Breastfeeding mammas – here’s a jungle juice recipe! It’s a special concoction said to help hydrate you and stimulate lactation. It’s also delicious and refreshing.
I’m living on the stuff at the moment and at least my mind is at ease that I’m staying hydrated, calm and producing milk.
Recipe (fits in a 2L jug)
• 1,5 L boiled and cooled water
• 500ml berry juice
• 1 sachet blackcurrant Rehydrate 9available from pharmacies)
• 60ml blackthorn berry elixir (in the vitamin aisle at pharmacies)
• 10 drops rescue remedy (or more if your baby is a screamer like mine and your nerves are shot)
• 1 effervescent Cal-C-Vita
Drink it out of a wine glass to feel fancy, because there’s not a lot about early motherhood that’s fancy, let’s be honest!
We spend so much time preparing for pregnancy and birth, but once that’s all done, then what?
So much happens to our bodies during pregnancy and labour/delivery and once it’s all over, we’re left with a bit of a mess, to be honest. The baby room’s all ready, you’ve had your baby bag for the hospital packed for weeks and you’ve stocked up on nappies and bum cream, but there is so much more that YOU need to be able to get through the few weird weeks after birth.
If you’re squeamish, stop reading here because I’m about to get all kinds of weird real with you.
I went through the natural birth process and then ended up having to have a C-Section as we started the pushing phase, so my experience is a bit of both kinds of birth and post-birth happenings.
Here’s my experience of what you can expect postpartum. It’s not meant to freak you out, but rather to help you make sure that you’re prepared for the looking after that you need after birth, so that you can enjoy your new baby without having to worry about how the hell you’re going to ask the next visitor to bring you more maxi pads.
I’m not sure if it was from the painkillers and anti-inflammatories or from the breastfeeding, but the thirst was insatiable. You know the kind where water just won’t cut it after a while? Take some juice boxes with you to hospital and ask visitors to bring some for you too, it’s necessary!
I did not expect to bleed so much, to be honest. I bought 2 packs of hideous maternity pads thinking they were enough. They were not. Buy all the maxi pads in the world – you will be bleeding for a long time (some women up to 6 weeks) after birth, regardless of what kind of birth you had. Be careful when you get up for the first time and have someone help you – you’re likely to feel quite faint and lose a lot of blood in that one movement, which can be quite scary.
The baby blues
You might not feel the immediate overwhelming motherly love for the strange little screaming creature in your arms immediately. You’ve been through a lot physically and emotionally and your hormones are completely out of whack for a while. You may have a few days of feeling down instead of elated, this is okay. If it continues, it may be signs of postnatal depression so check up on those symptoms to be sure you don’t need treatment for that.
The night sweats
This took me completely by surprise. For some women postpartum, their bodies need to get rid of excess fluids and hormones for quite a while after birth and this results in night sweats. I would wake up for feeds in the middle of the night, freezing cold and soaking wet. Have a few pairs of extra pyjamas (that are feeding-friendly) on hand unless you want to be washing them every day.
Your breast milk doesn’t appear immediately. For the first few days you produce colostrum, which is sufficient to feed your baby initially, but he may get hungry and scream for real milk at some point. It’s just a waiting game then to see when your milk comes in.
Well this is awkward. If you didn’t get haemorrhoids during pregnancy, you’re likely to get one or few during childbirth. This, along with constipation makes for a very uncomfortable “glowing” new mom. Do yourself a favour and make sure you have haemorrhoid cream and stool softeners ready and waiting. It’s hectic.
They will hurt. Stock up on nipple cream from the get-go and apply that stuff all the time. It will save you. Don’t bother with anything other than Lansinoh cream. Also make sure you stock up on breast pads – there will be leaking and you don’t want to worry about that when you’re dealing with a hundred other things.
Oh gosh, I haven’t painted a very pretty picture, have I? The first few weeks after birth are hectic, so at least after reading this you are prepared for all these nasties and can just take them in your stride. This is the time we need to be enjoying our teeny tiny little humans while we can – they are so precious!
I wrote this post before our little boy surprised us 2 weeks early and didn’t get a chance to post it, or really even go through all the photos, before rushing off to the hospital to give birth. Looking back now, I can’t believe that there was such a perfect little human growing inside me. Also, water retention, OMG. Side note: perhaps 37 weeks is a bit late for a maternity shoot – we got ours in just in time but didn’t get a chance to enjoy it much before baby arrived… nonetheless, here’s what I wrote pre-baby and some of my favourite pics from the shoot.
This pregnancy has been such an exciting time for me, it really has. Amongst all the aches and pains and weird stuff happening to my body, I’m in awe every day that there is a tiny little human inside of me.
I have become obsessed with my baby bump and spent most of my pregnancy just waiting for it “to pop” so that I could show it off as much as possible. And even though I’m probably one of the worst models in the history of modelling, I decided that we needed a photoshoot to capture this very exciting and very short time of transition in our lives.
But not just any photoshoot. Maternity shoots are very often cheesy and posed and they make me cringe. I’m not a ‘flower-fairy in a field with my belly exposed’ kind of girl and my husband would actually rather die than have to pose and fake-smile his way through an hour of his life.
So I first searched for a natural photographer who uses natural light and beautiful locations to enhance what the camera sees, not to create what you want the camera to see, if you know what I mean? I managed to find this in Hannah Mentz and we could not be more impressed with what she created with us!
I chose one of the most gorgeous and secluded locations in Hout Bay, Cape Town: Orangekloof, where I often ride my horse (not now that I’m pregnant, obvs) through the protected mountain reserve. It’s sensational there! And to make things even more challenging, I brought my horse for a guest appearance. The potential for ‘cheese factor’ was very real with this addition, but it worked out just beautifully. Even better than I imagined.
So thank you, Hannah, for capturing this special time for us, we couldn’t be happier with the results!
Here are some of my favourites from the shoot, shot at 37 weeks (exactly one week before he actually arrived!)
When I first found out that I was pregnant, I was determined to have a fit pregnancy. I had worked so hard to be fit and healthy and wasn’t about to let that all fly out the window and turn into a whale. Getting fit in your 30s is a whole new ballgame and it’s freaking hard work!
What I didn’t realise is how intense pregnancy body and hormonal changes really are and as much as you want to fight it, the body is designed to slow down and take it easy during pregnancy.
My focus has shifted from “must do what I can within the preggie limits to not get huge” to “must do what I can for both of us to be as healthy as we can be” from the first to the third trimesters. Growing a human life inside your own body is a concept that cannot actually be described. It’s exciting and terrifying at the same time and carries a huge amount of responsibility. I mean, this little life that we have created is dependent entirely on what I put into and do with my body. It’s insane.
What I also didn’t realise is that a fit pregnancy is not only for mom, but is so beneficial to baby too. Here’s why:
A healthy mom = a healthy baby, there’s no doubt about that
During early pregnancy, exercise increases the growth of the placenta, meaning more nutrients for baby!
A fit pregnancy is said to result in “easier” labour and moms are less likely to need to be induced
Babies of fit moms tend to be a healthier weight at birth
Babies of moms who exercised during pregnancy have a more stable heart rate during labour
So moms-to-be: squeeze on those workout shoes while you still can and get moving! It’s hard when you’re feeling sick, tired, heavy and bloated, but all you need to do is move for 30 minutes every day.
I ran up until about 22 weeks and have continued strength workouts throughout my pregnancy, along with regular brisk walking and prenatal yoga. It’s all slowing down dramatically now at 34 weeks, but I’m keeping these balloon feet moving, even if they can’t fit into shoes anymore 🙂
Why should you donate your ponytail to CANSA to make wigs for cancer patients? The answer is simple, really:
Because hair grows back. Unless you’re going through chemotherapy. Then it’s falling out. And amongst all the other horrific things you need to deal with as a cancer patient, worrying about how you look bald should not be one of them. Your long and healthy hair can provide someone with a beautiful wig to maintain some dignity.
My mom died of breast cancer about 6 years ago and what stuck out for me was the change in her confidence level once she decided to buy a wig and had some hair on her head again. Such a simple thing can make such a huge difference.
So I decided about a year ago that I was going to grow my hair as long as I could bear and donate it to CANSA for a wig. It was so easy. Okay, so it took what felt like an eon to grow the length required and my cut afterwards ended up being way shorter than expected, but it’s worth it.
You should do it too.
Check out all the details on www.cansa.org.za. You need to donate at least 25cm of ponytail.
I can’t actually tell if my pregnancy yoga is for me, for my baby or for the bond between me and my baby. Isn’t that an amazing confusion?
I started prenatal yoga at about 9 weeks into my pregnancy and even though I could have continued with my normal yoga (with modifications), I just didn’t feel confident enough that I knew enough about pregnancy to know what’s safe and what’s not. So prenatal yoga it was.
With no belly to show and nausea to spice things up a bit, I entered into the pregnancy yoga world not knowing what to expect. A bunch of pregnant woman just lying around and stretching and arm or a leg here and there? A whole lot of child’s pose? Will we even move?
It was everything I didn’t expect. Having been an ashtanga and vinyasa yogi for years and continuously pushing my body and my mind through yoga flow, this was a strange new world to me. This is a world where you don’t push yourself. You don’t see how deep you can take a pose, you don’t try and stretch that little bit further, you don’t try and take your mind into deeper place. You “just be” and move with yourself and your baby in a way that soothes your soul, your baby and your body.
When we found out that we were pregnant, a friend gave me a card with a quote in and at the time, it didn’t sink in how powerful it really was, until I had actually spent time with my pregnancy, through yoga.
I’m going to end off with this quote and let it sink in for you.
To be pregnant is to be vitally alive, thoroughly woman, and distressingly inhabited. Soul and spirit are stretched – along with the body – making pregnancy a time of transition, growth, and profound beginnings.” – Anne Christian Buchanan
If you read my blog post about the first trimester of pregnancy, you might be put off ever wanting to grow a little human in your body. Sorry. It was crappy. But it’s not forever and the uncomfortable bits of it didn’t actually last very long for me and life took a delightful turn just before the 12 week mark for me.
The second trimester has been wonderful for me.
Here’s what they didn’t tell me about the second trimester:
The fat roll becomes a noticeable baby bump and you don’t need to keep announcing to the world that you’re pregnant, not fat. I honestly thought that this would happen much sooner in pregnancy, but it’s really only half-way through the second trimester that I was noticeably “pregnant-looking”
You can get away with scaring the crap out of people who ask when you’re due or congratulate you on your pregnancy by saying “Oh no, you think I’m pregnant? This is still the after-effects of Christmas”
People compliment you because that is what you do for pregnant women. People HAVE TO tell you how great you’re looking and how you’re glowing and all that wonderful stuff. I think it’s written in a secret book somewhere. Even if you’re not, they HAVE TO tell you these things.
You feel the baby move around and it’s incredible! Every day is an amazement at what is happening in your body and it all becomes very real.
A lot of the first trimester was about feeling fragile and uncertain. This goes away in the second trimester. That baby is stuck in there and becoming a “proper human” more rapidly than you expected. The feeling of certainty and excitement cements itself in.
Enter the pregnant appetite! You’re sometimes going to feel ravenous and that is totally understandable, given what your amazing body is up to. I used this as an excuse to pump even more healthy foods into my body than usual (as well as treating myself to indulgences of chocolate and cheese when the need arises, no questions asked). This is not a time for deprivation or ignoring hunger pangs. EAT THOSE GREENS!
Get used to strategically positioning yourself near a bathroom at all times. Your baby is literally squashing your bladder so you will need to pee ALL THE TIME.
Sore feet. Like, walking on knives kind of sore feet. A great excuse to keep your feet up whenever you can. Prep your partner for foot massages – I haven’t won this game enough but I keep trying.
You feel like a normal person again. Like you did before you got pregnant, except more excited, bigger and slower.
You can still exercise, making sure it’s preggie-friendly. It’s actually so important to look after your body while it’s going through these drastic changes and while you can still move easily. I’ve been walking a lot, continuing (amazing) pre-natal yoga and doing trimester-specific home strength workouts.
Candles. I have nothing to say about these. We’ll just ignore them.
What an amazing experience it is to be growing a little human inside my body and I feel so grateful to have this privilege.
I’m still feeling great as I enter into the third trimester, growing and growing and growing this precious little human life.
Let’s be honest here, we can all get carried away with gathering nice things. Things that make our lives more comfortable, easier, more luxurious. But when we really reflect on what really makes us happy, it’s not the big screen TV or the brand new car we bought. It’s the experiences and people in our lives that really give us the most joy.
Memories remain a lifetime, material things do not. It’s important that we find ways to remember to collect the moments in our lives, not the material things.
Here’s my “guide” to collecting moments, not things.
Gather up these memories and pull them out whenever you need a giggle. Find ways to inject the laughter into your life too. I, for one, love to google ‘miniature donkeys’ whenever I need a lift or think about how fun my wedding day was. Find your go-to laugh potion! (You’re googling miniature donkeys, aren’t you?)
Go a month with buying only the material items in your household that are necessities. Force yourself not to indulge in anything unnecessary. You’ll find yourself seeking out experiences, rather than things, and that can only lead to some interesting stories to tell…
Begin each day with gratitude for all of the experiences (even the bad ones) that have made you who you are. Every part of what you’ve been through has helped to shape the person you are today. Be grateful for that and for everyone that has contributed to that.
Get off your couch, step out of your comfort zone and try something completely new. Even if you end up hating it, it will be an experience that teaches you something a little bit more about yourself.
Book your next getaway now, even if it’s just a weekend on a farm an hour away. Your body and your mind needs it. See more of your own country and help to boost your own economy (make it easy and use a local listings site like Afristay, where you get access to loads of options in one place and can read the reviews to be sure you’re picking the right spot).
Is there anything I left out? Throw some comments below and let me know what you think…
Step aside, beaches of Thailand, we’ve replaced you with the farm life.
When it comes to affordable and hassle-free getaways, you can’t beat a gorgeous farm with a pool. Say goodbye to overpriced cocktails at the hotel poolside, drink your favourite G&T or a bottle of wine from the farm’s own vineyard, at the pool instead.
We booked a last-minute getaway to Tanagra Wine Estate and Guest Farm, just outside McGregor this past week and it was glorious! It’s part of the Robertson Wine Route and also the Route 62, so exploring the surrounding areas is easy.
I’ve experienced my fair share of island holidays: Thailand, Mauritius, Croatia, Reunion, Bali, Lombok… but nothing quite beats the convenience of a quick 2 hour drive to another form of paradise and the seclusion of the Western Cape farm-style.
I’m not much of a fan of New Year’s Resolutions, mainly because it’s a once-off “I’ll go to gym every day this year” or “I’m going to quit smoking” promise that lasts a few weeks before everyone goes back to their same selves for the rest of the year.
Don’t get me wrong – the mere thought of wanting to change one’s self for the better is great, but let’s think more realistically here. Why aren’t we focusing on things that actually change us in the long run and make for a happier, healthier lifestyle in general? Call them HEALTHY LIFE Resolutions, if you will.
Here are my top 8 Healthy Life Resolutions that you can actually stick to:
1. Look after yourself
You’re no good to yourself or anybody else if you’re not in good condition – physically and mentally. It’s not only okay, but incredibly important that you take time to look after yourself.
2. Say goodbye to jealousy
This is a wasted emotion. It has more to do with your own insecurities than anything else. Sort those out.
3. Accept others’ shortcomings
There will always be sharks out there and there will always be morons. Find a way to work around them instead of getting stressed out or frustrated because of them. They’re unlikely to change their ways.
4. Be kind
5. Stick to your guns
Don’t get taken for a ride. It’s okay to say no sometimes. We don’t always have to bend over backwards for other people and agree with them when we actually don’t.
6. Make healthy decisions
With everything. What food you put into your body, what lifestyle choices you make, what you say in a fight with your partner.
7. Make more time for things that make you happy
This is important.
8. Do more yoga
Or whatever it is that helps you to calm and focus your mind. A strong mind is the cornerstone of a healthy life.