My top 10, 2nd Pregnancy Flaws -uncensored.

So after spending approximately 20 agonising and frustrating minutes in the toilet earlier it is safe to presume that pregnancy #2 is COMPLETELY different than the first and not easier as some might have you believe…

What I have been discovering over the last 7 months has devastated me in ways I had never imagined was possible – I feel, to put it mildly, disgusting and in no way, shape OR form, lady like.

Stephanie has well and truly, left the building!

Without further a-do, allow me to fill you in on all the gory details (this is not for the faint-hearted):

  1. Farting – I was always very proud of my ability to keep this natural bodily function completely private for the sake of my own dignity… in fact, my body was so well trained that I was able to disperse myself from any given circumstance to allow ample time to find the nearest toilet or “safe zone”. It was a talent to be proud of, for sure! That, along with being able to hold in my wee (personal best record pre-pregnancy – a whooping 4 hours!). Now, I fart constantly and what’s worse – I farted while trying to get my boot on in front of my parents for the first time in my entire adult life. I was mortified.
  2. Peeing – I’ve actually experienced the aftermath symptoms of a loosened vagina.  Unexpectedly, mid-laugh through an innocent conversation between friends, that horrendous pre-warning dribble breezed through the gaps and all I can remember thinking was, “I’m far too early for my waters to break”. Note: Buy and wear sanitary pads they may save you from the jeans-patch humiliation that I had to endure that day.
  3. Sweating – I just have to sit and speak to someone I don’t know particularly well and it attacks me like a plague and what’s more, I’ve never smelt B.O like it! And it’s leaking from everywhere – my bum cheeks, my inner thighs, my arm pits, even my upper lip for heaven’s sake! I am oozing in the stuff on a daily basis to the point I am getting sweat rashes that are now preventing me from shaving!
  4. Drooling – this is one of a singer’s WORST nightmare! Extra saliva in the mouth causing me to drool and blow bubbles when talking to anyone! This is particularly off-putting when I am trying to teach an ambitious student how to sing. On a regular basis throughout the day, I find myself peeling saliva skin off the face of my teeth – really, it is as revolting as it sounds!
  5. Constipation – I suppose this one isn’t as much of a shock. I had this the first time round and even before becoming a mum, I was always a nightmare with bowel movement HOWEVER, never this bad! I could cry. Take today for a prime example – 20 minutes of frantically trying everything to release the pressure – singing (to relax my muscles and take my mind of pushing), breathing techniques (the same used in labour), squeezing, manipulating my ass cheeks in hope to break it up slightly… (last time I had pushed too much and I was caught half way – the only thing I could do was scoop it out with a spoon and a knife – no word of a lie there!!). In a nutshell – I’ve already felt I’ve pushed out a baby a couple of times through the back door… so pushing one through the front, seems completely unfair!
  6. Stress – the stress this time round is almost unbearable. I was told the other day that I shouldn’t feel guilty for feeling so overwhelmed at times, with a 2 year old toddler running around, there’s no wonder why I’m constantly shattered! So, forget about “nesting” and making the most of your bump. There’s no special treatment during your second pregnancy – your husband knows you’ve done it before, so this time should be a doddle and besides, you are already a mum now with responsibilities that cannot wait 9 months until you pop the next one. What am I trying to tell you? Don’t expect to have it easy – your life is about to get doubly stressful but, you’re not alone!
  7. Cramp – I don’t know why I never got this the first time round, perhaps it was to do with having the time to rest throughout the day when needed? But, man am I suffering this time. I think they call it “restless leg syndrome” – whatever it is, cramp usually attacks my lower legs and feet at stupid o’clock in the morning when I’ve innocently went to stretch. It’s nasty!
  8. Back ache/Pelvis Pain – this has been my main problem throughout this pregnancy. Crippling pain that can be brought on with even the most subtle of movements… I seize up when sitting any length of time in one position, there are audible cracks as I walk or bend, the dull aching that shoots from my tail bone up to my lower back – it’s really uncomfortable. I see the chiropractor once a month and walk daily to try and keep myself as active as possible but I’ve had to say Goodbye to any form of intensive work-out. I’m trying pre-natal yoga tomorrow night, so we’ll see how that goes!
  9. Indigestion – I often feel like my baby is digging right into my gut, making me feel squeamish and bloated. I would say that from month 5, I’ve lacked an appetite – having mini-sicks’ for at least a couple of hours after each meal tends to do that to you!
  10. Fear – I had assumed that after going through labour the first time round and coming out of it alive and, for the most part, in one piece the concept of doing it all again wouldn’t be too frightening. I was wrong. Having foresight this time round has me worried. I mean, last time I had refused to push after the head was out thinking that, it was done (he was 5lbs!). Now I’m thinking, the chances of having another tiny baby is slim and therefore, I’m in trouble. I never forgot the pain of 12 hours in labour felt like, not to mention the epidural, the birth itself and the placenta to follow – it was horrendous and, this time could be a lot worse… and also, I don’t think my what’s-it down there can really cope with another baby attack – I’ve aged about 10 years already!
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Keeping Fit – What day am I on again!?

Hey guys!

I must admit that I have lost track of how many days into my fitness regime I am… but here’s a little update regardless:

I have been walking my dogs for an hour a day (which is the equivalent of controlling a movable object weighing 120kg – not bad) – I even bought a nice pair of grey, dual-lite skechers to go with it! These shoes are a God-send for comfort, by the way!

My nearest and dearest hubby has devised a personal regime which involves alternating upper body and lower body workouts (3 days a week)… the days off in between have been a great way for me to just recover and recharge.

Do any other pregnant ladies feel that their joints are more susceptible to injury? I feel like a battered, old woman! Today I sustained a knee injury through squatting with two, three kg dumbbell’s – not good!

Bright side – meal times for us adults have become a lot easier! We have managed to find ready made meals in Asda that are low in the big three (fat, saturated sugar and salt), include 2 of your 5 (or 7) a day and are microwavable so saving us an immense amount of time! Hooray!

I managed day one of my chakra challenge and have been talking myself into the rest – this was 40 minutes of uncomfortable movement which I’m sure would have got easier had I not pregnancy hormones to go with it. I found I was mostly getting angry at myself because my flexibility has obviously deteriorated as this pregnancy has went on… I must admit however, that the 5 minute meditation at the end was a blessing and something I have continued to do each day since. I recommend taking at least 5 minutes to just breathe and calm the mind. 

I do feel a lot healthier but being 21 weeks and growing, it’s difficult to say if my efforts are truly helping to combat unnecessary weight gain. All I can hope to expect is a quicker recovery to my original pre-baby body (the body I had when I was like, 21 which now seems like a faraway dream).

There we go!

Keep Calm Breathing Exercise

Take this moment now to do the following:

1. Take three loud breaths in through your nose

2. Exhale long and calmly through your mouth

3. Whilst doing so, focus on allowing all the feelings of fear, resentment and anger to go with each exhale

4. Repeat stages 1 and 2

5. Whilst doing so this time, focus only on your breathing

4. Repeat every time you find yourself thinking of the past.

Allowing more oxygen to enter your body has been scientifically proven to help you feel calmer, healthier and even sleep better at night.
Plus, this exercise encourages you to consciously re-programe the brain into thinking of the present moment, rather than dwell on the past

Fitness Commences

Hey guys,

So I went for my chiropractor appointment on Monday to discover my Pelvis is tilted. This was amended through gentle pushing manoeuvres and will be kept on top of on a monthly basis to aid my delivery (when the time comes).

It wasn’t a quick fix, unfortunately and I’m still having some bother with my lower back (now on both sides) HOWEVER, I’ve decided to not let it get in the way of my plans to be healthy and fit, so here I am.

So, healthy eating aside (Joe Wicks, I love you!) I have now signed up for yet another “challenge” which starts today! No time like the present. This online challenge requires approx. 20minutes of exercise, five days a week. Cardio is an optional extra which I will be doing since we have three mutts to walk daily anyway!

This morning I woke up and did 20 reps of leg/arm raises, each side – it was painful but in a good way! Let’s just say I felt the burn – this wasn’t part of the challenge, rather, a short assessment I wanted to put myself through to see just how difficult it would be.

It was difficult, but I’m ready to take on my love handles and say hello to my “bump only” figure. I’m told “it’s possible!”.

First things first, I weighed myself yesterday for reference – I am 10.3 stone! I am conscious of the fact I was 9.5 stone at the start of my pregnancy, so it is obvious that my weight is beginning to pile on day by day.

I am 5 months preggers now of course and a bump is well and truly here now, but it’s still good to monitor and control it.

So here is where I stand right now:

5’6 inches tall

25 years old

5 months pregnant (well, 19 weeks and 4 days)

38.4 inches around the baby bump

32.6 inches under the bust

39 inches over the bust

38 inches around the waist

10.5 inches around the upper arm/triceps/biceps

19.2 inches around the upper thighs

10.3 stone in weight

Let’s see what 2 weeks can do!

S xox

 

Day Three – Journey To A Yummy Mummy

Hey guys!

So as advised in all the mum-to-be books, I sought medical advice prior to starting any kind of intense workout (and by “intense” I mean anything that requires my heart rate to accelerate above 65bpm – head lowering in shame).

I’ve been having some bother with my arse cheek lately – pleasant! But not really, in fact it has gotten me into a few pickles the past week or so due to seizing up at the most inconvenient of times (bending down to select my weekly stash of Coco Pops at Asda, pulling my knickers up after visiting the ladies – unfortunately, I speak the truth)… turns out, I am having such pressures due to the strain in holding extra weight (thank you baby!) and since I never experienced this with my first, I can only fear that this little bambino must be bigger and that concept is truly frightening considering I really struggled in the hospital with 5lbs 3.5 ounces (pathetic, I know!).

As a result of this godawful pressure (and it truly is godawful), I have been forced to postpone my workouts (I swear it’s a reason, not an excuse!) and instead focus on light stretches and walking. So, I’ve been getting around 20 minutes of active walking each day with the dogs and stretches focused on my glutes mostly. It’s going well and I do feel a lot better for it.

While fitness is great for the obvious reasons, I have also been using this time to focus on my diet too. I’ve switched olive oil with organic coconut oil, I have bought in a lot of organic broccoli and fresh fruits (apparently Pineapple has been known to reduce the appearance of stretch marks – hallelujah!) making all meals from scratch (I recommend looking up Joe Wicks Lean in 15 Recipes) and I’ve also been drinking 500ml of water a day (this is LOADS for me). I’ve been doing this in small portions approximately every 2-3 hours. Sure, I’ve also sneaked in a few bourbons when my husband’s not looking but, hey, I am pregnant after all!

I have booked myself into our local chiropractors’ clinic who has been known as the Jesus of back problems, working wonders on all of his troubled patients. I’m hopeful to have it fixed there and then, so bring on Monday!

Pre-Workout Introduction

Hey girls!

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This is the marking of my second positive (and active) step forward in my journey to a healthier and much fitter lifestyle. I’m starting a little later than I had hope, being 4 months pregnant now HOWEVER, I am doing this!

I hope that you can join me on this journey, support and share with me your own thoughts, experiences and journeys too, as motivation to keep going no matter how tempting it is to give up and make do with feeling adequate, but not great all the time.

I don’t want to be that mummy who has no energy, no drive and no interest in being an active part of my kids’ lives – I want to be the fun mum. The go-out-and-explore mum. The mum who can go on amazing adventures and lead my children away from the use of technology at least most of the time. The mum who is creative and builds things with her children. The mum I always thought I would be.

And sadly, I’m not that mum…yet!

My son is approaching three in November and I have another due in January 2018 (thank you, thank you very much) and what has been constantly resounding in my mind lately, is how much I could have done already to make Jack’s lone-child life with mum and dad more fun… I could have lost the baby weight for a start – I didn’t. I could have taken him to the park more – I maybe take him once every couple of months. I could have allowed him to splash in puddles – I maybe did so, once! I could have play fought with him and built dens and baked instead of watching Disney films on a Sunday afternoon! I could have done a lot of things and the fact is, I didn’t because I neglected myself. I neglected myself and I lost my energy. I lost my energy and I became lazy!

So I have devised steps to follow, three to be precise. These are the stepping stones that will get me feeling sexy, confident and the best mum that I can be for my children. Here goes!

Step One – mental preparation – I know what I have to do. So now I make a solid plan on how to do it.

Step Twopublically announcing a change. Here I am right now, telling the world I’m gonna do it simply because, I probably will if people are watching and waiting for something to change – people want to see the proof, they aren’t going to make excuses for me the way that I would and I need that kind of tough love!

Step Three – Do what physically and mentally needs to be done to look, feel and be the ultimate yummy mummy for my kids. It definitely is easier said than done, I don’t know about other pregnant ladies out there, but the thought of putting myself through anything vigorous sounds less appealing than licking a strip of sandpaper but I am only thinking this way because I have no energy.

So, I have joined the Chakra Challenge with Yoga Guru, Allie @JourneyJunkie and I’m due to commence this as of 4th September – mental. spiritual and physical growth here I come!

Along with some home pregnancy work-outs curtesy of my husband and personal, personal trainer – marriage might be a bit rocky from now on but hey, I’m all about challenges right now!

Wish me luck!

Phanny xo

A Damaging Phrase To End All Relationships

Well, it’s no surprise that generally, women need a lot more reassurance than men in relationships (it’s the whole ‘Venus vs Mars’ theory that women need to feel listened to and men, respected) but throughout my several years of ‘serious relationships’ (that is, longer than 1 year but can also be defined as 6 months if we ask my husband for example…). I have came to feel really, rather touchy towards one particular relationship-destroyer phrase.

It’s three words (not ‘I love you’ or ‘you are right’ (which it probably should be to save a drama) – can you guess what it is?

Here it is:

Just leave then

(which simply means, “I don’t love you enough to stop being an ass for 1 minute to tell you, whatever the case, I’m sorry for hurting you even though I didn’t mean it”). 

 

This has been a big catalyst of fights in my marriage, due to cause divorce one day I’m sure!

It usually creeps up when a man feels attacked and his authority and righteousness is being questioned (usually by the modernised lady – that is, a lady who realises that she is indeed equal to any man and that relationships are built on two people believing so with all their heart).

And so, I am targeting the cave man rebels of the Millennial race who are stuck between a rock and an easy place really, who for some reason are still trying to fight to keep their ancestor’s primal instincts rather than embrace their modernised, more realistic culture – it’s the whole “women belong in the kitchen” outlook versus, “women make the best entrepreneurs” debate (or so I think) but it’s about giving up your ego and meeting us halfway.

Here’s something to consider: Ego is a state of mind and the mind, can be controlled through Mindfulness! 

Feeling the need to always be right and to get our point across despite hurting another is just another example of how destructive it can be.

So how do I deal with this kind of “If you don’t like it, leave” attitude”?

I practice patience, compassion and I seek understanding – so, I understand that my husband is acting on Ego. I learn about it, I look up ways to practice Mindfulness myself and I try to be a positive influence by letting go of my own need to be right.

However, let’s cut the crap isn’t about putting up with crappy behaviours – it’s about facing the harsh realities…

If my husband doesn’t begin to express through his own actions that my feelings and our marriage are his number one priority when it matters most (when he wants something for himself and isn’t willing to compromise), then I walk away with dignity and a clear conscience.

Everyone, man and woman, is entitled to a compromising relationship, especially in marriage. If there is no compromise, there is no hope to satisfy the needs of two people, just one – so, it’s time to satisfy yourself and be the person to show yourself compassion. 

7 Ways To Feel Calm and Be Happy

When I’m on the war path (albeit, at least once every day), I try to do these 7 things to get me out of the rut.

I dare you to try them all – they’re hard, but effective.

  1. Breathe long, in through your nose and out THROUGH YOUR NOSE – Breathing in and out through your nose takes more energy and automatically makes you focus more on breathing rather than feeling mad. Notice when you are in a calm state of mind, you breathe solely through your nose or very rarely through your mouth versus when you are in a state of exhaustion or distress you breathe through your mouth? If you want to achieve calm, do what you would, when you are calm. Not so simple, but it works!
  2. Smile when there’s nobody there – I say that because sometimes you don’t want to smile in front of the person you are mad at out of pride. Go away and smile on your own. Smile at yourself and if you can’t smile, think of smiling. The same hormones are released into the body when you focus on thinking about it as there would, when actually doing it. (PS. Look up the Inner Smile Meditation).
  3. Youtube your favourite upbeat song at precisely 432 hertz – I do this one a lot, especially when I’m on a low. I often find that listening to a song I love to dance to, makes me dance. There’s no better feeling in the world than to dance ridiculously when no-one is watching. If you pick a good tune you won’t even have to try! Also a frequency of 432 Hertz has been scientifically proven to improve moods and behaviour.
  4. Visit 432 Player to upload the app for your phone.
  5. Listen to a wise old man – put things into perspective by listening to someone who knows. My husband likes to listen to Alan Watts when he wants to reflect on life. It takes no energy at all to listen when you’re that mad you don’t want to do a thing. Sometimes a little bit of philosophy can change your whole opinion of something for the better.
  6. Walk – walking where there are trees is another one of my favourites. I take the dog with me and just allow myself to really appreciate nature. Being too consumed in our own domestic troubles leaves no room to see the bigger picture. Also, tree’s give off oxygen – and we humans, thrive on that stuff!
  7. Talk – when the time is right. And it’s right in and hour or two when you have collected all the facts and thought about the situation objectively. Not talking leads to resentment and an inevitable outburst down the line. Talk when you are calm to resolve the issue or, agree to disagree.

Believe In Fresh Starts

I took a sex and relationship course a few years back by one of UK’s leading “sexperts”, Kate Taylor. Throughout this course I learnt a lot about myself as a person, myself as a person to date and myself as a person to love.

One of the things I always remember reading was “believe in fresh starts” because it was a principle I eventually realised to be so crucial in attracting the right attention throughout my journey in dating.

I’ve spoken to a lot of people lately who have got in touch to talk about how they often look back on past relationships asking themselves the following questions; what if things had been different?, what if I had stayed with that person? etc. All of which are preventing them from really living in the present moment!

The bottom line is, you are not in that relationship today for one main reason amongst many different reasons:

It was simply not meant to be

Whether it was because together you both became different people, whether one of you were unfaithful, whether there was little trust and honesty or whether you both just drifted apart – whatever the case may be, relationships end because they just. aren’t. working.

Though it is always good to learn from past experiences (and I say experiences rather than mistakes because nothing in life should be considered a “mistake”), it is unhealthy to allow your opinions of people today, to be influenced by a certain person from your past.

Just because you dated a psycho before, doesn’t mean you are a bad judge of character – most psychopaths are extremely clever in how they portray themselves. 

Kate Taylor said, “bad relationships of the past don’t curse you for the future” and that’s something you must always remember when dating, optimism is key to finding the right person. 

If we allow ourselves to always look back, if we truly allow ourselves to believe that going back to something we think we can predict (an ex for example) is a far better alternative to finding something new and unfamiliar – we destroy all chances of finding the person that is right for us.

The person who is right for us, is the one who is consistent in our lives.  The one we don’t need a long-term break from. The one who makes it so easy, rather than so hard.

And, that person DOES exist – one day, when you’re ready, when you least expect it.

The “Low, Deep, Banging Drum” – My Poem on Depression

You hear the low, deep, banging drum,
You brace yourself to dip
It hits your mind, your heart, your soul,
In one, almighty grip

You feel its grasp fill up your head,
As it swallow’s you down, whole
And through your eyes, your life seems bleak,
Depression, takes its toll

Your loved ones’ beg, your loved ones’ plead,
They wonder what’s so “bad”
They cannot seem to understand,
The reason’s why your sad…

The low, deep, drum invades your space,
It resonates inside,
Any chance of feeling happiness,
Seems to disappear, to hide…

You see that slowly you begin,
To beat down those you love
You hate yourself for being the cause,
and being too weak to rise above

They tell you of the good things in life,
Yet you can’t think of one…I guess,
It’s hard to hear the positives with
That low, deep, banging drum…

 

by Stephanie Zikmann