That Postpartum Self-Image.

When you look at yourself in the mirror, with your pregnant belly or postpartum body staring back at you, how do you feel?

3T6A0085

Without even being entirely aware of it the majority of the time, and rather finding myself in a little bit of an emotional place in my life at times and then thinking back to life since falling pregnant up until now and sort of waking up to the fact that I’ve been feeling this particular way for much longer than I thought, rather than just going through stages of feeling like this.

3T6A0478

It is so challenging learning to love your body with all of the changes that have come with it since falling pregnant. It truly is something that I have struggled with more than I have even been aware of. I love my body for what it has allowed me to achieve. I love my body for blessing me with the opportunity to carry a baby, to birth a baby and to be mostly healthy. But, I also struggle on a daily basis with 100% loving what it now looks like.

3T6A0280

I sometimes find myself in a bit of a negative place. I get frustrated with myself for complaining to myself or to David about weight that I have gained, and then not doing anything about it. I get irritated with myself for getting my mind so set on eating better, and then failing. I get so cross with myself when I spend so much time trying to feed Olly healthy food, and then I give into a quick microwave meal because I’m just so exhausted at the end of a day.

3T6A0325

I find myself feeling overwhelmed, but know that I can so easily avoid that by just planning and preparing weekly meals for my entire family on a day that isn’t quite so overwhelming.

I know I’m totally normal. I know that every mom feels this way at some point or another, and I know that my body has been through uncountable changes, some that I will never truly understand since falling pregnant.

3T6A0355

And then… then I did this photo-shoot with Radiefa Peters from Radz Photography. I threw myself in the deep end by choosing two dresses that I wouldn’t usually choose purely because of how I feel about my body. I took the leap, I did it. And when I got my photos back, it was almost like something triggered in my brain for the very first time since I can remember. I felt beautiful. I looked at the photographs, and for the first time in a very long time, I liked what I saw. Not the story behind the photo, or how Olly looked – but I actually smiled when I zoomed in and looked and re-looked at myself in the photos.

3T6A0150

Not many people are capable of making somebody feel that way about themselves. And I also have to hand some of the credit over to Daff Kansley, the talented makeup artist who partly gave me the confidence to actually leave the house in the first place. And to Jody from Flock Fashion & Accessories for the beautiful wardrobe that you provided me with.

3T6A0438

Getting these images back, and seeing how happy I looked in the photos has just given me the desire I needed to get myself back in shape – to stick to my exercise routine, and to stick to preparing healthy meals for my family. Why? Because a healthy self-image creates a healthy, happy individual. And me being happy means that everybody who crosses my path will leave feeling happier too.

3T6A0621

You can follow the talented team behind these photos on Instagram here:

Radiefa Peters: @radzphotography_cpt
Daff Kansley: @thedrkansley_mua
Jody: @flock_it
One Modern Mom Blog: @onemodernmom

View Your Body Through His Eyes

I’m pretty certain that by making this statement, it’s safe to say that I’m speaking for about 90% of women who have experienced pregnancy. Many of us aren’t quite sure how we feel about our pregnant and postpartum bodies! We aren’t all so comfortable with the changes, and it takes a huge toll on many of us emotionally! This being said, those changes can often affect our relationships intimately, not necessarily because our men think we are less attractive, but rather because of the way we view ourselves.

thumbnail_000-20-of-1

This doesn’t only happen whilst pregnant, but for a huge percentage of us, AFTER baby is here too! Gosh – to be maybe a little too honest, having been a breastfeeding mom, and perhaps due to slacking on the kegals and having had a natural birth, I always had the worry in the back of my mind of something leaking out while being intimate. (I’m still considering whether I should remove that??) Apart from that, we now have this empty belly and full or empty boobs that has teamed up with gravity, and just decide on which direction they’re headed without our say!

thumbnail_000-24-of-1

Apart from that, we all know about the stretch marks and cellulite that chose our bodies to move in with. I think being a mom, we all get the hint. I have a point to this, I swear!

thumbnail_000-25-of-1

THE POINT:
For Valentine’s Day, I decided that it was time to go a little out of my comfort zone, and to do a Boudoir shoot for hubby. He didn’t want to do expensive gifts, but sneakily, I not only wanted to do this for him, but for myself. I needed to take this step, and I had been encouraged by fellow moms to do this to see myself in a fresh, new light!

thumbnail_000-17-of-1
By now, you must know who Angela Rea is? If not, you’ve got some scrolling to do down this blog to familiarize yourself! Angela has joined One Modern Mom as a collaborator, and also helps out with some of the photography. I approached Angela with the concept, and she really encouraged it!

thumbnail_000-8-of-1-copythumbnail_000-21-of-1thumbnail_000-29-of-1

The morning of the shoot I went through to her house. She did my makeup (being a makeup artist) and we decided on the first ‘look’. I was nervous, but before long, it was just fun! Being the very down to earth, more sporty person that I am, I wanted to do something that showed who I truly am as a person.

thumbnail_000-20-of-1-1

We had such a fun morning, and I had such a good experience shooting my very first Boudoir shoot with Angela. I then got my photos back, one by one – and WOW! You truly do see yourself the way that hubby sees you! After giving him his gift, a little Boudoir Book of the best photos which I added my own words too, I asked him which photos were his favourite. I was amazed, and quite taken back when he answered me. Strangely enough it was the photos that showed my ‘imperfections’ the most. I just wanted to hug him.

thumbnail_000-33-of-1

Knowing that he loved this ‘flawed’ and stretched body just as much as my before pregnant body just blew my mind. Doing this shoot has given me confidence and a new found appreciation for all that my body went through to grow this tiny human. And knowing that hubby appreciated that just made my heart overflow with joy.

I have shared the tasteful photos here as the rest are for hubbies eyes only.

thumbnail_000-30-of-1

A huge thank you to Angela Rea for these photos that gave me a fresh and healthy perception of myself. You can check out her Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/AngelalReaMakeupArtist/?fref=nf

Instagram: @angievictoriarea / @angelareamakeup

Save

GETTING TO KNOW ANGELA & ELIJAH REA.

It is with great excitement that I type this post. A special one – an introduction. Many of you who follow me on Instagram (@onemodernmom) know who Angela & Elijah Rea are through my posts as Angela has helped me tremendously over the past few months with photography.

We have become good friends, as have our sons who are the same age.

Angela and Elijah are jumping on board with my blog, and will be featured at least once or twice a week. Angela is a makeup artist, and will be sharing many makeup and beauty tips with you apart from other mommy talk and advice she will be sharing as time goes on.

Let’s get to her intro: you can follow her on Instagram: @angievictoriarea to check out the gorgeous photos she takes of her little boy and for One Modern Mom.

10441013_10152374597456735_1903108339120650292_n

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Well first and foremost I am a mom. Getting married and having a baby is what completed my life and what I feel most passionately about. I am a makeup artist,  a creative soul who loves to try and exercise when life and babysitters permits it.

2. Tell us a little bit about your sweet little family.

Sadly my little family just consists of Elijah, my darling two year old and myself. I lost my very loved, soul mate of a husband nearly two years ago in a traumatic accident. Not a second goes past without me thinking about him and I am trying very hard to bring sweet Elijah up to be the kind of man Darrell was. Elijah and I have three sets of awesome grandparents who take their roles very seriously and are an immense help to me.

3. When you’re not doing makeup, what else do you enjoy doing?

I love to shop. I mean REALLY love to shop. I used to do it for a living and now all that “training” is focused on things for Elijah. I love going on special outings with my boy and meeting up with friends for coffee.

4. You have a very busy little boy, Elijah – tell us a bit about him.

Elijah is nearly two and a half. He is sweetness, cheeky, bossy and loving all rolled into one lovely guy. He has blonde curly, crazy hair and a gorgeous smile with a small dimple just bellow his mouth, one of my favourite kissing spots.

5. Three random facts about you..and go.

In my 20’s I was asked to dress up in ex ballerina Phillis Spira’s tutu and dance around the South African National History Museum for The Cape Times.

I can not dance.

I hate Lizards.

6. You have recently started playing around with photography, what has inspired you to invest in a good camera and to start taking photos?

I have always loved photography. Being someone who loves drawing and went on to study in the art’s field I love looking at beautiful things. My eyes would always capture the moment in my head so I thought why not try and see what I can do with a camera. Of course I have the perfect model at home too. Elijah!

7. What style would you refer your photography to?

Natural lifestyle. I like to capture real moments in peoples lives and make it into a beautiful piece of art.

8. What kind of photography is your favourite to capture? i.e. Newborn? Boudoir? Lifestyle? Family? Weddings?

I am going to make a new category and say Lifestyle Boudoir. Showing woman that they can be beautiful in everyday settings. And of course family. Not posed. Just interacting with their parents and siblings.

9. If you could live in any place in the World, where would it be? And why?

France. My mother is French and I love the people and culture there. I also love their views on raising a family. And then their is the food.

10. What else do you think is important for the readers to know about you?

I can be very shy when first meeting people. But that quickly goes.

11. How would you describe your parenting?

To be honest I do not think I have a style. What ever works at the moment is what I am going to use. In theory I like to think I try and reason with Elijah when he is lying on the floor in a heap, thrashing his legs around because I opened the lid of his yogurt instead of letting him do it, but who knows!

12. If someone gave you R2000 and told you to go on an adventure with Elijah for the weekend, what would you do?

Hmmm that is a hard one as there are so many places I want to show him. But we would probably go to Petersfield in Citrusdal as it holds special memories for me. We would swim in the dam, I would show Elijah how to roast marshmallows, play in the orchards and lie in in the morning. Who am I kidding. We would be up at 5.30am exploring!

13. In closing, tell us what sort of topics you will be blogging on One Modern Mom?

I have a special interest in all beauty products. I want to show moms how to do the 5 minute face for the school run while holding a toddler on your hip. Also quick ways to spruce up your beauty routines. I love fashion, that is what I studied, and I want to let moms know what is out there. And then of course anything kiddie related. I want to be a real mom showing my experiences and hopefully the readers can take something away from that.

If you have any additional questions for Angela, please ask away in the comment block below!

 

 

I AM MOM

I’ve been doing a little series on ‘I AM MOM’ over the past few months. Learning to love my postpartum body has been a huge challenge for me, and I know that so many moms can relate. The new stretchmarks that suddenly made their appearance in the middle of your second trimester after baby had a growth spurt (just after you thought you were one of the luckier women who didn’t get any). The cellulite you didn’t even know could exist in certain areas of your body. The (what I like to call) Kangaroo pouch which is excess skin that has decided it doesn’t plan on going anywhere no matter how well you eat or how dedicated you are to your exercise routine! Those once perky boobs that have now made their way with gravity in their own directions, which left me with no other decision but to toss my before pregnancy ‘no support’ bikinis I once felt remotely attractive in!


Beach days were once a normal daily routine for me, which have now become a ‘task’ that we are hesitant about and we do just because our kids could do with some fresh air at the seaside. Because it makes our hearts happy seeing them run free, splashing in the waves & building sandcastles. But, let’s all get real – we’re busy thinking about the awful tshirt tan we are currently working on, as well as wiping away the drips of sweat as we try to shade ourselves from the heat while sitting fully dressed (more than usual) to cover up our bodies because we are worried about what others will think when we have to jump up and sprint half way down the beach to stop our kid from chasing that bird in our bikinis, with our ‘after baby’ belly bouncing up and down (with our not so firm anymore boobs).

Part of the problem, (apart from our drop in confidence since giving birth and the power of our brains) is not having a swimming costume that compliments and supports our bodies and our individual builds. I took it upon myself to do some research on what swimwear is the best investment for moms of all shapes and sizes, and I am so excited to share my outcome with you.

Grey Emporio is a Western Cape based shop (don’t stress – they have an online store too) which stocks the most amazing swimwear for women like us! The mommy bod type of women! Their stores have a huge variety from bikinis, tankinis and one pieces! They stock the very well known and loved brand – Seafolly as well as their own Grey Emporio collection which meets the same standard and quality, perhaps with a little more colour!

These are the few that I tried on and felt best complimented our postpartum bods. I kept the slightly bustier and curvier women in mind as well as the smaller mamas and breastfeeding moms. Their sizes range from size 8 – 18.

For many, the price tag is a little intimidating – HOWEVER, the quality, comfort and lifespan of these costumes will make you rethink your immediate thoughts.

Sidenote: I bought a stunning Seafolly costume in Australia in 2009, the quality is still as it was back then. The Grey Emporio swimwear will be exactly the same!

These are a few of my favourites:

Seafolly Twist Halter Maillot: http://greyonline.co.za/product/seafolly-twist-halter-maillot/
Available in Black & Navy

seafolly-10373

Great for bustier and breastfeeding moms, however the more petit moms can most certainly pull this style off too!
Seafolly Soft Cup Halter Maillot: http://greyonline.co.za/product/seafolly-soft-cup-halter-maillot/#
Available in Black, Navy & Red

seafolly-soft-cup-halter-maillot-1

Perfect for the broader hipped women, which really compliments the curves. Stunning ties at the back which will provide some extra support. Also great for the bustier ladies.

Seafolly Riviera Lace Deep “V” Maillot One Piece

seafolly-one-piece

Perfect for the smaller ladies who have a little cleavage they want to show off. Also a good choice for breastfeeding moms, as the straps can easily pull down.

Seafolly Caribbean Kool Maillot One Piece

10691-038_front_full_1

A stunning, funky one piece for the more petit of moms.

And to save, MY personal best fit and favourite for last :
Cross-Back Detail One-Piece Black and White

dsc_2468

Incredibly comfortable, holds my boobs, bum and stomach in at all the right places and leaves me with the feeling of having my before pregnancy body. That confidence was back and running down the beach (which yes, I did have to do when my two year old son decided to bolt down the beach when we were having these photos taken) in front of an audience. I didn’t feel myself jiggling about, and the only looks I got were looks of people oohing and aahing while walking by and seeing my son and I playing on the beach.
My words of advice, invest in one of these beautiful costumes, and I can assure you, at least a little boost of confidence will come rushing through your body! That, and the fact that your costume will be so gorgeous, you won’t want to keep it hidden!

We deserve to spend summer having fun on the beach, and at the poolside. We deserve to feel gorgeous (because we ARE) and we deserve to not care about people looking at us, because at the end of the day, we are the only ones judging ourselves. 80% of people looking at youare enjoying the site of a mama bear enjoying a beach day with her little cubs.

dsc_2474

Head down to the Grey Emporio website (which has a very limited selection in comparison to in store) or get to one of your nearest Grey Emporio branches to try on and browse their HUGE range of costumes (their own, as well as the Seafolly collection). It’s time to start feeling like the other beautiful women and moms we often envy at the beach. Now is your time!

Grey Emporio Stores:

– Constantia Village
– Gardens
– Willowbridge
– Paarl

Photos / Styling / Makeup: Angela Victoria Rea: https://www.facebook.com/AngelalReaMakeupArtist/