Birth Series – Two Miracle Babies & An Unexpected Cesarean Delivery.

I have had this desire to share a series of birth stories on my blog for a very long time. I love reading about different births, as each is so unique. I feel that it is so important for women to have an open mind before they bring their own baby into this world. We often set our minds so strongly onto the way we want things to be, but things can, and so often do go their own way. And, in that moment, knowing we want what is best for our baby, we will make ourselves vulnerable, and allow for what needs to happen, to happen.

This series will be sharing the story of many women who have each had their own unique experience at birth. My desire is for you to feel that you can relate to just one, and I truly hope that at least one story will help you. Know that some of these experiences are extreme, and the purpose isn’t to scare you, but to rather give you the peace of mind, that in the end, it is all worth it.


34016872_1936629416360782_3361209498537558016_nTWO MIRACLE BABIES & AN UNEXPECTED CESAREAN DELIVERY 

I am starting this series with the beautiful birth stories which belong to Kia Johnson, mother to two and South African TV and Radio Presenter. Kia was told, like many women that she would struggle to fall pregnant naturally. She is now called ‘Mom’ to two gorgeous children who are now 6 and 3.

Reading about Kia’s deliveries made me realize how lucky I was with such a straight forward birth.

“When I heard the news from my Doctor that I’m going to struggle to have kids naturally due to growths (polyps ) he had found inside my uterus (and recommended in vitro fertilisation) I felt a part of my soul go numb. I hadn’t wanted children at that time but I wanted to at least have the ability to do so naturally. I remember being in tears, it felt like I was in mourning, and for the longest time I was, it was just over a year when I finally made peace with what I was told.

After letting go of the idea of having children I decided to focus on my career which helped tremendously. It was however in that exact moment, when I wasn’t thinking about it, when I had given up all hope, that I fell pregnant with my daughter. I was in a state of shock for the longest time but also in a state of bliss, I couldn’t believe I was pregnant! So many things ran through my head as I was aware that I was not 100% okay in my womb, but the feeling of having this life grow inside of me did manage to push those thoughts aside albeit for moments. I was careful though and went for all my checks. I was so grateful, I prayed and rejoiced and just kept saying thank you for my precious miracle.

Like we all do I started chatting to everyone about pregnancy and the birthing process. 885719_960864343937299_2848662267234838086_oSome people gave good advice and others were a little ‘off the mark.’ I have to be honest though many people painted sunshine and roses and that’s what I expected. When reality set in my pregnancy had a mind of its own. I was nauseous every single day until the day I gave birth. I also opted for a natural birth and gave my Doctor quite the scolding when he told me my daughter hadn’t locked into position and I might have to have a caesarean. I was determined that it won’t happen to me and I will give birth the natural way.

But I was not prepared for what happened. I went into labour a few hours after my doctor had predicted I would, I counted the contractions, I breathed and tried to be calm. It was regular like clockwork. Till this day I wonder about that, how on earth can something so primitive in us be so timeous.  After 18 hours of labour, I just wouldn’t dilate, my Doctor tried everything and nothing worked. When my daughter went into distress we had to do a caesarean or she wouldn’t make it. Right there I couldn’t have cared if I gave birth to her through my ear I just had to get her out.

18893016_1561423837214677_4237598658673611921_nWhen she was born she screamed like a trooper. She was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen and so tiny, with her little hands and feet and it was right there that I felt as if a hole in my heart was filled because of her.

After giving birth to my daughter I was told by my Doctor that my polyps will come back and I have to be prepared so I thought ‘oh well at least I have one child.’ A few years later however I remember one day I just felt quite odd. Till this day I don’t feel I can explain it properly but it was a sense of  peace and being the type of personality I am as I constantly worry, I knew it was unusual for me to feel this type of calm. But something had happened, I just knew it. It was as if my hormones had slipped right back into a balanced space. Could it be that I was just sick or could I be pregnant? Unlike the signs with my daughter (my breasts were getting unusually big and I couldn’t eat sushi it made me so sick ) I had no definite physical indication that I was pregnant so I was sure I couldn’t be but I decided in order to give myself some peace of mind why don’t I get a pregnancy test to make sure. The first one I took came out positive. I decided to purchase another test and this one came out unsure. The third one I took came out positive.

Due to the indecisiveness of the test I had to see my Doctor. He did an ultra sound and told me he it looked like I had a missed period but to be absolutely sure I had to come back 3 weeks later. When he did the ultra sound the second time around he found a heartbeat, I was 7 weeks pregnant! Another miracle!

This time around I was certain I would deal with my pregnancy far better than my first one. I was wiser after all and had more confidence but, I was so wrong. My son had decided to lay with his spine against my spine, this was not the ideal position at all. I carried quite small, most people couldn’t even see I was pregnant. The pain from him lying on my spine was unbearable at times. In the first three months I was under tremendous stress and almost lost him. I remember standing and packing my daughter’s clothes into her cupboard and not being able to move from the pain I felt. I just stood completely still. My husband took me back to the Doctor and this time I had to go on hormone medication to keep my womb strong. With this pregnancy too I remained nauseous throughout the entire time.

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I gave birth to my son via caesarean. I will never forget the moment he came out I almost froze. He didn’t make a noise, I heard nothing just complete silence. All I kept asking was ‘why isn’t he crying, why?  It was only a few minutes later that I heard him give a good scream, it was the best sound I ever heard, like music to my ears. When they brought him to me he was so tiny and beautiful. I loved the feeling of having his tiny body on top of my chest. He slept by my side the entire time I had to stay in the hospital, I just couldn’t bare to not have him close to me.

21768053_1679172785439781_5475012372583849563_nMy children are now both six and three and they are expert chatterboxes who keep me on my toes everyday. Their love is unconditional and the moments we share are so precious. I don’t get much sleep, I get sick a lot, I have to be stern in discipline and time outs exhaust me but gosh when they give me kisses, tell me they love me, clean up their room (okay my daughter is the only one doing it for now but still a bonus!) or when my three old shouts ‘bubbles bubbles’ for bath time I know that I am truly happy and blessed and wouldn’t trade these moments (even the tough ones) for anything. I feel so proud that they chose me to be their Mom.”

– Kia Johnson | Instagram

 


 

*Would you like to share your birth story with women around the world? Email me your story to onemodernmom@hotmail.com before the end of July 2018 to be featured. Did this story touch your heart? Did something similar happen to you? I would love to hear your feedback. Keep getting updates to this birth series by subscribing to my blog. You can also get updates by following my social media accounts: Facebook | Instagram

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Skin Health In The Nappy Area – Johnson’s Baby

12832452_1089740687713121_5881449826012048151_nLast month, I was honoured to be invited to the Johnson’s Baby Wet Wipe masterclass in Johannesburg. Being based in Cape Town, they decided to fly me over to be at the event. This was a huge deal for me, and it meant that they had some important information to get across.

The masterclass was hosted by the beautiful and quirky Elana Afrika-Bredenkamp, and we were well informed about all of the do’s and don’ts of caring for babies nappy area by the highly educated Professor Carol Hlela and JOHNSON’S® Baby Portfolio Manager, Jacquelyn Paterson.

It’s amazing how few of us moms are actually well educated on how we should be looking after our babies nappy area correctly, and I certainly did learn a lot from the class. I think so many of us think that it is a straight forward process, if baby is happy and clean, but we actually don’t think deeper into what we are doing.

They mentioned that the most vulnerable skin area for babies is undoubtedly the nappy area. The reasons for this are self-evident – for most of the day and night, their delicate skin is enclosed in a nappy which creates a moist, humid environment.

Have you ever taken note of how many different brands of wet wipes are available on Masterclass Infographicthe shelf at your local grocer store? What determines your decision on which pack you purchase? Is it on special? Is it cheaper than the rest? Do you look at the ingredients? Are you a creature of habit? Is it organic/natural? Do you like the scent? Is it the quality of the wipe?

No wonder we feel so overwhelmed as parents or grandparents or carers of young children? How are we ever supposed to know which is correct when we are suffocated with options? Did you know that some brands of wipes are too dry? They don’t have enough water in them, which means that you use more each nappy change anyway? Did you know that some brands of wet wipes that you love because they smell so nice are actually packed with ingredients that aren’t good for babies skin and sensitive nappy area?

We were taught about the different layers of the skin in the nappy area and I actually found myself wondering how I ever thought that it was all so straight forward. Being educated on this area can really save a new mom from so many stressful and heartbreaking encounters. Understanding how this area works can save your precious babe from nappy rashes and the pain that comes with them.
Did you ever think about the fact that a wet wipe is the one thing that touches your babies skin the most for the first year of their life? How crazy is that? You think about when you have visitors over and you make them sterilize their hands every time they’ve touched anything other than your baby, but we don’t even think twice about this important statistic!

Did you ever have the thought cross your mind when making that typical new parent comment about how soft your babies skin is. You feel theirs and compare it to your skin that may be dry and tough, and probably even slightly aged. Babies skin is not only 3x thinner than an adults, but is more permeable and also loses moisture up to 5x faster.

Doctor Hlela, paediatric dermatologist, explains: “Healthy skin plays an important role in the overall health of a baby as it provides a protective barrier that prevents infections, water loss and the penetration of irritants and allergens. The first months of a baby’s life are crucial, as damaged or dry skin can allow germs to pass through more easily. Skin penetration can result in skin inflammation, allergies and bacterial colonization. If the skin barrier gets compromised, this can increase susceptibility to microbial and chemical attacks.”

I hope that this helps you for future nappy changes, maybe this can be an important tool to pass on to other parents-to-be:

How to keep baby’s nappy area healthy:

The Nursing for Women’s Health (AWHONN) recommends 5 steps to protecting the delicate skin barrier which is as simple as following A, B, C, D, E:

Air – Include Nappy-free time: expose the nappy area to air, frequently, and for as long as possible. Your baby will love that feeling of fresh air against those chubby bum cheeks, and there’s nothing cuter, right? But, on a serious note – exposing that diaper area to air will reduce the chance of your baby ending up with a rash or any infections.

Barrier – Use a great barrier protection with an emollient: The vulnerability of baby’s skin barrier requires protection with specially formulated moisturizing emollients. Using a barrier cream that provides a lipid film will protect your baby against exposure to irritants such as urine and stool. Emollients can strengthen and enhance the health of babies skin, reducing the risk of pathogens penetrating the skin.

Cleansing – Gently cleanse the area with a baby wipe at every nappy change. When cleaning a baby’s nappy area, make sure that the urine and stool are dealt with separately. Never link the two. Clean the stool first, take a new wet wipe, and then clean the urine area.

Diaper – Choose super absorbent diapers and change them frequently. Unfortunately, not all brands of nappies fit this brief. Failing to do so could mean that the urine and stool is resting on the part of the diaper that is constantly touching babies skin. This can really provoke discomfort for them and can also cause major issues for this area. Ensuring to do frequent diaper changes and understanding your babies general routine will assist you in figuring out how frequently you should be changing their diapers in order to avoid any irritation.

Educate – Educate other moms and care givers to follow the proper nappy hygiene skin care practices.

I also wanted to take a moment to give you a little bit of advice that may help you narrow down your options when it comes to doing your wet wipe shop. This should help you feel less overwhelmed by all of the options, and will provide you with that peace of mind knowing you are using the best on your baby’s skin:

WHICH IS THE GENTLER CLEANSER – WATER & COTTON WOOL OR BABY WIPES?

Bathing your baby with a gentle cleanser in a tub of water not only helps keep her skin healthy but is also a wonderful bonding ritual that helps promote her sensory development. But in between baths, babies need to be gently cleansed at every nappy change. Water does not easily remove oily substances from the skin and tends to have a pH level that is higher than that of baby skin.

Depending on the water quality in your area, it may also be “hard” which can cause skin dryness. Good quality wipes like JOHNSON’S® are pH buffered to suit baby skin and contain gentle emollients for skin protection.

JOHNSON’S® Baby suggests parents look out for the following when choosing wipes:

 

  • Gentle emollients to protect the skin from damage caused by frequent cleansing.
  • The pH level in wipes should be as close as possible to baby’s natural pH which is around 5.5.
  • The type of fabric used for the wipes is extremely important. JOHNSON’S® always uses 100% cotton because it is soft for the skin and reduces friction.
  • Read the ingredients on the packs and avoid products with strong chemicals such as ALCOHOL, SOAP, TRICLOSAN or even ESSENTIAL OILS which can have an irritating or drying effect on the skin.
  • Not all fragrance is baby skin appropriate – use a wipe that is mildly fragranced or fragrance-free, proven safe to use on sensitive skin. 

JOHNSON’S® is also sharing their TWO-STEP ROUTINE to keep the skin barrier in the nappy area healthy:

STEP 1: CLEANSING AT NAPPY CHANGE

JOHNSON’S® Baby Wipes

  • Optimally designed for cleansing babies’ sensitive area
  • Made with soft cloth to reduce friction on delicate skin
  • Contain 97% pure water
  • pH buffered to suit baby’s natural pH level of 5.5
  • Free from alcohol, soap and essential oils
  • Enriched with mild emollients to protect the skin

JOHNSON’S® Baby Wipes are available in 2 variants:

1.EXTRA SENSITIVE WIPES are ideal for newborns and very young babies. These ultra-gentle, fragrance-free Wipes are clinically tested and proven as safe as pure water on newborn skin

Extra Sensitive Wipes

2. GENTLE ALL OVER BABY WIPES are perfect for older babies. They effectively cleanse everything from wet bottoms to dirty hands and delicate faces.

Gentle All Over Wipes

*Both variants have the special NO MORE TEARS® formula which is mild enough to use even around baby’s eyes.

STEP 2: PROTECTING BABIES SKIN IN THE NAPPY AREA

After cleansing, apply emollient products that help strengthen and enhance the skin barrier like JOHNSON’S® Baby Jelly which has a soft texture that spreads easily and contains nourishing oils to help soften the skin. It forms a barrier against wetness, helping to protect against the causes of nappy rash.

 

11953524_1003318893021968_7851623380238881546_oAVEENO® Baby Daily Care Barrier Cream is another excellent option from the JOHNSON’S® stable. Unscented and suitable for newborns, it is formulated with colloidal oatmeal to actively soothe and reduce the redness of dry, delicate baby skin. Developed to minimize the risk of allergies, it creates a breathable skin barrier to protect against external irritants.

THE BENEFIT OF PETROLEUM JELLY:

– Emollients moisturize by supporting lipids, which are part of the natural make-up of the stratum corneum to provide optimal barrier protection.

– Petroleum Jelly provides greater lipid concentration and absorption versus other emollients, providing optimal barrier protection.


Who knew there could possibly be so much to learn about your babies nappy area? But, it just shows how educating yourself as a parent-to-be or carer can really save both you and your baby from a huge amount of pain and anxiety.

I found this masterclass incredibly insightful, and I honestly walked away learning so much that I didn’t know! You may already know this, or may be beyond this stage of your childs life, however, you can help somebody else by passing this information onto them. Perhaps this could even help you figure out which products to gift a friend who may be expecting.

In my home, wet wipes are a permanent resident – we use them for anything and everything – we might as well make the right choice in what to look out for when it comes to purchasing them for our family.

A huge thank you to JOHNSON’S® for providing me with all of these facts and tips.
IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS YOU’D LIKE ME TO GET AN ANSWER TO FROM EITHER PROFESSOR HLELA OR JOHNSON’S® BABY PORTFOLIO MANAGER, JACQUELYN PATERSON, PLEASE SEND ME A PRIVATE MESSAGE, AN EMAIL OR LEAVE A COMMENT BELOW AND I WILL GET BACK TO YOU WITH AN ANSWER.

The Shop That You SHOULD Take Your Kids To!

How many times have you glanced through the windows of a beautiful store, but dragged your kids in the opposite direction? Each time you do your grocery shop at that shopping center, that shop pops back into your mind, but the thought of all of the things your kids will want to touch and may break just creates an urge to ‘go inside to browse next time without the kids rather’.

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It is incredibly rare to find a shop like Diggers and Dandelions, which can be found at the Checkers entrance of the Sun Valley Shopping Mall. A hidden gem that stocks some of the highest quality, exclusive pregnancy, newborn, baby, toddler and kids products. The owner, Jurika, supports local South African designers and brands, and you will find a handful of the most breathtaking products which she has hand selected herself. She only has three international brands stocked in her store, including the well loved Melissa and Doug.

Back to my point – what makes Diggers & Dandelions so rare? They encourage the kids to touch and play with everything in the shop while mom browses. Did you hear me? THEY TELL YOUR KIDS TO PLAY WITH THE PRODUCTS IN THE STORE WHILE YOU SHOP!!! There are two gorgeous areas in each corner of the shop that have little set up areas where the kids can quickly snap into their imaginary world, they are allowed to go around the shop and touch, feel, pick up and play with the gorgeous products that are in store. I was in the shop for about an hour, and my three and a half year old son was totally fascinated and entertained the entire time. This never happens!

Jurika believes that every person who comes into her shop should be able to leave with something, no matter how big or small, that makes them feel special. Whether it be a handmade dummy clip or something larger like a hand crafted wooden reading nook. She has created a place that has products of all price ranges, and after browsing her store in depth, I noticed that even the high end products are priced at a very affordable cost!

The baby clothing is just divine. Some really unique and high end garments made locally. It certainly makes me wish to have a baby to dress up again. They have a wonderful selection of wooden toys from the well loved toy collection – (Melissa and Doug, which you could win an R800 voucher for, to choose a toy of your choice!).

What I loved about the shop is that from the moment you step food through their door, it’s almost like stepping into a fantasy world – partly for moms, because, well…when do we ever get the opportunity to really look at a shop? And for kids, having the opportunity to explore. But, apart from that – seeing so many new products in a shop that you haven’t seen before. I love that! I so  often walk into a shop and just find shelves packed with the same thing I saw at the last shop. So, I really do find it so refreshing to see some original products, but to also see the well loved ones snuck in there too.

I really encourage you to pop into their store at the Sun Valley center when you happen to be that side. For baby shower gifts, there is no doubt you will leave with something truly special, or even for your own baby, or a gift for a toddler. They have also recently launched a maternity range, which is awesome!

You can also shop online, so if you aren’t in the area, don’t fret! You can do your shopping from the comfort of your own home here:

Want to find out how you can win a Diggers & Dandelion voucher valued at R350 AND a Melissa and Doug prize valued at R800 (of your choice). Pop over here to enter the competition:

Enter Here

I truly do wish for each of you to visit the beautiful Diggers and Dandelions store, because my photos really don’t do it justice. I would love to know if you do visit, and would also love to hear your thoughts on it.

DO take your kids, and DON’T avoid it because you have them with you. There really are no excuses!

Happy Birthday, Diggers & Dandelions! To the next 2 years of providing beautiful products to the Valley.

The Only Thing I’ve Judged Another Parent For.

Driving back home from one of the best weekends I’ve had with my little family at our old family farm up at the Breede River, we decided to take the longer, scenic drive back through Robertson instead of our usual route back through Caledon. We weren’t even the tiniest bit phased by the toddler tunes on repeat blaring in the car, or the extra bit of traffic. We were just in our element.

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Dark crept upon us, and we made our way through the Hugenot Tunnel just after Worcester. Still happily chatting about exciting family events to come as well as our special weekend away; a sudden chill hit us as we saw a car that had recently drove over the edge and was smashed up. Added to the scene were emergency lights, and a crowd of people – paramedics, etc. One of my least favourite things to see, especially on a long, happy journey home.

Not even having a chance to get that visual out of my mind, I glance to the left on a road that one can drive 120km/hr and literally find myself taking a second look. My heart sinks, I feel my blood pressure rise at a rapid speed. A little girl younger than my own son – couldn’t have been older than two running back and forth on the back seat of her parents car, jumping forward between the driver and passenger seat. This sounds terrible, but I wanted to get out and just shake her parents. Didn’t they just see the accident? What if that was them? It could have been, and one day it could be!!!

I am shaking, and I feel sick even typing this. If they can afford to have a car, and if they can afford to put petrol into their car – they can afford to prioritize a car seat for their precious little girl! They can afford to protect their baby girl from an accident that can so easily happen. It doesn’t matter how good a driver you are, these things happen in a heartbeat!

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You know, I often find myself feeling anxious when we go on long trips, and we have a great car seat! I find myself nervous because I know that accidents happen, and my child is securely fastened in his car seat! I find myself praying throughout our long trips because I know that there could be someone who is texting or drunk and an accident can happen, and we spent thousands on a car seat for our son to protect him.

Yet, another parent, their childs life just as precious and fragile as my own child, couldn’t care less to take the precautions to potentially save their daughters life. One doesn’t even need to be educated to know! If you can drive a car, you are educated enough to work out that a child needs to be in a car seat! If you can drive a car, especially one like this family was in, YOU CAN AFFORD TO BUY A DECENT CAR SEAT! Your child’s life is far more valuable!!!

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I am not a judgmental person. And I will never put another parent into a situation where they feel like they are not good enough. Whether you formula feed or breastfeed, whether you had a natural birth or a c-section, you are good enough. Whether you rock your baby to sleep or let them fall asleep on their own, you’re perfect. BUT, the one thing that I will voice my incredibly strong opinion on is putting your child in a car seat! If you are reading this, and don’t and feel offended, or guilty – I’m sorry, but I’m not sorry.

Being a parent means that you need to do what is best for your kids. Sometimes having to invest in something like a car seat is just something that you need to do. Sometimes you have to let your child cry even when they don’t want to be in their car seat, or sometimes your already long trip means stopping an extra 10 times because your kid needs a break from their car seat. But, there are no excuses.

STRAP YOUR CHILD INTO A CAR SEAT.
EDUCATE YOURSELF.
EDUCATE OTHER PARENTS.
SPREAD THE WORD TO PARENTS TO BE!

I can’t express myself enough.

Do the right thing!

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?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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