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Marlena, 32, UK
"Throughout my pregnancy I was positive and chilled ��� I had a ���bring it on��� attitude towards the whole thing. This time around, my birth experience was really good. There were no challenges during the delivery, and I knew that I was in good hands.
I was induced at the hospital, had an epidural to help with the pain, and had a vaginal birth as planned. My only expectation about going into labour and giving birth was to come out of it with a healthy baby ��� I think that���s what all new parents want.
Luckily, our second daughter was born safely, and she was absolutely perfect! The overwhelming love that you have for your new baby is such a high. I couldn���t wait to get settled at home and start life as a family of four! Getting stitches ���down there��� after birth was a painful low point and trying to breastfeed the second time around was really tricky.
Our first daughter cried a lot when she was first born, so I was expecting the new baby to be the same. It came as a nice surprise that she is actually really calm! I think that has a lot to do with the fact that her birth was so positive and stress-free.
Having a new baby is challenging, but it hasn���t really changed the dynamic of our relationship. We���re a good team. My eldest daughter has started school now and my husband is back at work, so it���s down to me to get both of the girls up and ready to go in the morning, which is challenging after a sleepless night.
My husband finishes work at 2pm, so he���s able to do the afternoon school pick up. I keep having to remind myself that I can���t do it all, and if the dishes are left in the sink or the washing doesn���t get done, it���s not the end of the world.
Before I got pregnant, I was a very active person. The country was in lockdown because of COVID-19, and I had been furloughed, so there was plenty of time to exercise. Since welcoming my second daughter, my body has changed dramatically. I don���t have time to think about complicated exercise regimes or diet plans because I���m still adjusting to life with both a four-year-old and a newborn in the house. Right now, I am giving myself time to enjoy the fourth trimester newborn bubble!
It���s only been four weeks since my little girl arrived, so I���m still wearing my maternity pants and until recently, my tummy still looked like I was about five months pregnant! I am breastfeeding which I know helps burn calories, but when I look in the mirror it seems like I���ve got a long way to go. I���m trying not to think too far ahead right now. I keep having to remind myself that my body is perfect, because it���s given me two perfect babies!
Mentally I���m in a much better place than I was after the birth of my first daughter. My sister has also just had a baby, so we are constantly messaging each other for support and advice. My midwife and health visitor have also been really good at checking in with me about how I���m feeling, and there���s a breastfeeding group in my local area who phone me every now and then to check in. Obviously, I still have low moments, but the highs outweigh the lows and I know that I���ll always have my partner to lean on.
My relationship with my partner has changed a little since the new baby arrived. We���re not able to go out and visit friends and family as much as we used to. Everyone who is close to us respects that we need time for ourselves. When you have little ones, it gets harder to socialise. At the end of the day, I love being a mum and I���ll always put my children first."
If this content reminds you of your own experiences or makes you think of someone you know and you feel concerned or uncomfortable, please head to our support page for information about perinatal mental health resources that may be able to help.