Guest Blog 3: Sal Butcher

I lost close to 60kgs to leave a life of obesity and enter one of activity. Before losing weight, I knew I wanted to have kids. Since losing weight, the thought of allowing my body to gain weight, to deliberately put on weight for the health of the life growing within me, terrifies me. I have many fit friends, and I have many amazing mums in my circle. When I look at them I see happiness and love for their kids (most of the time), but I am always curious to ask the more selfish questions, about their bodies, about their selfish goals and wants, because I think it’s not a bad thing for us to have those selfish wants. So I asked. Below are the beautifully raw thoughts of my soon-to-be-mum friend Sal.  

When my beautiful friend Eliza asked if I’d be interested in writing a piece for her blog, I was actually really excited! Then I began to feel a little apprehension as what I’ve experienced may be a little too honest or confronting for some women. Nevertheless, I have always felt that honesty is the best policy and I’m saying, “It’s OK to feel the way you feel!” Whether that is positive or negative, it’s OK!

I’m now 32 weeks pregnant with my first child, I’m turning 30 at the end of this year and my husband and I had been trying for the best part of 2 years before we finally conceived at the end of December last year. Merry Christmas to us!

Before falling pregnant I was the fittest and healthiest11793154_10156000246805045_314940155_n I’ve been in my life. I was running no less than 50km per week, doing strength training four (4) times a week and eating extremely clean. Organic foods where possible, water only, grass fed produce, NO refined sugars and all wholemeal/wholegrain alternatives to the likes of rice, potatoes and bread. Pastry and Pasta fell victims and were completely slashed from the diet.

Now when I say diet, I mean in the true sense of the definition. Not ‘a diet’, my diet. Mentally I was the happiest and most stable I’ve ever felt. I had energy, I was sleeping well, I felt great all round and I looked the best I ever have. I definitely wasn’t lacking confidence. Compare that with how I was say 18 months ago and I was on top of the world!!

When I found out I was pregnant I was so happy! Yes! My body does actually work the way a woman’s body is supposed to! I don’t have something wrong with me. My hips are obviously not too straight to bare children. I’m going to be a mum… God help me… I’m going to be a mum! Up to the point of falling pregnant, I’d always thought ‘I can’t wait to be a mum, I’ll nail it’, but part of me always felt as though the time would never actually present for me so when it did, all that confidence and surety went cart wheeling out the window.

It’s ok though, I’ve gone through all the elation, the self doubt, the fear (Well, the fear is still with me, I have 8 weeks til sh*t gets real!) and now I’m ready. I’m ready to be 100% devoted to a little creation made through the love my husband and I have for one another. The thought of making something half of me and half of him still blows my mind!

What I wasn’t ready for, was the overwhelming feeling of disgust I would feel about my appearance and the physical transformation my body has taken. Every time I look at myself, I just feel disappointment, sadness even. My boobs have grown to the size of watermelons (And unfortunately this is no exaggeration), my face is round, my upper arms and upper legs and butt are all soft and pudgy. If I could have spent this whole pregnancy at home and not had to venture out into the public I would have. And if I had a dollar for every woman that has said to me, “Oh wow, you look amazing! You’re glowing!”… Um, did you see me before I fell pregnant? I looked amazing then! I don’t look or feel amazing now!

11778193_10156000246835045_154787595_nI feel embarrassed even around complete strangers. And the thing is I know how stupid this all sounds! I’m pregnant, I look pregnant, and people are not likely to be judging the way I look right now. I’ve been told that I should be grateful as some women are unable to have children. You know what? I am grateful. Just because I feel completely crappy about myself does not mean I am being ungrateful or acting like a spoilt brat. These are my feelings right or wrong and I’m putting this out there now, shame on the women who are so bloody judgemental! I bet there are many women who feel this way and to be scolded or judged by our peers is horrible.

Some may say that my only focus should be the health and wellbeing of my newborn but I would argue that if I’m happy and healthy, won’t it filter down to my baby? I care for myself as equally as I care for my baby. I don’t see that women should lose their identity upon becoming a mother. I’ll still no doubt have some selfish tendencies and I won’t apologise for it. Mums should never forget how special and important they are in the world.

Thankfully there is always the light at the end of the tunnel. I still own my various pairs of running shoes and have a sound understanding of quality nutrition. I know that once I have my bub and I’m physically capable, my motivation will be ever present to getting back to the lifestyle I’ve been accustomed to. And I intend to do a post baby blog detailing the progress back to the old me!

So I really hope my blog has touched someone for the right reasons. I think it’s important to accept pregnancy for what it is. If you love it, great! If you hate it, that’s great too! Embrace it! I hate being pregnant and I’m ok with that!

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