TV Presenter Jenni Falconer, 36, is mum to Ella, one, her daughter with husband James Midgley. She tells Parentdish about loving her pregnancy curves, feeling insecure about her post-baby body, and why motherhood brings guilt, guilt and more guilt...
Ella has just turned one, how has the first year of motherhood been?
The words 'life-changing' are very appropriate! When I was pregnant, my friends didn't think I would adapt to it so well. I travelled a lot for work and was always on the go, but I just love being a mum and I have really embraced being at home with my family.
I can't believe Ella has only been here for a year - I really can't imagine life without her.
Which milestones is Ella reaching?
She has started recognising colours, and when we're playing she can put shapes together, and make things match. She's learning to walk, which is incredible! She has a Mega Bloks walker which is just invaluable for her development. Before I had her I was sceptical about products that claim to help babies' development, but the range is fantastic and really does work.
It hasn't taken her long to work out how to unlock my iPhone either - and delete my messages when she's having a play!
Does she recognise you if she sees you on the TV?
I really wasn't sure if she would, especially at such a young age, but she saw me on the TV the other day and was pointing at me! She definitely knew it was mummy on the screen.
How has motherhood changed you?
I'm more chilled out and don't stress half as much. I have also stopped spending so much money on myself. I didn't really splash out that much before having a baby, but now I rarely do. Buying clothes for Ella on the other hand...
How would you describe your parenting style?
Flexible! We take a lot of days as they come, and don't tend to have really set times for everything. I'm very lucky that Ella has always been a very good sleeper - we actually sometimes have to wake her up.
What's your favourite thing about being a mum?
Getting to know Ella, and seeing her grow and learn something new and different each day.
What do you find the most difficult?
I love working, but I find being apart from her and working away from home tough. I miss her so much when we are apart. Luckily my work isn't 9-5 every day - I might work for a bit, and then have lots of time to spend with her.
Do you miss anything from your pre-baby life?
I do miss being spontaneous, which you just cannot be with a baby. I remember when Ella was born, it took so long to leave the house that we just gave up and stayed in!
Luckily that passes and you get into a rhythm as a family, but Ella has certainly changed things. I can't just decide to do something and go straight ahead and do it.
Is there a lot of pressure being a mum in the public eye?
People certainly feel the need to comment, but I think that's true for all parents. I know I'm a good mum and I'm not insecure with my parenting abilities.
There is so much guilt when you are a parent. It's just EVERYWHERE. It's so important to be comfortable with yourself and believe in your abilities as a mum.
My mum and friends are a huge support.
You're a keen runner and incredibly fit. How did you feel about pregnancy and your changing body shape?
I loved my pregnancy. I was so confident with my growing tummy, and I wore really tight clothes to proudly show off my bump, but I had lots of insecurities after Ella's birth.
I wasn't pregnant, but still big, and what used to fit and suit me just didn't anymore. I found that really hard to deal with, especially in the early weeks.
Did it take you long to lose the baby weight?
I ran the London Marathon seven months after Ella's birth, and thought 'training for this will get my figure back'. It didn't. I felt fit but I certainly didn't have my pre-baby body. It took me nine months to get back into my jeans, and I certainly think there's something to be said for 'nine months on, nine months off'.
My body is different now from before my pregnancy - I think 'softer' is the way to put it!
Did you take time off from your running schedule while you were pregnant?
I ran around five miles a day, three days a week until I was five months pregnant. I slowed down after that as I started feeling Ella moving around inside me, and I could see my belly move, so it seemed a good time to slow down. I kept up my fitness though, and was on the cross-trainer a week before my due date! I have always loved exercise, pregnant or not.
You worked right through your pregnancy (Jenni covered new mum Holly Willoughby's maternity leave on This Morning). How did you find being on TV with a bump?
I loved it! I felt confident and happy with my bump and being on This Morning. I wasn't tired and really enjoyed myself. I was lucky I had regular work through my pregnancy, as some women don't. Sitting down on the sofa when my tummy was big was interesting though!
Would you like another baby?
I would love another one! Our house is so full of toys and equipment that I think we need another one to justify it all...
Jenni Falconer is the Ambassador for Mega Bloks First Builders - the UK's best-selling pre-school construction toys. For further information visit Firstbuilders.megabloks.com, follow them on Twitter @megabloksTTB or find them on Facebook at Facebook.com/megabloks.timetobuild for info, chat and competitions.
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