"I ended up tandem feeding my two children until my daughter turned 4.5 years old," says British mother of two and model Jess Bowen.
As it happened, tandem feeding was never part of the plan and it was only after reading about it online that she knew it was possible. Jess now shares her story online too, through her blog and Instagram account @modelmother, in the hope that it'll inspire others, just as she was once inspired. "I'm still breastfeeding my son who has recently turned two and we are both happy with how it's going although the plan is to night wean him as soon as his final tooth is through because mama needs some rest!"
Tell me about your breastfeeding journey and where you are up to now...<p>I started breastfeeding in February 2015 and haven't stopped since! My labour with my first child, Eliana was a long one, lasting a few days and although it was a very positive, natural and well supported experience, by the time she arrived we were both so exhausted that it took us a while to get to that first feed. The midwives let us sleep for a couple of hours before coming to tell me that it's important she had her first feed. It wasn't until much later that day that Eliana latched when my mum came to visit and confidently showed me what to do. There was no going back from there. Bar the initial cracked nipples and blocked ducts I was very lucky that it was plain sailing. I fell pregnant with my son 2.5 years later when my daughter was still a feeding machine and so I just carried on. I remembered reading one small caption about tandem feeding online and it opened up a whole new thing that I didn't even know was a possibility. I find it amazing that one small drop of experience shared by a stranger had such a huge impact on me so that's why I share my story online too. I ended up tandem feeding my two children until my daughter turned 4.5 years old at which point, I gently weaned her because I had nursing aversion that repelled me every time I fed her, even when it was only her latched. I can only assume that was my body sending me the signal to say time's up. I'm still breastfeeding my son who has recently turned 2 and we are both happy with how it's going although the plan is to night wean him as soon as his final tooth is through because mama needs some rest!<br></p>
How has breastfeeding enriched your life? And also your children's lives?<p>I find it almost impossible to capture the sense of enrichment in words. It just makes me feel in tune, with the kids and with myself. It's been such a visceral and instinctive experience and somehow that's enough to deflect all the knocks that come with continuing to breastfeed beyond the 'normal' age. It puts a fire in my belly and it brings out the lioness in me when anyone contests the way I feed my children because it is so evident to me how much goodness it has brought to our family life. It soothes wounds, reduces teething pain, gets them through illnesses, helps with transitions, gives me some quiet time, releases the pressure valve of life for us all and brings a closeness that has continued beyond breastfeeding with my eldest. <br></p>
What are your thoughts on the attitude towards mums breast-feeding in public and the reservations some mums have about feeding in public?<p>I believe mums should be allowed to feed their children wherever and whenever they want and need, without feeling they have to be discreet or cover up if they don't want to and without fear of judgement. I know reservations come in all shapes and forms and from a deep-rooted place that is hard to override but in my experience, the fear is worse than the fact. Most people won't even notice what's happening if you breastfeed your baby in public. What they will notice is a screaming, hungry baby (especially those newborn cries that pierce the heart!) so feeding them is by far the less offensive action. Also, if you just do it like it's the most normal thing in the world then people will trust your confidence and be more likely to accept it. They're often more afraid of you making them feel uncomfortable than the other way around. The more you do it, the more normal it will feel and the more confidence you will gain.<br></p>
You were a pregnant, breastfeeding mum of a three-year-old and have said you were "well outside of most people's version of 'normal' when they think of a breastfeeding mum". How did that make you feel? How do we shift our mindset on what normal is/looks like?<p>As a person who has always been quite prone to people pleasing, not rocking the boat and fitting the mould, especially within my working life, I've often wondered where my resilience, courage and confidence stems from when it comes to challenging the norms of breastfeeding. I can only assume it's me reverting to my default setting; my natural instinct to do what's right by my kids overrides whatever anyone else thinks on this matter. I just have this really strong sense of knowing it's the right thing for me and I've been so lucky to have the support needed to see it through. I wish this confidence extended to all aspects of parenting for me but unfortunately, I'm as guilty of second guessing myself as the next mother.<br></p>
You've said that breastfeeding a baby in public was never something that bothered you - why was this?<p>I think it was the influence of my mum. I come from a line of breastfeeding (and breadwinning) women who have fed beyond one year, some for several years. I saw my mum breastfeed my sister, who was 12 years younger, in public and she now recounts the criticism she used to receive but I didn't see that at the time. I just saw my mum doing her thing. When it came to breastfeeding outside of home for me, I remember her being almost forceful in her encouragement and absolutely adamant that it was no-one else's business. I think that I was so used to being undressed in front of strangers with my modelling work that I had no fear of exposing a very small amount of flesh, even in the early days when my daughter would only feed if I was reclined back and she could lie down the length of my tummy. She was also quite noisy about it which wasn't ideal but it was what it was and she needed her milk! Thankfully I was also fortunate in having an antenatal group that included women who also breastfed beyond two years who made it a very enjoyable experience in the early days. We spent hours in coffee shops laughing and feeding and making sense of it all.<br></p>
What are a few tips for anyone struggling with the idea of feeding in public?<p>* Start small - go somewhere familiar, friendly, somewhere where nursing is actively encouraged or if it's nice weather, in an open space outside.</p><p>* Look into your baby's eyes - it's a great way to tune out the outside world and avoid observing any unwanted attention and it gets the oxytocin flowing when under pressure. Maybe even quietly hum a tune to yourself to block out any noise.</p><p>* Know that a lot of the looks come from genuine human curiosity or an appreciation for the act of breastfeeding and not from criticism or disgust. I find if you smile at someone who looks at you while breastfeeding then they often smile back or at worst, look a little embarrassed that you caught them at it!</p><p>* Make sure you're in good, supportive company the first few times</p><p>* Wear something that is easy to breastfeed in and take any equipment that you might need like a feeding cushion. </p><p>* Arm yourself a one line retort for anyone who actively criticises. I've yet to master this but I'd love to deliver a perfectly timed shot to give the recipient something to think about!</p>
You work in a very image-based industry. How did your respect for your body change after you had children? Did you feel more or less self-love?<p>I have spent my whole working life, from 17-years-old onwards, making sure my body is looking as it 'should' be, making it look polished and presentable and always shoot-ready. I hadn't realised how exhausting and time-consuming that constant upkeep was until I had a baby and all of that slipped far, far down the priority list. While I've always had a good relationship with my body I realised after having a baby that I had always been assessing whether it would meet outside approval because that's par for the course in the modelling industry. I usually thought that it would and so I was confident in it but now I realise that was still an unhealthy way of seeing myself. Pregnancy, birth and breastfeeding have been such positive experiences for me because I went in believing my body was capable and that they were all natural processes that didn't need any undue intervention. But I hadn't anticipated how those things would also make me feel so much more rooted and empowered, physically and mentally and I'm still genuinely in awe of what my body has been capable of. I really have absolutely no interest in what other people think of my body now because I love it more than I ever have, despite it looking different to before, and in fact, if anything it improved the scope of my modelling work as suddenly my body and face looked more lived in, opening up opportunities to work with a more diverse range of brands. </p>
What would you say to women about body love after babies?<p>It's so hard to comment here because so many women come to parenthood with body issues that have been a constant presence throughout their life. Pregnancy, birth and motherhood only exacerbate those anxieties which is understandable when you've spent your lifetime seeing celebs' postpartum bodies pulled apart by the media. </p><p>I spent my pregnancies fascinated by what my body was doing and read as much as I could to fully understand the process. There is something so wild and raw and feminine about it that I felt like a warrior. Reading books like Ina May Gaskill's Guide to Childbirth connected with that feeling and gave me so much appreciation for my body which definitely carried through to the postnatal period. </p><p>I would also say that your babies think your body is the most wonderful thing - their first home and their safe place - and I only wish that more women were able to see themselves through their child's eyes. </p>
How have comments such as "Oh, you're still breastfeeding" or "When are you planning to stop" made you feel and how do you respond?<p>It has taken me a while but I am now able to understand that these comments come from a place of ignorance and ingrained prejudice that stems from living in a patriarchal society and until confronted with an alternative view people will accept their beliefs as truths. I am also conscious that language can be a fickle thing and that word, 'still', isn't always intended as a criticism. Sometimes it can reveal admiration or curiosity which then allows me to open up the conversation. I have an opportunity to challenge the status quo by showcasing an alternative way of doing things. I don't do it to push breastfeeding down people's throats but simply to show that continuing to breastfeed for as long as you and your child want it is an option. </p>
What have been the ups and downs of motherhood for you?<p>I really had no clue how demanding, all consuming and relentless motherhood would be. The shift in gear came as such a shock and it took me several years to adjust and to feel full acceptance of my new version of normal. I've read a lot on matrescence since having my second baby and particularly love Dr Oscar Serrallach and his work on postnatal depletion because it made me feel seen and heard and I realised everything I felt was perfectly normal and part of the process. I really feel like I'm into my stride with it now though and we've reached a place that my friend describes as 'the promised land' where we feel like a proper unit and the kids will play happily together while I get to enjoy a hot coffee!</p>
What was your experience of lockdown - how did you manage it as a family?<p>In all honesty, I loved lockdown. At the beginning it was a strange thing to acknowledge that life under lockdown was remarkably similar to my normal life in a small, rural village as a mostly stay at home mum but as soon as everyone else in the country (keyworkers excepted) were willingly incarcerated I suddenly felt much more at peace, less like I was missing out or that the world was carrying on at a pace while I was at a standstill. Staying at home with the kids felt proactive and a more valuable contribution to society than it is usually deemed to be and the slowness offered up a wonderful opportunity for reconnection. Having my husband there for every meal which we mostly ate outside and for bath and bedtime removed so much of the daunting loneliness that comes with motherhood. I understand all of this comes from a place of great privilege and good health, but I can honestly say it was one of the happiest periods of parenthood for me. </p>
If you could go back to before you became a mother, what would you tell yourself?<p>If you take the time to tune into yourself, you will find you know how to do this. It will take time to process and learn, but the love and the strength is there for you and it's limitless. I would also say it is really, really hard work, unfathomably so in the early days, but there is a direct correlation between the work you put in and the benefits you reap so hang in there. Work out what self care really looks like for you and don't compromise on it, even if it's as little as brushing your teeth twice a day which can feel like a mini win with a newborn. And one thing that I've learned with my second child is that they will teach themselves. They are hardwired to learn through play so just wait and watch and resist the urge to step in to complete something for them or push them towards the next milestone, because they will get there in their own sweet time. </p>
The story we are told of motherhood is one of lightness that leans into the beautiful, the incredible and the magical. However, for all the lightness there is shade, and in the shadows lies a rollercoaster which pushes you to your limits and at times breaks you. Both sides are important for open, real dialogue around motherhood. As a health professional I entered motherhood confident. I had all the resources at my fingers tips as a women's health physiotherapist. Despite this, my journey was far from smooth. Even though I was well informed, it didn't make me immune to the real emotional and physical challenges of motherhood that are still so rarely discussed.
My Motherhood Journey<p>When I first fell pregnant, I was blissfully happy. I felt I had realistic expectations of what motherhood was going to be like. I was also very aware of the high rates of mental health conditions that come up during the perinatal period and knew what to look out for. I was primed and ready to be the earth mumma I was destined to be.<br></p><p>Then my pregnancy had a slight curve ball, I had placenta previa which meant many unsettling vaginal bleeds, no exercise, and the very real threat of complete bed rest. Thankfully, my placenta lifted around 35 weeks, and I was able to have a vaginal delivery. I was induced, the birth was fast and intense, and I needed a ventouse and an episiotomy. Despite this, I felt very positive about my birth mainly because I was informed, supported and respected through the journey. We had a healthy little girl, and I was in absolute awe. Pure. Magic.</p><p>And then the post-natal period began. I had feeding issues, my baby wasn't gaining weight, she had blood in her stool, and chronic vomiting. Paediatricians prescribed various medications and prescription formula, but the constant crying from my bub and the sleep deprivation for all of us continued. For many years. </p><p>Bit by bit my confidence began to crumble. I was anxious that she wasn't getting enough nourishment, I felt guilt that this was all my fault and I started to doubt myself and believe I was a bad mother. This was not the motherhood I had pictured. But as all 'good' mothers do, I put on a brave face and pushed on. I continued to run my business, treated patients, and carried on with life. Under the surface, I was utterly depleted and hanging on by a thread. </p><p>And then we fell pregnant with our second baby. During this pregnancy my level of exhaustion hit a new low. I was still getting up through the night, working and studying, and I became highly anxious about how I was going to care for another baby.</p>
Doctor Preeya Alexander shares with us what happens behind the closed doors of a general practice, and why you're never (ever) alone...
"As a GP, I often reassure my patients that what they're feeling is normal – how do I know? Because many women have disclosed this to me over time and I had similar emotions as a new mother. I can assure you the loss of sense of self is something I commonly encounter in my consulting room," Preeya said.
“I’m pregnant, but I’m here because I don’t want to go ahead with this”<p>This is not an uncommon statement I hear when the door shuts. I think many envision a certain stereotype when it comes to this kind of consult – it's assumed that its mainly teenagers with unintended pregnancies who come in with this request- but I can assure you that is far from the truth. I've supported all sorts of women through the termination of pregnancy process- married, in long term relationships, women desperate for children but without the financial capacity to sustain a child at the time, victims of sexual assault. There is often some reluctance from the patient – I often see a searching look pass across my face trying to see if there is judgement – but my response is always the same, "it's great you're here, let's talk options." I'm a GP who is prochoice – I believe a woman should know her all options and feel empowered to make whatever decision suits her mental and physical wellbeing at the time. As a GP I spend often multiple consults helping women through the decision, discussing options (from proceeding with pregnancy, to adoption to potential options for termination) – it is our job as the doctor to ensure a woman is supported so that she can make the decision that suits her. There are some doctors who do not discuss termination options or offer counselling based on their own religious or ethical reasons – but they do have a duty of care to inform you and refer you on to other doctors who can help you.</p>
“I feel like I’m constantly thinking about what needs to be done, and I’m exhausted by it”<p>The female mental load can be heavy –I know this from personal experience. Many women will admit to me the heaviness of the constant juggling, the constant need to think about what needs to be done. I often feel the same way and as the GP it can often be quite comforting knowing I am not alone in my thoughts. "I can relate to how you are feeling in more ways than you could know" is a common response from me. The therapeutic relationship and its boundaries can be tricky to navigate as a GP – we get to know our patients, their families so incredibly well and sometimes we start to share bits and pieces of ourselves. Some in my profession might say we shouldn't reveal a thing about ourselves to our patients to maintain a clear boundary. Personally, I disagree; if I know the patient may gain comfort, insight, courage from one of my own stories then I will consider sharing it. So yes, I have previously shared that I struggle with the constant juggle as well – and I've shared that as a family we too have survived miscarriages and that I myself have battled anxiety years ago and taken medication; if the story adds value to the consult then I may share it and my experience has been that it strengthens the relationships with my patients as opposed to weakening it. And so, I often agree with my female patients who struggle with the mental load- the list in heads, on paper, on phones is never ending for many of us – there's a lot to think about constantly and for many reasons, women tend to carry the main mental load of the household. Does the household have milk for coffee in the morning? Is there a meal for tomorrow night when everyone comes home exhausted tomorrow from school and work? Are there enough clean undies for everyone? Are the dogs fed/walked/groomed? Are the forms for school filled? Are swimming lessons on next week or do they go miss a week because of the public holiday? It's life – but for many, me included, it is exhausting so you are not alone!</p>
“I feel like I’ve lost myself”<p>New mothers will often very quietly admit this in the consulting room. The social media letter boards one often sees with the statement "I found myself in motherhood" can just be a "kick in the balls, or ovaries" as a patient once told me. She was one of many who felt her identity has struggled somewhat as a new mother.</p>
“I feel like I’ve lost my identity”<p><em>"I feel like people just see me as a mother now"</em> <em>"I feel like I've forgotten who I used to be"</em> <em>"I just don't feel sexy anymore since becoming a Mum"</em> I've heard all of these in my consulting room before, and personally, I don't think we openly discuss this enough as women who become mothers. I think many of us struggle to find ourselves again in motherhood and many might gain comfort in knowing they're not alone in this journey. Motherhood is a wonderful, tumultuous, fascinating, sometimes ugly dark journey. It has its real ups, but it also has its testing (and very exhausting) moments. In those initial month's patients will often reveal that they are struggling with the loss of identity or feeling lonely. Yes, you have an infant with you constantly- feeding off you, sleeping on you – but somehow you can still feel an overwhelming loneliness, an isolation from the "real world" as you mourn your pre-child life a little and the ease of it (if only you had really relished sleep-ins and pop-ins to the shops).</p>
Trusty linen blouses from Worn Store, cosy knit pants from St. Agni, cashmere jumpers, bassike cotton jersey pants…
Ella McCabe Barton is listing her maternity wear staples (and we're taking note). The mother-to-be grew up in England and moved to Australia three years ago. She met her partner and that was that – Australia is now home. After deciding that she didn't want to just holiday in Byron Bay – she wanted to call it her home – she tapped into the creative community and landed a job at Tigmi Trading (one of our favourite home goods brands). Here, we catch up on everything from how she's navigating pregnancy to her love of swimwear brand Hakea Swim (worn throughout this story).
What are some great pregnancy resources you can share?<p>Self-care and making time each day to connect in, in whatever capacity that may be. I have had a daily yoga practice since the age of 18 and it has been the greatest gift and resource in my life. Having the time to connect in daily and be an observer to this wonderful life unfolding feels very important. My practice has evolved considerably over the years and now is less focused on the physical and more so on meditation and breath.</p><p> There are many wonderful support networks and resources available and at the beginning I found myself listening to many podcasts and talking to other women about their experiences. However, as my pregnancy develops, the inclination to go inward feels more and more important. I feel incredibly privileged to be a woman transitioning through this rite of passage into motherhood and trust that if I nurture from the inside – mother nature will allow things to unfold just as it should.</p>
How has your pregnancy been so far?<p>So far, the pregnancy has been a wonderful experience. The pure joy of coming to realise that you have created a new life and that your body is creating space to nurture is quite incredible. I have definitely allowed myself to surrender to whatever it needs – mostly sleep! I did get a little nausea which started around week 7/8 and dissipated around week 12 and since then I have been feeling great. </p>
How did you feel when you first felt your baby kick?<p>The most surreal and amazing experience! It took me by surprise. I had just sat down to have my tea one morning (at about 18 weeks) and all of a sudden there were 2-3 large thumps in my lower abdomen. I giggled to myself and then found myself talking to my belly. It was a couple of weeks until my partner felt it moving and when he finally did, it was incredibly special.</p>
Any food cravings?<p>The first trimester I was off a lot of foods and definitely craving more carbohydrates, however I haven't really strayed too far off my normal diet. I did, the other day, get a very strong craving for liquorice!</p>
What beauty products have you used throughout your pregnancy?<p>I have always kept a fairly simple beauty regime and I haven't changed anything during this pregnancy. I use <a href="https://www.dermaviduals.com.au/" target="_blank">Dermaviduals</a> on my face and I enjoy regular facials at <a href="https://www.aestheticabyronbay.com/" target="_blank">Aesthetica</a>, here in Byron Bay – it always leaves by skin feeling nourished, especially in winter! I truly believe that beauty starts from within and that what you put in will also transpire on the outside. I always start my day with a hot lemon drink and supplements where needed.</p>
What self-care rituals do you have in your life?<p>Self-care for me comes in many forms. In addition to my daily yoga practice, it is important for me to be in nature daily. Whether it is a walk, a swim or a surf, taking time to connect makes such a difference to how I feel.</p>
Has your approach to diet and exercise changed since you fell pregnant?<p>I have definitely slowed down. Exercise is still part of daily life, but I have modified my practice and I am continually tuning into what my body needs. When it comes to diet, I find myself often walking around our local markets or grocery stores to just buy what I feel like eating that day.</p>
Tell me about your work with Hakea Swim?<p>Casey has become a dear friend over the years and I absolutely love working with her and <a href="https://hakeaswim.com/" target="_blank">Hakea</a>. Her swimwear feels amazing (especially in the surf) and her creative input behind the brand makes it even more special. They are timeless pieces that wear incredibly well and fit all shapes and sizes. We are all big fans in my family!</p>
If you could write some words to your unborn child, what would you write?<p>You are surrounded in love, having come from infinite love, you are one of the many individual expressions of that infinite love, you are simply love in action journeying back to infinite love.</p>
How have you approached maternity dressing – what brands do you gravitate to?<p>To be honest, it took a little while for a bump to make an appearance and I managed to get away with wearing most of my clothes for quite some time. Now it has become trickier, but I do have some key pieces that are getting a lot of wear. We are very lucky to have some great brands on our doorstep here in Byron Bay! I have a few trusty linen blouses from <a href="https://wornstore.com.au/" target="_blank">Worn Store</a>, cosy knit pants from<a href="https://www.st-agni.com/" target="_blank"> St. Agni </a>– these layered with a cashmere jumper seem to be my staples these days. Oh, and also the cotton jersey pants from Bassike.</p>
How would you describe life in Byron Bay?<p>It really is a wonderful life here. Having moved from London three years ago, transitioning from a busy life working in the interiors industry to this… well, it doesn't compare. Here, it is possible to experience the right work and life balance that is hard to find in most parts of the world. In addition, we are surrounded by the most incredible nature and by a wonderful creative community. I have made many beautiful friends who are like an extended family and almost make up for my family who I miss dearly back in the UK.</p>
Tell us about your career path and where you are now in your career?<p>Having grown up in London and the South coast of England, I have always had a keen eye for design. I studied at London College of Fashion and at the Chelsea College of Art and Design, specialising in textile design. Having completed my degree, I started working in the interiors industry as an interior stylist and continued to do so, working on numerous editorial and commercial projects until I moved to Australia. After sometime here in Australia, I decided that I didn't want Byron Bay to just be another holiday, and I started to put some feelers out for creative opportunities when I met Danielle, the founder of <a href="https://tigmitrading.com/" target="_blank">Tigmi Trading</a>. I have now worked alongside her for more than two years, as creative producer, trade manager and product developer.</p>
What’s your favourite way to start the day?<p>I like to start my day practicing yoga or, in the summer, with a swim in the ocean.</p>
Last book you read?<p>I have a whole stack of books that I am currently dipping in and out of in the lead up to childbirth. These include '<a href="https://www.booktopia.com.au/the-first-forty-days-heng-ou/book/9781617691836.html" target="_blank">The first forty days</a>', '<a href="https://www.booktopia.com.au/ina-may-s-guide-to-childbirth-ina-may-gaskin/book/9780553381153.html" target="_blank">Ina May gaskin's guide to Childbirth</a>', '<a href="https://www.booktopia.com.au/birthing-from-within-pam-england/book/9780965987301.html" target="_blank">Birthing from within'</a>, <a href="https://www.amazon.com/Yoga-Sadhana-Mothers-Sharmila-Desai/dp/1906756309" target="_blank">'Yoga sadhana for mothers</a>'… All are wonderful reads!</p>
Last Podcast your listened to?<p>Oh, it has been a while since the last time I 'plugged in'! I used to listen to podcasts weekly while enjoying an infrared sauna session at <a href="https://www.nimbusco.com.au/" target="_blank">Nimbus and Co</a>, here in Byron Bay. My most listened to subscription is <a href="https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/204933/awake-in-the-world-by-michael-stone/" target="_blank">'Awake in the world' by Michael Stone,</a> a wonderful meditation teacher who passed a few years ago. His workshops were all record and each time I listen to him, his message seems to come at the perfect time.</p>
Here's a truth bomb, pregnancy is not all insta-perfection, with green smoothies and baby bump selfies...
It's a time for all sorts of new experiences and, unfortunately, waddling around with back pain is a common one. This is a subject close to my heart, as it's a condition I treat frequently, as well as something I've experienced firsthand with both pregnancies. I had to be especially vigilant looking after my back with my second pregnancy, where I was carrying out physical work both at home with a mischievous toddler and in my clinic treating.
MAIN CAUSES<p>The anatomy of the female pelvis is uniquely designed for childbirth. The hormone relaxin causes ligament laxity around the pelvis to help prepare the body for birth. This, however, can cause an imbalance e.g. Symphysis pubis dysfunction. It's important to keep a strong core to counterbalance this increased mobility.<br> <br>As the uterus grows, abdominal muscles can separate causing problems in the lower back, known as Diastasis Recti. Specific postnatal exercises can however help this to heal.<br> <br>As mentioned, pregnancy can be a stressful period. There is a direct link between emotional wellbeing and back pain. Part of the body's stress response is to tighten muscles e.g. in the lower back. Make sure you incorporate some relaxation/meditation when you can.<br> <br>As the baby grows, the lumbar spine can be pulled forward forming a hyperlordosis. This changes the distribution of forces through the spine, causing symptoms.</p>
TREATMENT<p>The good news is that, depending on the presentation and severity of complaints, most symptoms relating to lower back pain will disappear after the birth. In the meantime, here is how you can help yourself.<br> <br><em>Try and avoid the following:</em><br> <br>Lifting<br>Pushing heavy loads<br>Carrying on one side<br>Staying in one position (sitting or standing) for long periods of time<br>Holding a twisted position.<br> <br><em>Best exercises to relieve pain:</em><br> NB<br>– It's a good idea to have a consultation with a physical therapist.<br>-Be careful lying on your back after twenty weeks as this may affect the blood supply to the baby.<br>-Only do what feels comfortable for you and your baby.<br>-For each exercise-5 breaths inhale/exhale through the nose, repeat x 2/3<br> </p>
Flexion over chair
Squeeze the gluteus muscles away from the thumbs, together x 10, individually x 15.
Engage the pelvic floor by drawing in the deep muscles above your pubic bone up to the navel, squeeze x 5 seconds, repeat x 10
Particularly good if you’re suffering from any sciatic pain.
Tilt the pelvis as if you were lifting it off the floor, then tilt it back down x 10
Gentle knee hugs
Rest and restore
Other top tips<p>-Pelvic brace</p><p>-Keep moving-swimming and walking are great<br>-Postural improvements- tuck your tail bone under and keep legs hip-distance apart. Make sure you squat instead of bending through the back.<br>-Pregnancy pillow</p><p><em>Words: Carla Pozner | <a href="https://l.instagram.com/?u=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cpholistic.com%2F&e=ATPhMFAlJXCIxU2HP26CHIkjeKLAi55eaG8Jlajy6XBrrZgs7_YSOdJQXaKWYG5hHiqXhS55b5SLVHptOVvokmkxGbUwKVZkUezJVg&s=1" target="_blank">www.cpholistic.com</a> | Follow <a href="https://www.instagram.com/carlapozner/" target="_blank">@carlapozner</a></em></p>
The Grace Tales is a global lifestyle platform for mothers searching for style, substance, and solidarity. Driven by creating content, community and connection, we celebrate the paradox of modern motherhood; the struggle and the beauty, the joy and the relentlessness.
If you thought there were only three trimesters, well, prepare to think again.
While the newborn phase is often referred to as the fourth trimester, former Glamour editor Lauren Smith Brody took it one step further when she trademarked the term 'the fifth trimester'.
On coining the term the ‘fifth trimester’…<p>What I struggled with was that while there were a ton of resources about pregnancy and about the babies themselves, there was just nothing, absolutely a desert of nothing about returning to work after baby.</p>
On the motherhood penalty…<p>The motherhood penalty is the measurable impact of motherhood on a woman's earnings and on her status in the workplace.</p>
On breast pumping at work…<p>I would come out of my 20 minute, 25 minute pumping session and I would start handing back work to people that had my edits on it. I was really visible about that, because I wanted them to know that I wasn't leaving to go take a break. I was leaving to do two jobs at once.</p>
On the downfall of being your own boss…<p>There's no shower I take when I'm not in some small way thinking about the mission of my work, and that can be a hamster wheel that kind of never ends.</p>
On the importance of making her plans tangible…<p>One of the very first things that I did before I even wrote the book proposal for my book, to even find an agent, sell it to a publisher, and then start the company that came after, is I trademarked the term 'the fifth trimester'. And that was on the advice of a friend who is a woman who owns her own business, who said to me, "Just go do that, pay for it. It's not going to cost a ton of money, but it's an investment, and it also gives you a deadline because trademarks expire if you don't use them and it will make it real for you."</p>
On how mothers can accidentally freeze their partners out of parenting…<p>Try to remember that men are absolutely as capable of every single item of childcare and home life existence as women are, except for producing breast milk – and they're working on that. That's going to happen one day. Other than that, it really can and should be even, and as much as you can, tweak the system, because the system is very much stacked against you in terms of the fact that dad's probably paid better for the job that he does than you are.</p>
On the need for fathers to have solo parenting time…<p>When you go back to work, that's when he needs to take at least a week, just him with the baby, to really learn how to do it all, and for you to learn to trust him. Otherwise, then you go back to work and you've done everything. You've professionalized parenthood – purposefully and wonderfully done all these things for your baby and learnt how to do it all so well. He hasn't been able to have that time, even though maybe he wanted it. And when you get home at the end of the day, you're the only one who knows how to do it all.</p>
On how to manage the workload with your partner…<p>I recommend that couples on Sunday get together and look at their calendars and figure out, "Okay, what are my blackout times this week? If the baby has a stomach bug and can't go to daycare on Tuesday, but I have a huge presentation I'm making for this unmissable thing, can I claim that time?" And just go ahead and pre-negotiate your week so that if baby does get sick, it's already decided who's going to be home and how it's going to be handled. So it doesn't become a crisis in the moment.</p>
On how much maternity leave mothers really need…<p>All of the science really points to six months of paid parental leave as the minimum required to be protective of mom's mental health and physical health.</p>
On her best time management tip…<p>If you are tired, if you haven't gotten enough sleep, one thing that can help is to try to organize your day so that in that post lunch slump that everybody tends to feel when we're digesting our lunch, is counterintuitively – to actually schedule something that requires adrenaline in that time, because you'll get a natural burst of it. If you have to perform in some way, make an important call, do something that's a little bit scary, whatever it is, schedule it for that time and it actually will give you a burst of energy that's helpful.</p>
Sophie Harris-Taylor captures something we often try so hard to hide: our vulnerability. As mothers, we're supposed to be strong and powerful, yet what is often overlooked is that our transition into becoming a mother is the most vulnerable period of our lives...
"I think we're often afraid to show our vulnerabilities," agrees London-based Harris-Taylor. "Perhaps we think by showing this side people are going to judge and only see weakness. Where actually I think there's something incredibly powerful and strong about being openly vulnerable. I'm in awe of the people I photograph, its often about striking the balance between confidence and vulnerability. I've found my work to be a very therapeutic experience, it took me a while to open up myself, but by doing this it has allowed my subjects to open up and engage in an honest conversation."