So I promised you before and after Birth pictures (C Section). As I said in my earlier post, Google 'Pregnant Celebs' and you will find an abundance of them naked and heavily pregnant. Google 'Celebs Straight After Birth' or 'Celebs Straight after a C Section', as I did and you will find nothing, unless it's well lit and photo shopped and they certainly won't be naked.
As you can see from the above 'before' pregnancy picture of me (taken for PETA). I had worked hard for my stomach muscles. I've been an acrobat since I was two years old. That a lot of years upside down, to get a flat stomach. I'm in the public eye and more to the point, I'm a dancer, so my body being in the right shape for me is important for my mental state and well being. It's very narrow minded of me but it's one of my many demons and it's one that I cannot shake off and believe me, I've had time in psychiatric units to try. Now, in my forties I've made peace with the fact that it is important to me and that that is OK. It's my life after all, so I have to do what I can to make me happy.
I knew having a baby was going to be hard for me mentally. Putting on weight for an ex bulimic is not easy. I wanted a healthy baby more than anything though, so I would have happily gained 90 pounds if I had to. I'm not going to lie to you as that helps no one, I was very careful about how much weight I put on at first. I found this chart at KidsSpot - (after looking at many - this was my favourite) and I weighed myself every day. Not healthy or advised, but it was the best way for me to deal with it.
I aimed to stick to the chart religiously. It was the only way I could cope with the weight gain. In fact gaining too little weight was my biggest fear but I also needed to know I wasn't gaining too much weight either. Silly I know.
I was going along great with the 'average' weight gain on the chart, until about week 24 of my pregnancy, when I just stopped gaining weight. My pregnancy was very, very stressful, for reasons which I will divulge to you at some point. So by week 24, I think my poor body was just too stressed to put any more weight on, even though I was eating as much as I could. Of course at this point of my pregnancy, there was so little room in my stomach, it was hard to eat too much at once.
When the midwife measured my fundus, at around 28 weeks, it was evident the stress was taking it's toll and that I was not growing as I should. This meant I had to have scans every other week to make sure Phoenix was growing and although because of all the stress, this had slowed down a little, he was still growing well and healthy. By the end of the pregnancy, I will still only 114 pound though. I just could not put weight on and this did stress me even more than I already was.
The minute Phoenix was born, because I had gained so little weight, I really thought I would just bounce back in to shape. I was only really worried about my stomach muscles. I hadn't opted for a C Section for the simple and rather vain reason that I wanted to keep my stomach muscles from being ruined and I really wanted to still be able to do acrobatics and gymnastics. I had not dilated more than 3cm in labour though, so there was no choice but to have a section. At the time I was so knackered, I was just glad I didn't have to push -but once home with my new baby, I wondered when I would be back wearing my size 6 jeans! What a moron I can be.
Now, I will go in to, 'the things they don't tell you after you have given birth', in another blog. However, I will tell you now I was so swollen from being on a drip, that in spite of not having eaten during labour for about 3 days. I was actually bigger when I came out of hospital, than when I went in to give birth two days earlier!
My knees were so swollen I had no knee bones at all. The tracksuit I had brought to come out of hospital, wouldn't go round my swollen scar. When they say, take big knickers in to the hospital to come home in, they mean bigger than the passion killers you had while you were pregnant. Oh and your stomach does not just 'bounce' back in to shape. It looks even more deformed after a section because your scar is also swollen.
Knowing now that my precious baby was safe and healthy, I started wondering when I would lose weight. I didn't even lose the 6 pounds that Phoenix weighed until a week after the birth. This is when I started googling, 'celebs after a c section' ' naked celebs after a c section' 'celebs c section scars'.... Let me tell you, I found nothing, nada, zilch, NOTHING - and this made me really mad.
We go to celebs to find out how to lose weight, look good in our bikinis, look good when we are pregnant and they graciously show us how it's done, they get paid to. So why not now? Maybe because they are so in love with their babies they don't care to be pictured? Bull shit! Celebs love a photo shoot and the chance for PR more than anything, it's how they stay relevant and make their money. They pay PR agents to be seen in all the magazines! So I could only deduce, it's because they don't want any one to see them. It's not very glamorous after you have given birth, you go from a blossoming pregnant beauty, to a leaky old hag as soon as your little miracle is born. No one wants to show that. They don't want to help us if it means looking like the rest of us.
So 6 days after I had given birth and realised all this, I took some pictures, which I will now share with you. I don't know if they will be helpful but I just want to show you what happened to me, having been thin anyway and then not putting on enough weight my body did not change back straight away and I really thought it would.
I'd taken this picture for a piece about 'pregnant selfies' for The Mirror, in a response to a selfie Kim Kardashian had taken of her bump.
Aah, there I am all blossoming, looking toned and pert still.
This is 5 days before I gave birth.
So I decided to replicate this picture 6 days after I had given birth....
Truly not so blossomy or pert! Not horrific but my under belly is bigger than it was pregnant because of my scar, I'm not nearly as glowing and my usually tidy bedroom is a tip and my skin seems to have got saggy...!
Here are a few more pics and close ups of my scar 10 days after...
Not too bad - but again something the celebs don't show and something I really wanted to see, so I could tell if I was doing 'normally' or not.
This picture is again 10 days after giving birth...As you see my stomach was still really swollen. My surgeon did a terrific job on the scar though.
8 months after the scar is healing still. Sometimes it still itches or hurts but on the whole it is hardly noticeable.
I was back in my jeans 3 weeks after I had given birth, so I was super lucky - but I was also disciplined with my diet and quite frankly too tired to eat. The swelling around my scar went down pretty fast too, I've heard this can take 6 months to settle down. I used SCAR Away for C Sections and it definitely does help. Just don't use them too soon. I'd wait until at least 3 months after your operation.
I'm now too thin and 6 pounds less than I was before I became pregnant. That is purely down my diet and sometimes just being too busy to eat. I am slowly putting weight on though as I think I look awful when I'm too thin
Me a week ago - weighing 6 stone 5! Not good
So there you have it, scars and all. I showed these pictures to a journalist and she remarked that I just looked like I'd had a big curry the night before and that people wanted to see horrendous pictures. I didn't take them for a scandal though, I took them as some sort of reference for real women to see after they have given birth. We are all shapes and sizes and if I had another baby I would want to put on much more weight than I did with Phoenix and hopefully it would be a stress free pregnancy, so I could. What I wanted to show here, is what the celebs don't show. Even if you have done acrobatics for 40 years, as I have, your tummy doesn't just pin back in to shape. It takes time and effort and your body does change for good - but it changes for the better too. You have made a miracle and every time I look at my scar I smile, because it is Phoenix, it is the most beautiful thing I have on my body. It was a portal for him to start his life. It is a magical scar and I thank my body and our wonderful NHS and all at Arrowe Park Hospital for making it happen.