What pregnancy does to your body isn't a secret. It's hard to conceal a swelling stomach, and I can't be the only mum whose breasts leaked in Tescos. My belly expanded, but so did my fingers, and I pulled off my wedding ring a few weeks before birth only to find I couldn't get it back again. My hair however was fantastic, like a Pantene advert only better. And my bulk, crossing London at rush hour, got me sympathetic smiles and seats on the tube.
So far, no secrets. I understood that I'd grow and slow down and that my boobs would change. And after the birth of my son, as my body healed and my fingers went back to their usual diameter, I thought I was pretty much back to normal.
Not quite! Losing the baby weight was hard work, but fair payback for the flapjacks I'd inhaled on a daily basis for nine months, because oats are a superfood, right? But it's much harder to get physically fit again, because despite what the supermodels say, it doesn't happen just by running after your baby. You are too emotionally and physically tired to worry about 10,000 steps a day and your old aerobics class doesn't have a crèche. Plus the thought of getting those mammoth boobs into a sports bra is laughable. My first run after pregnancy, some four months after birth (I know, what was I thinking?!), led to me gently wetting myself as I trotted around the park. I had gone from a long-distance runner to a girl who could only ever wear black running leggings to hobble round the park.
Then, as my baby became a toddler, I found myself at playgroups and parties, and more and more often beside the dreaded trampoline. "Please Mummy, please!" I am childish at heart but leaping around on a trampoline after two children was a no-go for me. And don't get me started on the winter sneezing season.
But you absolutely owe it to yourself to ensure that your insides are in tip top shape, whether that be doing your kegels every time you see a traffic light or brush your teeth (bet you are doing them now) or resorting to tech than can do it for you.
I'll be frank; when Soda, School of the Digital Age, approached me to test their Elvie pelvic floor trainer, I was apprehensive. Here's the science bit. You download an app, gently push the oval (think a small egg) into your vagina, and link it to the up with a gentle squeeze (yup, with your vagina.) Your fanny-power is represented by a jewel on screen, which changes colours as you advance through the levels. It's essentially Candy Crush for your ladygarden. And did I mention YOU CAN DO ALL OF THIS LYING DOWN? If you could do any other exercise lying down (get your minds out of the gutter please) I'd be an Olympic athlete. It's rewarding to see yourself improving, and as the Elvie promises that with a stronger pelvic floor comes a better sex life, not to mention the bladder control that so eluded me, the rewards are multiple. But the best reward, of course, comes courtesy of my 3-year-old. "Mummy, you are really really good at bouncing. Can we get a trampoline?" That's Christmas sorted. Phew.
You can read more from me at www.bellfrombow.com/the-blog
Also available on Twitter: www.twitter.com/bell_from_bowSuggest a correction