Co-founder (with friend and ex-colleague Natasha Poliszczuk, Deputy Editor of Glamour) of Wear & Where (www.wearandwhere.co.uk), freelance journalist Alex lives in London with her husband Will and three boys, Freddie (nearly 4), Sam, (nearly 2) and Isaac, 4 months.
Unable to find a website containing everything they wanted to read (from fashion and interiors to travel, food, health tips, recipes and in-depth features on motherhood, relationships and life), they decided to create their own – and Wear & Where was born. Read it – it’s fab!
What was your favourite part of being pregnant?
I loved the special connection that you have with your baby. It’s like a secret little relationship that no-one else knows about. You wonder who that little person will be. What they’ll look like, what their personality will be like, who they’ll grow into. It’s very special.
What was the worst bit about being pregnant?
I had two miscarriages before my first son was born, so I was incredibly anxious (especially in the first trimester) throughout the pregnancy with my first son. With my second, it was a little easier and my third, easier again. In terms of what was worst physically, it had to be feeling SO huge towards the end. I have big babies and I felt massive! I think I felt more tired (albeit in a different way) towards the end of my pregnancies than with a newborn.
Did you develop any strange cravings or aversions?
Did you find out the sex of your baby before the birth?
Yes. Although each time we only told a few close people. I am incredibly impatient and just knowing that you could know was enough to make me want to find out! Also, I wanted the baby to be a ‘he’ or ‘she’ and not an ‘it’. I felt that it helped me bond better with the baby.
Would you say that you got the birth that you wanted? If not, why?
Oh ha ha ha! My birth ‘plan’ was the complete opposite to what happened. I had envisaged giving birth in a pool in the Birth Centre at hospital. I listened to hypnobirthing cds leading up to the birth and was actually quite excited about it. I saw it as a marathon that would be hard but enjoyable (err yes, I know). The reality was SO much more painful! My waters broke at around 6am. I went into labour around midday (albeit slowly) and then contractions continued ALL NIGHT about 3 – 4 minutes apart. I tried to sleep (wasn’t happening), I got in the bath hoping it to be relaxing (worst thing ever), I bounced on a ball watching re-runs of Gimme Gimme Gimme (random). Hideous. Next morning at 6am I went into hospital as it had been 24 hours since my waters broke. I was begging for an epidural. At 4pm I was around 8cm dilated and the midwife thought I’d be ready to push in an hour or so. Basically I stopped dilating at 9cm and my son’s head was stuck so with him getting distressed they decided to do a c-section. In the theatre, we discovered that the epidural wasn’t working as well as it should be, so because they didn’t have time to put in a new line, I went under general anaesthetic. So, he was actually born without me awake or my husband in the room.
What are your overriding feelings about the birth?
While I obviously would’ve liked to have been awake, I don’t actually mind, as the most important thing is that he was born safely. Who cares how he got here. I’m also incredibly grateful that c-sections exist. Freddie was 9.5lbs. I’m 5’4 and physically quite small. 100 years ago we’d have both probably died. So the fact that the doctors were so amazing (and handsome! apparently a lot of women say that about surgeons) is something I’m really grateful for.
How much weight did you gain and did you find it easy to lose?
I never weighed myself when pregnant as I just didn’t want to freak out about the figure on the scales. I think it was probably about 3 stone as I was mainlining hot chocolates like an addict. My tummy gradually went down by about 4 months (although was still wobbly). By 6 months I was probably about my pre-baby weight and by 9-10 months I was actually about 4-7lbs lighter than before I had children (and the lightest I’d ever been as an adult). I didn’t do anything to lose weight or alter my diet. I love to walk and hate being cooped up inside during summer (when two of my children were born) so I spent a lot of time walking around the shops, to the park etc. Also, my life pre-children involved a lot of sitting in front of a computer. My life now involves a lot of walking/carrying children/picking up toys/playing football/wrestling small people into prams – it’s a full-on workout!
Did you exercise during your pregnancy?
First son – walking (I walk everywhere I can), some swimming (although not much), pregnancy yoga twice a week. Second son – walking and yoga once a week. Third son – nothing except the aforementioned toddler workout! Would have loved to have done yoga, but didn’t get the time.
Has your body changed in ways that you dislike? If so, do you want to do anything about this?
Well, I’m 4 months into no. 3, so if history is to go by, then I have to wait a few more months before I can judge. I still have a wobbly tummy, I’m probably 7-10lbs over my pre-pregnancy weight and I have no muscle tone. I’m hoping, as with 1 and 2, it will just fall off as time goes on. I’m not doing anything about it, basically I’m too lazy, but if by July/August I’m still not back to pre-pregnancy weight I guess I’ll have to think about it (sigh). I do like running, so I’m keen to start doing that again and I really should do sit-ups every morning, but I keep forgetting. I also have a copy of Tracey Anderson’s post-pregnancy fitness dvd that I bought after the birth of my first on 4 years ago. It’s still in its cellophane wrapping, so you can see that went well.
Did you attend any antenatal classes and what were your thoughts on them?
I did NCT over two extended weekends (too much of a commitment over 6 weeks). I’m really glad we did it more for the fact that I made two really good friends from it. It also got you excited about having a baby. I think it totally depends on the teacher – ours was quite laid-back. Nothing can prepare you for having a baby, so the main reason to do them is to meet people who are going through exactly the same thing at the same time as you. Babies change so quickly that even friends with a six months old will have forgotten exactly what it’s like to have a 4-week old.
I also attended pregnancy yoga with Tara Lee at the Life Centre in Notting Hill, which was amazing. She’s a bit of a yoga legend and I love, love, loved her classes. She’s amazing, I always left feeling stretched out and very happy as she focuses as much on breathing and bonding with your baby as she does downward dogs – a good thing as mine are rubbish.
Also, it’s not an antenatal class, but it was antenatal – I had acupuncture through the first trimesters of my first two pregnancies. Which was wonderfully relaxing and made me feel that I was doing all I could to keep the pregnancies progressing.
What one piece of advice would you pass on to a pregnant friend?
When the baby arrives, no-one gets a medal for trying to cook, clean and look after a baby – who cares if the house is a tip, you’ve got a baby!
Do you have any fashion or beauty tips to share with other women?
I’m not a fan of maternity clothes. Buy a good pair of jeans, a couple of maternity vests, a dress and then when it comes to tops buy bigger sizes from H&M etc. Beauty – get a pedicure. You may feel huge and unattractive, but at least your feet will be pretty!