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Archive for August, 2009

22/40 – Decisions, decisions, decisions

I’m usually a pretty decisive kind of girl. Whether I am buying breakfast cereal or houses, changing my lipstick or dying my hair, I’ve never had a problem making my mind up. I’m not saying that this has always been a good idea, thinking back on the dodgy perms, ridiculous shoes and all too many awkward situations that have resulted, but there are advantages to this approach. Weighing up the pros and cons gives you time to get scared or worried, and if you get scared, you often back out. So, as well as owning an inordinate amount of inappropriate shoes, I’ve ended up tour-guiding around Dublin, owning property in my early 20’s (when most of my friends weren’t even thinking of buying), and even living in India because I make up my mind quickly. All ultimately good, if not particularly well thought out, decisions.

But pregnancy changes all of this for me. Once I hold a positive test in my hand, the ability to make up my mind leaves me. Every decision – big or small – becomes an exercise in procrastination. It’s a real killer. Take a recent visit to the hairdresser… The old me would have marched in, announced the style I want, got it, and left. The pregnant me pored over hairdo possibilities, (which given the length of my hair, are fairly limited) then when asked by the cross-looking girl – my nice usual hairdresser was away – what I wanted, I mutter “Well, I dunno, what do you think..?” And even though I know her suggestion isn’t going to work, (it’s a fringe, and I have form with fringes), I agree, because I just can’t reach a decision otherwise.

Even getting dressed has become an ordeal. I have some pretty decent maternity gear – it’s not my first pregnancy and I have generous friends and family who have loaned me their stuff. So, you’d think that, seeing as I have the raw materials, I should manage to look fairly smart when I’m heading out to earn my keep. But no, far from it. Every morning I stand looking helplessly at the wardrobe, with the clock ticking ominously… When I eventually decide to wear a skirt, and even have it on, I realise that my legs are hairy and I can’t. So I wear trousers. It’s only when I am actually walking into the office that I realise that my blouse is not suited to the trousers, and is too short… flashing a nice bit of pregnant belly. Not a good look, and instead of looking nice and smart, I look like I have got dressed in the dark. Every day I vow that the next day will be different, that I will decide the night before and stick to it, but – like groundhog day – each morning finds me in the same agony of indecision.

Oh, there are loads of examples… ordering food in restaurants, deciding whether to drive or get the train, and so on and on. But there is perhaps one person who is getting some benefit from my inability to make my mind up … My husband, who has spent 3 years married to the bossiest woman in Ireland, is suddenly Chief Operator in Charge of What We are Having for Dinner (a lot more steak than under the previous regime, let me tell you). Never has he had such a good time with the telly either – while I sit there humming and hawing , he has switched to a World War II documentary, and opened a beer. Can’t say I blame him really…. But, once January comes, and this baby meets the world, normal service will be resumed, and Gok’s Fashion Fix will resume it’s rightful place in our household.

Waving the summer goodbye (gladly!)

So, that’s it for another year, I suppose. Summer is over – well, at least the school holidays part of it is. September is practically upon us and on the 21st of the month it will officially be autumn. We will, of course, hold out for an unseasonable heat wave, but I think we can safely get on with the business of packing away the barbeque, the sun cream and the picnic blanket, and start fishing out the warmer jumpers and long sleeve tops from the back of the wardrobe.

The summer of 2009 will go down in the record books as another fairly dismal one. We did experience a few weeks of successive hot, sunny days. It was back in June, if you’d forgotten. For a few idyllic weeks it actually became possible to plan ahead for a picnic or outdoor play date without having to make a rainy day contingency plan. We flocked to the beaches, played for hours in the parks and, despite the lurking threat of swine flu, we looked and felt altogether quite healthy. Of course, we had the usual months of torrential rain the rest of the time!

I, for one, am happy to wave a rain-soaked goodbye to summer. Why? Well, summer is great in all the obvious ways, but it also brings with it lots of things for mothers to worry about. When it is anything like a ‘proper’ summer, we worry about wasps. We worry that the children are eating too much ice cream. We worry about whether to put on a blanket on the baby at bedtime. We spend the sunny days we do get running around trying to re-apply sun cream or hats to non-compliant bodies and heads. We feel guilty about being inside, but worry about the heat when we are outside. We forget to move the paddling pool from time to time so it creates a small crop circle in the back garden (or maybe that’s just me?!). We get cabin fever when it’s raining and we also get annoyed about the rubbish weather an awful lot.

So, although it may seem a little bah humbug of me, I am happy to leave the summer months behind and welcome the onset of autumn with open arms. I will finally be able to relax as I look forward to crisp, sunny days when I can wrap the boys up cosy and warm and take a layer off again when they get too hot from running through the leaves. And if it rains, so what. It’s supposed to – it’s autumn.

Ahhhh, bliss!

Motivation Weight Loss Clinic – Winner’s update (Week 1/Part 2)

Age: 37.  Weight at the start of the programme: 12 st 9 lbs. Target weight: 10 st 7 lbs.deirdre g

“The reason I came to Motivation was to get back in shape after having had my baby. Before the birth of my baby boy I really enjoyed daily excercise and being able to buy clothes easily. But following Conor’s arrival and having a full time job, I found it hard to fit in the walks and cooking healthy meals everyday. I felt I needed the help of Motivation to get back in shape as it was getting harder to buy clothes unless I wanted to buy bigger sizes!!! I would lik to have another baby but I would really like to be at my ideal weight and feel better about myself first.”

PAULAON1Age: 25.  Weight at the start of the programme: 17 st 9 lbs. Target weight: 16 st.

A young nurse on maternity leave, Paula would like to be a great healthy happy mom. She feels the need to lose weight because of long term health issues.

Now that she is a mom, Paula would like to have life-long health in order to be a positive energetic parent. She has a wardrobe full of clothes that do not fit, and would love to learn how to handle people and food while out socializing.

Age: 32.  Weight at the start of the programme: 13 st 3 lbs. Target weight: 10 st 5 lbs.

Audrey simply wants to be a healthier Mom. She would love to have more children at some stage, however she feels audreylher body fat is too high at the moment.  She is hoping for a confidence boost, and would like to feel more  in control of her life.

Age: 33.  Weight at the start of the programme: 13 st 5 lbs. Target weight: 10 st 7 lbs.

Sinead has just accepted a full time position with a company in Waterford and is delighted to have this opportunity with Motivation to lose the weight and to regain her confidence.  As Sinead said she is delighted to have “a new start and a new image.”  Sinead is hoping to lose as much weight as possible during the 10 weeks and is planning on hitting the shops on reaching her target to buy a new wardrobe of clothes for her new job!  This is a busy time for Sinead.  In addition to starting a new job, Sinead is bridesmaid for her sister in 4 weeks time.  She lost a 1/2 stone for the wedding on her own but struggled to lose any more.  She is now looking forward to being at least another 1/2 stone lighter for the wedding.  However Sinead is focusing long term on her weight loss as she is sick and tired of being sick and tired!

patriciaraffertys0Age: 43.  Weight at the start of the programme: 12 st 13 lbs. Target weight: 10 st.

Patricia would like to feel better about herself.  She hopes that her 10 weeks programme with Motivation will help her improve her lifestyle and also regain control of her eating habits.

Age: 35.  Weight at the start of the programme: 13 st 6 lbs. Target weight: 11 st.

I had my third child in December, and during the pregnancy piled on the weight, as I was totally coopelisad up during the cold winter and comfort ate my way through the nine months.  I presumed I would get around to losing the weight once Emily was born, however I ended up using the excuse of “Having a Winter Baby” for not exercising or getting out to lose the weight!  In May of this year, I eventually started to get so fed up with the weight gain, that I went out and bought a double buggy for my new baby and my toddler and started walking.  I also joined Weight Watchers.  While I seen some improvement, I was not getting the results I would have hoped for!  On top of the stress of being overweight, and being very unhappy with my size, my partner and I have decided to get married next July, which should be a joyous occasion for us, but I am totally terrified of going to try on wedding dresses, as I am much heavier than I would like to be.  I have promised myself, that I will lose the weight before the end of this year, so I can go dress shopping and enjoy it, and then look back at my wedding photos and smile!  I also want to regain my confidence and enjoy running around after my three gorgeous kids.  I have just returned to work from maternity leave, and none of my old work clothes fit me! So I am determined to get back into shape, and enjoy buying clothes and planning the wedding!

Age: 61.  Weight at the start of the programme: 13 st 4 lbs. Target weight: 11 st.

maryMary suffers from high blood pressure and hopes the programme will help improve this condition, as well as having a beneficial impact on her overall health.

Motivation Weight Loss Clinic – Winner’s update (Week 1/Part 1)

We start following the winners of the Eumom / Motivation Weight Loss Clinic throughout their journey.  Meet the  lucky ladies!


Age: 37.  Weight at the start of the programme: 16 st 7 lbs. Target weight: 11 st.

susan_portlaoiseI entered the competition as I am seriously overweight, I would imagine morbidly obese to be honest and I’m so tired of it. I have a little boy of nearly a year and I swore that I was going to lose weight and get healthy for him as well as myself. I am constantly out of breath and tired and I feel drained all the time. I do try and eat healthy and to be honest I don’t really eat that much to be the weight I am. I would some guidance and help as to where I am going wrong. What I hope to achieve from entering is to slim down the healthy was and also to learn why I am overweight, to keep my weight down long term, and what my relationship with food is. I would really like the support and the guidance of the Motivation Weight Team as I feel I have tried to do it on my own in various ways and it has’nt worked. I think that this program would be very good for me as I was astounded when I saw the visual props like the 5lbs of fat and the 1 1/2 stone prop that you put on. I think visual things like that would really help me to put my weight into perspective and also what I need to change it. All in all I really want to acheive weight loss over a period of time and keep it off long term by changing my lifestyle and attitude

Age: 36.  Weight at the start of the programme: 16 st 2 lbs. Target weight: 10 st.

ciaraThe weight began creeping up after i got married- nights sitting in eating and drinking. Then the combination of juggling work and children meant i took the easy option of convenience foods and treating myself with a glass of wine and a snack once the kids were in bed. Also the fact that i was doing absolutely no exercise didnt help. I want to get my old confidence back and i want to be able to run about with my kids. When i return to work from maternity leave i want to walk back into the building knowing that i look good. Also there are the health risks. My sister has diabetes and my mother was recently diagnosed with type 1 diabetes also- I want to avoid ever going down that route.”

Age: 52.  Weight at the start of the programme: 13 st. Target weight: 9.7 st.kay

“I have had a problem with my thyroid for awhile and i also eat out of boredom and as a result of my emotions. I eat when im happy and i eat when im sad. I want to lose the weight because i want to improve my health and reduce my risk of diabetes as it is in my family already. I want to look better and most importantly i want to feel better. I hope by losing the weight i will gain confidence and this confidence will lead me to pursue other things in my life i have been holding back on until now. My weaknesses are sweet things and i want to change the way i eat forever.”

Alison K

Age: 37.  Weight at the start of the programme: 15 st 5 lbs. Target weight: 10 st 7 lbs.

alisonkAlison had a baby girl 8 ½ months ago and hasn’t been able to shift the baby weight herself.  Before she got pregnant she was very fit and active and described herself as a “gymaholic” went to the gym 5 times a week!  When she got pregnant she hoped to be able to continue exercising but that didn’t happen.  She suffered badly with tiredness and this led to a lot of comfort eating and because she was frustrated about not having the energy to exercise that became another trigger for her comfort eating.

She’d love to get back to a healthy size 12 in clothes and currently she’s an ‘uncomfortable’ size 16.


Age:  45.  Weight at the start of the programme: 16 st 3 lbs. Target weight: 13 st 7 lbs.
Tressa Arklow
Teresa is worried about her health most of all. She would love to be fit and healthy so she can play and interact more with her 3 kids who are 18yrs, 13yrs and 7yrs. She also realises that bad humour and mood swings are what’s affecting her weight and she wants to learn how to seperate food from emotions. She is also self-concious about other peoples perception of her and feels she would have more confidence in herself if she reaches her target weight.


Age:  30.  Weight at the start of the programme: 19 st. Target weight: 11 st.

Aisling_navanAishling is tired of following diets.  Nothing has ever worked for her.  She hopes to learn more about healthy eating and to change her bad habits and behaviors. She is fed up of trying every diet under the sun and this is the final straw.  Aisling feels tired all the time and fears that as her baby gets older she won’t have the energy to enjoy every day activities with her child. She wants to get a better understanding about healthy eating not just for herself but for her family too, Aisling feels that like her, her child will have weight problems too if she cannot change her own bad habits now.  She was eating all the time due to boredom and wishes to have a better understanding of how to deal with this.  Aishling wants nothing more than to be a young, fit, healthy mom.

21/40 – Poor Me!

Those of you who have read some of my earlier posts may remember my firm commitment not to moan… And I still intend to stick to it – starting again from next week. There are circumstances this week that mean that I am entitled to feel sorry for myself and that the pledge not to complain can be temporarily rescinded… In other words – I am sick. Not just a sniffle, I mean the real deal, with a temperature, doctors umm-ing and ah-ing, complicated prescriptions, and dire warnings to remain in bed or on the couch. And no, it’s not Swine Flu, I am living, shivering proof that the normal illnesses are still out there, preying on poor pregnant people.

I have glamorous ideas about being sick. I imagine myself lying on the sofa, looking pale and interesting (like a heroine in a Brontë novel), reading improving books, or more likely watching daytime telly (which in this flight of fancy is actually very good) without any guilt whatsoever. The reality, sadly, is very different, and pregnancy adds to the overall misery of the situation.

I don’t look like a Brontë heroine – more like an extra from The Bill – I have no concentration for improving books, and daytime television is truly, truly awful. From Jeremy Kyle to Homes under The Hammer, from Diagnosis Murder to Escape to the Country, there is not one single programme that is worth watching. To add to this, being pregnant I can’t take any decent drugs – I have the prescribed ones, but I suspect (probably wholly unjustly) that they are watered down affairs, without proper potency. Normally when I am unwell, I place great faith in self-medication using Day Nurse (peps you up) and Night Nurse (knocks you out), but no, they’re not allowed. Poxy Paracetemol is all I can take, which feels a bit like sticking a plaster onto a severed limb – I’m aware this is an unfair and completely exaggerated analogy but I told you I was going to moan!

Then, there is the worry – is the baby OK? Definitely, I am told – nice and safe inside… But doesn’t the constant coughing, and the very hot Mammy have some effect on it? Apparently not, I am told. And although I am complaining about the (possibly) impotent drugs – are they sure the ones I am on are alright? Yes, I am told, firmly. In spite of these reassurances, I feel guilty for catching this stupid thing. I should have eaten more garlic, or whatever it is that wards off evil viruses. And speaking of the guilt, I feel bad for sending my toddler to crèche when I am home sick – even though I am lying around like a limp lettuce and am not at all up for toddler shenanigans. And of course, I must mention my poor, long suffering husband, who has to listen to all these worries and guilt trips, interspersed with coughing fits, snorts and deep sighs. Even when I am asleep, there has been no escaping me, the spluttering and coughing reaches its crescendo in the small hours.

But, I am starting to feel better, it must be said. And convalescence is so much better than illness. With that, I can now sit back and start milking it – regaling all and sundry with the details – starting with this post as you can see. I feel that “The time I was very sick when I was pregnant – properly sick, now, not just a cold” will be a feature of many conversations in the future. So, I am sorry for complaining, I will be back to myself next week I am sure, and this becomes just another story.

Take the survey! Eumom – Swine Flu preventive measures in schools in Ireland

If you have a few minutes to spare, we would be grateful if you could take this very brief survey (4 questions only!). Eumom is trying to find out whether Irish schools/childcare providers around the country have implemented preventive measures to limit the spread of Swine Flu.   We are looking for the input of parents who have children attending school (or just starting school this September), or attending a creche, playgroup, montessori etc.


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