21 December 2006

6 weeks

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"The preggo brain seems to have kicked in now as well…… I keep finding myself doing the stupidest things. I’ve put the toaster in the fridge, empty bottles in the fridge, forgotten to do any washing. I’ve also completely missed our turn-off on the way home and not even realised for about 10mins when I was completely out of Melbourne! Oh yes, and it’s very difficult to cook dinner in the oven on 0 degrees too I found out!! Haha!Ahhh the joys of pregnancy! But I’m LOVING absolutely every second of it!!"

20 December 2006

early days

"Here is a shot of my belly at 5 weeks and 3 days. I am all belly normally you see, and the thais* often think I am at least 6 months along....wahhhhhh....."

*she is in Thailand at the moment*

19 December 2006

birthing boost

I was just reading that Jana Pittman had her baby, Cornelius (what is it with famous people and obscure baby names?!)

Read about it here: http://www.theage.com.au/news/people/janaa-baby-joy/2006/12/15/1165685877310.html

Then I saw this article in the Sydney Morning Herald about the benefits of 'heightened fitness' postpartum

Supermums are on drugs, naturally/Jacquelin Magnay/December 9, 2006
AFTER giving birth, mothers have a six-week rush of extra red blood cells, a hormonal cocktail that aids endurance and strength, and a gobsmacking jolt of awareness of their toughness in surviving childbirth.

Physiologically elite athletes can benefit from this window of heightened fitness, presuming of course that the late-night feeds and disjointed routine are as under control as the leaking of all things from all places and the sore back from softened ligaments caused by the pregnancy hormone, relaxin.

In the East German doping regime of the 1970s and 1980s, and in the Russian gymnastic program in the 1970s, there were reports that coaches encouraged athletes to get pregnant up until the 16-week mark and then abort, so that the athletes could train harder and perform better from the supply of another pregnancy hormone - human chorionic gonadotropin.
HCG boosts the production of steroids in women. Pregnant women also have extra erythropoietin (EPO), which helps supply oxygen to the body and enables athletes to train for longer periods.
(I seriously hope this isn't true.....)

But it is more well known that the East German doctors would induce abortions in their athletes because of the birth defects caused by female athletes taking steroids.
There have been many examples of supreme athletes bouncing back from motherhood quickly.
Olympic champion Marion Jones had a son in June 2003 and was back in training four weeks later.

Irish runner Sonia O'Sullivan resumed training 10 days after giving birth, at the urging of her coach and partner Nic Bideau, and then backed up to win silver in the 5000 metres at the Sydney Olympics.

i heart NY

I just had an exhausting weekend in the Big Apple...I survived the crushing crowds of Christmas crazed shoppers on Fifth Avenue and took in the spectacle that is the Radio City Music Hall Christmas Spectacular (so cheesy but something to cross off on my once in a lifetime list) and the chorus line moves of the infamous Rockettes. Also, got in some great runs in Central Park. I succumbed to a Sex and the City tour of New York which sounded ridiculous but actually brought me to some areas of NY that I had never before explored. Found a great little maternity shop in the Village which I photographed obsessively. NY mums are interesting (well, at least the ones that I saw): firstly, all of them are dressed to kill with Gucci belt bags, Prada sunglasses, Kate Spade nappy bags and the latest in Bugaboo. I swear I have never seen more Bugaboo than in NYC. Bleeker playground in the Village (a very posh area known as the home of SJP, Liv Tyler and a long list of celebrity mums) was the hub of well-heeled mums and their bubs. Everyone had a pram that probably cost more than my car...And the children! Dressed in baby North Face (expensive American outwear), Burberry and Gap, NY kids look just as amazing as their mothers. I didnt notice as maternity shops as much as I noticed the overwhelming number of specialty children's clothing shops and baby accessory stores. Strangely enough, I was flipping through the channels in a moment of brief shopping respite in my hotel room and landed upon an interview with Liz Lange, the doyenne of fashionable maternity wear here in the US. Lange started her business in the early 90s and was basically the first designer to do stretchy material for pregnancy..and look how far we have come! Her big break was in 1996 when Cindy Crawford was pregnant with her first child and considering the choices at the time were pretty minimal, Crawford only wore Liz Lange and the rest is history. Lange is exclusively contracted to supply maternity wear for all Target stores here (too bad Target Australia doesn't contract her as well!). She has a pretty amazing story and I am hoping to make contact with her in the next few weeks.

13 December 2006

Dr. 90210

As I have reignited my relationship with good old American television, last night I was watching a reality show on E! called Dr. 90210. You can get acquainted with the show here:


Seeing as plastic surgery is one of the most barbaric acts women (for the most part) can willingly inflict upon their own bodies, why not document surgeries in minute detail?! Needless to say, I've been hooked and I can't really explain why. Last night, I had the misfortune of watching the story of a single mum of two planning to undergo a labiaplasty, vaginal tightening, breast augmentation and lift and brazillian (yes, brazillian) butt lift...and this was done all at once. The doctor basically told this woman that childbirth basically 'ruins' the birth canal which is why her vagina is so loose. He told her he could completely erase any trace of having had two children.

I am pretty uncomfortable with the whole discourse of 'choice' and plastic surgery. I tend to think if you are really unhappy with how you look, then you have a right to do with your own body as you please. However, it is pretty unbearable to watch the absolute butchery women put themselves through in order to have a tighter vagina or 'perkier' breasts. The naked bodies of these women are poked and prodded, and more generally exposed to the flock of surgeons tearing into their skin, pulling out tissue and sewing them back up. It's really a horror to watch but perhaps so compelling because it makes you (or well, me) think about why people do this to themselves and also for the voyeuristic pleasure in seeing a complete bodily transformation (without exercise or good nutrition). The show tends to avoid showing the extreme pain involved in recovery. We just get flashes a few weeks post-op when the women are absolutely gushing about the results and the women parade around in bras or bikinis for all to gaze upon their tight and toned bods.

The whole concept of plastic surgery is obviously not a new topic of discussion for feminists but I have to say, I was really surprised from the marathon of episodes I watched (due to my still screwed up sleeping) a good proportion of episodes were devoted to 'fixing' the postnatal bodies of new mothers. Whether it's a tummy tuck or a vaginal 'reconstruction', mums in California are turning out in droves to have the erasure of their maternal bodies documented for the show. Maybe this is just another 'only in America' thing but it's all a bit too sci-fi for me.

Listening to Mothers

Perhaps it comes as no surprise that American women are experiencing unwanted medical interventions in childbirth. I remember interviewing my mother for an undergraduate women's studies subject about her pregnancy/birth experience. Mum gave birth to me in 1980 in a private hospital with an obstetrician at quite possible the height of medicalised birth in America. She told me that not only was she given an episiotomy without her permission, her obstetrician also yanked me out with forceps because he couldn't be bothered to let me take my time down the birth canal! And let's be honest, he wanted to go home (it was 10pm). That was 26 years ago; it's a terrible realisation that women are still undergoing interventions in birth without their consent.

Here is a nice piece from the Boston Globe reporting on The Listening to Mothers II report by Childbirth Connection , a New York group founded in 1918 to improve maternity care:

For expectant women, it's not too much to ask
By Tina Cassidy December 8, 2006

09 December 2006

all is revealed...

These photos were submitted by a fantastic woman, nearing her due date....

home sweet home

Well, everyone...I've made it back to the US in one piece after approximately 3 days of air travel via Sydney and Tokyo. I have to say, I had a few truly 'lost in translation' moments in my brief Tokyo experience and flying Japan Airlines. My first observation: the Japanese are very lovely and gracious people. My second observation: a decent number of Japanese wear face masks (a la the SARS scare) at the airport which threw me a bit. My third observation: everyone speaks English. My fourth observation: from the very small bit of it I experienced, I have to say, Japanese TV shows are extremely bizarre. I saw alot of men 'wearing' stuffed animals and so much fluoro circa 1987. I hope to expand upon these very cursory observations in a few weeks time when I'm back in Tokyo for a proper visit.

And let me just say..I'm in winter hell. It's about -3 in Chicago right now and I am dreaming of a 37 degree Melbourne summer. I need to thaw out my fingers...more to come later...

05 December 2006

birthing body

The belly of a
new mother: one week postpartum

This is what she has to say:

'Well, that tummy and boobs belong to me. I'm pretty happy with the way my body looks. It feels so much more able. Those last weeks of pregnancy, (I was one week over), were really S L O W, I was still walking around every day, but sleeping was awful. Every day the tummy is retracting, I can bend!!! I have a clevedge that I never had before. I can make streams of milk! My baby has put on a kilo since she was born, that's 11 days ago. I made a perfectly healthy baby with that body. I couldn't be happier. Cheers R'

back to uncle sam's land

Well, everyone my American sojourn is about to begin and you can rest assured I will be bringing you tales of pregnancy, motherhood and celebrity antics from the frontline. As my journey this December will take me through the winter chill of Chicago, New York and a brief respite in Raleigh, I am perhaps the most excited to check out American maternity shops and having the chance to unreservedly gaze at American pregnant bellies. I've already organised some interviews and will have my camera at the ready to photograph anything and everything fabulous, fashionable and maternity.

Following the tour of America, I will be in Tokyo and I must say, the Japanese have some of the most interesting rituals surrounding pregnancy and childbirth. Whilst there, I'm hoping to catch up with some Osaka mothers as well as La Leche in central Tokyo..and I won't even get started on the maternity shopping...so different from what we know in Australia and America from what I can tell thus far. This is a great resource, a sort of Japanese maternity design for beginners: http://www.pingmag.jp/2006/05/22/east-meets-west-maternity-design/

I simply cannot wait to get my hands on some Japanese parenting/pregnancy mags...

Anyway, more to come.
::From here to maternity::

Maps courtesy of www.theodora.com/maps used with permission.

how childbirth went industrial

I received this tip from Christine (www.christinemorton.com) through ReproNetwork (my new favourite virtual community!) this morning, a must read:

Dear Friends:
In early October the New Yorker Magazine published an article "How childbirth went industrial." The author, Atul Gawande, is an AssistantProfessor of Surgery and an Assistant Professor in the Department of HealthPolicy and Management, at Harvard Medical School. Henci Goer, one of the presenters at the NAPW Summit, has prepared a detailed critique: "How Childbirth Went Industrial: A Deconstruction," and Mothering Magazine has made it available on their website:


Here is a link to the New Yorker article:


04 December 2006

it's a rough life, jen

This article caught my eye in People magazine:

Jennifer Garner – whose daughter with husband Ben Affleck, Violet, turned 1 on Friday – has only recently been working to get back to her pre-pregnancy action-star form. "I'm in the worst shape ever," the size 6-8 ("definitely more an 8") actress, 34, tells Elle magazine in its January issue. "My trainer just shakes her head and says, 'This is a disaster.' " Though she kicked butt as the star of Alias and Elektra, these days, she says, "I am as physically unfit as I've probably been in my whole life. It's such a horror in front of the mirror with no clothes on." Lifting her sweater to reveal her midriff, she says, "You still have that little bit of extra skin, know what I mean? But still, it's enough for people to think that you're knocked up."

Are mothers of the world supposed to feel a connection to Jen because she hasn't yet regained her slimmer than slim Hollywood form in an refreshing admission of normality? Or are mothers out there just gritting their teeth, trying to get past the fact that she has a trainer? And why do all of these magazines insist on sharing the intimate details of celebrity body size? I don't need to know that Jen Garner is a size 8 and frankly, I'm pretty sure the average mum doesn't need to know that either. I feel sorry for her. Such pressure!
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The Baby Bump Project by Meredith Nash is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.