Mindfulness for pregnancy, birth… and motherhood

Mindfulness for pregnancy, birth… and motherhood

Mindfulness is definitely a buzzword, like many a new fad in the wellness industry we may have reached peak saturation in terms of hearing about this as a skill/method/technique. Which is a shame as I think it makes people roll their eyes when they hear the word, rather than prick up their ears. How do you feel about mindfulness? For me, it has been transformational in terms of my day to day length of tether. Sleep deprivation and the associated other demands on your body and mind through pregnancy and motherhood can leave you feeling scattered, tetchy, angry, Hulk Mum. Mindfulness offers a bit of a pause, a life buoy for those moments when you feel like you’ve fallen into a choppy sea of anxiety or anger.

Anya Hayes mindfulness for motherhood

What is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness is a mental discipline that enables us to respond differently to challenging circumstances, sensations, emotions and thoughts rather than follow our habitual reactions. Mindfulness is now widely considered to be an inherent quality of human consciousness  – what makes us human is our capacity to turn our attention and awareness to the present moment. Mindfulness can be cultivated through meditation practice and increases engagement with what our habits and behaviours are, allowing for a clearer understanding of how your thoughts and emotions can impact on our health and how much we enjoy our life.

Mindfulness-based approaches in healthcare began in the late 1970s the USA with Jon Kabat-Zinn’s pioneering Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) programme at the University of Massachusetts. In the 1990s Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) was developed; drawing from CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) and MBSR, by Mark Williams at Oxford University, John Teasdale at Cambridge and Zindel Segal in Canada. MBCT is now a recognised and recommended way of reducing the risk of recurrence in depression and anxiety disorders (NICE 2009).

The definition of Mindfulness

‘The awareness that arises from paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment, and non- judgmentally’
Kabat-Zinn (2005)

Depression and anxiety are the most common mental health problems during pregnancy, with around 12% of women experiencing depression and 13% experiencing anxiety at some point – many women will experience both. Depression and anxiety also affect 15–20% of women in the first year after childbirth.

Information from NICE 2014 Female health: The Maternal Mental Health Alliance (MMHA), Using information supplied in 2013 by members of the Royal College of Psychiatrists’ perinatal faculty

How can Mindfulness help in pregnancy and motherhood?

  • MBCT is already established and recommended by NICE as an effective treatment for the prevention of recurrent depression
  • Research into the prevention of depression in pregnancy and the postnatal period has not yet identified an effective treatment (Dennis et al 2005)
  • Early research suggests mindfulness could be beneficial in the perinatal period

‘Participants showed increased childbirth self-efficacy and a trend towards lower pain catastrophizing and significantly lower depression symptoms post-course than controls; the difference grew in magnitude postpartum’

 Duncan, L et al (2014). Mind in Labor: Effects of mind/body training on childbirth appraisals and pain medication use during labor

‘A mindfulness-based course that combines mindfulness training with information and coping methods regarding pregnancy, childbirth and parenting concerns is more likely to optimise maternal well-being during this unique and important reproductive interval’

CM Guardino et al (2013) Randomised controlled pilot trial of mindfulness training for stress reduction during pregnancy

  • Practising mindfulness allows you to cultivate skills to enhance pain management, release stress, anxiety and other scrunchy emotions during the often turbulent transition to parenthood and, well,  everyday life with small people
  • You learn to truly pay attention to present moment experiences (sensations, thoughts, feelings), what you’re feeling right here, right now, deliberately and non-judgementally
  • Mindfulness help participants to see more clearly the patterns of the mind, helping to avoid an escalation of swirly negative thinking and the tendency to be functioning on autopilot
  • Mindfulness for childbirth and parenting has the potential to reduce the risk of postnatal depression and increase your ‘availability’ of attention for the baby. Offers you a buffer for those days when everything is a bit pharghhhnnngggg!  Literally offers you a bit of breathing space to process and respond rather than constantly react.
  • All the skills you learn through focusing on mindfulness are relevant throughout  pregnancy, through your childbirth experience and day to day parenting … and are transferrable life skills – for the whole of motherhood life.

What I love about mindfulness approaches

The thing that I personally find so effective about the mindful approach is that it works with YOU, with your body, your senses, your thoughts, it’s simply a way of tuning into your internal radio which is constantly playing. It works beautifully with movement such as Pilates, so for me it’s a natural link to what I already teach mums for working with their body – looking to have a similar focus on the mechanics of the mind as well. It’s simply offering you a kind of map to understanding your mind and being able to navigate without feeling so lost. Steering yourself as opposed to being blown by the winds of your mind without realising.

Are you interested in finding out more about how mindfulness can help you in pregnancy and birth, and can help you in your mothering day? Have a look in The Supermum Myth, there are plenty of mindfulness-based activities within, which will start to foster a deeper connection and awareness of your mental landscape. And in Pilates for Pregnancy I offer lots of mindfulness-based approaches for your BODY-MIND, including some hypnobirthing techniques for your birth experience.

I offer one-to-one coaching packages and workshops for pregnancy and early motherhood, helping you to be the calmer, confident mum you always knew you could be. Get in touch if you’d like to work with me.

How are you today?

Anya Hayes mindfulness for motherhood

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Your pelvic floor – how to build pelvic floor rehab into your day to day

Your pelvic floor – how to build pelvic floor rehab into your day to day

I’m doing two FREE workshops next week: Your Confident Mothermorphosis for you beautiful bumps, and a pelvic floor restore workshop at Level Six Peckham next Thursday morning 6th December, babies welcome – come along if you can.
If you don’t already, you can follow me on Instagram @mothers.wellness.toolkit – I share there lots of postnatal healing and pelvic floor information, and Pelvic Floor Meditation live on Insta at 7.30pm on Mondays, which stays on my stories for 24 hours.
woman holding baby while sitting on fur bean bag
Photo by Daria Shevtsova on Pexels.com

But I’m a mum – I don’t have any time!

Remember there is never a “perfect time” to focus on your postnatal rehab. You have to build it in to the time you already have and try not to feel that it’s a “to do” pressure to feel the weight of. Doing 3 minutes here, 3 minutes there is much more valuable for your core health than trying to make time for an hour a week.
It doesn’t have to be a “full workout” to be effective. 7 minutes a day is valuable, remember. Build it up as and when you can. When pushing your buggy or baby wearing, take a moment regularly to breathe, really fully deeply breathe and soften your shoulders.

Your mum posture day to day

Check in at least once a day with how you are carrying yourself. Either stretch against the wall: stand against the wall facing perpendicularly away, place your hand onto the wall. The rotate away from the wall, straightening your arm. You should feel a stretch in your pecs. Or: lie on your back with your arms outstretched and draw snow angels in the floor.
Most importantly, think about your A, B, Cs: Alignment, Breathing, Centring, with your every day movement.
  • Alignment: release yourself into the ground at least once a day: lie down, breathe, soften, legs up the wall is ideal.
  • Align your ribcage directly over/in line with the pelvis whenever you can, to restore the natural momentum within your torso: diaphragm over the pelvic floor.

Breathing is your number one tool for healing

You carry it around with you daily. Use it, it’s free, you don’t have to do anything “extra”, plus it will calm and soothe your nervous system. Breathe. It’s SO important. Breathe well, and your pelvic floor health will benefit.
Remember – 5 deep breaths is all it takes to soften you out of fight or flight mode.
Remember when you’re picking up your baby/carseat/squatting down/getting up from the floor blow as you go: 
Breathe OUT to lift UP your pelvic floor when you pick up your baby, lift the carseat, sneeze, etc.
Lifting your baby in a carseat places more load on your pelvic floor than any sit up will.
Pelvic floor exercise will help heal any diastasis abdominal separation, it’s your deep abdominal wall that you want to strengthen, and this works together alongside the pelvic floor.
Don’t be afraid to move. But build your INNER STRENGTH adequately before you start high impact work such as running and HIIT.

Can I run while I’m leaking wee?

If you are running and also leaking, or feeling like you’re “falling out” – the simple answer is to stop running. Running while experiencing pelvic floor dysfunction is a bit like wallpapering a newly built wall before the plaster is dry. It’s temporary. Build the strength first, and then test it. Don’t test it simultaneously while you’re still building it, it’ll be like jumping into a boat which has a hole in it.
Download the Squeezy app without delay. 3 minutes, 3 times a day is all it will take to see some difference.
If you are experiencing urinary or faecal incontinence, DON’T IGNORE IT. DON’T LAUGH IT OFF. DON’T JUST REACH FOR A TENA PAD.

PELVIC FLOORS ARE FOR LIFE

Your pelvic floor will not magically get better on its own. It needs attention and care, and then it will work loyally and diligently for you in return.
THINK TENNER NOT TENA: imagine lifting a ten pound note up into your vagina. Hold it for 5 seconds, then drop it down.
Other resources to have a look at: Pilates by Georgia is a physio and Pilates teacher, and on facebook she shares free workouts which are postnatal pelvic floor friendly.
Her website is Home | Pilates By Georgia where you can do a 2-week trial for free or you can pay a subscription for her workouts, some of which are really short and really easy to squeeze in (if you’ll excuse the pun).
Welcome to Motherhood

Welcome to Motherhood

I did a lovely live chat last night with Lauren, an inspiring author and motivational speaker, on her Facebook page This Girl is Enough. We talked about self care and wellness for mums – about how mums are so keen to put ourselves at the bottom of the care-for list, somewhere far below the neighbour’s dog.

The thing about looking after your mojo and wellbeing is that ultimately it benefits everyone around you. I know, quite simply, that I am a better person if I am calmer, if I’ve had some headspace, if I’ve done yoga or had a walk, gone for a swim. I feel triumphant when I prioritise my own wellbeing even if just for a morning stroll and don’t agonise over the things I “should” be doing instead. One of the things that Lauren quizzed me on when I talked about my meditation practice is “how do you manage to take 15 minutes to do that and not feel guilty?”…well, the honest answer is that the gain of that 15 minutes of breathing is way more powerful than the 15 minutes which might have been spent going through emails or checking something off on my to do list only to frantically remember that I have to put another 7 things onto it. And a refreshed spring in my step is nicer for my family to be around. I’m more patient… I have more empathy for my children’s huge emotions rather than feeling explosive and fractious in response. I’m more productive. I’m more energised. I’m … nicer.

Anya Hayes at a yoga and mindfulness retreat

This morning I taught my lovely group of Welcome to Motherhood mums, with their fourth trimester babies. We talked about Dr Oscar Serrallach’s brilliant The Postnatal Depletion Cure, and about just how much challenge physically being a new mum is. Yes, the rewards are high – you only have to hear that tinkle of a new baby’s laughter to struggle to feel like there is anything wrong in that moment – but the demands are huge.

I will be launching my new Motherhood Mojo Toolkit soon – drawing from my Pilates postnatal healing programme which I will be revealing in book form next year, I am creating a holistic mind–body programme which combines life coaching activities from The Supermum Myth plus elements from Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT), to help you feel like the calmer, more balanced less frazzled mum that you would really like to be. She’s in there. I’m going to help you find her.

Anya Hayes with her two children

Watch this space. How are you feeling today?

xxx

You can buy The Supermum Myth here

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Once postnatal, always postnatal

Once postnatal, always postnatal

There’s a general misconception about the “postnatal period” – differing opinions that it lasts from around 6 weeks…some say 9 months, others a year.

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Well, I say, if you’ve ever been pregnant and given birth, you are postnatal forever. Pregnancy and birth have profound effects on our systems, on our emotions and bodymind. And there is no “returning to normal” after this, there is only a new normal being established.

This is not to say that you are forever weakened. Not at all – only that if you don’t allow yourself space to heal properly, to strengthen adequately and completely, if you rush it, take on too much too soon, or skip over the basics, you may carry with you effects of your pregnancy and birth forever, in weakened core and unbalanced muscles, in compromised breathing power.

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Particularly useful for the first days, weeks (and years!) after you’ve had your baby are exercises that allow you to switch off tension, soften and tune into your breath. We never stop needing to learn to relax and soothe your body and soul. This in turn will stimulate your circulation and therefore your healing: Legs up the wall, Pelvic floor: Deep belly breathing, releasing back over a yoga bolster or big ball.

A big Pilates ball (Swiss ball) can be a great help in these early days: not least as a way of soothing a crying baby: gently bouncing or rolling your pelvis in circles or figures of 8 on your ball while holding your newborn or with newborn in the sling is a lovely way of mimicking the movement your baby is used to in the womb, and a great way of settling. It is also a good way of establishing a gentle pelvic floor lift and naturally encouraging your stabilising postural muscles to activate. Make sure you are securely balanced with your feet fully connected down to the ground, or place the ball up against a wall if you feel at all insecure with your balance.

Your pelvic floor

Your pelvic floor has been through a lot. Nine months (maybe more) of pregnancy followed by being battered by your baby’s head pushing through the birth canal, possibly having stitches or tears. Your perineum will be feeling very bruised. Even if you had a caesarean, your pelvic floor will have been under immense pressure throughout your third trimester.

Although you might not think it’s appropriate if you’re sore and tired, pelvic floor awareness “exercises” can and should start around 24 hours after birth. If you’ve had stitches don’t worry about disturbing them by starting pelvic floor work, actually the opposite is true. Trauma to the pelvic floor can begin to heal by encouraging blood circulation to the area, which will help to reduce swelling. As your healing progresses and you become more mobile, start to “exercise” your pelvic floor in different positions: lying down, sitting, standing. Think about your pelvic floor in your regular daily activities which is when you most need them: when you’re standing up from sitting, picking your baby up, pushing your baby’s buggy, carrying shopping while putting your baby in the car seat, etc. Remember it’s never too late to begin to heal your pelvic floor! Even 20 years postnatally you can make some difference in pelvic floor health with dedicated practice. The pelvic floor responds beautifully to care and attention. It fares less well with a blasé attitude of ignoring its needs and hoping they go away.

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I really recommend downloading the Squeezy app, which has regular prompts and comprehensive information about pelvic floor exercise, how to locate your pelvic floor properly, how to learn to release it. Most importantly, to remember to include it into your daily repertoire of self care as a non-negotiable just like teeth brushing.

And – however many years postnatal you are, it’s always worth seeing a women’s health physio – check out Mummy MOT to find one in your area.

Your emotional health

It’s a rollercoaster time, the newborn phase…and motherhood! It’s a watershed of all of the anticipation of the past nearly year, finally holding your baby in your arms (and even more if you’ve been trying for a while). You will probably feel exhilarated and ecstatic. But you also might feel pummelled by your experience, a bit shocked and really, really tired. Be honest with those close to you, and try to be gentle with yourself. Be careful about allowing hundreds of visitors in to see the baby if you really don’t feel up to it. It is an immensely joyful and lovely time taking your baby home, but it is also unprecedentedly stressful, and if you’re trying to establish breastfeeding it can have a detrimental effect to have visitors vying for your baby’s cuddles.

Give yourself a break if you don’t feel 100% happy every moment. If you are feeling very on edge, anxious, or detached and depressed, reach out to your health visitor or GP and ask what support there is available. There should be no stigma to mental health issues postnatally, so please don’t succumb to “I’m fine” syndrome, if you’re anything but. Each phase of motherhood brings different challenges, things get easier but something else always gets harder. Your sleep deprivation might accumulate and have an effect on your resilience. So be kind to yourself. Always come back to your breathing tools, be aware of the physical symptoms of stress and anxiety.

You might feel low or even be despairing about your postnatal body. But remember this time of recovery is so crucial that you will reap the most rewards if you don’t rush it. Try to go against the societal grain and cultivate some compassion for your amazing wonderful body which has done so much miraculous work over the past year. IT TAKES TIME to recover your strength. And, like it or not, HIIT, “body shreds” and Power Pramming is not the way forward initially, which can be a bitter pill to swallow if you were a gym bunny pre-children. Be patient with yourself. Be the tortoise not the hare. It is really important to take the time to recover well and fully from childbirth, to help prevent problems with future pregnancies and in your pelvic floor for life.

Why Pilates is so perfect postnatally

Pilates focuses on releasing tension, breathing, and strengthening the deep abdominal muscles and pelvic floor, it will help you restore and bring you back to strength and functionality. With Pilates you heal your body from the inside, correcting your alignment and optimising your body functions once more. You begin to learn about your body, reconnecting can help foster a positive feeling about your body – which is particularly important if you have any sense that your body has “let you down”. Being a mum is hard work, physically hard graft, and Pilates helps to iron out the demands small people put on you, and offer you a coat of resilience.

Here’s the lowdown on what you need to know after you’ve had your baby – whenever that was!

  • Breathing is the starting point for your recovery, physical and mentalYour breathing is so important to enable you to release tension and anxiety, to allow your body space to recover from your birth experience. Breathing is intrinsically connected with the efficacy of your abdominals and pelvic floor, as the diaphragm has to learn how to communicate with your pelvic floor now that your baby has evacuated the space between them.
  • NO SIT UPS. NO CRUNCHES. NO PLANKS. These are strictly contra-indicated in the early stages of your postnatal recovery, due to weaknesses caused by diastasis recti, and due to causing an increase in intra-abdominal pressure which in turn increases the load placed on your pelvic floor.
  • Diastasis recti. The superficial layer of your abdominals (your rectus abdominis – your six pack) has become separated due to stretching of the linea alba “fascia”, the connective tissue that holds the two bands of muscles together. Trying to “strengthen” these abs to close the gap is not the solution. We need to strengthen the deeper stabilising muscles: the pelvic floor, the transversus abdominis, and, fundamentally, get the diaphragm firing properly.
  • Bum deal. Your pelvis has taken most of the burden of carrying your baby, so we need to give it some strong scaffolding. Your hormones are still flooding your system, which will keep your ligaments and joints unstable for up to 9 months (and if you are breastfeeding, potentially longer), so it is important to regain strength and functionality in your glute muscles, to stabilize your lower back and hips. They are particularly important if you want to eventually get back into high impact movement such as HIIT and running.
  • Posture matters. Everything hinges on your alignment in terms of your body systems working effectively post-birth. No amount of pelvic floor exercise will be truly effective if your alignment is poor. Plus, you will do a lot of lifting and bending when you have small children so it is important to strengthen the posterior chain of your muscles – the muscles at the back of your body so important for good posture – especially if you are breastfeeding. Your posture also has an influence on Diastasis Recti, and the relative pull on your abdominal muscles from your daily movements.

How do you feel since having children? Are you preparing for birth/pregnancy? Has this article helped? I’d love to know! DM me or comment below xxx

My next book Pilates for Pregnancy is available for preorder now.

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Returning to “normal” post-baby

Returning to “normal” post-baby

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  • You have a baby. You take it relatively easy for the first 6 weeks, maybe doing the odd squeeze of your pelvic floor (clenching your buttocks hopefully and raising your eyebrows?) when you remember/can be bothered, but you’re itching to get back into it and “lose the baby weight”, “get your body back”. Pictures of Kardashians pinging back into their pre-baby shape make you feel like you’re lagging behind, being lazy, stuck somehow “doing nothing” under your baby when there are other more important things to do. You feel like 6 weeks is a LIFETIME before you can be “signed off as back to normal” and ready to get stuck into regular activity, sign me up for baby Zumba now please!
  • Even if you’ve been “signed off” at your 6-week check, this should be seen as the START line of the marathon of your body healing itself, not the finish line. Your 6-week check is often cursory and currently skips over some fundamentals of your healing.
  • The 6-week check usually marks the formal end of maternity care, and you may think woo hoo I’m good to go, hot baby spinning Zumba here we come! – but at six weeks your body is not yet healed. Too often the GP only has time to offer you a quick glance and doesn’t ask you in depth about pelvic floor healing or check your abdominals for separation (see below). So you shouldn’t take it as read that you’re now all clear to get into high impact exercise – particularly if you weren’t an avid exerciser before pregnancy.
  • Six weeks leaves just enough time for your organs to settle back to their original position once baby has evacuated that space, and the first stage of soft tissue healing. And potentially it takes much, much longer if you’ve had a caesarean. It can take several months for the abdominal and pelvic muscles to recover fully, and for the connective tissue to completely firm up. Your body is healing, there is so much going on under the skin that you can’t see, it needs nurturing and kindness.
  • Running and HIIT exercise appeals to mums because it requires no equipment, costs nothing, and can be crowbarred fairly easily into a suddenly-chaotic yet full-of-nothing-much day. You think getting back into it will make you feel great, lose all the weight, find your mojo. And it might. There’s no doubt about the importance of exercise for wellbeing. But going straight into high impact activities like running if “my 6-week check was fine” (did the doctor specifically say anything about exercise?) may not be the best plan for your long term healing.
  • Breathing is the most crucial starting point for your recovery, physically and mentally. Sooo boring, right? Well, your breathing enables you to release tension and anxiety, to allow your body space to recover from your birth experience, to move you from “fight or flight” into “rest and digest” mode. Breathing is intrinsically connected with the efficacy of your abdominals and pelvic floor, as the diaphragm has to learn how to communicate with your pelvic floor now that your baby is no longer hogging the space between them. Breeeeathe, wide and full into your belly, allow your diaphragm to fully descend and open and it will stimulate the conversation between the pelvic floor with its symmetrical rise and fall motion. It’s the most overlooked healing tool we have: it’s free, you’re doing it anyway might as well make it count, it doesn’t take any extra time ladies.
  • Diastasis whatsi? Diastasic recti – abdominal separation. Your rectus abdominis – your six-pack muscle, has separated during pregnancy due to stretching of the linea alba ‘fascia’, the connective tissue that holds the two bands of muscle together, sort of like unzipping at the front. Trying to flatten the mum tum with sit ups is not the solution as it will make the separation worse. We need to strengthen the deeper stabilising muscles: the pelvic floor, your corset muscle the transversus abdominis, and, fundamentally, get the diaphragm firing properly with proper breathing.
  • I’ll say it again because it’s so important: NO SIT-UPS. NO CRUNCHES. NO PLANKS. These are strictly contra-indicated in the early months of your postnatal recovery, due to weaknesses caused by abdominal separation – and if you’ve never been checked for ab separation, this rule applies for years after postnatally. If you’ve got diastasis it is going to cause problems however “new” or old a mum you are. ‘Ab exercises’ cause an increase in intra-abdominal pressure, which in turn increases the load placed on your weakened pelvic floor – sort of like building a loft extension on top of a house where you’ve knocked down a load-bearing wall. It’ll cause back pain, may exacerbate pelvic floor problems, it’ll make your foundation weaker not stronger.
  • If you do go to a buggy running-type group, or attend any fitness group in the year after your baby, your instructor MUST check your abdominals for separation and at the very least ask you in detail about your birth experience, how your pelvic floor is feeling, whether you experienced pelvic pain during your pregnancy. If the PT or instructor omits any of these essential postnatal duty-of-care issues, and particularly if they launch into AB EXERCISES, planking, sit-ups, leg lowers, flat tummy exercises etc., DO NOT DO THIS CLASS. Run, run away (slowly and with care).
  • Bum deal. Your pelvis has taken most of the burden of carrying your baby and probably also provided the exit route, so we need to give it some strong scaffolding. Hormones are still flooding your system, which keep your ligaments and joints unstable for up to nine months (and if you are breastfeeding, potentially longer), so it’s important to regain strength in your glute muscles, in order to stabilise your lower back and hips. If they aren’t firing on all cylinders you’re more likely to experience low back pain or have issues with your hips, knees and ankles. Strong bums are particularly important if you want to ultimately get back into high-impact movement such as HIIT and running…or just lifting and day to day craziness with your minis – I mean, that can be a HIIT workout in itself, right?
  • Posture matters. Everything hinges on your alignment in terms of your body systems working effectively post-birth. No amount of pelvic floor exercise will be truly effective if your alignment is poor and you’re not breathing fully. You do a lot of lifting and bending when you have small children and it’s important to soften and balance your body – especially if you are breastfeeding.
  •  I wet myself! LOL! IT’S NOT FUNNY. The main thing to remember about your pelvic floor after birth is that you should not suffer in silence, or laugh it off. There is absolutely no evidence to suggest that pelvic floor issues get better if they are ignored. If you are struggling with pain, discomfort, lack of sensation, a feeling of heaviness or ‘bearing down’, or even if things simply don’t feel ‘normal’ – not asking for help and laughing it off only means that the problem will definitely get worse over time.
  • Think about your 70-year old self and how you want her to feel. There is a real risk of pelvic organ prolapse postnatally, and it is so important to strengthen your pelvic floor to increase your chance of avoiding this, particularly if you want to have more children. If you feel any sensation of your insides ‘falling out’, do not ignore this. A prolapse is when the uterus, bowel or bladder descends into the vagina. Go to your GP and ask to be referred to a women’s health physio.
  • I had a C-section, pelvic floor exercises don’t apply to me. Sadly you don’t get let off the hook. Your pelvic floor has provided a neat pillow, punch bag and trampoline for your baby for 9 months. It needs some attention even if it didn’t serve as the exit turnstile.
  • Whatever birth you had, start your pelvic floor exercises as soon as possible. The sooner the better. BUT IT’S NEVER TOO LATE. So start now. NOW. If you had a perineal tear, whatever grade, begin these exercises without delay, as they’ll promote healing, send blood circulation to the area, reduce swelling, increase sensation and help you to regain your strength and function.
  • To do your pelvic floor exercises correctly: lift your back passage – imagine you are trying to stop breaking wind – then travel the engagement forward as if you want to stop the flow of wee, squeeze and lift forward and up.
  • Try not to hold your breath: lift up with an exhale, and then allow the entire pelvic floor to fully open, soften and relax on the inhale. Do a few repetitions, slowly and intentionally, a few times every day with this breath pattern. Then progress to doing some quickly. Squeeze and repeat 10 times, breathing normally without holding your breath, and always fully releasing and resting with an inbreath at the end.
  • Remember that when you lift your pelvic floor there should be no clenching or tension anywhere else: bum, shoulders, jaw, inner thighs. It’s an internal engagement. A strong pelvic floor is the key to healing your mum tum.
  • Look at the Squeezy app for more guidance and information about pelvic floor exercise.
  • Pilates is a perfect postnatal activity to strengthen your core and bum, to release tension – but it has to be the right kind of Pilates. Check your instructor has experience and the right credentials for working with mums.
  • Yoga is brilliant to. But as above.
  • Swimming is low impact yet surprisingly challenging, and meditative – just keep swimming just keep swimming just keep swimming….
  • And walking. Especially in green spaces. Walking is very healing and strengthening.
  • Your postnatal mojo is so linked to how your body FEELS and how you’re functioning. If you’re weeing when you exercise, or even when you cough and sneeze, that’s going to make you feel like shit, and make you scared to speak up about it or to continue to exercise, which perpetuates a negative cycle for your wellbeing.
  • Depletion in body: make no mistake, pregnancy withdraws all you got. It takes you well into your overdraft of energies, nutrients, minerals, strength. And then you don’t often choose to make deposits back into your account once baby is out (the “bounce back”!).
  • Your gut health may well be affected by your birth experience – antibiotics, caesarean birth – which will compromise your absorption of nutrients from your food. And crucially, may compromise your production of serotonin – the hormone of JOY, which is largely produced in the gut and therefore arguably could be one of the missing links in some out of the blue experiences of postnatal depression.
  • You’re not sleeping well, and probably not drinking enough water so you’re dehydrated. And you may only be eating toast, biscuits and mainlining coffee anyway, so your poor gut doesn’t have that much to work with.
  • Postnatal depletion is not depression. But it can make you feel generally a bit meh and crap. Which lends itself to becoming depression if left unchecked over time. The most basic form of selfcare is to tell yourself that you matter, to feed and water yourself adequately. How do you FEEL? Are you strong? Are you strong enough to carry a toddler in your dungarees like a sling for a mile when they refuse to go in the buggy?
  • It’s normal not to feel amazing all the time. But if it’s affecting your every day and you just feel “not right”: this is the tipping point. Check your PHYSICAL needs today: drink enough water, breathe properly and fully – this will be affecting your mind and spirit too. Our body image is so intrinsic to our happiness and identity, and postnatally this can take a real kicking.
  • It takes time to heal and regain your strength, you are only human, you’re not a Kardashian. It’s not frivolous to prioritise you and getting your body back safely and effectively. If you return to sit-ups, planks, running, HIIT too soon you can do more harm than good.
  • So ladies please: drink enough water, remember to breathe, and if you’re at all worried, ask your GP to refer you to a women’s health physiotherapist. Look after YOU!

MUTU – Leaner, Stronger, Fitter, more in control, more confident? Don’t mind if I do!

MUTU – Leaner, Stronger, Fitter, more in control, more confident? Don’t mind if I do!

As some of you who are regular readers of the blog (hiya! *waves* Very happy to have you here!), you’ll know that in November I started my MUTU journey, with a screening of the EMBRACE documentary which blew my mind. As part of that fantastic body confidence campaign, I was offered the chance to trial the MUTU system. So many of my Pilates clients have asked me about MUTU over the past couple of years and I have been intrigued but didn’t really know anything about it myself.

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The 12-week programme started at the beginning of December and of course has draped itself over Christmas (I have about 4 weeks left), and as you know that’s a time when most of us fall off the exercise bandwagon in favour of the crisp wagon or the port train, or possibly the Celebrations helicopter. So I’m not gonna lie, I didn’t manage to do a workout every time I “should have” over that period, although I must say that wasn’t due to Christmas excess or sloth, it was more that Freddie chose the Christmas period to get a chest infection and renounce sleep for the duration, so exercise wasn’t that available to me during that two-week period due to general exhaustion. But what I did benefit from in that time was the gentle reminders from Wendy Powell, MUTU founder and mum of two, that your body is your patient and loving home, somewhere that you live – and always will – and if a supporting wall has fallen down in your home, well, it’s time to get the builders in before you can start any other aesthetic decorating work. You need to think about regaining your inner strength as a necessity and not a luxury. Wendy’s message is one close to my heart: as mums, new mum or “seasoned”, we’re constantly badgered about “losing our baby weight”, “getting back into skinny jeans”, but not much is explored about the vastly more important matter of what goes on underneath the surface.

Wendy is open about how pelvic floor weakness and diastasis recti are issues that need to be tackled before you can even think about “losing the mum tum”. The science about pelvic floor health and core strength is explained clearly and thoughtfully, to leave you more aware of how you use your body every day. Wendy really taps into the fact that there’s a huge mojo dip after you’ve had children: not only may you have started with an ambiguous attitude to your body, but suddenly now you have the postpartum joys of squishy tummy and out of control boobs, which can make you feel low and lacking sparkle. We’re desperate to get back to how we were, but often lack the information to help us get there. Fear of leaking wee means that a lot of women are scared to go running or go back to their HIIT classes, and then are left with no ideas about what they CAN do.

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Thankfully, MUTU is a really helpful resource that will enable you to strengthen your body and get back that zing in your step, so that you can more easily get into the physical activity you used to love, if high intensity exercise was your bag, you’re much more able to jump around with a fully strengthened pelvic floor supporting you. And if pre-kids you had never even considered cracking out a burpee, well, with a growing body confidence and a way in to exercise, maybe that wonderful world will be opened up to you?

I’m back on the MUTU train now, the workouts are 15 minutes each and even with a clingy toddler on the loose, it’s possible to carve out that time for yourself. Excitingly a brand spanking new version of the programme has just launched this week, and I’m loving the fact that I get to experience this brand new gleaming version. It looks fab, showcasing the same fantastic message as before – treat yourself with kindness, love and respect: you deserve to be fit and strong after having your babies, to find your light, inner mojo,  but with new videos, exercises and a more dynamic video demonstration style and different exercise bodies showing you how it’s done.

Check it out: it’s the perfect way of strengthening your body from the inside out. Let me know how you get on! I’d love to know what your experience of your postnatal body has been – have you loved and embraced every new squish? Or are you feeling down about it? Have you been told about your pelvic floor exercises beyond a vague “squeeeeeze?” Have you even heard of diastasis rect? I’d love to hear. Feel free to comment below or send me a message xxx

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New Year, New MUTU, New you!
Months in the making and even more awesome than before, the perfect antidote to ‘falling off the January health and fitness wagon’, MUTU System has just launched a *BRAND NEW program designed to flatten your tummy, stop annoying pelvic floor leakage, lose the weight you really wanna shift, heal your diastasis recti, feel fitter, healthier and sexier. The best bit is it only takes 15 minutes a day!

Enroll today and you get exclusive access to two BONUS LIVE CALLS with Founder and CEO of MUTU, Wendy Powell including Q&A sessions, bonus information and a chance to chat with the woman behind MUTU System. Grab your copy today!

I also have a MUTU System discount code for you fabulous blog readers: put in the code EMBRACE15 at the MUTU checkout to receive a 15% discount.

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New Year Wellness toolkit

New Year Wellness toolkit

New year, new you, all the headlines shout enthusiastically. We might write energetic resolutions in our new 2018 journals, or we might shrink further back into the sofa clutching our Merlot and saying bah humbug. Whatever your approach to the new year, you can guarantee that there’s an element of transition about the passing of December into January, an anxiety or a sense of hope, whichever way you frame it.

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My approach to resolutions this year is to call them Daily Resolutions rather than New Year’s Resolutions. I always feel that setting a daily intention is far more effective than creating a huge stone block etched with long-term goals, which seem unattainable and unrealistic once you hit the first inevitable pothole in the road towards it – the first runny cold day that;s a barrier to your Run Every Day, or the first toddler sickness meaning that you don’t get to the gym. And once we’re tripped up at that hurdle it becomes easier to slink back into “old ways” and then the inner critic takes the microphone berating your lack of achievement.

This week I spoke to the lovely Zoe Blaskey who has founded Motherkind.co, to offer mums a way to “reconnect to you in the mayhem of motherhood”. I love Zoe’s ethos – closely aligned to mine – about how we need to be gentle with ourselves and simply learn how to see the positive in what we’re doing rather than settling on the relentlessness and the feelings of failure that can characterise our daily mum lives. I had the honour of recording a podcast with Zoe, so watch this space for when you can listen to it. We talked about self care and how mothers can sometimes fall so down their own lists that it doesn’t even occur to us to take stock of how balanced our emotions are, what our internal dialogue is, how our body is feeling. That niggly back and neck might be crying out for you to rest, to take some time to breathe, to lengthen and meditate, to clear out the clutter of your mind and offer yourself some space. Zoe asked me what my go-to selfcare tools were in the moment, when things get all sweary and overwhelming. So here they are:

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  1. Breathe…so obvious, so boring…so underused as a soothing tool. We often live permanently in a state of fight or flight, permanently attached to our phones and the stress inducing white noise that is coming from them. We never think to stop and offer ourselves a moment of peace and pause. So for me, breathing is my immediate soother. Take a deep breath in through the nose for a count of 5. Long, wide, full breath feeling it releasing back into the ribcage and sides. And then sigh the breath out through your mouth, as if you’re fogging a window in front of you. The longer exhalation is a trigger for the parasympathetic nervous system to step in and take over: to take your hand, stroke your brow, make you some chicken noodle soup. This is your rest and digest system. And an essential counterbalance to your fight or flight. Humans were created to be alert for danger, for that sabre toothed tiger in the bushes. We need to look for danger as otherwise we would be eaten. But now, that seeking danger manifests itself in anxiety attacks in Tesco, or panicking about your parenting decisions. No longer life or death, but with the same physiological stress responses. So breathing lifts you out of that spiral, coaxes you back to peace.
  2. Move. Moving my body is an essential. Imagine a pond. If there is no fresh water introduced to the pond over time, it becomes stagnant. The same goes for your body if you don’t encourage circulation, blood flow, fresh oxygen, a bit of a massage for your internal organs. Think about a cat, when it gets up from a nap it wouldn’t dream of not stretching. Humans have forgotten this instinctive movement need. Release mental stress by moving your physical body. Whatever that means for you: star jumps, squats – I always squat wile the kettle is boiling – roll downs, some yoga. Squeeze it into your day, little and often. Think about movement not “exercise” and you will reframe how you see your body, It might encourage lightbulb moments for things that are troubling you as you shift your mental energy as well. Move move move.
  3. Verbalise. I always vocalise when I feel I’m at meltdown point. If I’m in the swirly whirl of a tornado induced by toddler craziness, no sleep, lost keys. I catch myself in the moment and say “it’s ok. It’s ok to feel stressed. You’re exhausted and overwhelmed”…say whatever you’re feeling, and say it to yourself calmly and out loud. Apart from anything else, it might make you feel silly and immediately release the charge of the moment. But it also validates what is happening and allows you a mindful pause. It’s ok to have those moments of anger, stress, chaos. Verbalising it makes it easier to pass.
  4. Drink a glass of water. So simple. So easy to forget. Go and have one now.
  5. Green space. If you’re feeling stressed, go outside and find yourself a tree to gaze at. Or a cloud passing by. Something not man made. Something that will lift you out of your moment and into the universe. Forest bathe.
  6. Gratitude: a longer term tool, not necessarily for the moment, although looking for silver linings is a skill to be developed on the go if you can. Every day I write a gratitude list. The smallest things that were highlights: a cuddle from Freddie, a hot cup of tea. Or bigger things, a work offer, something unexpected in the post. intangible things: long term friends and their support and love; or tangible: the roof over your head. Gratitude enables you to foster a more optimistic outlook every day, which will inform your daily actions, decisions, choices every day. Which will create a positive cycle in your life, and crucially, enable you to develop a clock of resilience for those times in life which are more challenging and stressful.
  7. Meditation: this one is a bit Woo woo, and lots of people roll their eyes and switch off. “I can’t meditate, I think too much”…well, that IS meditation. Mediation is shaking out the dust in your carpet. Think about your mind as gathering years of dust from your daily thoughts, actions, events, heartbreak, triumph. If you never shake it out, it will just layer and layer and stay there and fester and become vague and unhelpful. Meditation allows space for it to bubble up and be assimilated. Released. Digested. Forgiven. It doesn’t have to be a seated Buddha incense type meditation, although I that works for you then great. It can simply be SPACE. 2 minutes, 30 seconds of space and intent focus on your mind. Focus rather than inattention and distraction (phone, anyone?). Mindful rather than mindless. Sometimes uncomfortable, rather than numbing and avoiding. You will find clarity and peace. Go on, try it. Breathe.

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I’m speaking at the Lucky Things event this Saturday, I was so excited to be invited by Sunita to talk about all things wellbeing in body and mind. I’m really looking forward to it, can’t wait to see you all there, so if you’re coming, come and say hi!

What are your selfcare tools? Do you have a toolkit at your disposal? You may have one without actually noticing it: gathering together consciously what seems to help you in those FFS moments into a selfcare toolkit list will make it easier to access it when you need it.

Why not make 2018 the year that you set an intention every day, to look to the positive, to break down your huge goals into smaller daily intentions, measurable and realistic.

Here’s to a healthy and happy 2018.

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Dry January: The impropriety of sobriety

Dry January: The impropriety of sobriety

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Dry January – are you doing it? Have you done it? Normally the driest my January goes is a dry white wine. I’ve always been a bit sniffy about abstaining from alcohol for a full smug month – not to mention the fact that January is chock full of family birthdays which means there is a high level of refusal willpower needed around the lunch table when the prosecco is flowing. And willpower isn’t always my greatest gift.

I have always said to myself that as long as there is moderation, and that there are a few days a week with no alcohol, this is fine. And I do agree (with myself, which is a good thing) that generally moderation trumps abstaining as a general rule. But I have started to become aware and uncomfortable about the fact that I ALWAYS have a drink of an evening from Thursday to Sunday. Some evenings only one glass of red, savoured, but often, usually…two or three if it’s a weekend and I’m out or sharing a bottle with my husband. You know that you’ve got a reputation of a lover of the grape when people express surprise if you’re not drinking, or if they affectionately refer to you as a drinker. My mother in law has a lovely artist’s print on her wall, of a woman drinking a glass of red wine. My then-2 year old once pointed at it and said “MUMMY!!!”. Which made my face go as red as the vino.

I once read somewhere that if you’re conscious of a feeling that you might need to get a handle on your drinking, then you’re probably right. I certainly don’t get drunk very often, but I do drink often. And it’s such a habit and intrinsic behaviour – wine o’clock, a glass of prosecco to salute the weekend, a confidence-boosting crutch at an event where I don’t know anyone, a reward gin and tonic after a crappy day, a glass of red to celebrate the end of a long evening of children’s mayhem followed by teaching, a lunchtime glass of rose with a friend….. all of these situations sometimes feel hollow without that alcoholic prop. Which makes me cringe a bit, like a vegetarian hearing a meat eater say a meal isn’t complete without meat. Which is why I feel like I need to kick the prop away and question what exactly I am propping up.

I also am curious to see the effects of nil alcool on my digestive system, my skin, my sleep (although until Freddie stops sabotaging my sleep this one will be harder to decipher). There are myriad benefits that skipping alcohol altogether have going for our wellbeing and health. Alcohol is a proven hormone disrupter, and messes with the delicate balance within our systems. So I want to see when these benefits start to make themselves known, and if they compensate for the lovely full-bodied taste of a glass of Shiraz.

But abstaining from alcohol brings with it societal umbrage. Unless you’re pregnant (and any skipping of alcohol from a woman is often assumed to be related to that), you’re not often given a get out of jail free pass when it comes to being allowed to not drink without causing raised eyebrows and offence. Shining a light on other people’s discomfort about their own drinking? Or just being a party pooper? Drinking is sanctioned by society as the joy bringer, and the uniter. Which it undoubtedly is. But it’s funny how we can be judged for not wanting to – and I’m including myself in the judging panel here.

This is an exercise in self-care and restraint for me. A real challenge to see if I can actually do it. It’s not a judgment of drinking or a suggestion that anyone is wrong if they are continuing with their moist lubricated January. It’s just for me.

So, I did have a drink on my husband’s birthday on 2nd January, and my dry January began then. We’re only 4 days in but I already feel like it’s been aaaages, which is quite amusing and telling. I got through a Friday night post-first-week-back-at-school without a congratulatory glass of fizz or a glass of beer with the curry I had with my husband, even though his beer looked delicious and complementary to our meal. I felt such a childlike sense of achievement that I almost feel sorry for myself. But I am also buoyed to go forward and carry on.

Is anyone else doing Dry January? Do you have any tips and tricks? Have you given up booze for good? Do you miss it? I’d love to hear.

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Umami healing – the power of Miso

Umami healing – the power of Miso

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I’ve been really interested recently in Ayurveda, living life with an equilibrium with my body and the seasons to try and make sure I’m not fighting the elements, encourage mind and body to feel balanced. According to Chinese medicine, winter broths are the best thing for the body at this time of the year – hydrating and warming.

As often happens, we’ve been fighting winter lurgy relentlessly – Freddie was ill with a chest infection and fever for what felt like an eternity and wouldn’t eat anything at all in that time (god bless Magic Boob, is all I can say). Talk about 15 day shred. He’s lost his toddler belly and now looks about 2 feet taller and leaner. He’s a fussy little fellow at the best of times – proving the Supermum Myth notion that any smugness you’re allowed in motherhood is swiftly overturned at the whim of your children: Maurice was a “great eater” and would happily guzzle pretty much whatever he was given. Freddie on the other hand would happily live on boob and chocolate fingers and nothing else. But, the other day I was eating a miso soup for my lunch, and he said “SOUP! I need soup!” And so a wonderful relationship has been born. Every day for the past week I have given him miso broth with rice boiled for a long time so that it breaks down, to create a gut-soothing congee. I’ve thrown as much broccoli or other surrepticious vegetable that I can sneak in, and salmon or chicken. And wow he’s been lapping it up.

It’s made me review my diet a bit as well. I’ve been lazy/generally disorganised over the past few months as I race along in the Rush Hour parenting traffic juggling work and mumming. Lunch was usually pasta with pesto, or something similarly unimaginative and heavy, leaving me feeling nutritionally empty and sluggish. I also wasn’t focusing on my taste buds particularly, favouring the same foods every day with no spice or natural addition of flavour. This might have been causing my body to crave “umami”, the fifth taste alongside sweet, bitter, sour and salty. Umami is that 3D depth of flavour in your food, the je ne sais quoi mmmm bliss point where sweet meets salty, such as found in a really fine and delicious cheddar, a plump and ripe grilled tomato, or a fat and juicy mushroom. This umami craving is also often sated by synthetic flavour enhancers too such as the sweety salty morish taste of crisps or other refined carbs, and additives such as MSG, which spell trouble for your body and do your health no favours. So if you’re craving umami, but filling that craving with artificial flavourings, it’s not the best thing for your health and wellbeing.

So I’ve decided to have a gut-friendly umami January: I’m doing Dry January and having a look at my alcohol habit, and I’m going to have a month of miso soup lunches to find my umami fix. I love miso soup, when I lived in Japan it was a staple every day, without thinking about its health benefits. It’s so easy to make and packed with nutrients, soothing and filling yet light on your system. Every day I’ll have a miso broth for my lunch…with noodles, rice, salmon or tofu, packed with whatever vegetables I can manage to cram into the small saucepan: rainbow chard, broccoli, spring onions, sweetcorn, mushrooms, red pepper, garlic, a small pinch of chill flakes for added heat and to blow any cold away. Plus, there’s no need for extra seasoning as it’s brimming with taste and nutritional power.

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Miso is unusually rich in nutrients, and unpasteurised miso paste contains beneficial bacteria, which aids your digestive process and gives your immune system a boost by enhancing your body’s ability to absorb nutrients from food. Miso contains huge amounts of vitamins, including vitamins B, E, K, plus calcium, iron, potassium….the list goes on. Miso is also particularly high in antioxidants, which remove dangerous free radicals from the body. Free radicals are cell-destroying chemicals that have been linked to degenerative diseases, cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and even the effects of ageing. You have to be careful to buy miso which is, if not organic, without additives, as some contain MSG.

So if you’re feeling a bit slow, coldy and sluggish as winter envelopes you, and seem to be craving salty sweet foods to perk up your energy, maybe have a look into trying a miso power lunch project of your own. Mmmm.

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MuTu Postnatal exercise: Embrace body positivity

MuTu Postnatal exercise: Embrace body positivity

This week I had the pleasure and privilege of going to a body positivity event hosted by the MuTu System. It was a screening of the Body Positivity documentary created by Taryn Brumfitt Founder of the Body Image Movement, Embrace, followed by an introduction to the Mutu System led by its founder, Wendy Powell.

A powerful and emotional, and above all, life-changing documentary, the heart of Embrace is Taryn’s story. How she went from being a body hater to a body lover. From being devastated by her perceived ugliness to proudly posing nude for the whole world to see. This documentary should be shown in schools, should be seen by men and women, young and old. It is truly remarkable and devastating and awful and wonderful.

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The things I gleaned from it: realising how deeply entrenched our internal messages about our bodies are. From years and years of changing rooms telling us that we’re not a medium we’re a LARGE. From shouty magazine headlines saying SHE WENT FROM A SIZE 16 TO A SIZE 8! in congratulatory terms. The societal expectation of women being there to be aesthetically pleasing and there to have their prettiness and beauty please others. The focus on the superficial, what’s outside that counts – which often even if it is “perfect” belies what happiness or health is going on inside. Always feeling like we’re the one that is falling down and being not good enough. When surely it’s not a problem in you, it’s a problem in the fashion industry being not good enough.

The best quote for me had to be from the amazing Amanda de Cadanet (who, incidentally, before she became a Hollywood superstar went to school with my sister in Holland Park…), pondering when she sometimes considers what it would take for her to get THAT “perfect” body that society so desires, when she has to be exposed in front of the media who will inevitably pick her apart like vultures. It would mean changing her life, denying pleasures, not being present for her children. She says “if it comes to a choice of being thin or eating the cookie that my kid bakes. I’m gonna eat the fucking cookie my kid bakes”.

Women interviewed in the street about their body image described themselves as “disgusting”, “hideous”, “fat”…it was properly heartbreaking stuff, made me weep and I’m not ashamed to say it.

One of the most powerful sequences for me was that from Jade Beall, a photographer and author of the book The Bodies of Mothers, who has focused on women celebrating their bodies. She talks of her own experience postnatally of feeling overwhelmed, anxious and ugly, so she set up a self-portrait session to capture images of her and her newborn at this time… it brought me to tears how stunning she was and the images that she presented are simply extraordinary in their power and beauty. She talks of how the women she photograph are so often negative about their appearance – let’s face it, it’s usually a negative thought that enters before a positive one when we consider our body and beauty isn’t it – and she says, why do we constantly undermine and feel dissatisfied by images , that we’re not enough. Why do we not look at an image, and think “wow, she looks like me and she’s beautiful”.

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We need to be vulnerable, be kind, stop judging others as much as we need to stop judging ourselves. Stop listening to our inner critic and instead allow the voice of your inner compassion speak a bit louder. These feelings are contagious: either negatively, or positively. If you feel down on yourselves and others that will spread. If instead you feel joyful and celebrate the awesomeness of individual body shapes and form, that will also ripple out. Agonising about your body shape is a WASTE OF PRECIOUS LIFE.

How would you describe your body? Some of the wonderful descriptions that came out during the documentary were: “My home, my friend”, “luscious, soft, comforting”, “a sturdy vehicle not an ornament”. EMBRACE your body don’t be at war with it.

You are allowed to love your body. Remember that.

Such a powerful documentary, I urge you to seek it out and see it, right now!!

The discussion that followed was, as you can imagine, passionate and emotional – a feeling of weariness about society and the enormity of the challenge, but a feeling of empowerment that we CAN change, it will just take diligence and dedication.

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Wendy Powell said something which made me cheer outwardly: that women deserve to have a body they can feel happy in, can move in, can jump around in. And too often postnatally this is denied to us because of the lack of proper care that is out there for rehabilitating postnatally. Anything that celebrates the female body and doesn’t suggest that we need to lose weight as the answer to our happiness prayers is a winner in my book.

The MuTu System is a medically reviewed and doctor recommended exercise and recovery program to help you eliminate ‘mummy tummy’, Diastasis Recti and pelvic floor weakness—while building your confidence.

As Wendy Powell said, for too long women have been putting up with feeling a bit under par post-birth, but accepting it as normal. But it’s NOT normal to be weeing while you’re running or when you sneeze or cough. It’s not normal to have an urgent need to go as soon as you put your key in the door. Pelvic floor health is so misunderstood and there is no much more to pelvic floor strengthening that just SQUEEZE. I’ve explored this in another blog post about pelvic floor health – we need flexible strength, not rigid hold.

As part of this event I am excited to be trialling the MuTu system over the next 12 weeks, and I’ll report back on my progress. I’ve had lots of clients over the years who have mentioned MuTu to me, and now I’ll be able to offer an experienced description of the system! Plus I’m looking forward to dedicating some targeted time to my own pelvic floor and post-section tummy.

And even better, MuTu has given me an exclusive code which you can use to receive a 15% discount on the programme: simply sign up using the code EMBRACE15

Cant wait to begin the core-restore journey and would love it if any of you would like to join me! xxx

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