic floors. At least it is if you ever hope to sneeze in public again. (They also usually have quite good biscuits.)
Don’t shelve the maternity clothes just yet
I read a column by one of my favourite fashion journos about how she hasn’t bothered buying maternity clothes because it’s not worth spending money on something you’ll only wear ‘for a couple of months’. To which I say, hahahahaha again, and ‘kangaroo pouch’ (nobody’s tummy goes flat immediately after birth, not even Victoria Beckham’s) and also you’re clearly buying all the wrong maternity clothing if it isn’t designed to cover nursing as well. All my maternity crossover tops and my favourite wrap dress from eBay are still doing regular duty as post-partum daywear, and the rest I still wear at night. Roomy.
Couch to 500m
I used to be reasonably fit, you know. And one day I will again, my friends, but not today. Apart from anything else, I mean with all the looking after a baby and wrangling with paid work and trying to keep the house clean and looking after a baby a bit more; apart from all that, have you tried jogging with lactating boobs? I ran for a bus once and the damn things nearly crippled me. So that’s quite enough of that until Scarlett’s weaned and I’ve invested in a mega-supportive new sports bra.
Fellow parents! What changes did nobody tell you about, and would it have made a difference to you if they had? Will I ever be able to go jogging again? What shall I do with my hair? Answers on the back of a used placenta, or in the comments below xoxo