Self-care has been hailed as one of the most vital parts of wellbeing in the 21st Century - and it's no wonder why. It's a hard time to be a human. It's an even harder time being a mother. Stress, anxiety, and depression among mums is arguably at an all-time high, and many are lacking the skill and strength to make lifestyle changes. But changing small things can change big things.
Today, I want to introduce you to Jenna, a Finnish mum of three, a wellness blogger, and an inspiration to our whole team. I'll let you read her story as she wrote in her own words:
"I got pregnant with my first child around Mother's Day 2017. Our daughter was due the end of January 2018. I was excited about becoming a mother, but I didn’t know a lot about being pregnant or how it changes your body. In Finland we do have a good healthcare system for pregnant mothers and the baby’s and mother’s condition are followed regularly. But I think we should get more information and guidance about physical matters, for example working out during pregnancy and pelvic floor exercises.
My lifestyle back then didn’t involve any physical activities and my eating habits were not that great either. Regardless, my pregnancy went well, but I did get diagnosed with gestational diabetes. My labour was induced and quite long, but when it was active, I got a lot of help from a TENS machine, a bath and gas and air. I also took the epidural. Labour went very well overall, and our beautiful daughter was born healthy. Giving birth was an amazing experience and I knew I wanted to do it again.
After the baby was born, I had a lot of difficulties with breastfeeding. It made me stressed, and since I eat for my feelings, I ended up gaining a lot of weight. I felt tired and unmotivated all the time. When my daughter turned one, I decided I had to do something to increase my energy. I started to add more exercise to my routines, and I started to eat more regularly.
Soon I noticed my lifestyle change had paid off: I lost weight and gained energy! My confidence improved and I felt like starting a new sporty hobby. I found love for working out at the gym and that became my passion. I shared my feelings and journey on my Instagram and through that I got a lot of peer support and lot of comments about how my journey was inspiring others.
I got pregnant again in 2019. This pregnancy ended in miscarriage at week 7. I was heartbroken and felt that because it was so early on, nobody really thought it was a big deal. I was alone with the grief.
On Mother's Day 2020 there was a new positive pregnancy test. I was elated, but from the beginning very worried about everything. This baby was due January 2021. Being pregnant this time was hard. I worried all the time about losing this baby, too, and suffered from physical pregnancy problems. Luckily, I received the Lola&Lykke Pregnancy Support Belt to test, and it helped me a lot with back and pelvic pain! I used the belt while working out and walking, and with its’ help I could work out quite regularly.
Sadly, we lost this baby too.
At 25 weeks pregnant I woke up one morning feeling very anxious. I knew something was wrong and I was right. The baby’s heart had stopped. Our angel son was born in September 2020. For me, that was the beginning of a very difficult time. Big grief took over my life. I couldn’t believe what had happened and cried every day for a month. I did receive some peer support that helped with my grief but what helped me most was working out at the gym. Somehow exercise made me feel strong and I could let out all my anger and bad feelings at the gym. With time, I also started to regain myself. I was lucky in that I also got the chance to talk to a nurse regularly about what was going on in my head, and that helped too.
January 2021 came and went, and we never did find out why our baby boy was lost. By the would-be due date, I already had a new life growing in my belly. I was pregnant once again. A true blessing, considering the circumstance. This boy was due in October 2021. From the very start I worried (of course) but also had a strong feeling that this was the boy I would get to bring home.
During this pregnancy I felt physically better, and I was using the pregnancy belly support a lot quite early on. Early contractions forced me to stop my workouts around 20pw, but I still used the belt for support (my belly was quite big this time!!). I tried to keep myself busy during this pregnancy so I wouldn’t have time to worry so much. My daughter who was 3 years old took care of that for me, but also the water leak we had at our home just before due date! We had to move out just before our son was born for the duration of the renovation.
Our beautiful rainbow baby was born healthy 4th of October and we are filled with love and thankful that everything went well. Finally, the renovation is ready and we are back home with two children in our arms and one in our hearts.
The best investment
All these pregnancies and experiences have changed me physically and mentally. I am stronger. I have learned how important it is to take care of myself as a mother. It is so important to feel good in yourself, put the effort in, and remember that you are also you. Not just a mother. The best investment in life you can make is you!
After this pregnancy I have been using the Lola&Lykke Postpartum Belly Band and I love it! I’m using it while carrying my baby and while I’m walking. It helps me keep my posture and helps me activate my deep core muscles. All these pregnancies have made my body change and I’ve still some weight to lose. But I have learned to not care about the kilos, but instead listen to my body more. I know how important exercise is to me and how my body works, but I know I must be patient and take it easy postpartum. I have started with pelvic floor exercises and some deep core muscle activations. I also enjoy long walks with baby.
This time around breastfeeding is working out great and I am loving it so much! I started activating my breasts with the Lola&Lykke electric breast milk extractor already a couple of weeks before labour in hope of contractions and early lactation. I didn’t get contractions, but my milk production started already at the hospital after birth! I have also been using the pump now after birth to increase my milk production and it works! I love how silent it is and the milk storage bags that you can attach to the pump are genius and so convenient.
I know that a baby is growing well either by supplement or breastmilk, but I still feel breastfeeding is better for me. But I don’t think it is worth it if it makes you feel stressed and sad, you can be a good mum either way.
To sum up my journey as a mum I have learned to appreciate myself, invest in myself and listen to my body and mind. I have learned that to be a good mother I have to take care of myself too. I really hope other mums also find time to do that, as it pays off big time! Also remember to be easy on yourself, you are doing a great job! All mums are superhumans!!
Follow along Jenna's journey on Instagram @jenna.kiili