Education + careers as young parents.

Me and Kieran met in the summer of 2017. By complete coincidence and perfect timing. I was living in Brighton at the time, and just so happened to have come back to Whitstable for the weekend as I was visiting Surrey uni the next day. Within a few weeks of knowing each other, I had made the decision to move back to Whitstable.

As a result I had to change schools, and do the equivalent of completing my A-levels in one year. This was the boldest move I had ever made in my life, and despite almost everyone doubting me, it was the best choice I have made to date.

I worked incredibly hard to catch up with my A-levels, driven to succeed at any cost. All while training the hardest I had ever trained in preparation for competing in Powerlifting. It may sound strange, but I was the happiest I had ever been. Moving back, meeting Kieran, rekindling my love of studying and prepping for competing regionally all contributed to me truly feeling happy with who I was and what I was doing in life.

I had my place at University, I was predicted to achieve high grades and had a bright career in front of me.

Then two weeks before sitting all the exams I had worked so incredibly hard for, I found out I was pregnant. In that moment, everything felt like it had come crashing down. Me and Kieran knew we wanted children in the not so distant future, but just not now.

Although we hadn’t decided what to do, I was determined to still achieve what I wanted from my exams. I was sick (very sick) almost every morning, I was hiding everything from everyone I knew, I was attending appointments at abortion clinics AND I was sitting the most important exams I had ever sat.

But in all adversity, I did it. I got the grades I had worked so hard for and for that I will forever be proud.

On the 12.07.18, outside the doors of Kings College Hospital London, me and Kieran chose to meet our boy. And I am eternally grateful we made that choice.

Walking around London 12.07.18

Now I sit here, holding a place at University for September 2019 AND holding our baby. Kieran travels to London everyday to study Osteopathy, and in September we will both be enrolled at the same university, living in our own house, building the brightest futures.

Having a child and studying is hard, don’t get me wrong. But so is having a child and working a full time job. Instead of bringing a child into our lives, we our building our lives with our child. Kieran is studying to become an Osteopath with his own practice, I will be studying to become an elite strength coach, and we’re both working towards our dream of opening a gym. Balancing looking after our boy and studying is all about organisation, and is by no means impossible.

Arlo gets to see us work hard, achieve our ambitions and grow as people – to me that is priceless.

Georgia X

Pregnant powerlifting

Before I found out I was pregnant, I had been training as a powerlifter since I was around 16. I started by using my dads home weights set up, then I got a commercial gym membership before finally joining a real powerlifting/bodybuilding gym.

Squatting during comp prep

I competed in March 2018 at the South East winter divisional. After the competition I decided to prep for another max test around the end of May…I then found out I was pregnant on the 27.05.18. Little did i know i had actually maxed out all my lifts at 4 weeks pregnant…Oops. (safe to say I didn’t get the numbers I had hoped for…I was rather confused at the time as to why my strength wasn’t where it should be)

As soon as I found out I was pregnant I knew my training was something I was going to continue right to the end. Not only because I NEED to throw some iron around for my mental sanity, but because I knew it was best for my body and my health.

Unsurprisingly, everyone had something to say about this. As soon as people find out you’re pregnant it’s like everything you do is suddenly up for debate. (A note to anyone passing judgement on a pregnant woman; it’s their body, their baby and their choices.) I did my research, I spoke to people and I listened to my body. I switched up my training to a more bodybuilding style format, while ensuring to start with one of the main lifts (squat, bench, deadlift) each session. This way I was creating greater hypertrophy while maintaining my strength and technique in powerlifting.

Deadlifting 75% of my comp max at 35 weeks

Here’s the shocker…I actually made strength GAINS in pregnancy. My strength on the main lifts dropped slightly, but in all other movements it either increased or stayed the same. Alongside this I also took cardio more seriously in pregnancy (everyone knows powerlifters are pretty lazy really) and I greatly improved my cardiovascular fitness.

Something else I decided to work on was unilateral strength, to help with balance and overall function. So I added in things like weighted step ups, single arm dumbbell press and pistol squats. Along side this I worked on my pelvic floor and did movements to engage my deep core muscles to help with diastasis recti. (I am by no means a health professional or PT, so I simply did what worked for me and what I thought was best given my research)

All in all I stuck to weight training 4 times a week, walking a 4 mile round trip to the gym and adding cardio into my sessions right until the end of my pregnancy. I had a completely natural birth, which was very fast (24 hours from the very first twinge to holding my baby), and made an 8Ib4oz baby boy (trust me that’s a fairly big baby).

The key to training in pregnancy is to adapt, yes some things you wont be able to do for a while but that doesn’t mean you have to stop. Trust your instincts, your body will tell you if you shouldn’t do a particular movement.

I am beyond excited to be starting training postpartum and working my way back to the platform, I have so many fitness goals for the next few years so watch this space. Postpartum fitness blog post coming soon…

Georgia X

A note to my non-breastfeeding self.

Breastfeeding is an experience you can do very little to prepare yourself for; the idea of using my previously purely sexual assets for their actual purpose was rather foreign before giving birth.

Every Tom, Dick and Harry has a different opinion on breastfeeding (and yes even men think their opinions on it are important). To pump or not to pump, to use formula or not to use formula, to feed in public or not to feed in public – the list is endless.

Now two weeks into my breastfeeding journey (having gained an understanding of why mamma’s refer to it as a ‘journey’ – it is very much an evolving journey!) I realise I am extremely lucky. Arlo knew exactly what to do right from the start, we have had no issues with latch or supply like I know many women do; so for that I count my blessings. I would tell my non-breastfeeding self that you can’t worry about breastfeeding until you start because you simply cant predict how it’ll go.

You hear all these stories about how beautiful breastfeeding is, making you picture yourself lovingly looking down on your perfect baby as you provide all the nourishment they need almost as if you’re both in a little mamma-baby bubble. Now let me reassure you, these moments definitely exist and they are as wonderful as they sound; BUT it’s almost certainly not always like that. Such as when your baby is screaming and your firing milk up their nose with the right boob while simultaneously soaking their clothes with the let down of the left boob. You very quickly learn to find a big wet patch on the bed or on your top and have the response of ‘eh its probably just boob milk’. This is where I would very firmly tell my non-breastfeeding self that breastfeeding is messy, and that’s okay.

Our first public feed on day 7.

Breastfeeding in public is a very controversial topic, some mothers pump and only bottle feed in public, others find the most private place possible and some will feed almost anywhere. All of which are completely valid and more than acceptable in my opinion. Personally, I’m usually happy to feed anywhere; we’re currently on day 15 and I’ve fed Arlo in Cafes, in the pharmacy and on a train. I’ve yet to receive any backlash from members of the public thankfully, although I’m sure that day will come so I’m mentally noting any witty come backs I can think of.

I’m aware that so far I’ve made breastfeeding sound relatively magical, but me and Arlo have (and are currently having) our own trials and tribulations. Night feeds. Need I say much more. Here’s where I fall down, and am currently trying to figure out how to master them – so I think that’s a post for a bit further down the line. (Here I would most definitely tell my non-breastfeeding self that sleep is precious, enjoy it while you can)

weight training at 8 months pregnant.

So that is where we’re at currently, but with me returning to training in a few weeks me and kieran are considering introducing some formula and taking a mixed feeding approach for more flexibility. Something which I am very excited about and can’t wait to share. (I am so excited to get back to powerlifting and regular training!)

Georgia X

First two weeks of motherhood

Oh boy where do i even begin…trying to remember what happened on which day may be easier said than done. Never before have i existed in what feels like such a wonderful timeless bubble; full of sleepy snuggles, silent night feeds and an overwhelming feeling of love between the three of us. Birth is such an intense, fast experience that it stands in stark contrast to the gentle, slow first weeks of motherhood.

Arlo has taken to breastfeeding so well, and sleeps like a dream 75% of the time. He seems to be such a calm baby so far (fully prepared for that to change at any second, so we are enjoying the peaceful moments while they last) Although he is only now getting used to nappy changes…the first week did consist of him screaming the house down the second his tiny body touched the changing mat.

We first took Arlo out on day 5, but only on a short trip to Costa in an attempt to settle our cabin fever. Below are some pictures from his second outing (day 7) where we showed him the sea for the first time! We also accomplished our first public nappy change and feed, safe to say we went home feeling like very proud parents.

The transition from a couple to a family of three has felt like the most natural and easy thing, me and Kieran are stronger than we have ever been as a couple and are enjoying every single second of parenthood. Even when Arlo wees all over us mid nappy change (which is most amusing for the person watching). The key is to laugh when things go wrong, and stay calm enough to ride the storm.

Georgia X

Welcoming our boy earth side

On the 27th of January 2019 at just gone midnight I went into labour; and at 23:58pm our son was born – narrowly making the 27th as his birthday. Which is rather ironic considering 27.01.19 was our original due date before we had our dating scan, and it was also the date I had guessed our little one would be born. Mothers instinct must be real huh.

Birth is an experience that is incomparable to anything else and finding the words to describe it is near on impossible. Processing birth AFTER its happened is also another thing entirely; and so I’m not quite ready to share all the details of what happened in that 24hours. For the foreseeable future my labour story is remaining something shared only between me and Kieran.

Arlo Tobias Woolf
8Ibs 4oz

But I can say, the moment our son was placed on my chest after 24 hours of labour, an overwhelming sense of peace encased us in a little bubble among the chaos around us. The three of us were finally together, and that was unlike anything else in the world. (You will have to excuse the bad photo quality, this was taken only an hour or two after he was born)

Arlo Tobias Woolf. We finally decided on his name after around 7hours of having him earthside. We had two full names in mind but waited until we had met him to chose one. We still don’t know where we found the name Arlo, but its one of the first names we both instantly loved (in the early weeks when we spent hours reading off endless lists of baby names there weren’t many either of us liked – typical). Arlo is also an anagram of my sisters name (Orla) which we rather liked the sentiment of.

As I write this I am deep in the first week of motherhood, which is beautiful and messy all rolled into one. But more details on that to follow soon.

Georgia X

40 weeks…and counting.

So we’ve reached little mans due date, hurray! The date we’ve been counting down to for what feels like an eternity has finally come around, rather anticlimactic if I may say so myself. Mama is starting to feel veryyy impatient little one.

After the absolute whirlwind of a journey that pregnancy is, it has come down to drinking excessive amounts of tea in bed, watching a criminal amount of daytime telly and spending most of my time just…waiting.

So what better a thing to do than start a blog to fill some time…right before the impending beautiful chaos that is motherhood is brought upon me. We’re about to embark of one of life’s most wonderful adventures and I can not wait to document it….even the not so beautiful moments of course.

So as I sit here drinking my excessive amounts of (decaf…sigh) tea I just can not wait to count baby’s tiny toes and have warm newborn cuddles. As unexpected as it was to be becoming a family so young, and as hard as pregnancy has been; I’ve never felt more at peace with the path my life has taken and I cant wait to share it.

Here’s to more waiting…just hopefully not for too much longer little one,

Georgia X