We’ve been loving on Simone for years, watching-slash-attending her go-to workouts. Therefore, we were excited to catch up with Simone at the tail-end of her pregnancy to chat about her experience becoming a new mom, at 44. From milk blisters to getting back in shape, plus paternity leave, and the incredible support she’s felt through Instagram (i.e. the best resource for advice, ever!), we covered it all. @bodybysimone
Life as a new mom?
It’s been incredible, both the greatest love I’ve ever experienced and a complete shock to my system. It’s giving me new meaning to life and working hard. Overall it’s been an absolute dream to have a child at age 44. I thought I’d missed my opportunity, and I’m beyond grateful.
Plus, I’ve become incredibly efficient and a master multi-tasker. Case in point, I’ve learned to eat in under three minutes, and I’m breastfeeding while talking to you.
What was the birth experience?
Last time I saw you was at the very end of my pregnancy and I was feeling fabulous. I didn’t have a “birth plan” per se, but wanted to have a vaginal birth and went into labor with that intention. However, after 24 hours of laboring, I wasn’t dilating, his heart rate continued to drop, and we had to have an emergency C-section. This was a shock. As much as I was trying to stay open, I wanted to have him naturally. Considering I’m such a physical person, the idea of not being able to get out of bed for days was unthinkable. My post-birth recovery was a lot more complicated than I’d considered. Also, in the days following his birth, I’d assumed my milk would come in quickly. And it did not. Apparently, it’s common for milk to be delayed by five days with a C-section. Therefore, with no sleep, no milk, no movement, and on the verge of a breakdown, I opened the conversation about my struggles on Instagram. To my surprise, this powerful community of women both on and offline rushed to my rescue with sound advice and tips for what to do! With most of my close friends in Australia and London, it’s been such a beautiful and unexpected gift to feel supported through Instagram.
So, the milk finally came…
One of my biggest fears was that I wouldn’t produce milk because I’ve always been active and lean, plus my mom wasn’t able to so I worried it could be genetic. Then, after days without milk and on the brink of switching to formula a great friend and lactation specialist came to see us. She talked me off the ledge. With her guidance, I managed to push through. Now, we’re in business, and it’s been an incredible bonding experience with my baby.
I’d envisioned the first three weeks post-birth to be this beautiful earth mother experience, but, it was not. Once again, I opened that conversation to my female followers and community about how hard it was for me. If you can’t breastfeed or choose formula, you’re not a failure, but it was important for me since I didn’t have the birth I wanted.
Then, I got a milk blister and felt like my nipple was going to fall off…
So, that was fun. But again, I put it out to the community and received tons of tips, like putting tea bags on my nipples or applying lanolin. I was also suggested to breastfeed on both sides for 10 minutes each and then pump for 10 minutes, plus heat compression on my boobs followed by massaging them, et cetera.
Breastfeeding is funny…
I was training one of my VIP clients and, OOPS(!) my right boob was leaking all over the place. Yup, guess that means it’s time to feed. Luckily I have female clients, most with kids, who are understanding, but nevertheless takes some adjusting.
Did you take maternity leave?
Technically, I took six weeks maternity leave. I have a fantastic team, which made that possible, but they still needed to check in with me through calls and email. Fortunately, my husband has paternity leave which has been a tremendous help. I’m back at work now and still figuring out the balance between my clients, office work, and being at the studio while attending to our little family plus find moments as a couple. We don’t have a night nurse, nanny or any help, so it’s been the two of us tag teaming and making it up as we go along.
Best part of being a mom?
Cliche as it may, I never thought I could love someone this much. And, I still can’t believe that I grew a human in my body. This perfect little thing came out of me! It’s made me look at life so differently.
And, what’s been the biggest challenge?
The challenge has primarily been about balancing my work life with my new role as a mum. However, the positive spin is I have a new lease on work, time, and productivity. I’m motivated to provide a good life for him and his future – even though that can prove challenging at times, especially as I’m breastfeeding in the back seat of the car on my way to a client’s house. It’s also made me appreciate everything my mum did for me as a single mom working three jobs.
Getting your body back?
I’ve always told my clients that it takes nine months to make a baby and nine months to take the weight off. However, living that and finding peace in that same advice now is difficult to do, especially since I’m in the fitness industry and my body is my work. I’ve recently started working out again and have dropped most of the weight, with a few pounds to go. That said, I didn’t miraculously lose the weight. Many factors have played a role in my weight recovery, from the way I ate and worked out throughout my pregnancy, plus genetics, and breastfeeding. It will take a bit of time to get back to where I was (hello, six pack!), but I’m making progress.
I’ve also been keen on creating videos and information for other women who’ve had C-sections. There’s a lack of information available regarding safe post-C-section workouts. It’s major abdominal surgery and the abdominal wall needs to heal properly.
How have you been eating postpartum?
I’m ravenous! My focus has been to eat well to maintain breastfeeding as I need 400-500 extra calories a day for milk production. If you lose the baby weight too quickly, your milk can dry up. These days, I have dairy, my portion sizes are bigger, and I’m eating more frequently. In my pre-baby life, when I was training, I would fast and avoid carbs plus dairy. But, I cannot think like that now. I have to think about fueling my body to provide milk for my baby.
Lunch and dinner always include protein, vegetables, plus healthy carbohydrates such as sweet potatoes, rice, or pasta. I eat eggs, eggs, eggs, and more eggs. Plus, a bit of bread, avocado, yogurt, fruit, oatmeal, and clean, lean proteins such as sausage and bacon.
With all of this said, what’s right for me is not necessarily suitable for someone else. We all have to listen to our bodies.
Any wellness thing to share?
I’m taking my prenatal vitamin and catching sleep whenever I can. Also, I try to take 30 minutes a day for myself and 30 minutes with my husband too — it’s good for the soul.
How do you take the time together?
By the time we put him to bed at the end of the day, we try to check in with each other and have a chat to connect. It’s simple.
My best advice is to ask for help. Don’t try to do it all and suffer in silence. Ask for help because it does HELP.
Plus, be kind to yourself, eat well, and prioritize exercise while pregnant. Having a baby is such a shock to your system; anything you can do to maintain and prepare will help your recovery.