Yes You Can Lose Your Pregnancy Weight!
With each of my five full term pregnancies I gained 25-30 kgs! (55-66 lbs).
With my last pregnancy with Willow I gained just as much even though I was eating reasonably healthy foods. I didn’t gain much in the first and second trimesters but by the third trimester I really stacked on the kilos. I was really hungry and I let myself eat and eat without giving it much thought. I usually lost 5 kilograms by the time I came home for hospital (baby, placenta, fluid) and then a long road was before me as I slowly lost the weight I had gained.
But over the years I have learned some things about weight loss. Sometimes it was really hard. Sometimes I had great successes. Sometimes I couldn’t be bothered and was tired and emotional and gained a few kilos back. Sometimes I just ate too much because…well, I love food!
As I had these experiences I learned what worked. I observed other people who had too, been successful with weight loss. I took note and wrote a lot of information down.
I discovered dessert in a whole new way! I have now learned how to make all my old favorites in a nourishing way using whole food ingredients. As I lost weight I ate pancakes, carrot cake, choc chip cookies and brownies! Making desserts into healthier creations has helped keep me be happy, healthy and satisfied while the kilos came off.
Last year all I had learned about weight loss got written down…
…and became a book!!
And…I am very very excited. The moment I have been waiting for over a year for is here!
My brand new e-book is now online and available for you to download!!!
It is a step by step guide for your own postpartum weight loss journey! And anyone would benefit from this book, not just mothers.
If you are wanting to lose weight but you need a bit of cheering on. I will be your weight loss coach as you read the pages of this book you will be cheered and encouraged along the way!
I share the secrets of people who are successful with losing weight and keeping it off.
I share how to overcome problems people face and how not to regain weight.
Yes You Can Lose Your Pregnancy Weight is not a diet plan but a book to give mothers some encouragement to get healthy and kick out some bad habits.
I also have included 10 of my own recipes which helped me have success in my postpartum weight loss. As well as a full weekly meal plan to help kick start your weight loss.
Click HERE to get my new e-book Yes You Can Lose Your Pregnancy Weight
When is the right time to have a baby?
Is there an ideal time in life to have a baby? Many people have their varied opinions. Some say to wait until you are financially secure. To wait until you own your own house – and make sure it has multiple bedrooms so bubs can have his own room. Wait until you have saved enough money to go on maternity leave and buy all the baby gear like a cot, car seat and pram.
In Christian circles I hear often that couples should wait for at least 2 years after marrying to have a baby to focus on strengthening their marriage first.
Some may be waiting to get their health in balance. To lose 30kg to give the baby the best chance of being healthy.
I’ve read a holistic health book that said babies need to be spaced apart at least by 3 years or your baby is at risk of being malnourished and their brain will not fully develop. – This is not true! I know many babies (including my own) who are spaced closely together and are very smart and healthy and not at all malnourished.
Most of this advise is convincing and intelligent. It may be sensible and even wise.
But there is wisdom that is of the world. And then there is wisdom that comes from the Lord. We would be truly wise to choose the latter.
It is never really convenient to have a baby. It’s a sacrifice of pure love and laying down ones life for another. So if you’re seeking convenience, then it’s never a good time to have a baby. There is much pain and sacrifice involved with bringing children into the world, but those who do it anyway realise the deep joy, fulfillment and blessing it also brings.
But is there a right time to have a baby in your life? Is the question of this post. The truly right time must line up with Gods word. Let’s look at two of the right times when it’s best to have a baby.
- When you are married. A marriage union between a man and a woman is the ultimate place for a child to be raised. It is within this family unit that the child will thrive and grow the way God planned. Sure, children will adapt to many different situations, like single parenting or with a grandparent, but the ideal place for a child to be raised is with two parents who are married.
- When both husband and wife are in union with the decision to have a baby. As wives we need to honor our husbands as they lead and guide our family. My husband needs to be in agreement with me to have a baby or I am going against the very thing God created for me as a wife – to serve and respect my husband. If the wife wants to have a baby but the husband doesn’t yet, then the wife must pour out her heart to her husband. If he is still firm in not wanting a baby, then take a step back and uplift the situation in daily prayer for yourself, your husband and your family and future family.
Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.Ephesians 5:24
If I look back over the last several years of my parenting. If I had waited until the worlds definition of ‘the right time’ to have a baby then I probably wouldn’t have had any children at all yet! I still don’t own my own my own home and haven’t had a lot of money to buy them lots of stuff. But children don’t need lots of stuff. They need a loving home with discipline, acceptance, tenderness and security.
So is there a wrong time to have a baby? I would say that if the mother has a serious medical condition that would be life threatening to her or the baby if she were to become pregnant. Then it would be sensible to look after your health for the sake of yourself, your husband and other children you may have. There is nothing wrong with taking a break from having babies while you work through some health problems, physical or mental.
Children don’t need their own bedroom either. Sharing a room with siblings produces character and teaches children how to mind another’s property, think of other’s needs (not turning the light on in the early hours of the morning and waking their brother). It can be a special bonding time where siblings chat into the night about their fears, joys and dreams. It can even keep them accountable to do the right thing and not get into trouble from sinning while alone in their bedroom.
The Lord will provide for our baby. There is no need to worry about having enough money to have a baby. Jesus said that when we pray to ask the Lord to…
‘Give us this day our daily bread’, (Matthew 6:11)
The Lord doesn’t give us everything we need for the years to come, or for next month or next week but if we ask Him…
He will provide everything we need – food – clothing – shelter – love and much more – TODAY. One day at a time. It’s a matter of having faith for His provision.
Children do adapt to the family God puts them in. And whether they have everything all set up for them – a house, a bedroom, a savings account, etc. – is irrelevant. It doesn’t matter if they are born closely together or spaced exactly three years apart. It is not a mistake that they are born and if it is the Lords will, they will grow and thrive regardless.
P.S I want to mention women who are in the situation when it is the right time to have a baby but they are struggling to get pregnant or carry a baby to term. My heart goes out to you. The Lord has not forgotten you. Keep praying and believing.
Arrow turns 6! Including his birth story
Arrow Truth Goddard….”you named him what??” Yes Arrow, his name is Arrow!! 🙂
Our strong Arrow turns 6 today!
Happy Birthday to our precious little man!
Arrow is physically strong yet kind and caring. He’s not afraid to kiss his mum and play babies with his little sisters. He’s as tough as nails and has still never needed to see a doctor. He is our warrior, strong willed and stubborn yet loving and tender. He’s serious and doesn’t always see the funny side,yet we can still make him laugh. We love him dearly and our family wouldn’t be complete without our Arrow.
Let me share with you his story which was posted on my old original blog (The Heart Of Our Home) – here is is again for you in case you missed it.
I fell pregnant with Arrow when our first bub Francis was around 8 months old. We were VERY excited to be expecting again, and we prayed and prayed for this baby after suffering a miscarriage only 3 months earlier. Right from the start I knew this baby was strong, though. I got through the first trimester with the usual morning sickness. Constant nausea but no vomiting. By 16 weeks I felt fantastic and we began planning a natural birth. I wanted more than anything to birth this baby into the world as naturally as possibly. This was the first birth that we really planned properly. I read many books on natural birthing, and God worked on my heart and helped to overcome my fears. I have ALWAYS had a terrifying fear of giving birth – especially without an epidural. And God gently worked on me and we did it! Would I do a natural birth again? Yes I would. Did it hurt? YES it did. But do I need to be afraid? NO I don’t. God designed women’s bodies to give birth, and I did it!! It was such a massive moment of transformation in my life.
Later in my pregnancy I couldn’t get away from the scripture in Psalm 127
Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth.
God gave me a strong revelation about children that I believe is very different from the world’s thinking of children. Our children are VERY important.
From this moment on I decided that I would dedicate my life to raising children for the Lord. With full support from my husband. I decided that nothing would come in the way, no job, no career, no ministry would be more important to me than raising my family in the best way that God shows me.
This is why we named our son Arrow.
He is our Arrow, our weapon of defense against our enemies. He is our reward and gift from God. We are very blessed.
His middle name is ‘Truth.’ This stands for the truth of God’s word coming to pass as we birth our Arrow into the world. We dedicated our son completely to the Lord.
We didn’t know if we were having a boy or a girl until after the birth, but during my later stages of pregnancy we had only picked one name – Arrow – I couldn’t even think of any girls names. God knew though, that we were having a son and he placed him in our womb for a special reason.
I was very over due – 2 weeks and 2 days in fact, before I finally gave in to the doctors and came into the hospital to be induced. Everyone thought I was crazy waiting for so long past my due date, but I knew in my heart that my baby needed more time.
The doctor broke my waters, and proclaimed that my baby has a head full of hair!! Wow, we were very excited, yet nervous for what was ahead of us.
The contractions came on steady all morning and Luke and I walked around and around the hospital grounds. I had a really strong contraction right in front of the waiting room of the medical clinic. I grabbed Luke by the scruff of his shirt and leaned over him, clamped my eyes shut and breathed deeply. “Okay, we need to go back into our room NOW.” So back inside we went, where we spent the entire length of our labour alone in our hospital room. We hardly saw a midwife and no doctors were in sight. I was doing quite well up until the last couple of hours of labour where I started to lose confidence. I sat on the birthing ball the entire time I was going through transition labour. Luke sat behind me, rubbing my back and praying. I began moaning like a cow, I couldn’t help it – I had to let the noise out, it was the only way I could cope. I was sweating, feeling sick & light-headed. I was fanning myself profusely with my orange pregnancy record book. My body was so exhausted that I almost dropped of to sleep sitting up between contractions. (I had no idea that I was probably fully dilated and ready to push for a while but I just kept sitting there on that ball!)
In agony I proclaimed to Luke that I had had enough and was going to see if the heat of a shower would help with the pain. Luke helped me into the shower. I was still moaning, and I stamped my feet in the water. I felt weird, I can’t explain it, but I had an overwhelming urge that …something…was about to fall out of my body. (I later discovered that that something was indeed a baby!) Luke pressed the button to call the midwife and she comes into the shower cubicle.
Midwife: “What’s the matter?”
Me: “I think it’s coming out!!”
Midwife: “Get out of the shower..”
Midwife: “You have to hop out now”
Midwife: “The baby is coming out and I’m not ready to catch it while you are standing in the shower, so hop out NOW”
Still moaning, but much louder now; I’m helped into a wheel chair and ran into the delivery room.
The midwife wants me to get up on the bed but I feel the baby literally dropping inside of me and I gag and drop to my knees on the floor.
In this moment I completely panicked, I looked in despair at my pale husband and yelped in a quiet voice: “Luke, help me!”
Everything else is pretty much a blur to me. I can remember the midwife telling me that I couldn’t give birth on the floor and she pulled out a birthing stool, which I sat on with Luke behind me.
Arrow shot out of me on that stool with such great force, I didn’t even push. He was living up to his name already.
He was out in – 2-3 minutes.I had a 2nd degree tear!
He was my biggest baby yet: 8lbs, 5oz,
Born 7:34pm on the 21st March 2011.
We were overjoyed. I needed rest, Arrow breastfed well and I showered and we all snuggled up together in our room exhausted, yet deeply satisfied.
We are so glad he is a part of our family!
Preventing Postpartum depression
I know the feeling. You are tired. I mean REALLY tired. Not the kind of tired you felt after having a late night in your teens. If you don’t have children and you think you are tired. Trust me – you are NOT tired.
But the kind of tired that suffocates you. It’s suffocating because you can’t see the end in sight. It makes your hands shake and your body want to shut down. You’re not just sleepy, you are weary. Fatigued. Brain dead.
All the things that you must do are overwhelming you. You feel guilty and your gut wrenches with anxiety as you think of all the things you are behind in. The party you just couldn’t make it to because leaving the house seemed like such a feat. All the people you are letting down. The gifts for extended family members you needed to send 4 weeks ago. The health check for one of your children that is way overdue. The bills. The mess. The house. The dirt. The mess. The washing. The baby upchuck that you still haven’t cleaned off the couch from a few days ago. It’s bad. It stinks.
I get it. After I had my fourth baby I used to stay up late because I didn’t want the next day to come. I would then cry myself to sleep not knowing how in the world I would get my sleep deprived self up the next day and do it all over again.
But things did get better. Thank God, and my mood slowly improved.
Before I go on I want to say to you
“Just because you have had a stinking bad day doesn’t mean that you have a bad life”
Really, it’s going to get better. Everything will be okay
I would say that over the course of the last several years of having pregnancies and my five babies I have had postpartum depression twice. After my second baby and after my fourth. I have also experienced depression and anxiety throughout 2 of my pregnancies. Both times was quite severe and led me to need to speak to doctors and counsellors. I even spent some time in hospital while pregnant with my fourth baby recovering from severe anxiety and depression. I couldn’t even get my children lunch without my hands shaking and knees collapsing and having to go retreat to my bedroom to lie down for some time. I have learnt some things about myself now and have learnt to recognise the early signs of postpartum depression. If I pick up on the signs and commit to making a change I can feel almost 100% better within a day. And the feelings of low mood go away. I have, by the grace of God, not suffered from postpartum depression this time by watching for warning signs, and kicking them out before my mood spirals out of control. I have been able to stay positive and look at situations that arise calmly and rationally without becoming overwhelmed.
My baby Willow is now almost 9 months old. Postpartum depression can sneak up not just in the exhausting newborn period but also anytime in you baby’s first couple of years. Or any time in life, really. Being a mum can be tough even at the best of times. That’s why having feelings of deep joy, fulfilment and peace are such an important part of mothering. The deep joy we feel will get us through our days with thankfulness and peace. We will serve and love our families with a sense of fulfilment and with a smile on our face. We will live life intentionally and with motivation. Depression is an illness and can take time to get better, so for me, it’s worth keeping up with some healthy habits to help keep it away.
I understand that depression can be a complex issue at times and can be caused by a whole heap of issues combined. Maybe relationship troubles, money troubles, grieving for a loved one, past issues, or hormonal imbalances have triggered the depression. Some of these things we can’t prevent. If this is the case then speaking to a professional is a really good idea for you to work through these issues in your life. So you can walk in freedom without a heavy weight upon your shoulders.
When you are pregnant or after your baby is born, and you are prone to depression, I encourage you to note down some warning signs and behaviours you notice in yourself. If you have been feeling low take note of what has changed since before these negative feelings came. Have some negative habits and thought patterns begun to develop? When I notice my mood getting low and negative thoughts hitting me I stop and ask myself these questions. Some of them seem so simple, but they really make a huge difference to my life.
- Have I been taking my daily walk/bike ride?
I have a half hour slot on my schedule that I use to exercise. Getting out in the fresh air for a walk or bike ride is a life saver for me. The sunlight and fresh air clears my head and soothes my soul and is a very important part of keeping my mood stable. Often when my days get busy and I have to be out and about with children’s appointments I might miss my time outdoors exercising. Sometimes all it takes is a few days of getting out for my walk and I’m feeling much better.
2. Have I been spending time in prayer and reading God’s word?
The Lord is my strength and He is the one I am living for. So it makes sense that when I spend daily time in prayer I feel at peace in my soul. I notice that I go about my days with confidence and can handle stressful situations and crying children much more calmly when I have spent time in prayer in the morning committing my day to the Lord.
I silently pray in my heart all day long, but I also have two times in my day that are reserved for prayer and reading the Bible. After lunch when myself and the children have quiet time. They quietly play with a toy on their own or read and the baby and 2-year-old nap and I use this time to pray and read God’s word. And more recently (because I am feeding Willow less at night and sleeping better now) first thing in the morning before the children wake up. I set my alarm and sit in the lounge in the early hours praying to the Lord quietly while the house is still silent.
When I don’t focus on the Lord I become grumpy, short-tempered and think of worldly things, which causes negative feelings to arise in me – which can push me towards depression. So daily time with the Lord is my lifeline. He is my lifeline.
3. Have I been having deep and heartfelt conversations with people I love and trust?
When I’m feeling down I can lose the motivation to go out and can begin to isolate myself. This is the opposite that I should be doing! I have learnt that I run best with seeing friends other than my husband at least one or twice a week. When the kids are sick etc and I can’t make it to church a few Sunday’s in a row I notice a decline in my mood. So I make sure now, that I get out and about during the week and see some people or invite a family over. I’m a social person and need regular contact with the ‘outside world’ outside the home to keep me feeling peaceful.
4. Have I been eating with mindfulness?
What I eat can affect my mood too. If I eat too much sugary food I find that it really affects me and the next day or so I can feel lethargic, depressed and have zero motivation until the sugar is out of my system. Making sure I am eating healthy foods and not overeating keeps me feeling good. Over eating and weight gain can be a source of stress for me and can lead to sad feelings. Having a daily plan of what I’m going to eat and sticking with it the best I can keeps me feeling good.
5. Have I been spending too much time on social media, or internet? Or reading magazines? Bad habits can creep up when I’m tired; if I notice that I have been spending a lot more time on social media or lounging around a lot I try to change quickly. Did you know that too much time spent checking and scrolling through social media can cause us to feel depressed? I know this is true for me. I can be having a good day but then begin looking at facebook and see pictures of people doing stuff that looks exciting and think that I’m missing out. Or that everyone is up to something and I’m not. Or I don’t have what that person has. And I really don’t look as neat as that person…I haven’t even brushed my hair. Or my children aren’t behaving like that persons is. Or I accidentally see a photo of someone from the past that I was hoping to never be reminded of again. Seriously. Am I the only one who gets like this sometimes after checking social media? After all, isn’t that why people put things on facebook to begin with…to boast? If not to boast then to moan about something or someone?
Anyway. I have noticed that too much facebook is not good for my mental health. Over the years I have put some serious restrictions on my facebook usage and deleted it for a time too. I now do not check it at all until the evening after the children are in bed. I do not have the internet on my phone and I have made a deal with myself to NEVER check facebook in the morning. I don’t always stick to it, but when I do I notice a world of difference to my mood throughout the day. If you are prone to depression and notice you are on social media alot – ask yourself; How do I feel after checking facebook? Is it benefitting my day? Are there restrictions I can put in place for myself to spend less time on it and more time in the real world? It’s worth giving it a go.
6. Do I have a plan or schedule for my days to give me direction? Something that prevents depression and low motivation is to schedule my days at home. With a schedule I feel productive and like I have a good plan for my day. One year a few weeks after Christmas I was feeling really foggy. I had been out of my usual routine for a while over the holiday period and noticed that I was lazing around a lot and losing motivation to do anything at all. I started to feel a little depressed for a couple of days. After praying about it I realised that my days had no direction and were rather aimless and the low productivity was causing my low mood. I wrote a morning routine for myself to follow and stuck it up in the kitchen where I could see it because I was so sluggish in the mornings. I then planned out my day and aimed to work on a particular project – like decluttering, for 30 minutes every day for the rest of the holidays. A few days later I was feeling motivated again and the low mood lifted because I felt productive.
7. Have I been getting enough sleep? This is a tough one because new mums usually don’t get enough sleep. Even mums with older children wont get enough sleep if they have a particularly wakeful child. There are times during the newborn baby period when I just have to sleep when I can and go into survival mode. But when my babies get older I have to be careful to not get into some bad habits.
– staying up late and sleeping in regularly causes depression for me.
I don’t know why exactly this happens but I do know that when I sleep in too late I am awakened by children who may have been tearing up the house while I was snoozing. I wake up having no time to pray and have to leap out my bed feeling already behind in everything. I feel really groggy and am usually NOT in a good mood. Staying up too late can cause the sleeping in. So a good happy morning begins the night before. If I make sure I go to bed at a good time – never later than 10pm (though that time may be different for you) I usually feel so much better the next day, even if I’ve been woken during the night. Then I make sure I set my alarm to rise at a good time.
These days I set my alarm to wake before the children wake up so I can pray and exercise before Luke goes to work. I feel in charge of my day and this keeps me feeling positive. I don’t always make it out of bed when my alarm goes off if I’ve been woken by the children in the middle of the night. But I just try again the next morning. It’s all about setting up good, healthy habits and not about getting upset when things don’t go as planned.
This was a long post! Well done for making it to the end! Lets set ourselves up with good, positive habits that will keep us smiling through those early years,and beyond, of motherhood. God bless you as you press on.
*please note: If you are already suffering from depression please don’t suffer alone. It’s okay to seek outside help from a pastor, doctor or counsellor. If your depression is severe please don’t wait. Make an appointment to see someone as soon as possible. This post is about how I have done my best to prevent postpartum depression based on my own past experiences and is not meant to be medical advice. I pray you can have a happy and stable postpartum time with your baby and older children and you can enjoy this blessed, yet often exhausting time.
Postpartum weight loss update
I am now 8 and a half months postpartum after the birth of Willow our 5th precious bundle. I have been slowly losing weight. At first, when I was still breastfeeding her, I lost nothing, then just a little here and there. Now that Willow is fully weaned and drinking from a bottle my weight loss has sped up. I have trouble feeding my babies past six months old (except for my first who fed for 13 months). My milk supply, no matter how hard I try, just isn’t enough for my hungry babies when they get older. But that’s another story.
I’m here to happily say that I’m almost there – 5.5kg away from my pre pregnancy weight. I have lost 10.5kg since coming home from hospital and have gone down a few dress sizes. The weight is coming off slower than previous postpartum times but I’m getting there. Progress, no matter how small, keeps me motivated. I gained a little weight over Christmas – whoops! But thankfully lost it again within a few weeks of being extra careful with what I ate.
How am I doing it? Trim Healthy Mama. This program is my go-to whenever I have weight to lose. I’ve used it after my last 3 babies to lose weight and it has been effective every time. I am learning to practice mindful eating and not just shoving food into my mouth whenever I feel like. I try to think before I eat.
As for exercise, I have a half hour slot in my schedule that I allow for exercise. I am loving taking my bike out for a ride. I find it really calming and it clears my head. I walk too, and sometimes run for a few minutes during my walk. My aim is to exercise 5 times a week – but usually I get in 3 half hour sessions.
I’m really thankful to have been successful so far in losing my postpartum weight. But I know that many of you haven’t been so successful. Yet.
I want to give you a big hug. Your body is beautiful, it has bore a precious child. Don’t be hard on yourself, your body changes SO much after you have a baby. Give yourself some time and you too can lose weight if you want to. Feel free to have a chat in the comments if you have any postpartum weight loss related questions. I’m happy to help or have a chat.
Postpartum weight loss
Once again I’m trying to lose weight. I don’t know why it’s so important to me. It just is. I feel uncomfortable when I’m overweight, even a little bit overweight. I like to be able to just pull anything I like off the shelf in a certain size and know that it will fit and that I’ll look good. I like being healthy and eating healthy foods appeal to me. But even healthy foods can cause weight gain if I go overboard. I am now 5 and a half months postpartum and I’ve lost 5 or 6 kilos since returning from hospital. I’ve been eating my usual diet of mostly healthy foods, no wheat or dairy (due to food intolerance), lots of vegetables and fruit and low on processed foods and sugar. If I ever want to speed up my weight loss I do Trim Healthy Mama. This program works for me. Every time I follow it strictly, the weight falls off me. But I get lazy with it and that makes my weight loss slower. If I follow the plan 100% though, which is easy because it’s a great plan, I spring back into shape in no time.
I started Trim Healthy Mama again 2 weeks ago. The first week I lost 1kg and the second week I lost half a kilo. Those results are enough to get me excited and motivated again to lose the last 11kg to get me back to pre-pregnancy weight. Trim Healthy Mama is a great plan – there are even guidelines so you can follow it during pregnancy to stay healthy and not gain excess weight. I tried to do this during my pregnancy with Willow, and I did quite well up until the third trimester when I was SO HUNGRY ALL the time! I ate and ate and ate some more, and began stacking on weight.
Some tips I have for anyone wanting to lose weight is to not go on a diet. Sure you can follow a diet plan to assist in the initial weigh loss but instead of ‘being on a diet’ you should ‘eat healthier’ – for life. This is one of the secrets to maintaining weight loss. If you go back to your old way of eating after you finish your ‘diet’ – you’ll put all the weight back on again and more. Guaranteed.
Don’t start eating healthier tomorrow, or next week, start with your very next meal. Also avoid all or nothing statements like ‘I’m not going to eat chocolate for the rest of the year.’ or ‘Ever again.’ I used to say things like this years ago but I don’t anymore. The best way to make changes to my own diet has been by making intentional gradual changes. For example, about 6 years ago I noticed Luke and I were eating a few blocks of chocolate every weekend together. This wasn’t doing anything good for our health and I was struggling with my weight at the time. I decided that instead of buying a block of chocolate on the weekend I would just buy a chocolate bar instead. I would sit down and really enjoy my chocolate then after it was finished, that was it – no more. Eventually I found that dairy was making me sick so I stopped eating milk chocolate and bought some 85% dark choc. It was bitter at first but I found that I slowly developed a taste for it and now I love it! After most of my life being addicted to chocolate I was able to make some intentional changes and have great success. I can sit down and eat 2 squares of 85% dark choc and I’m quite content with that.
If you are overwhelmed with where to start when you want to lose weight and be healthier, just begin with breakfast. Scramble some eggs, or make a green smoothie, or have some natural yoghurt and muesli. Once you eat a healthy breakfast everyday for a few weeks and you are getting the hang of it, move onto having a healthy lunch. Make a large salad and toss in some chicken and avocado and feta cheese for protein. Then do the same with tea, and snacks and drinks. Make small positive changes that you can commit to.
I’m getting excited now – this is one of my favourite topics!
I’m off to have a chamomile tea.
Why we intentionally decided to have a large family.
Not everyone desires to have a large family. Actually it’s becoming less and less common in this century. And I also realise that some couples desire to have lots of children but, because a whole huge number of reasons, may be unable to.
It’s funny how when you have more than the average number of children (1.2) that people suddenly seem to think that it is their business to ask if the couple uses contraception.
“Haven’t you worked out what causes that yet?” Is one cringe worthy comment I’ve been receiving since I was pregnant with our third child. Most likely because when I was pregnant with our third child I also had a 2-year-old and a 6 month old baby. I try not to let these comments bother me, they are often meant well and often the person saying it just doesn’t really know what to say.
Like most couples do, Luke and I talked about how many children we would love to have before we were married. We thought 4, maybe 6. But as the years went on and we dove deep into research about what God’s word says about having children our thoughts and convictions began to change.
Psalm 127 v3-5
Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord,
the fruit of the womb a reward.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior
are the children of one’s youth.
Blessed is the man
who fills his quiver with them!
He shall not be put to shame
when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.
The Bible is pretty clear that it is important to have children if we can. Children are a blessings and gift and they are our heritage. And the barren womb is something to weep over.
But how can you tell if your quiver is full? This is a pretty huge question.
Is it even Biblical to use contraception? How can we decide who, how many, and when children come into this world? This is why often Christian couples decide to leave their family size and spacing in the hands of our sovereign Lord. And this is what Luke and I decided to do when I was pregnant with our first baby. We soon discovered that I have been blessed with super sonic fertility! *laughs! Even while full-time breastfeeding my little baby boy I was pregnant again 5 months postpartum. Sadly this baby was found on a scan to be a “blighted ovum” and I miscarried at 7 weeks. I was pregnant again within a few months and gave birth to a big beautiful bouncy boy. A baby daughter soon followed 16 months later. I then had 3 children ages almost 3, 16 months and a newborn. We had a busy time caring for these little 3. I’m so thankful that I had a lovely mums group during this time that I went to every Friday morning and these ladies were very encouraging to me and my three little ones.
When my baby girl was around 8 months old I was pregnant again, but yet again had a heart wrenching miscarriage, this time at 12 week along. I had a scan at 8 weeks along and there was a 8 week old baby there on-screen with no heart beat. The doctor offered me another D&C operation to remove the baby but I declined this time and went home and waited an anxiety ridden 4 weeks for the baby to be delivered at home.
Life gets hard and what then? We still trusted God with all our hearts to shape our family the way He sees fit. But we were weary and wearing thin. We prayerfully decided to space our pregnancies with non abortive methods of contraception. I can’t take the pill either as my body has awful side effects from the artificial hormones. I have never felt right about the pill because some forms are abortive, which I am very against. I am entirely pro-life. We have also decided against doing anything to permanently end our fertility.
We kept having babies, just spaced apart a little. We have been blessed with two more full term healthy pregnancies both girls. We feel so incredibly blessed to have our children. My heart keeps increasing with each new child born into our family.
It’s hard to not let fear control whether we have more children or not. For us, one of the fears we have struggled with is having the finances to care for our brood. But this is where we have exercised our faith in our God the provider.
Not long after our 5th baby Willow was born I began thinking about money and I went down that destructive thought pattern of all the “what ifs” and began having a panic about how we were going to pay for schooling and driving lessons and our daughters weddings! Sometimes swirling thoughts can overwhelm me! But instead of entertaining these thoughts for too long I prayed and gave it all over to God – I put my complete trust in him. That same afternoon He led me to read this scripture during my quiet time;
Psalm 37 v 25 – 26
“I have been young and now am old. And in all my years I have never seen the Lord forsake a man who loves him; nor have I seen the children of the Godly go hungry. Instead, the godly are able to be generous with their gifts and loans to others and their children are a blessing.”
As I look at the beautiful children of the couples of the church we are now attending I imagine what it would be like if they had decided to stop having children after they had their second baby. (One family has 5, another 8, one 10 and one couple has 11 children!) There would be no one in the choir, all their smiling faces, eternal souls, witnesses for Christ, wouldn’t be here.
I met the eldest child of the family with 11 children a few days ago. She is now grown, married and has a baby of her own. I asked her what it was like to be the eldest of eleven. She says it was busy and often noisy, but she wouldn’t change it for anything. She adores all her younger siblings.
It’s easy for us to just follow the crowd and do the norm of society but I encourage you to be prayerful and dive into the scriptures today and read and learn more of the blessings of children.
The ‘fourth trimester’
So there are three trimesters in pregnancy. Or is there? I believe there is actually 4!
The first three months after having a baby are a big adjustment for me and my whole family. And a big adjustment for my baby too. They are used to being in their secure womb world and I need to give my precious bundle plenty of grace and affection as they get used to life on the outside. Right now I am 7 weeks postpartum and I’ve been feeling it. I’m definitely in the ‘fourth trimester.’ It’s amazing how quickly I forget what it feels like after I have a baby. Time goes all too quickly and it’s amazing how us mummy’s can forget the details of what it was like for us exactly. My mum says she forgets what the pain of labour feels like too a few years after having a baby. She remembered that is was painful, but the memories of the intensity and what everything felt like exactly became foggy. Maybe this is God’s way of preparing a mothers heart to receive another baby.
In the first week after giving birth I am on a massive high.
I am in awe of the faithfulness of my creator and the miracle of the life He has so graciously entrusted me with. I feel relieved that I am done with labour and I tuck myself and my babe in bed together and rest and feed and feed and feed. It’s so exciting introducing our new baby to their big brothers and sisters, it really melts my heart!
Though my heart still melts every time I cuddle and smell my sweet baby, the initial excitement wears off a little when I miss hours of sleep and can’t seem to catch it back up.
I often get emotional too in the first few weeks. I find myself crying over strange things like not being able to find an item of clothing I’m looking for. I anxiously watch over my baby making sure they are okay constantly and I also feel a bit strange and worry that something bad is going to happen to one of my children. Sometimes I have frightening or upsetting dreams as I struggle to fall into a deep sleep. The details of my baby’s birth run over and over in my mind. Those crazy postpartum hormones can make me feel a little loopy for a few weeks. I make sure I spend a lot of time laying down and getting as much rest as I can. I drink lots of chamomile tea and nourish my body with lots of warm, hearty meals.
I manage my household by asking my dear husband to take a few weeks off of work and he completely takes over the care of our older children and household tasks.
This time he was able to take 3 weeks off from the time I was 40 weeks. I went one week and a day overdue so it was nice having him at home helping me with the household needs when I was overdue as well. He will completely take over the children’s baths and bedtime routine, he cleans and hangs up laundry. What a guy! Luke is my main help – we work together as a team. We eat the stash of meals that I put away before our baby is born. I feel so much better knowing my family and I are eating nourishing home cooked meals while I’m unable to cook instead of take-away. During the last 3 months of pregnancy I plan double or triple batches of meals that I am planing on cooking that week and freeze the extra food. It was so soothing having Luke heat up and bring me hot chicken soup for my lunches after I came home from hospital. I was so thankful that I had taken the time to make the soup from scratch and get it put away as it was the perfect recovery food to eat after birth. The mothers from our church also brought us meals almost every night for a week and it was such a massive blessing to us. We felt very well looked after and it was beautiful.
Home schooling in the ‘fourth trimester’ is kept to a bare minimum.
This is the first time I’ve been ‘officially’ home schooling after having a baby. Though it’s still not completely ‘official’ because you don’t have to register your child as a home schooler until they are six years old and my son whom I’m home schooling only just turned five in March. But we decided that we would start him this year with some school work at his level. (Our oldest son is attending school this year but we hope to bring him home again in the future).
After the birth we took ‘school holidays’ for a few weeks and let him have a lot of unstructured play time. Which is what I believe a child his age should be doing mostly anyway. We borrowed heaps of books from the library and he flicks through them quite often. Between 2-6 weeks after our baby’s birth we began home schooling him again though we started slowly. I began by just doing a discipleship lesson with him and the little ones in the late morning while baby was having a sleep. They do a themed colouring in and I read the Bible lesson from the ‘Gospel Light, Big Book Of Bible Stories’. Learning about Jesus I believe is his most important lesson – so it made sense for us to begin here. And in the afternoon he does a ‘Reading Eggs’ lesson on the computer. Gradually we have added in a few pages from his workbook too. School work takes place in small bursts around the baby’s and toddlers needs. Home schooling is beautiful as our children are learning about real life and are living life and learning as we go about our daily life with them right by our sides.
One of the hardest things to deal with in the first few weeks after my baby is born is my husband going back to work.
I often feel anxious being left alone with the children when Luke does late shifts at work in those early months. I get overwhelmed easily but I’ve done this enough times now to know that it does get better. As the weeks going by I slowly get a bit more sleep and my baby seems happier in the evening. And before I know it my baby is joining us around the meal table!
Something that helped me while home alone with the children was to figure out what was stressing me the most and causing the overwhelmed feelings. When I really thought about it the main thing that stressed me was trying to cook or prepare the evening meal while trying to juggle a house full of littles. The other main stress was trying to bath everyone.
I prayed to God for wisdom in these areas so we could have a calmer evening while daddy was away and the answer was to make the most of the mornings before Luke went to work. I started cooking the evening meal (something simple and healthy) in the morning when Luke was around to hold the baby if needed. And we bath or shower everyone in the morning or after lunch if it is a ‘bath day.’ (Three days a week) So I won’t have to try and get this done on my own in the evening.
Every so often I have ‘one of those days’ where everything seems to be going wrong and it’s just one thing after another. The baby is crying and something is burning, the toddler found a permanent texta, the preschooler is stuck in the toilet and the boys have been playing too rough and someone is hurt and crying. All while I’m attempting to tidy the house for an inspection the next morning.(Why do real estate agents to this to us??) On those days I cry out to Jesus to get me through – and he gives me comfort and wisdom on how to handle the situation. Sometimes I need to get away for a minute and shut the door of my bedroom and catch my breath. Even cry for a minute. But mostly I find, it’s not always like this and we have a happy evening together. I read them lots of books while breastfeeding my bub on the couch and sometimes I sit outside and rock on the swinging chair while watching my precious children discover things in the backyard and they bring them over to show me.
Something I couldn’t end this post without mentioning is…my postpartum body!
Trying to make peace with my body after having a baby has been difficult for me. I always gain around 25kg with each pregnancy and this 5th time around was no exception. Despite my attempts to eat well and not gain too much weight while pregnant this time, no matter how hard I tried, I really stacked on a lot of weight in the third trimester. I go from a size 8-10 to a size 14-16 every pregnancy! I have managed to lose the weight between my pregnancies but it does take time and sometimes it’s way too slow for my liking. Sometimes I even gain a bit of weight while still breastfeeding. I think this is all normal for me. What I try and do to make me feel better about my postpartum body is:
- Tell myself constantly that this body just carried a baby for 9 months and it is very normal for it to look this jiggly.
- Eat healthy meals as much as I can and focus on nourishing my body and building up my milk supply. Comfort eating because ‘I’m fat anyway’ will most definitely make matters worse.
- Go for walks a few times a week; the fresh air and sunshine completely changes my mood
- Buy some clothes in my new current size that fit now. Not ‘goal weight’ sized clothing but clothes that fit my postpartum body the way it looks right now to help me feel pretty and comfortable.
- Removing clothing from my wardrobe and drawers that don’t fit me and packing them away. Only have clothes in my current size out and available for me to wear.
- Shape wear can be your best friend. I’ve bought a pair to make my tummy look a little flatter.
- Expect to still look a little pregnant for many months after giving birth. And a word of warning; never ask a woman if she is pregnant again if she has given birth within the past year…this has happened to me. A lady asked me if I was pregnant, 5 months after having my fourth baby because my postpartum belly was sticking out a little (or a lot)! Talk about embarrassing and discouraging! Seriously people, leave the postpartum lady alone.
Babies are very time consuming and I need to give myself grace.
Babies in their gorgeous cuteness take up a lot of time day and night to look after. In the early months I spend hours upon hours each day just sitting in a chair breastfeeding. Not to mention changing, and burping and settling them to sleep. We must remember when we have little babies to give ourselves grace. You may not get much at all done except caring for the immediate needs of your baby and your older children. This is okay and it is normal. The weeds can wait, the floors can wait, the shelves might get dusty and any other project we have in mind may have to be put on hold. But we are nurturing a little person and this is far more important than any of these things. Don’t push yourself during the ‘fourth trimester.’ Don’t set up random expectations on yourself. Just relax, stop and smell that sweet smell of your newborn’s head. There will be time for all that other stuff later.
When Luke got home from work one night I said, “oh I’m so sorry I didn’t do the dishes!” He just told me that he had no expectations of me doing the dishes and I shouldn’t either and that all he really cared about is that I made it through and that me and the children are doing okay. Did I mention that he is a great guy?!
Also; when it comes to resting, my life got so much easier and I became less tired when I learned to breastfeed while laying down! It has been a real lifesaver. Especially in the first 6 weeks.
I have found that I am so much happier and am less likely to feel overwhelmed or depressed if I rest more and enjoy my baby and write things like ‘go for a walk’ on my to do list.
I have worked out that it takes me between 9-12 months before I am fully feeling back to myself and have adjusted to the new ‘normal’ of life with our baby.
Whatever is working for you just go with it. Enjoy that precious baby while you go through the ups and downs of the ‘fourth trimester.’
What to Expect When You’re Still Expecting: Comfort for the overdue mum
As of this writing I am 4 days overdue with my 5th baby. Out shopping this week the lady at the counter of the health food shop asked when my baby is due. When I replied that my baby was due a few days ago she gave me one of those looks. You know, “what are you doing standing here, shouldn’t you be in the hospital?” kind of looks. I tried to find it amusing. This is not the first time I’ve seen my due date come and go. With my second baby I went to 42 weeks and 2 days before I finally gave in to the doctors to have labour induced. My 3rd baby, I was a few days overdue before being induced and with my 4th baby I went to 10 days overdue before agreeing to be induced.
In this post I’d love to share with you:
- How I feel when I’m overdue
- What’s up with due dates anyway
- Why I’m against being induced
- Ways to cope while waiting for baby to come
The anticipation leading up to the end of pregnancy can be crazy! You have waited 9 months (3 months short of a year!!) for this baby. You’ve watched your belly (and the rest of your body) expand until you are feeling like a beached whale. You are excited and perhaps a little nervous about meeting your little one and how the birth will unfold.
The weeks leading up until birth I usually have lots of contractions (Braxton Hicks) and also cramping or an ache in my lower back and abdominal. Similar to what you might feel when your period is approaching, if you’ve ever had period pain. Sometimes these ‘practice’ contractions will come so regularly that I could time them and are intense enough that I need to stop what I’m doing and breathe through them. With my last pregnancy I even went to the hospital …twice…thinking I was in labour only to be sent home again feeling very discouraged and a little embarrassed. I get excited when I have all these contractions and I go to bed hopeful – only to wake in the morning with the contractions gone and no real labour in sight. It can get really discouraging and emotionally exhausting. It’s hard to plan ahead when I’m overdue. I feel like a can’t make a meal plan because I don’t know when the baby will come so I just end up planning one days meals at a time. I don’t like to go out much either when I’m overdue because I’m feeling sore and I get worried about going into labour when I’m a while away from home. I often get emotional during this time, partly because of hormones and also because I’ve just had enough. “Maybe I’ll be pregnant forever…”
But I’ve done this enough times now to know that my baby will have a birthday and it’ll be sooner than I think.
So what’s up with due dates anyway? Not many women give birth on their actual due date, they are all approximate and you really shouldn’t worry if your baby doesn’t come on your due date. I have really been enjoying listening to podcasts and periscopes by Kristin from Natural Birth and Baby Care in the past few weeks. She has a great video posted up on her website about due dates and why we shouldn’t get too worried if we carry our babies past them. This post is all about going over due, the pressure of a due date and how induction can be dangerous.
Speaking of induction, I’m against being induced because it’s unnatural. It can have all kinds of unwanted side effects and often one intervention can lead to another. If labour doesn’t begin within 4 hours of the doctor breaking your waters then this can lead to a hormone drip which causes unnatural contractions. This can lead to epidurals, and if labour is still not progressing it can lead to a C-section. This could have all been prevented by just waiting until the mum’s body was ready and letting labour come on naturally. The doctors at my local hospital are very strict on not letting you go more than 7 days past your due date because of risk of problems that can happen to the placenta and the fluid around the baby. But I managed to talk my doctor into letting me go 9 days past. It’s not nice feeling pressured into being induced. I really don’t see how waiting another few days will make a difference if the baby heart rate is strong and the baby seems happy.
The best way I’ve found to cope with going post dates I’ve found is all in my attitude. If I make a conscious decision that I’m going to stay positive and enjoy these last few days and weeks of my pregnancy then it makes so much difference to how I handle each day. I try to remain hopeful and wake up each morning thinking “today could be the day I meet my baby.” Then I go on with the day as normal and in between resting I shuffle around the house getting last minute things ready for the baby and getting the children through their daily routine. It helps to keep my mind occupied and to stay as busy as I can without going overboard then the hours and days go by quickly. My worst times being overdue with past pregnancies have been when I have mentally just given up. I grew so tired of being pregnant that in my mind I just gave up and decided I was going to just lay in bed and mope around until the baby came. I can tell you it made for a loooong and miserable last few days and weeks and I don’t recommend doing this! This time around I decided that I wont be miserable and I’ve enjoyed extra snuggles and stories with my children and especially 20 month old Holly – because she wont be the baby of the family for much longer.
I really believe diet plays a huge part in how you feel when heavily pregnant. When I eat a nutrient dense diet I feel so much better and have more energy than when I eat sugar and processed foods.
Whenever I begin to become anxious, I look to the Lord for comfort. I pray and usually get Luke to pray for me. I also like to write prayers in my journal.
Keep shuffling on overdue mum, you are doing well. Though the days may seem long, when you look back on this time it will seem like an instant. Keep looking on and imagining your baby’s sweet face and soft skin and that intoxicating newborn smell. It really wont be long. Rest up as much as you like and plan to do something fun and simple with your family.