In Parenting, WOMEN

I Am Just Being A Normal Mom

I love Ashiwarya Rai because she defied all odds, decked herself up and she stood tall and beautiful as she dazzled at the International Cannes Film Festival three days ago, despite of all the negative criticism which the press had slammed on her of late, for not losing all her baby weight after giving birth to her baby girl last November, the same month I gave birth to Charles.

Ashiwarya Rai is just being a NORMAL woman. She gained the pregnancy weight due to water retention and probably eating more for 2 persons when she was pregnant and had cravings for certain foods. For those who are super slim or who have not given birth before, you just don’t lose all that weight so easily. You took 9 months to put on between 12 to 15kgs, so you don’t expect to lose that 12 to 15kgs with a swirl of the magic wand. You have to work hard at it and you have to watch your food intake whilst breastfeeding and maybe even having to look after your first toddler or older children. Some mothers can get really depressed over the extra weight gain and develop body image issues. Some moody mothers even suffer from post-natal depression or postpartum depression (PPD) because of all the weight gained from pregnancy coupled with unkind comments from unsupportive and inconsiderate people around them.

Celebrities like Giselse Bundchen and Victoria Beckham are very wrong HOLLYWOOD examples to follow and mind you, I bold the word Hollywood because it’s crazy and it’s Tinseltown . Gisele actually did active combat training and also yoga 3 days a week during her pregnancy to keep her weight down and she proudly admitted she did kung- fu until 2 weeks before she gave birth to her son Benjamin in October 2009. Obstetricians encourage exercise after they have deemed your pregnancy as stable and that is usually after 20 weeks gestation. Even as an athlete, the obstetrician would advise against intensive training or workouts during pregnancy. To exercise and keep yourself and baby safe, stick to exercises that offer protection. To name a few, power walking, swimming, cycling and elliptical machines are low-impact exercises in which you can turn up the intensity without much risk. You must always remember to keep yourself hydrated and not to put any stress on yourself or the baby when you are exercising.

Victoria Beckham, who feels that Size Zero is the normal size for all human beings, did the most outrageous thing to lose weight after the birth of Baby Harper. She ate only shrimps after Baby Harper’s birth to lose the baby weight, not to mention she carried Baby Harper in 7-inch heels. (Is she nuts?) But to begin with, she is already so skinny and putting on that baby weight would definitely make her appearance curvier and sexier. She had better put on some weight before the roving-eye David Beckham gets entangled with another scandal and I don’t think she should add Baby No.5 to help mend things in her relationship though Victoria has really kept the fragile relationship going. Moreover, Posh Spice revealed to Vogue Magazine that she worked out a lot. She ran for 6 days a week and  followed a strict workout regimen created by her trainer Tracy Anderson. She worked out to a point that she became obsessive. (Don’t you think she looks anorexic?)

For myself, I gave birth to precious Charles 6 months ago in November 2011. When I reached my third trimester, I ballooned up even though my food intake was the same. I had cravings for ice-cream all the time and it had to be Ben and Jerry’s and I won’t settle for anything less. I also crave for fast food especially Mcdonalds’ fillet o’fish, which I do not normally eat. I did not exercise at all because I had spotting due to stress from corporate life. Doctor advised me to avoid exercise and have more bed-rest, which I did. As Caden was so small and skinny, I wanted my second son to be very chubby and fat. I asked my friends what I should take to make my baby fat. My friends encouraged me to take more rice, full-cream milk and of course all diary products. I ate all of that. Instead of rice, I ate noodles, I drank full-cream milk and I had Ben and Jerry’s ice-cream, not to mention pizza and fillet o’fish. By the end of the adventure, the only thing I was very proud of was that I gave birth to Charles at 38 weeks and he tipped the scales at 3.715kg. I had to opt for c-section because natural birth would be too painful for me to bear.

After Charles was born, I felt a sense of emptiness and I was at a loss. It is normal to feel depressed a few days after birth but the daunting feelings should go away after 10 days or so. If you get more depressed and find yourself crying and sobbing 3 weeks after birth, then you could be suffering from postnatal depression or postpartum depression (PPD). You should get family support or health support during your confinement or just after giving birth because it is a very trying period for the new mother because she has to breastfeed, look after the baby and is usually deprive of sleep. Therefore, it is very important for the new mother to have ample support from her family or partner. New mothers should also be truthful to their families and partners about their dismay and thwarted feelings. Women suffering from postpartum depression will have symptoms which include sadness, fatigue, changes in sleeping and eating patterns, reduced libido, crying episodes, anxiety, and irritability. Many women who seek treatment early will recover with a treatment consisting of a support group or counseling.

Apart from the downside of the weight gain, I had fantastic logistics support because I had planned ahead. I booked a confinement nanny when I was 20 weeks’ pregnant and I had a helper to look after Caden. When Charles was born, my confinement nanny, Ling-jie, practically took care of me and the baby for a month and we paid her S$2200 for her one-month stay with us and this amount was average market-rate. During confinement, I was told to follow old Chinese traditions like not washing the hair or bathing for almost 2 weeks. I find these old Chinese traditions baffling and I opted to follow Lactation Specialist, Wong Boh Boi’s advice instead. I prepared for my birth by reading a series of her Guide Books. You can get her Guide Books from Thomson Medical Centre and I encourage all mothers-to-be, especially first-time mothers to purchase and read her guide books because they are so informative and written for Singaporeans.

With the cooking from my confinement nanny, I fed myself really well the first month, enjoying all the confinement food and tonics. By my 6th week after birth, when my obstetrician said my c-section wound had healed nicely and I was given approval to go for fitness exercises, I darted back to my gym, Fitness First. The very first class I took was BODYCOMBAT because it was total conditioning using Mixed Martial Arts techniques. I told the instructor that I just had a baby and was given instructions to go slow, which I did.

I went for classes at Fitness First AMK Hub for about 3 times a week. I started to watch my diet and 6 weeks after birth, all my cravings were gone. I no longer wanted fast food but I craved for sushi. I ate Lean Cuisine which I got from Cold Storage for 2 weeks. However, I find Lean Cuisine a bit pricy, so I tried CP Foods from Thailand. They also have a range of home meals which have calories printed on the packaging. The meals are so easy to prepare . All you have to do is just to put the meals into the microwave for 3 minutes and voila, you have a decent meal.  I also resorted to taking healthy replacement meals from Herbalife. I also took Herbalife’s Cell-u-loss and Total Control, to lose my paunch and keep my weight down. I am very glad to say that I have lost most of the baby weight which I have gained but I still have that little paunch to remind me that I am a mother.

As a result of my recent Phuket trip and my crazy daily schedule, I couldn’t attend my favourite Body Combat classes at AMK Hub or Paragon Fitness First Centres but I will definitely go back to class soon otherwise the paunch will get bigger. I like Fitnessfirst instructors because they make the classes very interesting and they know their craft well. I think this is because they have to go through intensive training from Les Mills Group. I simply love to follow-up with their releases and the instructors always try to get creative with new releases. I envisage to go to class 5 times a week and I must make that effort if I want to be a Yummy Mummy, so I will be at Fitnessfirst AMK Hub or Paragon quite often. Come join me for a BODYCOMBAT class and I promise the class to be exhilarating.

Finally, I wouldn’t blame Ashiwarya Rai for not losing all that baby weight because you have to work extremely hard to lose that weight. You have to work at exercising and taking in less calories. However, if you are breastfeeding, you would want to eat well so that your baby gets the best breast milk. Well, I guess a lot of fans are unhappy because Ashiwarya Rai  is a public figure and as one of the most beautiful Bollywood actresses, she has an image to upkeep but come on, give her a break, she is not only an actress, she is also her daughter’s mother. Even with all that weight gain, she still looks a million dollars at Cannes.

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