My Wellness Journey into Motherhood

Before Baby:

I never truly lived a holistic life before my pregnancy. Like most teenagers, I was wild. I enjoyed partying, drinking, smoking and do drugs. I worked at a few restaurants and a gym part time to pay for my habits (clothes and shoe shopping being one of the PG habits). While immersed into the life of exercise and fitness, I fell in love with looking and feeling good. But I have to get one thing straight, the fitness industry is anything less than true self-love and living holistically, it is more of self-involvement and corrupt mindsets, leading to eating disorders and love/ hate relationship with your body and food. Now don’t get me wrong, some people don’t ever go down this path and are truly in the fitness industry for the love of:

A) Helping people or

B) Feeling good about themselves.

While down this path I learned about “clean-eating” “counting macros” and burning enough calories to eat whatever the F I wanted. I was very restricted with what I ate and literally counted and weight everything that I consumed. Nothing was unaccounted for! I was never truly overweight as a child or teenager. My dad always said it was “baby weight”. But I felt deep down that I was never as thin as the other girls which fed my corrupt mindset even further and counting my macros became an addiction. I became extremely thin with an unhealthy relationship with food.

When you see that + sign:

Well, it was March 2016 and I found out I was a few weeks pregnant. I was in SHOCK! How was I (of all people) going to raise a baby. I was struggling with nourishing my body properly, an unhealthy mindset and lifestyle. I actually feel very grateful that I had some knowledge of “healthy food” from working at the gym and being in that world and living with my Yiayia (Greek grandmother) at the time. For a large part of my pregnancy I did not nourish my body the way I was supposed to. I lived off of 3% milk (ew), chocolate cereal, spaghetti bolognaise, and Harvey’s Chicken burgers (one crispy, one grilled). I was so restricted with my diet when I wasn’t pregnant that during my pregnancy, I OVER indulged. When I say over indulged, I gained 50 POUNDS during my pregnancy.

After Birth:

So, Liam decided to come a month early and I had NO CLUE whether my water broke, or I peed myself. I drove to the hospital and was further induced. 12 (long and famishing) hours later with a shit ton of epidural in my body and a belly fully of ice chips -__-

Liam entered the world.

Now let me tell you my friend. I was in such shock of what I just pushed out of me that I couldn’t fathom it or maybe it was the fact that I was high on my epidural (kudos to you mamas who had natural drug free births. I literally commend you). I didn’t not want to touch Liam, that is how much I was in shock. And to be honest I was very disconnected when I was pregnant. I didn’t really talk or sing to him. He was just there, a part of me. Now that he was born, I was like uhhhh, WTF is this.

The nurses at the hospital were horrific to say the least and as polite as possible. I was not taught or guided on how to breastfeed, pumping, how often to breastfeed, or bathing him. Since he was in the NICU (neonatal intensive care until) and I was in a separate corridor, I didn’t know for the first 24 hours if I was even allowed to hold him. Any who, he was there and already being supplemented with whatever formula they had (I’m pretty sure it was Enfamil reduce lactose formula).

2 days later after a TON of other nightmares we faced (won’t get into that nonsense) we FINALLY got to go home. I was given a little bit of help with breastfeeding but not much since I had to see a lactation consultant that was provided by the hospital. My breastmilk was minimal, and Liam was a preemie, so his jaw muscles were too weak to stimulate the milk production. Needless to say, that appointment with the lactation consultant only made me feel MORE stressed out and led me to giving up breastfeed. I was pretty disappointed in myself because the ONE thing my body was supposed to do, it wasn’t doing.

Liam was officially a formula fed baby. A formula fed baby who started to develop colic and digestive distress.

My partner and I must have tried 8 different formulas! From different companies, lactose free, soy, you name it we probably have tried it. Liam wasn’t getting much sleep and if he did sleep, he would wake up from painful gas. I was at the point where I had NO CLUE what to feed this baby. During this time we also became more mindful of the ingredients inside commercial brands of formula (like high fructose corn syrup AKA GMO aka sugar being one of the first ingredients, which means there is a SHIT ton of sugar).

Until… (angelic music playing)

We found a company called Holle. It is an AMAZING company from Europe. Their food safety and standards are MUCH MUCH higher and stricter compared to North American laws. Animal are treated fair and are pasture fed oppose to corn/ grain fed (avoid at all costs) Since we assumed Liam could not digest diary or soy, we decided to try him on goat’s milk.

It was like I had a different baby. A different baby who smelled like feta cheese (I’m Greek so the smell of feta cheese was perfectly fine!).

His colic has literally disappeared in the matter of hours!

With all of this going on, I was in training and preparation for a Bikini Competition because I could not handle the fact that I gained 50 lbs during my pregnancy. I wanted to lose that baby weight FAST and I did. I lost it all in 4 months with crazy dieting (not starving but actually eating… A LOT). Before actually competing, my coach decided he wanted to give me some funky pills to bump up my fat burning. Little did I know these pills were extreme fat burners AND steroids. SO, I said f this and it was like a little light bulb went off in my head…

Introducing solids:

I will be completely honest and transparent. I started Liam on solids WAAAAY to early. Since he was born a month early, I should have held off solids until he was at least 7 months (6 months being the BEST and ONLY time solids should be introduced AND that is if the baby was born at 40 weeks +) I started Liam on solids at 4 months, which really meant he was 3 months, which is crazy early.

This led me into more danger waters because I not only affected his digestive system, I increased his chances of food sensitivities. Liam now could not have diary, soy, egg yolks, egg whites, and strawberries. He had a leaky gut that was caused by the formulas we had given to him in the past which led to digestive issues and gut inflammation.

Wanna know what that little light bulb was?

Going back to school to learn about holistic nutrition and wellness! I wanted to learn for myself and for my son, but I realized the bigger picture.

I was so uneducated about pregnancy, birth, motherhood, nourishing my baby and my own body post pregnancy, how many other mamas are out there who are feeling the same?

That was when I knew, I wanted to help other Mama’s-to-be and mothers support their wellness and their little one’s wellness!

-Marissa Kirou

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