I’ve Earnt My Tiger Stripes!!

It’s been 7 years now since I had a flat, flawless belly where I didn’t have a handful of excess skin that hangs over my shorts when I bend over….but I’m not depressed or sad about it, as without the state my belly is in I wouldn’t have the three gifts of life I’ve been given:)

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On our honeymoon 8 years ago before I became a mum!

I write this blog as the bikini season is approaching and since losing 13 kilos and working hard to get rid of my bulging belly, I’ve come to the realisation that my bikini wearing days are over! No matter how hard I try or how much weight l lose, the state my belly has been left in, from carrying my three babies, will always be an everlasting reminder of the miracles I have!

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My body changes have all been worth it if it means being a mum to my children!

How things change once you become a mum:)! I’ve gone from this vein precise person to someone who worries about herself after everyone else is all settled! Before children my belly was the most toned part of my body and I was fortunate enough to wear whatever I wanted but now I chose outfits wisely that cater to my belly’s needs!

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I don’t look at my belly and feel as though it’s ruined, it’s an area of my body the kids like to cuddle up to. They love it! Bailey calls it squishy and loves to see it wobble, Sienna loves the feel of it and Mia loves seeing how far the skin stretches out! Every night after dinner when we are on the lounge Mia always lifts up my shirt and relishes in the area of my body that they once lived closely to for a whole 9 months! Together they giggle and feel safe and secure. I’m not embarrassed by it, I would be more upset and mortified if the kids (and my husband for that matter) were repulsed and didn’t want to come near it!

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It’s common knowledge that baring a child is going to have some affect on our bodies! I mean for goodness sake we are humans growing a human and it has to grow and stretch and come out some how! Some women are lucky enough to have none or very little scare wounds and then others are hammered with a lot! I was less than 60kgs when I had my first baby who was 9 pound 5 at 38 weeks – yeah you would think he did the damage to my belly, but it was my daughter who cracked the 10 pound mark. My pregnancy with her was the one that left me with my tiger stripes….the third just added a bit more stretch to the already over stretched skin!

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My everlasting reminder of the miracle of life….and I always wanted a tatoo on my belly, imagine what it would look like now if I had of got one lol!

I don’t ever think why me! I would far rather have a belly looking like this and my three munchkins than the alternative. Would I have it fixed? Not at this stage….I don’t think my children would allow it! Lol! I have far more things I would rather spend our money on. Since finding out about my heart condition, it has changed my life for the better. My aim is to keep fit and healthy so I can be the best mum and wife and watch my children grow….anything beyond that is not a priority anymore! So for now I’ll wear my tiger stripes proudly and embrace a one piece swim suit this summer!

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The Battle of the Bulging Belly!

If you could change one part of your body what would it be?

Mine would be my belly!

I’ve always been smaller up top than the bottom and if I put on weight it always goes straight to my thighs and butt. Throughout my pre baby days I had a flat stomach and never had any troubles with putting on weight in that area and then I had one baby, two babies and before I knew it 5 years had past and I was cradling my 3rd baby!

When I first fell pregnant with my son almost 7 years ago, I never once worried about what it would do to my body. I was so thrilled that I was growing a little life inside my belly. I am one of those people that start showing early on in my pregnancies, so by 20 weeks I always had a decent size belly, that would just seem to grow and grow by the second! I first gave birth at 38 weeks to my beautiful baby boy Bailey Kane Trew, who was 9 pound 5 – ouch much! Again even though I still looked like there was a baby left inside of me two days after he was born, I was happy and content with our new bundle of joy and our new little family that we created!

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Days before giving birth to my 10 pound baby girl!

Because I was less than 60kgs when I fell pregnant and ended up carrying close to a baby elephant at the end, I ended up with a 4cm stomach muscle separation….but trust me I can push them out lol! After seeing a physio weeks after giving birth and taking good care of myself and following the physio’s exercise plan, my muscle separation went back to normal and by the time Bailey was one my belly returned to its normal flat state:)

Then a whole new world began for me when I fell pregnant with my second baby! Where I craved not much other than slurpees with my first pregnancy, I craved anything fatty, juicy and sugary the second time round! And milk, I couldn’t get enough of the stuff….frappes by the dozen!! When I think about it, I really ate myself stupid! Which is why I put on over 20kgs and alas gave birth to a 10 pound 2 precious baby girl Sienna Lynette Trew! She came out running and looked 3 months old compared to most other babies lol!

At this point the state my belly was in didn’t even cross my mind. I’d just given Bailey a little sister and we now had a bigger family to enjoy, but i was sore!!! Sienna was so big that she left my insides hurting for a long time! My stomach, ribs, kidneys, it felt like I’d been in a boxing ring.This time round I ended up with a 5cm stomach muscle separation, but that didn’t phase me as I was confident things would go back to normal just like it did after having Bailey….not so easy!

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6 months after Sienna was born, belly still ‘pregnant’ looking!

I went to the physio again, who like last time gave me the same exercises to do, but having a 2 and a half year old in toe this time round, life was far more challenging and of course things like myself got pushed to the side. Things were different this time too. I had to wear a support compression belt for 6 weeks after having Sienna and when this time was completed, I had to wear those belly support undies. After 6 months my belly had gone down considerably, but I was left with a bulge that had so much loose skin hanging from it, as my skin was stretched beyond repair!

I didn’t get even a hint of stretch marks with Bailey, but with Sienna I did! I mean I really should be grateful to only get what I did….she was 4.6 kgs born!!!! I remember approaching Sienna’s 1st birthday and my belly was no where near back to its flat state that it was pre baby and post Bailey! But I came to accept that this is how it would be now and if that was the result of being able to conceive, carry and give birth to two beautiful precious gifts, then I was ok with that!

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At the races for my 30th birthday, nearly 2 years since Sienna was born and still sporting a belly!

The kids loved my belly. It was like a big bowl of jelly that they could mush their little hands around in. I still remember Bailey coming into our bed in the mornings and lifting my pj top to play with my belly. I wasn’t phased by it at all! They would always ask me “why is your belly like that mummy?” and I’d reply with telling them how they grew inside my belly and everytime they grew my skin would keep stretching and stretching and eventually it stretched so far that it didn’t go back anymore! They loved that story!

My support undies became an essential to my wardrobe and I never would go out without them on. I know it sounds stupid but I lacked confidence without them. Things I use to wear nicely, didn’t look as nice anymore and I always had an overhang whenever I bent over or sat down! I was often asked if I was pregnant or not, but all I kept thinking of were my two precious babies and how blessed I was to have them! Then I did fall pregnant with Mia. By now my thoughts were more focused on crap 3 kids how am I going to manage this as apose to how will my belly look now!

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Hours before giving birth to my third and final baby….my belly had reached its peak and will never be like this again!

Mia’s pregnancy was a cross between my first two so I didn’t put as much weight on as I did when pregnant with Sienna, but more than I did with Bailey and I finally got my wish for a baby in the 8 pounds lol! At 38 weeks, weighing 8 pound 13, Mia Natalie Trew was born and completed our beautiful family! Mia’s birth was very bittersweet as I was diagnosed with a heart condition a week prior so the last thing I was thinking about was my belly, I was happy that I got through it without any complications to Mia or myself!

It’s amazing how different your body feels after giving birth to an 8 pound baby as apose to a 10 pound baby! But third big baby in 5 years, it was always going to take its toll and this time I ended up with an 8cm stomach muscle separation:( Between my heart and my belly, I wasn’t able to do any heavy lifting for the first few months, bit hard with 3 kids under 5! I saw a really awesome physio this time and within 4 months of having Mia, my muscle separation was back to 2 and a half cms, which meant it didn’t need to be surgically fixed….I was stoked!

20120511-142148.jpgBailey and Sienna meeting their baby sister for the first time….my belly is like a shelf in this photo!

Again the excess skin and bulge was as bad as ever and the kids thought it felt as squishy as ever too. As much as I was beginning to miss my lean flat belly, the belly I had now was a beautiful reminder of the three precious babies I carried and nurtured while they were growing inside of me. But something was changing, I was starting to feel a strong urge to reclaim my original body shape that I’d given up hope on, while I was getting use to being a mum of 1, then 2 and finally 3 children. Knowing Mia was our last, the time had come for me to put myself first and do something about my bulging belly!

It’s been 7 months now since I started my weight loss journey and I can happily report that it is possible to win the battle of the bulging belly! It takes time, but with patience, determination and perseverance, the battle can be won! I haven’t spent hundreds of hours at the gym, nor do I spend hundreds of hours exercising each week! I simply walk or run for half an hour each day and follow a healthy eating plan. It took a long time for me to finally put those running shoes back on to reclaim the person I once was, but the timing was right and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it.

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15months after giving birth and 7 months of exercise and healthy eating, my belly is close as it will get to pre baby:)

I feel like I have a new lease on life now. I’m so much happier, fitter and healthier, which reflects on every aspect of my life! The kids love me exercising and join in with me whenever possible. I have thrown all my belly undies away and feel as confident as ever! When I tell people I have 3 children, they look at me and say “you!” and I think “why not me!” People stereotype mums and what we should or shouldn’t look like or wear. At the end of the day we are humans and should be allowed to do things for ourselves that make us happy! Losing weight hasn’t affected my mothering duties, I think I’m an even better mum now. My belly will never be back to its original state prior to having children, but it’s as close as it will ever be and I’m so satisfied with that!

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