~ My, honest, no Frills guide to Motherhood, the truth about the ‘before and after’ female body (that no one tells you), the hormones, the emotions….and why it’s ok to be a nut job!

Based on my experience of:

4 CHILDREN (21, 11, 10 & 4)
1 GRANDCHILD (19 months)
But here’s what I’ve learned so far!! 

My son recently blessed me with a once in a lifetime opportunity. I was present at the arrival of my new grandson and in the weeks that followed, I watched as they cared and nurtured the new life they had recently been gifted with, and as they handled their new baby’s tiny frame with instinctive care and ease, I saw that they had taken very naturally to their role as parents.

Those watching this young family from a spectators seat, may see many things: you see calm, you see happiness, you see the inevitable wilting look of exhaustion, the type only displayed by fledgling parents, you see fear, you see confusion but most of all, you see love, masses of it, swelling to such epic proportions, that every card shop on Valentines day couldn’t compete.
And it’s glorious! These early months are such a magical time!

Ok, hang on, let’s back up a little here, because at this point, I begin to remember, that along with all the magic, there is a new mum; who is beyond happy with her new baby, but is also trying to convince herself she’s still sane, still the person she was BB (before baby)  and somehow make sense of it all and all the changes she has encountered so far, and the many more that lay ahead of her.
And she does this along with the billions of other new mums out there in the world, and suddenly I’m reminded of the wild, unyielding onset of emotions and feelings I experienced after giving birth to my first child nearly 21 years ago!

And on that day 2 decades ago, I set off, totally unprepared on my new adventure. With my freshly baked baby attached to my new, acme sized breasts, off I went, free wheeling on a frenzied ride of hormone induced emotions.

The list is limitless: from tending to the wounds earned in my toughest of battles, exhausted to a point where sane thoughts and every day tasks required instruction manuals the size of a phone book, animatedly attempting to keep an upper body, sore and heavy with milk, in a vertical position, upon legs, swollen with enough water to fill an Olympic size pool and finally, a lower body: aka, belly butt and back that was totally unrecognisable to its owner. Who the hell was this person before me!

What can I say……there is nothing that prepares you for that moment when you are reunited with this section of your body, after not seeing if for the last 6 months.

For the last half a year, this was a baby only zone, a place of wonderment, and the magic of new life, and as this baby grows inside, the female body is transformed in to the most beautiful and spectacular nurturing facility ever designed!

And then, literally over night, you’re holding a new baby, and you’re inhabiting a body, you no longer recognise, understand or in most cases like.
It is yet another transitional phase in the ever changing body shape of a woman, from growing and giving life, to nurturing with milk and caring for your off spring for many years after.
Add to this that no one REALLY warns you! They don’t tell you about the mass invasion of feelings, that are waiting patiently for the right moment to strike,  initiating their unrelenting and ruthless attack on every new mother.

Every woman is different, but for me, the early post pregnancy months, created a monster of epic proportions: a mutating wreck that Jekyll and Hyde would have been proud of.
A myriad of emotions, ranging from over powering love for my new creation, to total self loathing as I analysed the unrecognisable body that stood before me in the mirror.

And one really special occasion, I went through a total, nuclear level melt down, morphing in to an uncontrollable, yowling pile on the bathroom floor, as the horror dawned on me, and I realised: STRETCH MARK CREAM DOES NOT WORK! 

The damned cosmetic companies had made a small fortune out of me over the last 9 months, as I believed it’s promises of elasticated skin, untarnished and smooth like my new sons naked bottom.
But no! There was my tummy, covered in layers of excessive skin, that I still hadn’t worked out where it would go, which displayed something that could only be likened to a map of the London Underground!

But, as my baby and I grew,  I began to realise how amazing my body really was, I embraced  my flaws and my qualities, and took pride in my body’s awesome baby making and feeding capabilities, and the amazing miracle of natures ability to fill me with such unconditional love for someone I had only just met!

The post baby body is both admired and disliked by its owner – thankful for the amazing job it has done but saddened by the post pregnancy ‘issues’ that can occur.
But be proud of your body and never forget what it has achieved for you and the amazing functions it performs on a daily basis.
Your body has performed a miracle! It has created life and even now, with your baby independent of you, your body continues to provide for your little one with all the nutrients, sustenance, attention, development, care, love and comfort he requires.

Your body is the most beautifully intricate machine ever constructed, perfect in every way and it has performed the most amazing miracle for you.

So, you would think, after all the drama and upset, I would never entertain the thought of pregnancy again, but that couldn’t be further from the truth, as I went on to have 3 more babies, and have proudly breast fed for a total of 9 years of my life.

Over time, I have learned to love my body. I am proud to bear the scars of my pregnancies, they are truly beautiful, representing the most amazing experiences of my life. I have learned to respect and admire what an amazing machine I have been gifted with: I workout, I eat well, I give my body the best I can, because it has given me the best IT can and continues to give me, and my 4 children.

I have stretch marks, I have the scars from pregnancy, and I wear them with pride.
I am a mother and my body is an incredible piece of kit I have been blessed with by nature.

There’s no guide book, there’s no Haines manual. I’ve made mistakes….some big ones too! I’ve fumbled my way through motherhood, but I’ve done ok!
I haven’t lost, broken or poisoned any of them yet, and they feel love every day in a happy home full of laughter. So we’re good!

So the next time you look at your body in a negative light, remind yourself of how awesome you really are and the magical creation it has gifted you with!