Sailor asked me to jump on the trampoline with her the other day. Grant was playing with Scout, so I agreed. It’s been quite some time since I’ve been on a trampoline. I started thinking about just how long as we were jumping and laughing… and then BOOM! A little bit of wee came out mid-air.
Sailor asked me what was wrong. I must have looked fairly shocked. It hadn’t happened before. I didn’t quite know how to react. I told her to keep jumping. So I jumped again and again BOOM! I was slowly leaking. UGH! How horrible! How unfair! All those bloody pelvic floor exercises I did for months and now this! Sailor asked me why I had my hand between my legs with a petrified, horrified look on my face. I didn’t want to scare her so I just told her, “Nothing darling. Just something that happens to mummies when they have babies. It’s all good!”
What happened next I was NOT expecting. Sailor responded, in a very matter- of-fact voice. “Oh, yeah I know. Mummies get hairy bottoms when they have babies.” “WHAT?” How did this situation just go from bad to worse? She responded, “Yeah I told all my friends and they said the same thing about their mummies.”
Oh my gosh! I was in total shock. I literally just peed myself and then I’m told my daughter is talking about my “hairy” bottom to all her school mates. What have I become? I calmly explained to her that it’s not really that nice to talk about Mummies bottoms at school. She didn’t get what the big deal is and asked me why things change when you’re pregnant. This got me thinking. And thinking some more and almost commiserating my pre-baby body,but then celebrating the triumph of actually growing another human being inside me!
There’s a LOT of things not spoken about when you have kids. I’m sure I’m not the only one who knows this or thinks this but for those who are blissfully unaware let me tell you straight – having children wreaks havoc on your body! Your body, your brain, become merely a vessel to carry these little people to life! Now, if you’re reading this in your bikini while breastfeeding your newborn with perky breasts and sipping a caramel latte on some beach, just know I hate you! Nah, just kidding. Stop reading this now and go read a “life as a bikini model blog” somewhere else! If you’re still reading this, then I know you know what I mean!
Well, this is a little slice of my havoc story, I guess! I’m telling you so that YOU too can feel normal. I’m being brutally honest but not gross, to let you have a little giggle, not to freak you out. No matter how many changes or adjustments my body and brain have gone through, nothing compares to the love and the joy of having children! I just hope that by telling my story, you may feel a little better about yourself. Your insecurities. Those little niggling worries that plague all of us mums. Well most of us, that are more likely to burn a bikini in a fire than be seen wearing one! And by the way, I’d love to hear all about your story (if you’re game) in the comments section!
I’ve spoken before about being sick when first pregnant. In the beginning, I would vomit all over myself in bed, in the car, and on the street. It was horrendous. I had shocking reflux and could barely eat a thing. I lost a lot of weight very quickly. After the first trimester my morning sickness subsided and was replaced with an insatiable desire to devour the entire planet, all its people, and to wash it all down with pork crackling coated in condensed milk. In fact, I would have nearly three cans of condensed milk every day. I also lived in Chinatown, Sydney, at the time, and could be found wandering into each and every Chinese restaurant almost hourly to fill up on fried rice and chilli pork. I quickly gained back all the weight I had lost and more. And more. And more! When I finished working at Sunrise a month before Sailor was born, the three numbers I had on speed dial were my husband’s, my mum’s and Dominos Pizza. The day my daughter was born, I was weighed and I had put on 30.2kgs. Ooops? But she was a very healthy baby with a penchant for Chinese and condensed milk! KIDDING!
Now, I know I speak about my weight battles elsewhere, so you don’t need reminding here! I wanted to discuss the other changes I have experienced since having my babies.
Firstly, my feet grew two sizes. U-huh! I was a small size 7 with some really gorgeous shoes before I was pregnant. Afterwards, I could barely squeeze into a wide size 9 flat. They had to be flat, because my feet were too large and my legs too heavy to wear any type of heel. It was an extremely sad day when I gave away all my size 7 shoes, as nobody could tell me if my feet would ever return to normal. I had sausages for toes! My feet also became incredibly flat, making me walk like I had big heavy blocks on my feet! Stomp, stomp, stomp! I was told that it was a combination of fluid and extra weight. However, when I lost weight before falling pregnant the second time… my feet remained clown-sized! Strangely, they have settled into a size 8 now and I think they’ll stay that size from here on? At least I hope so!
Now to talk about a little extra hair. On the face, girls! Sheesh! I developed a very nice downy hair pretty much all over my face while pregnant with Sailor. It’s kinda like a blonde peach fuzz around my cheeks, my lips and down under my jaw line! It looks wonderful under makeup and while standing in the sun! NOT! It’s kinda cleared up a little now but for a good while there I thought I would be furry forever!
Also on the face, I developed a beautiful brown dirty looking mark all over my forehead and covering my chin and top lip! This is known as the evil, Melasma! I know it well. I see it every bloody day when I look in the mirror, however, it is getting better as I’m having laser treatments to try reduce it and to explain just how tough this mark is to remove – they use a tattoo removal laser! Until I started having laser, it didn’t matter how much make-up / concealer / spakfiller I put on my face, this persistent stain could not be covered. If it had been a while since I touched up my face, people would gesture to me to wipe my lip as they thought I had a layer of dirt (cause I often do eat dirt?) or they thought I had traces of food on my face! So embarrassing when you’re trying to have a conversation with someone and they keep staring and then eventually ask if I had accidentally brushed up against something dirty. And I looked dirty! And I felt dirty! When I was pregnant with my second child, Scout, I looked just as ridiculous – I would cover my entire face with zinc daily (mostly nude but occasionally white like a cricketer). I was determined to prevent the marks from getting any worse the second time around… But, alas, my efforts were in vain. When Scout was born, I realised so too were some new permanent brown marks, now on my nose and down both sides of my face, under my peach fuzz! Hot!
Cellulite made an appearance with gusto during both pregnancies. I guess I was always carrying a little on my thighs – that’s normal, right? But now it also took up residence on my tummy, on my arms and even my calves. In fact, my legs (with the huge feet attached) were so bumpy due to excessive hormones and trapped fluid and pressure from the baby growing, that Sailor would often try to put her fingers in the holes and crevices when I would get changed and she would often ask me if the moon surface looked like my bottom. “All bumpy and dangerous for the astronauts!” Ew.
My beautiful buxom bouncing perky breasts became humongous balloons! Blown up and looking likely to pop at any minute, and bloody sore at times, too. See my breastfeeding story for more on them… But now, there is nothing. They’re little droopy pancakes. Actually, they look like they’ve just decided to give up on life altogether. They must be tired or just over it. They now just like resting on my stomach roll. They’re exhausted, too, I guess. Maybe depressed.Not sure. Someone once described their boobs after babies and breastfeeding as being similar to oranges in a pair of footy socks, all stretched and hanging low. Well, mine are like small mandarins in a pair of ankle socks, I guess you could say!
Varicose veins have attacked my legs, and left deep blue trails. I didn’t even really know what a varicose vein was until I was pregnant. And especially the second time around, when I felt a lump on my inner thigh in the shower. I recently spoke about this on National radio podcast with The Thinkergirls because it was terrifying and NO ONE ever told me it could happen. For those who haven’t heard the podcast revelation here’s a little summary of what transpired.I was heavily pregnant (about 8 months) and I believed I was feeling great at this very late stage, until I found a lump on the top of my thing whilst in the shower. I couldn’t see over my big belly but I could feel the lumpiness travelled all the way up to my groin and one part of my vagina er… lip? I guess you would call it. I felt like I had elephantiasis of the vagina. I instantly thought the baby had cause some gross deformity. To confirm what this swollen vagina was exactly, I begged my hubby to inspect. He got a torch and had a look while I laid on the ground thinking my life was over. I will never forget his face. He went white. He looked like he had seen a car crash! The corners of his mouth turned down and his lips were pursed. He said we better call the doctor as it looked like my vagina was swollen, blue, and very likely to explode. Explode? What the hell? I quickly called my Obstetrician and she could see me straight away. Her response after inspecting down there was … great. She laughed and laughed, while my husband and I waiting nervously to see what she was laughing about. She said I had a varicose vein that had become swollen and that if it wasn’t sore, it would be fine and should disappear after the birth. She told me it was just like a haemorrhoid. What! I had a haemorrhoid on my vagina?! She assured me it was fine, and just a swollen vein. Well … From that point on, I walked very open-legged and very slowly. The thought of the pulsating vein down there made me feel sick. I was advised to keep my feet up often, which I adhered to as best I could. And my Obstetrician was right – it disappeared a week or so after the birth! If only the ones on my right leg would disappear …
Brain cells. What are they? I was a reasonably intelligent person I thought before I was pregnant. Now I’m likely to leave the Vegemite in the laundry basket and the bread in the bathroom sink at times. I often can’t think of a word mid sentence and end up finishing conversations with “Umm.. God!” and trying to act out the word. Now I can’t even think of what the bloody game is called where you act out the words. See my point. Oh, charades! That’s it. Yes, I finish off my conversations in person using hand gestures like a game of charades! Hahaha.
My tummy has also changed. It was never really flat I guess, but now it looks like I have a little floppy veranda overhanging my caesarean scar. But, to be quite honest, I’m actually proud of my tummy! And not because I can squeeze it to make a doughnut around my belly button (a real talent), or because I can push it out and make it look like I’m about five months pregnant with minimal effort. I’m proud of my little floppy, flappy belly, because of what it represents! I know it’s really weird, because I’m way harsh on the rest of my body and changes, but my belly is like my little secret. Except now everyone reading this knows how I feel, so, not so secret anymore! When I look at it, I remember how big it got while creating two little people who I’m so proud of. I think about how special it felt to feel the girls’first little flutters, their first kicks, even their hiccups after I would eat salt and vinegar chips. I look at the teeny tiny caesarean scar and immediately think about how exciting and thrilling it was to meet both my babies for the first time. I also think about how scared and nervous I was about meeting both of them on an operating table.
I guess you could say that despite the stress and trauma our bodies go through to grow these little people and to nurture them early on, despite my whinging about everything I’ve sacrificed, the truth is, I wouldn’t have it any other way! Brown marks, hairy face, hair ahem, bumpy legs, veiny vaginas, humongous feet with bunions on the way, tired and puffy eyes, female baldness in patches, limited conversation abilities at times.. And STILL it’s all worth it, you’re thinking?!?! Is she crazy? Yep – kidswill do that to you, too! And just while I’ve got you, how unfashionable is it to wear Crocs with socks? Asking for a friend…
Chezzi as she calls herself, is not regal per say, but she is always courteous and best of all, she quite loves Corgis, so we are reasonably fond of her
The Queen – Madame Tussards
Chezzi knows nothing about football but by gosh she can tackle hard! Read her stuff please. Get her off my back
Greg – NFL wannabe
I’ve never trained anyone quite like her. She makes lots of odd sounds and pulls strange faces when working hard. I have to push her though as she prefers to chat. Um, she tried really hard. She’s super enthusiastic and not scared to sweat buckets! I love that about her. She brightens up my day with her mad life stories!
Bev – The Personal Trainer
Scout – Daughter (18mths)
Cheryl was always dramatic. At 4, she told us she wanted to be like Miss Piggy & work in TV! She never drew breath but was always a sweet child. Wild but very sweet.
Peter & Shelley Rogers – The Parents
Butterflies are always following me, everywhere I go.
Mariah Carey – International Singing Superstar
Chezzi thinks she’s hilarious but in fact, she laughs at her own jokes and often loses it before even getting to the punchline. I’m much funnier. She gets a lot of her material from me.
Lisa (Moons) Mooney – The Best Friend
A gifted storyteller with self-deprecating wit; tales of Chez’s day-to-day life need no exaggeration. If it’s going to happen, it’s going to happen to Chez! Over a decade of friendship, she has never ceased to amaze me with her strength, courage – and hilarity! I’m so glad her humour and wisdom has been given a platform to be shared with the world. Bookmark this blog!
Kate Fox- Producer, Writer, Avid Exfoliator
She is my wife and I’m scared of her, because she’s tougher than me therefore I can only say nice things about her! She IS unique and funny, so read her stuff. Please!
Grant Denyer – Husband
Mummy is a good cookerer. She’s pretty nice to me most of the time and she reads me books. I love her because she gives me nice food but she can sometimes be a bit rough when brushing my hair.
Sailor – Daughter Aged 5