I APOLOGISE in advance to those of you who may be pregnant with your first baby, but putting on weight is the least of your post-natal physical problems.
Denise Van Outen revealed last week how she’s given away some of her stupidly-expensive designer shoes because her feet have grown a size since giving birth to her daughter.
While I could spend the next 500 words making columnist-like comments about how she’s already back in her pre-pregnancy size-ten designer dresses, and that celebrities are not in a position to be telling Real People how hard life is, I’ll try to be helpful instead.
Your body will NOT be like it was before you had a baby. It just won’t. You are going to be different in lots of ways once you force another human being out of your nether regions. And that’s not something you should fight.
My feet went from a five and a half to a seven after having kids. During pregnancy it was one of the many discomforts that caught me out, along with chronic heartburn, restless-legs (hard to explain but very annoying) and a ‘metallic’ taste in my mouth. At least I didn’t get bad morning sickness with the latter three pregnancies. Just a couple of weeks of urging.
The enlarged feet issue was put down to water-retention by my midwives. I was given the impression that after the birth they would shrink back to their normal-for-a-five-foot-six-woman size.
I spent my pregnancies in trainers and flat pumps (can’t stand the feeling of toe-posts in flip-flops) and now stomp about in whopping great size sevens.
The swelling went down but I remain flat-footed with painful fallen-arches, a curse that I tried to blame on genetics but should probably accept is due to my preference for very flat footwear with no internal support whatsoever (and the fact that even before I had the excuse of motherhood I might politely be termed as ‘a big girl.’)
If you are suffering from agonising pain in your feet then I heartily recommend you ask for a referral to the podiatry team at your hospital. They will at least fit you with a pair of arch supports to go in the one pair of shoes that might still have enough room to squeeze your aching trotters into. You may be lucky, your feet may return to their normal size.
But then before you’ve even started to address your post-natal weight-gain, you’ve got to accept that the boobs that will forever point south, the stretch marks will not disappear with expensive lotions and those thread veins on your legs are yours for life.
Embrace the bigger feet, the squidgy stomach, and the boobs that threaten to suffocate you when tying your children’s laces. They are the indicators of a new stage of your womanhood. You might have the physical scars of battle but you’ve got a baby to show for it.
Quite possibly the most important thing you should accept as truth is as follows:
Unless you truly, honestly, remember to do your pelvic floor exercises EVERY DAY, once you become a mother you will occasionally pee when you get a bad cough or laugh.
I know. It’s a shock. Those Tena Lady adverts are aimed at older woman and you’ll feel like a pensioner when you have to buy them at the age of 27. I hope if you’re pregnant you will be clenching as you read this.
I’m sure that ‘occasional bladder-weakness’ is one side-effect of pregnancy that you won’t see the too-big-for-their-boots celebrities talking about on the red carpet.