“Oh wow have spent afternoon having cuddles with babies! seriously excited now! Thank u 2 all the mums & babies who came to @kiddicare today.” @KatiePiper_ on Twitter
Kiddicare ambassador and Inspirational Parent Katie Piper welcomed her first child – Belle Elizabeth, weighing 7lb 1oz, on 14th March. Just two weeks before she came along to our Hayes store to meet fellow mums and dads, share her pregnancy story and pick up some tips on impending motherhood.
One mum’s honest tale
In a from-the-heart talk Katie revealed: “There was a time when I thought I’d lost the privilege of becoming a mum and that it would never happen for me, but meeting the right person and falling pregnant has honestly been the biggest achievement of my life. It’s given me strength, new purpose and so much hope for my and my partner’s future.
“Someone once told me that life isn’t measured by the breaths you take but the moments that take your breath away. I know this baby will give me many of those moments.”
So it’s been plain sailing throughout the pregnancy? “Well I have to be honest – those amazing emotions I’ve experienced aren’t the only ones. I’ve also experienced feelings of anxiety, lying awake at night wondering: ‘What sort of mum will I be’? ‘How will I protect my daughter?’, ‘How will I bring her up in this world?’
But then I remind myself that my past experience has taught me that life doesn’t come with an instruction booklet. It’s OK figure it out on your own. When I make mistakes I tell myself it’s just practice for being successful.”
“The other thing I haven’t been able to control – at all! – is the hormones. It’s been incredibly up and down – probably worse now in my third trimester! My partner’s been so supportive, particularly when I’ve sobbed outside Tesco’s because I forgot it shut at 10pm on a Friday!
“I sobbed again when we were decorating the baby’s nursery and I smudged a stencil. Then I burst into tears again when we’d finished it because it all looked so lovely! In fact, I think I’ve spent the most of the last nine months in tears. We discovered One Born Every Minute. Every time I get a lump in my throat and my eyes well up.”
A bit of me-time
Katie also shared how she takes time out to bond with her baby. “Since I’ve been pregnant I’ve discovered the luxury of having a bath. It’s a simple thing but I love it; it’s my time to talk to my bump, tell her how my day’s been, pat my stomach… it feels like I’m getting to know her and hopefully she’s starting to recognise my voice.
“The other thing I’ve tried to be really good about is stretch marks. I do have some stretch marks, so I’ve been using lots of creams and oils. I’ve ruined every bed cover we have – I get into bed and it looks like crime scene. My skin feels great though!”
If I had my pregnancy again…
“I’d buy new bras right away. I used to get on the tube and secretly undo my bra at the back. They were so uncomfy – I wish I’d known there are such lovely maternity bras available now.”
The chocolate diet
So has it been a healthy, nutritionally-balanced pregnancy? “Not at all! By month four I was getting really intense cravings – always late at night – for Wispas, Creme Eggs and chocolate Yazoo milkshakes. I decided to give into them; it’s obviously what my body wants! I’ve had three fillings since I’ve been pregnant so I don’t think it’s what my dentist wants!
“I’ve been trying to offset the chocolate diet with juicing. Lots of broccoli, kale and spinach and I always pack a bag of nuts in my handbag to snack on.”
Pat on the back
And on days when the hormones have really got to you, how have you coped? “When I’ve felt really rubbish, I’ve tried to take a step back and put it into perspective. I say to myself that what I’m doing is one of the most difficult jobs a woman will ever do. I’m growing this amazing thing inside of me – it isn’t easy! I’m determined to give myself credit for how difficult it really can be. It’s something I’m going to try to hold on to as she grows.”
Katie asked the audience…
After Katie’s talk she asked the audience for any words of wisdom for her pregnancy journey, in particular: “Anyone got any tips for that amazing first photo with your child?” Emma, mum to Annie, replied: “Look up! Don’t lie down – sit up otherwise you get a double chin!
Scarlett’s mum Cally recommended a contraction app, “great for working out how far along you are and relaxing in the bath”.
Lindsey, mum to Dexter, said “get a decent Kindle with a back light and avoid middle of the night purchases – I bought loads of stuff at 4am!”
And our audience asked Katie…
Tina: “What’s your biggest hope for your child?”
Katie: “My biggest hope and dream for my daughter is that she’ll be safe in this world and have acceptance. Because I think that when we have self acceptance and true confidence that’s when we can live a happy and fulfilling life.”
Lindsey: “Is there anything you’re anxious about with raising your child in the public eye?”
Katie: “Yes definitely. I want my child to have a normal and private life. I worry about the internet – I think all parents do. I was born in the 80s when people would write about you on toilet walls or your pencil case! I worry about online bullying and keeping her safe from predators online. Once she’s born she won’t be in TV shows and shoots. I want her to have a normal upbringing like I did.”
Sam: “What’s the one thing you couldn’t live without?”
Katie: “My partner. He’s the one who’s kept me sane. He’s fibbed to me and told me I’m fine even when he knows and I know I’m not!”
Carly: “Have you decided on a name?”
Katie: “We were convinced it was going to be a boy at first because my bump was really out at the front and the scan showed these really long legs. So at 20 weeks it was a real shock to find out she’s a girl! We’ve got a few names in the hat but we’re going to wait to meet her and find out about her personality before deciding.”
And our Facebook fans got involved too…
Sarah: “Are you going to give breastfeeding a go?”
Katie: “Yes I am. I’m having the baby on the NHS so I’ve been along to some of the breastfeeding workshops and practiced latching on with a knitted boob! I’m determined to give breastfeeding a go but if it’s not possible for me I know there are some great formulas out there.”
Kath: “Which pushchair will you be using?” Katie: “I’ll be using the Nuna IVVI – it’s got a carrycot like a pram then it converts to a pushchair. I got it a couple of weeks ago and I’ve been practising although my partner won’t let me take it out of the house without a baby in it though!”