Showbiz reporter, novelist, and now a mum, Martel Maxwell talks about having her first baby from the unexpected joys of regurgitated milk on your collarbone to lactating on TV …
Four-day-old mascara speckles my cheekbone.
Regurgitated milk curdles on my collarbone.
A year ago it might have been the end of a good night out. Now, it’s my introduction to motherhood.
To say that beauty routines have gone out the window is something of an understatement when, in the first days – ok weeks – washing was sometimes an achievement too far.
But who cares? I have a son. A little person I grew. Like millions of mums before me, I am in love.
This laissez-faireism lasted a while – and I guess the unwashed look could have become my USP.
But a moment of clarity struck as I took a phone call while standing in front of a mirror in my bra and pants; wibbly belly everywhere in between.
For the caller was a producer, wondering if I was free the following morning to film for BBC’s The One Show.
Panic set in as I realised I had given birth eight weeks ago, that life had carried on. I’d be back on itv1’s Lorraine in a few weeks looking like Bessy Bunter.
Cue: several weeks of forgotten maintenance crammed into an hour and a ten-minutes in the bath, which felt like a day in a spa.
And facing up to the reality I have not lost all the baby weight and my jeans are not really falling off me – well, they are, but they are the same maternity jeans I wore when ten days over my due date.
Tweezing I could do. Losing a stone overnight, not so much.
It turns out that breastfeeding is not a golden ticket to shedding all your baby weight overnight.
What the posters on hospital walls don’t tell you is that while you burn lots of calories when nursing, for the first four months a hormone called prolactin is released and while responsible for milk production it also increases your appetite.
Or that tiredness and old-fashioned lack of willpower might have you shelving the dried apricots in favour of a family pack of dry roasted peanuts.
Eventually, I found a dress that would fasten over my expanded rib cage (something they don’t tell you either) and colossal breasts.
And there I was twelve hours later in front of the camera, relieved beyond belief said dress was white – because for all my planning, I hadn’t reckoned on missing a day’s worth of breastfeeding.
Lactating so much, breast pads simply weren’t enough so my only choice was to introduce my short film with wet milk patches over my chest.
And there’s a sentence I never thought I’d say.
So, hurray for the white dress – and long hair (seriously, it happened – see the film below) and not caring too much because some things are more important.
Like 11-week-old Monty who needs his mother to eat donuts to nourish him.
Well, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
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