The first 4 weeks

So we've just hit the 4-week mark. I have mixed feelings about it. My baby no longer looks like a little new born, which makes me want to back track and take in every moment we’ve had together again; but then she’s also smiling and latching/locking eyes with me and has real tears (no one tells you how heart-breaking these are). Either way though, we are here. 

It’s been a blur, I’m not really sure how to explain that any other way. We have a 2-hour feeder, which means I’m up, every day or night, 24/7 feeding our baby every 2 hrs, sometimes we get three hours and I'm ridiculously excited (every baby is different, this is just Rocky).

 

What I wish I’d known... 

When people tell you that you’ll get no sleep – they actually mean it. When they also mention that sleep is a form of torture – they really mean it.

You’ll never experience such a roller coaster ride of ups and downs.

 

No sleep, or a series of hourly naps which you now call a ‘good night’ is torturous. You’ll be almost delirious for the first two weeks and you’ll do anything for more sleep. For example – I was always against having a baby in bed with me. Now. Bring. It. On. We snuggle and we get more sleep (please no judging, cultures have been doing it forever and I love it).

 

Did I think my partner would be dancing around the living room to disco music with a new born at 11pm to settle her – Chandelier by Sia works a treat – no I did not. But now I hand her to him while she strengthens her lungs and say ‘it’s time to dance’.

 

I never ever thought I’d be helping a little person poo by pumping their legs and massaging their tummy, or that sleeping next to my baby would be like sleeping next to a pug – groans, grunts, snorts. Don’t mention the 54 pack of nappies we went through in approximately 3 days – What? you say – yes, they poo. ALL. THE. TIME. Most of the time when I’ve tried to look like I have my life together and venture down the street.

 

Babies have a sixth sense for when you really need to do something – like have a shower. I’ll feed Rocky, burp her, settle her, and pop her down fast asleep, jump in the shower for, I don’t know, maybe thirty seconds and before I’ve even managed to put the shampoo in my hair she is screaming the house down. How does she know, I am not sure, but she does.

 

No one told me that their cries hit your soul. I’ve nannied a lot, and although I loved my kids I looked after, their cries didn’t really get to me, Rocky’s cry literally speaks to my heart and I go into a panic, not to mention the little tears that run down her face and sit on her eyelashes now. Torture.

 

And then there is the love. It is the craziest most incredible thing. They keep you up all night, you start to melt into a puddle of your own tears, and revisit your ‘youth’ (10 months prior) to when you took for granted sleeping through the night and walking out of the house in two seconds.  Then just as you’re dozing off they projectile vomit across the bedspread and you think you’d rather be in a prison or being actually tortured... THEN they look at you.

And it’s honestly like someone wipes your mind of everything the last eight hours has entailed and bam you think they are the sweetest most adorable little things and you get mad when they fall asleep because you’re so full of love and can’t sleep yourself and want to stare into their eyes. Yep. I’m serious. It happens. 

 

I wasn’t prepared for the love, or anything else. I’m not sure how you would prepare for such things – BUT would I change it? Hell no. My little mini me is my favourite person in the entire universe and she can’t even see me properly, let alone talk to me.

Pregnancy

For some reason, probably from watching the movie ‘what to expect when expecting’ one too many times, I thought I would be a ‘pregnancy unicorn’. I figured I would sail through, unharmed from all the nasty things you hear about.

I was so very wrong! Below is just my experience with pregnancy and all of it’s joys, and I realize more than ever that everyone's experience is very different. 

Weeks 4-17 I suffered morning sickness, not enough to be vomiting all the time, only sometimes, but enough to feel as though I’d done 3 shots of tequila and half a bottle of wine the night before. I felt hungover ALL THE TIME. I didn’t know whether I wanted to cry, sleep, or eat a burger. As funny as it sounds, I found it really draining, and so I would have frequent big cry’s about how I just wanted to feel normal again. At 17 weeks, or there about, it just suddenly went - woohoo!

This time was also very challenging as we weren’t telling anyone until our 12 week scan and I was so bloated in the first few weeks. I used to joke that I looked more pregnant weeks 6-13 than I did 13-22, so explaining why I was so bloated to modelling clients was a little awkward.

Feeling the first movements at 17 weeks was amazing and a little creepy, but mainly amazing! 

Weeks 14-26 I had terrible back pain, my abs were holding everything in, which then pushed on my back and so I ended up with awful back pain and migraines, I would lie on the ground at night and just cry. As anyone who has been pregnant knows, all you can take while pregnant is paracetamol, and it’s not until you are pregnant that you realize how little it actually does. This also meant that I had to stop training people, I became unreliable and holding boxing pads ect, proved too much as I would suffer pretty bad pain for the next few days. I think my last client was week 22.

I didn’t really start showing till week 22, and loved my little belly once it popped out. Feeling the movements get stronger was awesome. 

From 26 weeks onwards I felt fine. I was very lucky, and the end of my pregnancy was more "pregnancy unicorn" physically. I walked the Botanical Gardens every day from the apartment up until the day before birth (about 6km), did my stretches every evening for 20 minutes and plodded along while getting everything ready for the little bub. Apart from some ridiculous leg cramps/aches I was great!

 

Hormones/Mental meltdowns

Emotionally was another story, an unplanned pregnancy has a higher chance of pre/postnatal depression and although I wouldn’t say I had prenatal depression I definitely had some signs.

Unfortunately, because of my back pain I had to stop training people and ended up pretty much jobless apart from the occasional maternity modelling gig, which was only once or twice every few weeks. Not having something to do every day was driving me crazy. I did take on house wife duties, but 22-40 weeks is a very long time to not have anything really happening. I had a lot of little breakdowns, I wasn’t happy and it was pretty obvious to my close friends who expressed concerns. I felt very alone and isolated. I had gone from exercising intensely nearly every day, working nearly every day both modelling/nutrition and PT, to next to nothing.  I tried every day to do something, have a coffee date or a lunch, a plan, something to do or buy for the baby, but still there is only so much you can do.

The reason I say it wasn’t prenatal depression (which is hardly ever spoken about) was that it came in waves, maybe I’d have a bad week and then be fine for a few weeks and repeat.

Towards the end was hard as well as you’re working everything up to this date and I didn’t feel labor signs apart from minor cramps until after my due date so that was definitely emotionally taxing.

 

Food and Exercise

Throughout my pregnancy I made a deal with myself, I would eat 3 perfect meals, so porridge for breakfast, meat and vegetables/salad for lunch and dinner, and then anything else I wanted I would have. I wasn’t so much conscious of putting on weight, but I was definitely aware I was feeding a little baby who needed the best nutrients to grow.  So that was that.

Exercise wise I kept doing what I did before hand, minus running – I tried to run at 22 weeks and had to wee every few hundred meters. It was as though bub was having a cannonball party on my bladder! So threw the towel in for that and did bike sprints or used the elliptical machine. Knowing I would have to rest my body after the birth was good motivation for me to continue exercising, knowing there would be a break period. Obviously I listened to my body and some days I just rested.

 

Cravings

I didn’t have a lot of cravings, one night I craved peas in a creamy sauce? Which was weird, I don’t really ever eat peas. Another was broccoli and cheese, so odd. Otherwise though, towards the end I craved carbs a lot and so I made sure I increased my intake of them, as I was listening to my body and it was a possibility I wasn’t eating enough carbohydrates. I also never really wanted sweet things till the end, I wanted salty savory things like chips and popcorn!

I went off coffee early on in the pregnancy for about 2 weeks, and the same with avocado (I couldn’t even cut avocado for our dinners). I also struggled throughout to eat salad, I wanted cooked vegetables instead? Not sure what that was about but I listened to my body!

 

Stretch Marks

I didn’t get any stretch marks till my due date! I was pretty annoyed, I only went over 4 days, due on a Saturday, Rocky was born late Tuesday night, but still I remembers being so annoyed that technically she didn’t need to be in there anymore and was making me get stretch marks! Now that my tummy has gone down there are 3 lightning bolts, but I’m sure they’ll fade and if they don’t, they made a baby.

 

Labor

I’ll make this brief as I don’t think nitty gritty details are super important, but I had a 24 hour labor. It started around 10:30/11pm on Monday night and Rocky was born at 11:38pm Tuesday night. The hardest part for me, although the pain was the most incredible pain I’ve ever felt, was the exhaustion of not having eaten apart from nibbling here and there and not having slept for 24 hours, I was so tired. 

I had an epidural at 5pm Tuesday evening and it truly changed the whole experience for me. I had wanted to go natural and had every intention, but once I was well into contractions (5ish minutes apart) I was made very aware that I couldn’t do it all without pain relief. I was shaking uncontrollably, vomiting and getting anxiety attacks in between contractions as I knew there was another one coming. The epidural allowed me to relax and rest before I met my baby, it seems crazy now but I was so worried about being so tired at the end of labour and not being able to care for my baby.

So once I’d had the epidural I could calm down, Charlie, my mum and I were all able to get some rest until about 10pm when it was nearly push time, in the end I only had to push from 11:20-11:38pm and out came Rocky.

It was the most incredible feeling finally holding her. So surreal. They just threw her on my chest and bam we had a baby. 

ANYWAY

Now I am completely in love with our daughter and all the sleepless nights in the world wouldn’t change that.

SO

To anyone out there pregnant and struggling, it gets better and you don’t have to love pregnancy. I remember almost feeling guilty sometimes about not enjoying it, now I look back and think what our bodies do during pregnancy is insane, we literally grow a little human, and that is hard work.

What they say is true…

I don’t remember pregnancy as being bad and I don’t remember any of the pain of labor. I would do it all over again in a heartbeat to get a little mini person. It’s truly one of the most incredible feelings in the world. 

 

My low sugar week.

Recently I saw a photo of myself from a while back, and although anyone else wouldn’t be able to tell, I knew I looked so much healthier then, than now.

So, I decided to do a reset. I stopped eating sugary things (with the exception of fruit), I drank a lot more water and tried to fuel my body with the best fuel I could find.

Within two days I noticed I wasn’t bloated anymore, my skin was a lot clearer and my eyes were whiter. I woke up with more energy, slept better and had more motivation for life.

I craved super sweet things for the first two days, but I didn’t cut fruit out, so I’d have a mandarin or a kiwi, some water and then distract myself.

 What did I eat?

For breakfast I had oats with coconut oil and water – sometimes I added blueberries on top.

Lunch and dinner I had a protein of some sort (eggs, fish, poultry, red meat) with a whole lot of low FODMAP vegetables, olive oil, salt and pepper. If I wanted a warm drink I would have coffee with no added sugar, or a lemon and ginger tea.

For snacks peanut butter in celery, some nuts or avocado on rye bread.  

The good fats in the oils kept me fuller for long.

I also made a conscious effort to take food everywhere I went as I find when I get really hungry I just want to eat anything and everything.

It only took a couple of days for everything to improve.

I haven’t gone back, although I'm not completely sugar free, I still watch the amount of sugar I eat and find that with a mandarin and a kiwi a day (there is no reason I just have these fruits, they’re what I like) I am fine. Sometimes I may have a piece of dark chocolate but even those cravings have stopped.

 Sugar is one of the leading causes of obesity, cardio diseases and diabetes in our world today. It can also affect skin elasticity, sleep, anxiety, energy levels and productivity. So give it a try, there is not a lot better than feeling ‘together’ and healthy. 

 

Seven Simple rules to a healthier you...

Super simple changes you can make to your everyday diet to improve your health... 

o   No white bread. Try soy and linseed, or spelt sourdough, even multigrain. Brown is better, brown bread, brown rice, spelt/wholemeal pasta. If find not losing weight, cut bread out completely.

o   No bubbles. You don’t need fizzy drink. It has excessive amounts of sugar. I am not including alcohol in this but if you were really determined to lose weight I would cut out alcohol.

o   Low fat doesn’t always mean better. Often low fat has high sugar. Especially in yoghurts. Compare the ‘low fat’ version to the normal version and look at the changes in sugar. Buy the one with less sugar.

o   Don’t buy yoghurt with fruit bits. Add your own. Buy some frozen berries or chop up a banana or apple and have it with yoghurt.

o   Buy as fresh as you can. Set your week up so you can run to the market or supermarket on Sundays and Wednesdays.

o   The less packaging the better. Buy fresh herbs, lemons/limes and spices for flavouring.

o   Superfoods are a myth. Choose foods with high nutritional value, for example: Broccoli, chilli, spinach, lemon, lentils, beans, chicken. 

New Year, New You Time…

Here are some things that I am trying to work on and also things I find helpful to staying positive, healthy and happy. 

 SLEEP(same wake up time)

I try to make sure I am waking up at the same time everyday AND making sure I go to bed at a reasonable time. I think we often underestimate the importance of sleep; it’s time for our bodies to repair themselves and to rest. Very simple and very effective. 

SUGAR

Cutting down. I don’t really eat a lot anymore, but I think this it‘s an important one for anyone reading. Cut out refined sugar, packeted things and don’t go too mental on the fruit. I promise you’ll notice the difference. Your skin will clear up, your eyes will be whiter, you’ll sleep better and overall you’ll feel A LOT better.

HONESTY

I’m making an effort to just be honest. To not exaggerate, to not say something because I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings (within reason). I think little white lies are told all the time by all of us, and so my aim is to stop being able to do that so freely.

 GOSSIP

Words float around like crazy in our world. It would be a much nicer place if we as humans didn’t enjoy talking about others. I often find myself talking about things going on with myself quite freely; and it can then gets spread around and it comes back to bite me. Privacy is very important, something I hadn’t really realised until now. So give it try, don’t talk about things you don’t know about and respect those who tell you things.

 TOXIC FRIENDS

This is kind of similar to the above and I have done a blog piece on it before. We don’t need to be around people who don’t respect us or our loved ones. Those who make us feel little and insignificant.

Those around us should lift us up, be honest, supportive and make us feel better about ourselves on bad days. I personally want the friends that go ‘yeah you screwed up, but I love you and it’s okay, lets fix it’.

 JUDGEMENT

This is a big one for me. I’ve definitely come a long way and studying psychology definitely helped. I think it’s important to never judge. We don’t know what other people are going through, what they are trying to tackle. We don’t need to blame others for their actions. Sure it might not be a good action and it may hurt you. But if they know this and are willing to learn and change then we need to allow that. 

So lets keep to ourselves and love one another with no judgement, no drama. Lets sleep more, eat better and drink more water. Let’s be kind. Give second chances. Grow and change. Happy 2016 you beautiful people. Lets never stop improving, bettering and growing ourselves. I wish you all nothing but the best this year, I hope you fall in love, go somewhere you haven’t been before, meet some cool people or grow in a way you never expected.

 

not violent. not silent.

When I was young it seemed normal to punch, hit or attack my brothers and they would do the same to me.

I don’t remember when an invisible line was drawn that made that stop. But there was a line. And it was drawn.

My brothers stopped physically hurting me, apart from the playful gentle punch or pinch. And that was that. No questions asked. And no exceptions. Except maybe during a mock game of basketball where some fouls were drawn but not called.

They learnt it was inappropriate to hurt another human with physical pain, just as I did. 

Women are beyond incredible. Strong, beautiful. We are sensitive, we over think and we care more than we probably should, but gosh our love is unconditional when it’s right. Our skin is soft, our hands offer back scratches that send shivers down spines, and we can make a child feel better by a simple touch.

We can make a tiny human inside of us and go through immense pain to let that child enter the world.

Mentally perhaps stronger, but physically weaker. AND with todays media, todays men and how common domestic violence is, we are never allowed to forget it. 

I will not take away from men, they too are unbelievable. We all are. Humans are amazing.

 But men are stronger.

 Their muscles normally stronger, harder and can inflict pain easier. They have bigger hands, broader shoulders and more power. Whether they decide to use it or not.

 As women, walking alone at night, or even in broad daylight in a deserted area you can feel the hair on your neck prick up if there is a man walking or standing nearby.

You try to tell yourself you’re being silly, that you’re over reacting. That the sweat on your palms is because you’re walking fast, as is your extra fast heart beat.

It isn’t beyond you to feel bad for being worried; for all you know this man is a loving, respectful person. However OTHER men, the ones on the news, the one you mum told you about, your friends old neighbor have made you think and feel differently.

When did it become okay to hurt another human being on purpose? When did it become okay to grab an unsuspecting girl down the road and sexually assault her. When did it become okay to king hit someone in the street? It baffles me that it has become so prevalent. Those individuals think they are better than any other person.

That they have a right to hurt someone.

They believe the have the right to throw a fist into a beautiful face, that it’s okay to pick up a women and throw her against a wall. What makes them think it’s okay to pull her hair against her will, restrict her soft hands and take advantage.

Advantage of someone who CANNOT defend herself.

This extends to the emotionally abused; to those convinced they are worth nothing, when really, they deserve everything.

It is not fair.

It is an unfair ball game. We don’t stand a chance. How can someone deem it okay when it isn’t fair? When it’s not a fair fight.

When did it become okay to simple lay a hand on someone else when it was not warranted?

That it was okay to take away someone’s sense of worth.

 

 

 

 

 

 

IT IS NOT REAL.

With the recent media attention directed at instagram and its fakeness I thought it only appropriate to post a blog about it. 

The photos you see on instagram, whether mine, or anyone else’s are only a tiny fraction of someone’s life. And that tiny fraction is what they WANT you to see.

As most of you know I’m a model and in person I don't look like I do in my modeling photos. It takes a village to create the end result; for every model.

A professional makeup artist, hairdresser, stylist and photographer – with lights, flashes and so forth. AND THEN it takes Photoshop. So don’t even begin to compare yourself to a girl who in person doesn’t look like that.  

You don't see the tears, the insecurity and the breakdowns.  

 The hard days, stress, confusion and everything else that comes with being human.

With a few clicks on some apps you can remove a pimple, the bags under your eyes and pick a filter that makes everything look that little bit nicer. 

I find myself looking at others instagram/social media photos and for a split second I am also fooled into this weird idea that if I have this, life will be better; if I do that, I’ll be happier, feel more complete.

Then I snap back to reality and realize how silly that is. BUT it happens. I’m sure you’ve experienced it too.

The lessons we learn when we are young is not to compare ourselves to others, that not everything is fair.  We learn that beauty is not only on the outside and not to judge a book by its cover.

 Unfortunately we now live in a world where it is virtually impossible to overlook these lessons. It’s almost impossible, when comparisons and fake covers are splashed all over the screens that rarely leave our hands.

So PLEASE be aware of what and whom you are comparing yourselves to. Each and every one of you is amazing; DO NOT allows yourself to be diminished by comparing yourself to only the good moments of someone else's life.  

That’s not fair on you. You’re never going to win an uphill battle.

It’s a photo. A moment captured in time. With pretty lighting, makeup, a beautiful backdrop. It’s a photo because it’s so easy to edit and portray the desired look.

We have no way of knowing any body else’s life story. 

It is so easy to show something that does not exist. A happy, worry free life full of smiles, toned bodies, healthy food and travel.

People only post online what they want the world to see. And we see it.  

So be you. And be real.

Don’t idolize others through social media. It's not real, take what works for you and use it positively, disregarding the rest.

I repeat; you’re only seeing what people want you to think their life is like.

 

Value yourselves more than the physical shallowness of social media. 

Mistakes

Man they can hurt.

We don’t come with an instruction booklet and our lives don’t come with a map.

When learning to walk, we fall, learn that it hurts, so hold onto something until we can balance.

When we start running, we fall and scrape our knees; we may run slower with more care or we make keep making the same mistake over and over again.

When we go to put a knife in the toaster and our parents yell at us we learn it’s wrong and hopefully don’t do it again. 

We make mistakes. We are faced with choices, forks in the road and sometimes we’ll choose the wrong one.

 When we do, we fail, we hurt, we learn, we adapt.

As we get older we tend to have bigger responsibilities, bigger things to lose, bigger pain to feel.

AND the reality is sometimes you’ll stuff up, just like your friends, partner, sibling, and parent.

It’s inevitable regardless of how well meaning we think we are or how little or much thought we put in, we’re all going to make wrong choices and mistakes.

No matter what the mistake is you made, it’ll be okay.

It may hurt, a lot. You’re probably going to cry, or be SO angry/ frustrated.

Emotions are a rollercoaster.

Learn from it. Like the child learning to walk who falls over.

Let this be your reminder that you are incredible.

You are so amazing and your mistakes DO NOT in any way define you, but they are some of the experiences that will help shape you.

 

“Failure is the opportunity to begin again more intelligently”

-Henry Ford

 

 

Why I choose healthy.

I often have people telling me I’m crazy with the amount of exercise I do and what I eat.

The other day my friend Laura and I were doing a beach workout, we were having the best time, and laughing between gasps for air I said ‘I can see why people think we’re bat-shit crazy’. 

I choose to workout nearly everyday until my muscles burn, and I chose to eat healthy foods.

Don’t get me wrong, I still eat things that aren’t great for me, and I still have lazy days, as I always enforce it’s about balance, but most of the time I choose to be healthy.  

Why?  

There’s the obvious benefits to eating right and being physically active: lowered blood pressure, increased metabolism, lowered risk of heart disease, whiter eyes and better skin.

To me though, there are many other reasons:  

Being strong, physically and mentally to me, is such a great feeling. Working out is self-discipline practice for me. It’s goal setting and reaching them no matter how crappy I’m feeling. It’s pushing myself when I didn’t think I could do anymore. When I have to fight myself to keep going and then achieve my goal, I feel incredible.

 I know what it feels like to be out of sync, to have my hormones going mental and feel unhealthy. I don’t enjoy it. My body does everything for me to the best of its ability and I want it to work as efficiently as possible. I want to nourish it with the best I can.

I want to feel in sync.  

Healthy to me means that I don’t need as much sleep, I am calmer, happier and there’s a spring in my step.

You can tell when someone is healthy, they have a glow. It’s better than any makeup, photo-shop or filter.  

 This is my motivation. To feel good. To feel on-top of the world, awake and alive.

Find your motivation, what works for you, what healthy is to you. My motivation may not be the same as you, but I promise, once you’ve seen how great healthy feels you wont go back.

 

 

 

The best years...

I’m almost positive I’m going to look back when I’m 30 and be like ‘oh 22-23, they were the best years’, but right now.

They’re hard man.

It’s this weird stage where we can’t blame our unproductiveness and lack of motivation on being a ‘teenager’, yet we also aren’t really suitable for adulthood yet (I had to Google how to make plunger coffee the other day).

It’s a fantastic enigma.

We should be saving BUT we should be travelling because now is the only time we will have the freedom. We should be working a lot, BUT ‘we’re only young once’ and should be getting some life experience.

Half the time I’m like ‘screw it, why not’ the other half of the time I’m a sensible adult who you’d swear could be a mother, with a decent head on my shoulders.

How do we know what to do? Where do we want to be? Do we want to travel? Do we want kids soon? Should we be locking down a significant other? ‘We’re only young once?’ BUT I don’t feel young? I’m 23, I’m almost 30 (where the seven years in between go in this calculation I am yet to find out).

It’s very confusing. In a funny way though.

I mean, we’re adults, but kind of not.

I thought by the time I’d  reached adulthood I wouldn’t spend most of my time asking ‘adultier’ adults for help. I thought magically I would be able to spell everything in the dictionary, that I would know how to make plunger coffee. I would understand tax and wouldn’t need my dad to help me out, or my brothers to help me work anything to do with technology.

I guess I thought you just woke up an adult one day, full of adult knowledge for your adult life.

Hasn’t really worked out that way.

AND so, let’s get some life experience, qualifications, work experience, while travelling and not taking life so serious. BUT not having too much fun that we aren’t taking life seriously.

Maybe all the uncertainty is why these years will end up being the best.

 A beautiful stage of irony.