Pregnancy, Prolapse

Pregnancy After Prolapse Series – Am I Ready?

This series of blog posts will follow my journey after healing my prolapse from my first birth, into my second pregnancy and beyond!

After I was diagnosed with my prolapse at 8 months postpartum with Nugget, I was devastated (you can read about that here). I thought my life was over and I wasn’t sure if I’d ever be prepared, physically, for another pregnancy and birth. I was terrified of picking up my baby out of the crib, never mind growing a second one!

Then I went to pelvic floor physiotherapy, and subsequently healed my prolapse. Then came rewiring my brain to actually accepting the thought that, maybe, I can have another baby. I mean, ever since I decided that kids were in the cards, I knew I wanted a lot of them! Like, 3 or even 4!

Before I was discharged from physio, I made sure to ask her thoughts on pregnancy, birth and postpartum. She had zero concerns with me getting pregnant again, gave me some great advice for labour and suggested I come back in for a check up at 6 weeks postpartum.

So, I had the go ahead from the professionals I trusted, but was I ready? Emotionally, I was SO ready. When I was pregnant with Nugget, my plan was to have him, then start trying for number 2 at 8 months postpartum, so they could be super close in age. Well, obviously, that didn’t happen. My husband wasn’t quite as antsy as I was to have babies right on top of each other, and I was still nervous about my body. I had felt betrayed and needed to learn to trust it again before taking on the challenge of pregnancy.

So I focused on getting strong. I started a new workout program, committed to working out every 2-3 days and for probably 2-3 months I stuck to it. I loved it. I was so happy with how my body felt, how my clothes fit, and how I felt in general. My body finally felt strong again. All of my muscles had blossomed, my core felt so supportive, and I was finally feeling like myself again.

I was ready. My body felt ready. My husband was ready.

It was time.

It took 9 months to conceive Nugget, so even though I was ready to start trying, I had absolutely no expectations for it to happen anytime soon. I was okay with that, prepared for a long road ahead.

Still, I did all the things. I peed on sticks. I took prenatal vitamins. I tracked my basal body temperature. I even tracked my mucous.

But even then, with perfect timing, most couples only have a chance of conception of 20% for any given cycle. Like I said, prepared for a long road.

We didn’t want to put our life on hold to have another baby, so we kept living it. We used the hot tub, we drank our fair share of wine, beer and coffee, we didn’t change our diet or exercise regimes. We just lived our lives.

I was so prepared for it take months to happen. After all, it had the first time, and nothing had changed in that department, as far as we knew, besides being a couple years older.

And then, two months in, it happened.

The line turned pink. The stick flashed ‘pregnant’.

Next thing we knew, we were preparing to be the parents of two under two.

{to be continued}

Pregnancy After Prolapse

 

fitness, motherhood, nutrition, Self Care

How I Revolutionized my Diet to Lose Weight and Love my Body

I’m a woman. I’ve always been tall (I was 5’6″ in 6th grade, at 12 years old), I have broad shoulders and wide hips. I take up space. I always have, I always will.

I haven’t always been okay with it.

I spent a lot of my adolescence wanting to be smaller. I was never the girl who could be at the top of the cheerleading pyramid, or the one the boys would pick up and spin around, because I was big. My bigness came with strength, I was always the one doing the lifting or carrying, at the bottom of the pyramid, the backbone of the red rover team. As a young girl, I felt self-conscious about this. Girls are ‘supposed’ to be weak, and tiny and need big strong boys to take care of them.

I was also lucky to have parent’s who didn’t care about what girls are ‘supposed’ to be. My dad taught me to chop wood, and fish and hunt. My brothers and I almost always had the same expectations when it came to chores and helping out. At home, my bigness was never an issue, my strength was something to be proud of. I never once felt like my parents or extended family judged me in that way, and for that I am thankful.

But I didn’t live in a vacuum, I saw society’s expectations, I felt the burden of being bullied. I was reminded regularly that being big and being a woman is a problem. I tried a few diets here and there, but honestly I love food too much to ‘stick’ to anything. I went through a phase of following a hit-diet that emphasized no carbs, and cheat days, and very fucked up views on food. (the diet actually suggested increasing the number of bowel movements on ‘cheat days’ to minimize the number of calories absorbed – um, pretty sure that’s a version of bulimia). I lost a reasonable amount of weight, for me. I remember my mom asking me if I was eating. She was worried. I felt proud. Hey, everyone was noticing how ‘small’ I was, that had never happened to me before!

Looking back on that time, I cringe. I thought I was doing things ‘right’. After all, people are praised and put on pedestals when they ‘stick to’ their diets and lose a significant amount of weight. We don’t talk about how obsessed with food they are, or if they can function outside of planning their meals, or if they can enjoy day-to-day things because it may or may not be ‘on plan’.

So what changed?

I had a baby. I had a newborn to take care of, I had to recover from pregnancy and childbirth, and all on broken sleep. I was exhausted (who isn’t in that stage) and I could feel my emotions so much worse some days than others. There were days when I could feel myself getting frustrated with Nugget so much easier, and I started to analyze why. Yes, sleep was a factor, but that was mostly out of my control. I started realizing when I ate poorly, I felt awful. My patience was thinner, and I was quick to snap on my husband. And it wasn’t like I was eating fast food everyday or ordering pizza, it was just whenever I was out of balance, I felt it.

So I started paying even closer attention to how each food I ate made me feel. Too much bread? Made me so bloated and uncomfortable. Lots of green veggies? So much energy and my digestion felt like it was humming along. Not enough protein? I would get hungry and cranky within hours of eating. I started getting more in tune with my body’s needs. I started craving ‘healthy’ foods. My daily choices started balancing out.

I used to forbid my husband from purchasing any ‘bad’ foods because if it was in the house, I would eat it, and I would eat it all. I would think ‘oh man, I can’t have that, I should eat it all so it’s gone so I don’t have to worry about it anymore’. But now? I know I can have chocolate, or cookies, or ice cream whenever I want, and I do! But I don’t feel the need to polish off 10 servings, because I know that it’s always there whenever I feel like it. I don’t feel deprived, therefore I don’t need to binge. I try to live in an abundance mindset. All the foods are there all of the time whenever I want. There are no ‘bad foods’, nothing is ‘off limits’. There are some foods that make me feel crappy, so I don’t eat them as often, because I don’t like to feel like crap. There are some foods that make me feel great, so I choose those more often.

It’s as complicated and as simple as that.

So I bet you’re reading this and thinking, well shit if I ‘ate whatever I want’ I’d eat the entire pantry and gain 500lbs. Listen, I thought that too. And to be honest, when you start shifting your mindset, it’s totally normal to swing the pendulum to the opposite end of the spectrum and go overboard for a while. Your body will be so used to being deprived perpetually, that it will take some time to re-calibrate your thinking to eat without eating all the things, all the time.

The key is to eat mindfully. Pay attention to how you feel before, during, and after you eat. Before – are you eating because you’re hungry? Bored? Sad? All perfectly okay, just acknowledge it and sit with it. During – are you enjoying what you are eating? Is it making you feel good? Are you full? Do you actually want that next bite, or are you just eating because there is some left? That last one is hard for me, I feel guilty leaving a bite or two behind, but one of my role models (Jennifer Campbell) said in a group we’re members of (I’m paraphrasing) ‘If you eat something, because you feel bad throwing it away, you’re just making yourself the garbage can.” That resonated with me. If I am eating something that I don’t want or need, then how is that any different than throwing it in the garbage? It’s not. And After – an hour or two later, are you feeling stuffed? Bloated and gross? Tired and lazy? or energized and happy? These are all things to help you guide your choices.

Now, this isn’t to say you must always, only eat foods that make you feel perfect, all of the time. No. That’s not the point. The point is balance. So you go to a birthday party, and there’s cake, and you want a piece. You like cake, you want to participate in the event, and it looks tasty. So have a piece! Acknowledge that maybe the cake might make you feel not so great later, so maybe only have one piece. But, consider while you’re eating the cake – is it good? Are you enjoying the cake? Does the serving size feel okay? Are you satisfied after 3 bites? Then stop. If the cake is bloody delicious, and you’re still feeling okay after you finish – then have another piece!

Like I said, complicated, but simple.

Your body is this funny thing. It has these cues that are there for a reason. Hunger, fullness, bloating, energy levels, constipation etc. They all work together to help you decide what to eat.

And you know what? The funny thing is, 14 months after having my first baby, I weigh the same as I did when I was doing that ‘crazy diet’ a few years ago. Except I am so much healthier. I have more muscle, more energy, and most important of all, I don’t obsess about food, like, at all and I love the way my body looks, but I also love the way it feels.

And the best part? I get to eat hot dogs with my son, who absolutely loves hot dogs, every week. And I don’t feel one single ounce of guilt over it, because I am balanced.

How

nutrition, Uncategorized

Nutrition Schmootrition

Let me preface this by saying that I am NOT a dietitian or nutritionist. These are just ideas that have worked well for me and should you choose to implement them, that is up to you. In my previous post I mention that I think that nutrition is the most important thing to worry about postpartum when it comes to your mood, energy and general well being. Well a lot of moms ask how? How can I eat and feed my family nutritiously? I usually hear things like its too much work, it’s too expensive, I don’t have time. Well I’ll share strategies I use to help myself keep on track.

  1. Be Boring
    Sounds boring right? Well it is. But I bet if you look at your daily meals, you’re probably eating the same things over and over again. You might switch it up every month or so, then eat the same meal for another month. For example, lately I’ve been eating oatmeal for breakfast, greek yogurt with nuts and berries for meal 2, a large smoothie with lots of greens for meal 3 and whatever I have meal planned for dinner. Occasionally I’ll switch out meal 2 or 3 for leftovers from a dinner earlier in the week, but rarely do I actually make a completely different meal.
  2. Pay Attention to How you Feel
    Not everyone is the same when it comes to nutrition. Some people can eat bread daily and feel great and energised, but if I do it makes me feel bloated and sluggish. For some people this is dairy or beans or cabbage. Take a few days or a week or so and make a food diary, whether it’s on paper or using an app like MyFitnessPal, keep track. Then pay close attention to how you feel. Did you struggle to get out of bed this morning, and ate pizza last night? Do you feel gross and bloated in the evening after a bowl of pasta? Are you crampy and uncomfortable after eating baked beans? These are the things you need to think about. The last time hubs and I ordered pizza delivery, I was a miserable bitch the next day, and let’s just say his digestion wasn’t in peak form. Needless to say we’re a lot less likely to order pizza again.
  3. Find Something you Love
    If I tell you to eat oatmeal every day, but you hate oatmeal. You might do it once, or twice, but then you’ll gradually stop until you can’t remember the last time you ate oatmeal. You have to find healthy foods that you enjoy. If you love salad, find a way to make a quick easy salad. If you love chicken wraps, make chicken wraps!
  4. Cook Your Own Food
    Now this is a hard one to get into if you don’t already. I love cooking. It’s like meditation for me, but I can see how some people hate it. I think a lot of what people hate about it is they have no idea what they’re doing! Finding good recipes is key. This is why I love Pinterest. Whenever I feel like I’m in a rut or I want a new idea I go there. There are tonnes of healthy, quick & easy recipes on there for you to choose from!
  5. Choose Real Food
    Your best bet for healthy food is to buy things that don’t require an ingredients list. Like fruits, veggies & meats. There will always be times when you need packaged foods, and I’m not saying they’re all bad. But pay close attention, some greek yogurts are loaded with sugar, or frozen fruits can be sweetened. I personally love frozen veggies. I cannot be bothered to cut up and steam veggies most days at dinner, but dumping a bunch of frozen beans in a bowl and tossing them in the microwave is totally my style.
  6. Choose Healthier Options
    Almost all packaged foods out there have healthier versions available. However, do not be tricked by the ‘low fat’ movement! Most ‘low-fat’ or ‘fat-free’ products are loaded with sugar so they don’t taste like cardboard. You have to read labels. In the ingredients, they are listed based on quantity, so if sugar is the first or second ingredient, then the product is most sugar. Try to find foods with whole ingredients and little fillers or added sugar. Don’t be fooled by hidden sugar like ‘fruit juice concentrate’ or ‘evaporated cane juice’. Sugar is sugar is sugar. Unless it is in the actual whole fresh fruit or veg, with accompanying fibre and nutrients, it’s just sugar.
  7. Meal Plan
    When my husband and I started meal planning we cut our grocery bill by probably 25-50%. How many times do you go grocery shopping because ‘there’s nothing to eat’ yet your fridge is full? This was us. Until we started meal planning! Now at the end of the week, we are down to bare bones, we go and stock up only what we need. Here is the Meal Plan Template I developed and we use weekly. It’s simple, easy to follow and helps you develop your grocery list for the week.
  8. Make Your Unhealthy Favourites Healthy
    This is one of my favourite things. I love being able to make something healthy and delicious! Now, it doesn’t always work, but don’t get discouraged. Keep trying! My favourite recipes that I’ve made healthier are lasagna with eggplant instead of pasta, meatloaf with oatmeal and lean ground beef, shepherds pie with cauliflower instead of potatoes. Honestly, 75% of my ‘healthy’ meals are made from lean ground beef, but you could substitute ground chicken or turkey if you prefer!

Hopefully these tips will help you get on the right track to eating better! I know since I started paying closer attention to my own nutrition it has been like night and day with the way I feel and how I interact with my family, and I hope you have the same experience!