A watched kettle

Ranaculus... a favourite flower

They say a watched kettle never boils…. and I have definitely started watching and waiting for baby! The house isn’t perfect but I’m satisfied that short of a few little things and a day to day tidy, its good enough. I’ve had some of the best sleep I have had in absolute years (and I have been told to relish it)! I have some relatively important errands to run today like renewing my driver’s licence…but Houston, I think its all systems go.

The ranaculus in our living room is incredibly beautiful- makes for a cheerful waiting room! And lots of opportunity for reflection.

One of the things I didn’t know prior to getting pregnant was the enormity of the physical change. Somewhat naievely I thought you’d be your normal self, just big and then bigger. I didn’t factor in the effects of hormones on ligaments, the impacts of fluid retention or the stresses of additional weight on the body. I also was initially ignorant of how different kinds of exercise and intensity can have a bearing on the oxygen and nutrient needs of the baby. This was all news!

I have read that all women go through a process of at least some physical deconditioning and although I have kept up with swimming, walking and some pilates when I have been able (to maintain a basic level of fitness), I am looking forward to the recovery. I actually miss being able to run intervals of 3km at the gym and do mat work on my back.

Erin O’Brien (American Personal Trainer) urges women to think about the initial period of exercise AFTER the first six weeks as “rehabilitation” and a time in which to retrain ones muscles to fire way they used to. At eight months plus, this sounds about right to me.

I appreciate some woman are genetically blessed and lucky enough to get back to their pre-pregnancy weight within a week or two of delivery. Wonderful.  But from everything I have read, and friends I have talked to, this is the exception rather than the norm. The average woman has nine months to put on the weight that includes the support system for the baby, including fat stores for breast feeding, it can take nine months to lose it. Further, my hospital recommends that expectant mothers pack a going home outfit that would have fit at 6 months of pregnancy, this tells me my expectations are somewhere in the ball park of “reasonable”.

The real challenge I think, after the birth, is finding time to exercise after the initial six weeks once the baby is born and for a significant period, the primary care giver (more often the woman) is home alone with their little one, feeding the baby every three to four hours and sleep deprived. Additionally, intense exercise and lactic acid can influence breast milk so there are all sorts of recommendations about how to manage that.

Does society allow time for mothers to be mothers? What fuels the irrational expectation that what is the case for one woman, will be the same for another?

My own enthusiasm is fuelled by my desire to get back into my regular wardrobe and to be without the discomforts that have come with being “bigger”. When my hands aren’t so swollen, it will be wonderful to wear my wedding ring again! The bottom line is, I am prepared to be patient and do whatever is required to ensure we have a healthy, happy baby. We are so excited to have him coming into in our lives, everything else really less significant and a lower priority.

It has be an interesting journey for many reasons…and at the end of the day, it will be well worth it.

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