“Does Motherhood accelerate the aging process?”

motherhood - aging - skin - wrinkles - dermalogica

Some friends and I were recently discussing the joys of motherhood when an unsettling question came to mind. Are our kids making us old maids prematurely?

 

That question was soon followed by a host of others:

When’s the last time I had a really restful night? Or slept in?! Why don’t these light stretch marks on my thighs and butt disappear? And what happened to my hair… and my skin…?

These thoughts sparked some research, and I’ve found an article that explains a lot! It breaks down discusses some of the more alarming side effects of pregnancy and post pregnancy.  It’s pretty well written and I can visualize myself in most of the article.

If you are interested, you can find it here:

 

Toward the end of my pregnancy I heard daily, “Are you ok? You look tired!”. Thanks… I was tired. And guess what, I’m now 2 months postpartum and I’m still tired! I guess I can blame motherhood’s side effects. However, I swear, I wouldn’t trade my new life as a Mom for anything! But can’t we find a solution to be working Mothers and still looking relatively rested, glowing and fresh? I don’t need to look like a 20 year old forever, but I’d like to age well. My husband does it almost effortlessly!

 

Here are my new resolutions (never to late to make good resolutions right?)

1-    Get a massage and some quality time with myself at least once a month.

2-    Exercise daily, even if it’s only walking/running around the block for 20 min.

3-    And take 10 minutes for daily Me-time in front of the bathroom mirror!

Research has shown that women experience positive emotions after applying make-up and beauty products. This pleasure boosts self-esteem, which in turn enhances a person’s natural beauty. It’s now time for me to take care of myself as much as I take care of my sons (and husband!)!

My new journey started here, on the Dermalogica website

They offer a skin analysis to identify your needs and provide a personalized product prescription! All the advice I needed from the comfort of my home.

I decided to Age-Smart with Dermalogica and I wanted to share with you my favorite new weapons!

dermalogica - skincare routine - motherhood
postpartum body

Twice a day, I like giving some love to this postpartum belly with:

Add one pump to the cream, blend and apply in smooth, upward strokes. It feels great!

(Note, if you are pregnant, you want to make sure all the products are safe. You can find more info about what to avoid here )

I’m now armed against advanced-aging. My new daily routine in the bathroom gives me some time to take care of myself. I even close the door (it’s rare, and I’m sure many Moms will know what I mean…)!  I’ve slowly relearned how to take care of myself. Moms are always taking care of others, but we have to make sure that in the whirlwind of life we're taking care of ourselves as well. Trying to keep body and mind healthy is a real challenge and we need to have a plan to keep our lives balanced!

Please, share your Mom tips to age (relatively) gracefully?

 

 

 

My quest for a natural drug-free birth at the hospital

When I became pregnant with our first child in 2013, I knew right from the start that I wanted to have a natural drug-free birth. I was willing to deal with the pain of labor even though I knew that it wouldn’t be easy. Millions of women gave birth long before the invention of drugs and epidurals, and I intended to do the same.  I’m conscious that modern advances in obstetrics have saved the lives of countless mothers and infants over the past century, but it seems to me that the same measures may at times actually be disrupting the natural process. However, if I wanted to go as natural as possible, I wasn’t comfortable of having a home-birth.

Doctors and hospitals don’t expect women to give birth without drugs. I’m here to tell you that not only it is possible, but it can also be a pleasant and positive experience, surrounded by a supportive team!

I’ve gotten several questions about Noa’s birth lately, so let me share some tips I’ve found helpful during my two labors.

 

Natural drug-free Birth 

I’d like to preface by saying that a drug-free birth was the option I chose, and I do not necessarily think that it’s right for every woman. This choice was best for my baby and me (medical issues aside!). Giving birth is such an intimate experience. Every woman needs to research all the options to make the best decisions for their own labor, and birth.

 

Being mentally ready is key!

The pain during labor is real and intense, that’s no secret. I will never judge a woman for deciding to get pain relief of some kind. Labor is a marathon, it’s a physical and mental challenge. I cried, passed out in between contractions, threw up, was freezing cold and then burning hot… I never imagined I could be in such discomfort, but I was ready for it.

My ideal place to give birth: Saint John's Hospital with Doctor Ghozland

My ideal place to give birth: Saint John's Hospital with Doctor Ghozland

Resting between contractions. Pain is temporary... 

Resting between contractions. Pain is temporary... 

Preparation plays an important role. Knowing and expecting the different stages makes a tremendous difference in one’s ability to avoid drugs or not. I don’t think you can go through a drug-free labor thinking “I’ll try and see if I can do it without drugs”. You need to be strong-willed, determined, and most importantly, committed.  100% ready for it.

Learning about the natural process of labor and becoming informed about the risks of induction, pain medications and C-sections will help you make the best decision for you and your baby. Do your own researches so you know what to expect. Fear makes labor harder, so try to work through any fear that you have and use the times that you feel fear as a chance to practice relaxation. I used an Hypnobirth CD and some YouTube “birth visualization videos” at the end of the pregnancy to help mitigate my fears.

Since the birth of my 1st child wasn’t ideal, I was scared to go through the same experience again (it was a drug-free birth, but I wasn’t well prepared and ended up with a 3rd degree tear. I suffered a lot postpartum). Relaxation and meditation helped me beat this fear. Writing down my birth plan made a big difference. The simple fact of sitting down and taking the time to think about everything I desired for the birth helped tremendously. 

First scream! Thank you for everything Doctor Ghozland

First scream! Thank you for everything Doctor Ghozland

Natural Pain Relief

Being against drug options doesn’t mean suffering though labor without any pain relief. My husband and I were prepared to try a variety of natural options.

 

Here are a few very useful things we used:

  • Lighting the room as warm and intimatly as possible. It may sound silly and unimportant, but it helped me a lot to feel at ease and comfortable in the hospital room.
  • Calming music, a good playlist helps a ton. The soothing piano Jazz of Bill Evans worked very well for me!
  • Breathing was my best friend. It calmed my mind and helped me keep control of the situation and of my body. Deep and long abdominal breaths - in through the nose, out through the mouth.
  • Changing positions.
  • Sitting/rocking/bouncing on an exercise ball.
  • Taking a hot shower, aimed at my low-back.
  • Using cold/warm wet wash clothes on my forehead, chest, back when I went through hot/freezing flushes.
  • Staying hydrated, small apple juice boxes allowed me to keep my energy up.
  • Back massages.
  • Counter-pressure on the low back and hips.
  • Focusing on the baby and “opening” my hips and pelvis.
  • Relax and surrender. The more tensed we are, the more painful the contractions will be. Every contraction brings us closer to our baby. I set my mind to accept them rather than fight them.
  • Focusing on the fact that the pain is temporary and that I was about to finally hold my baby in my arms!
  • Good vibes and encouragement! My husband’s good energy gave me more determination and self-confidence to go through this challenging hardship!

4 hours after we arrived at the hospital Noa was born. Doctor Ghozland called me “Speedy Gonzalez”! He looked at my husband and said “She’s so strong!” Ha! 2nd births are usually faster and easier than a 1st, but still, I’ll put that down to my fit pregnancy and birth preparation.

natural drug free birth - family

Women are powerful. After giving birth to my 1st son I felt like a super hero. Then I realized that most women on the planet give birth. You simply don't know how powerful they are until you give birth yourself!

Your turn, what are you tips to going through an easier labor?

 

 

 

 

 

DIY frozen smoothie packs

frozen smoothie packs - pre  made

Let me share with you my secret weapon to avoiding the hassle of making healthy snacks!

Nesting isn’t a myth.  The Baby is coming in the next few days and the fridge is full. It doesn’t mean I’ll want to cook though… Since I want to breastfeed and loose the baby weight quickly, it’s still very important to pay attention to eating well. Nutrients in food support the body’s growth, repair, and wellness. Investing in clean simple ingredients and getting organic foods is a great way to start healing and nourishing my postpartum body.

Clean healthy foods that contain lots of vitamins and minerals naturally!

Clean healthy foods that contain lots of vitamins and minerals naturally!

In our home we make a lot of smoothies. They are a great way to incorporate fruits and veggies into our family’s diet any time of day. They are delicious, and very quick and easy to make. We always try to find clean healthy foods that contain lots of vitamins and minerals naturally. Having a few super foods on hand such as chia seeds, flax seeds and kale, give us the convenience of quickly adding some extra nutrition to our daily diet.

I know that for the next few weeks (years!?) after the birth I’ll be exhausted, too tired resist sugary, fattening snacks, and too lazy to cook healthy meals. That’s why I’m trying to make my life as easy and healthy as possible with some pre-made frozen smoothie packs!

pre-made frozen smoothie packs

pre-made frozen smoothie packs

Instructions:

Simply use ZipLock bags and pre-make your smoothies according to your taste. I usually use 3 types of fruits – ½ cup each and 1 handful of baby kale. Place the individual ZipLock bags in the freezer. Whenever you need, you’ll just have to pour a bag in your blender, and mix with a cup of liquid (coconut water, almond milk, water…). DONE!

I love adding some flax seeds or chia seed to my smoothies. Depending on my mood, I can add a few nuts, dry fruit and granola to make a smoothie bowl.

Here are the recipes I used this time:

smoothie recipe - frozen packs - healthy snacks

Not only are green smoothies super healthy, but they are also tasty! You can experiment with flavors, add super-foods and control the amount of sugar or protein. Sometimes I even put a bit of broccoli! And if you don’t like the green color, just use more berries. You’ll get the benefits of the kale without seeing it.

You can find more healthy tips and recipes here

What about you? What are you DIY kitchen secret weapons?

Drink a rainbow everyday

Drink a rainbow everyday