HOW TO PREVENT STRETCH MARKS DURING PREGNANCY: NO DIETS INVOLVED

Stretchmarks aka tiger stripes can occur at any time during your pregnancy. The areas most affected are the bum, hips, thighs, stomach, upper arms, behind the knees and around the waist. However, they can appear anywhere. The best way to handle them is through prevention. However, if they have already formed then there are tips and tricks to minimize their appearance. This is a personal account of what worked for me. please note that I am not a medical practitioner of any kind. I’ll break it down into 2 parts. There are two main ways to deal with tiger stripes. One is from the inside out and the other is from the outside in.

Let’s start with the first part; from the inside out.

  1.  Ensure you take your multivitamins religiously. This will help ensure that your body is getting all the vitamins it needs at this crucial time. It also helps improve skin elasticity.
  2. Take your omega 3 supplements daily. Omega 3 is not only good for your skin but also for your baby’s brain.
  3.  Eat fish at least twice a week. Be careful not to eat too much because of the mercury content.
  4.  Add avocados to your diet. Celebrities have sworn that avocados have helped them retain youthful skin.
  5.  Add flax seeds to your diet. You can have this in your smoothies salads or soup. One teaspoon a day is enough. Flax seeds make the skin glow.
  6. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. This is non-negotiable.
  7. Drink plenty of water, hydration is key. Carry a bottle of water with you everywhere you go. The thirst in pregnancy is real.
  8. Get some exercise. Walking is a great option, but don’t strain your body. Not only does exercise help to get your blood flowing, it’s good for your mental health as well. It’s also a well-known fact that mothers who exercise during pregnancy are more likely to have intelligent children. it also helps your body bounce back faster to its original shape.
  9. Don’t smoke during your pregnancy. it’s bad for your baby and your skin. it’s the worst toxin for your skin. don’t expose yourself to second-hand smoke either, it’s just as bad if not worse than first-hand smoking.

The second part is preventing stretch marks from the outside in.

  1. Use a gentle and moisturizing shower gel or soap. Soap can be very harsh on our bodies and most are very drying. Dry skin is perfect for stretch marks to develop.
  2. Apply a good moisturizer all over your body. You never know where they can develop. Raw products that are free from chemicals are good for pregnant women.
  3. Apply heavier creams or body butter at night and in colder months. In warmer months a light moisturizer or oil will do.
  4. Apply body oil to the stretch mark prone areas i.e., stomach hips and bum frequently, at the minimum twice a day. I highly recommend palmers stretch marks cocoa butter and any raw organic Shea butter.
  5. Continue to moisturize after delivery. Most ladies think that they are out of the woods after delivery, but stretch marks can appear even after pregnancy. This is because the body is losing weight and the stomach is contracting and all this plays around with skin elasticity. Bio-oil helps greatly with skin pigmentation and stretch marks. It also gives the skin a youthful appearance.
  6. Don’t scratch your belly when you feel itchy. Get some oil and massage. Raw coconut oil helps reduce itching quickly and you can carry a tub of oil with you. Any raw coconut oil will do.

Here is a list of the products that I used

My daughter told me I should get tattoos with the names of my children. I  told her I already have quite a few of those. They're called "stretch marks"  | Confession Ecard

PRINCE CHARMING ISN’T COMING: WHY WOMEN NEED TO GET SMART ABOUT MONEY

For a long time, it was a man’s job to manage the household finances. If it wasn’t the father, it was the husband or big brother or uncle or grandfather. Any man was good enough for the job. However, they didn’t always do a good job.

 It was almost taboo for women to be involved in money matters, and even though more women are making money today, fewer women are managing or investing. The dilemma is that most women are happy to let the man manage the finances not because they are incompetent but because they find it overbearing and foreign, like a fish out of water. It seems the more things change the more they stay the same.

Prince charming has been the most paralyzing myth that was ever sold to the female species. However, that’s a story for another day. Here are a few reasons why women need to actively take part in money management and investing.

  1. Women have more funds available to them today, by way of salaries inheritance gifts, etc., they have perfected the art of making money. So, they will be getting the money before they get the man.
  2. More women are getting married older. Most will have to manage money for a while before prince charming comes along.
  3. Some women have decided that marriage isn’t a priority. Therefore, they have to manage money.
  4. When the prince finally shows up, he may not have a clue on how to manage money.  He might even show up in a dress looking for a surrogate mother. Hence, the woman will have to take on that duty.
  5. Prince charming might be a fraudster, scammer, narcissistic, or con man and steal all the money.
  6. Divorce is real and some men will be looking forward to alimony payments. ie they want their women to pay them for having married them. There are also a lot of prenups nowadays and some aren’t in the woman’s best interests.
  7. Death happens and women are notorious for outliving their husbands, even their younger husbands. therefore, it’s not a matter of if the woman will be in charge of the household finances, but, a matter of when. unfortunately, most poor women are widows who were well off financially when their husbands were alive.
  8. Women are more likely to take on the responsibility of taking care of older parents and other older family members.
  9. Women tend to have a shorter work life span. due to factors like kids, family, gender discrimination at the workplace, unequal pay, etc
  10. More women are single mothers and have sole parental responsibility for their children. This calls for financial vigilance.
  11. Children are no longer a reliable retirement plan. gone are the days when children felt obliged to take care of their parents. they expect to be fund.

The good news is that women make better money managers. mainly because:

⦁They believe they don’t know enough, therefore; they are eager to learn, they are more attentive, they put in the hours and they do their homework.

⦁ They are more likely to seek expert advice whenever they don’t understand something, unlike their male counterparts who believe that asking equals stupid.

 You are the best person to take care of your finances not because you are the smartest but because you care the most- by Barbara Stanny, author of Prince Charming Isn’t Coming: How Women Get Smart About Money

17 Quotes About Money from #GirlBosses | Ellevate

HOW TO SHIFT YOUR FOCUS

Sometimes life happens and things aren’t exactly going according to plan. Especially with COVID-19 in our midst things may feel a little off course. When you feel off take a step back breathe, slow down and relax. It’s time to re-plan, not to take things up a notch. It’s time to get yourself mentally out of the chaos and back on track.

These are the 4 steps to shifting your focus.

1. Gratitude

Gratitude and misery do not co-exist. You get rid of misery by being thankful. Being grateful shifts your focus from what you don’t have to what you do have. It places you in a position of abundance and humility instead of lack and entitlement.

Be grateful for family, health weather freedom etc

2.  Pride

Write down or think of things that you are proud of i.e., helping others, creativity, things that you do daily, your achievements, dreams and purpose. This reminds you of who you are and the great things you have accomplished in the past. This takes you from a place of self-doubt to a place of confidence.

Write things you have been through and survived and come out stronger. This places you in a position of strength and confidence. It also reminds you that you are a survivor and not a helpless victim and that its time to thrive.

3. Excitement

Write things you are excited about in your future. If you have nothing come up with something, after all, dreams are free.  Come up with things both big and small that will lift you, it can be going on vacation, having dinner at a posh restaurant or how you will start that business and become super-rich, to fixing your nails or starting a hobby or a project.

This moves you from frustration, stagnation and boredom to excitement happiness and hope.

4. Results

Write results that you are committed to achieving in the next week or 30 days or 3 months. Be it on a personal or professional level. This will give you purpose, something to look forward to instead of just having empty days.

When doing this don’t compare yourself to others. By all means, get inspiration but leave it at that.

Steve Maraboli Quote: “Once your mindset changes, everything on the outside  will change along with it.” (9 wallpapers) - Quotefancy

HOW TO DECLUTTER AND ORGANIZE YOUR MIND: GET RID OF THE NOISE IN YOUR HEAD

Sometimes we can have so much going on in one go. It might not be terrible or horrible things happening to us but there can be so much that we need to get done and other things that we are working towards and this can very easily lead to anxiety if not checked promptly.

Below are some of the tips and tactics I have used to declutter and organize my mind.

  1. Find a quiet space where you can meditate and think. If you are unable to find a quiet space then try earplugs. They do make a world of difference. You could also wake up early in the morning when everybody is asleep. This is a perfect time to meditate, pray and plan. You can also light a candle so that you can meditate more deeply.
  2. Have some positive affirmations that you say daily. The best times are before going to bed and in the morning when you wake up. You can also say them at various times during the day. Saying Positive affirmations is how you align your subconscious mind with what you want to achieve for example you can say I am capable of all I set out to achieve. I am strong smart and organized. Peace calm and serenity come to me easily. Remember negative thoughts are Satan’s way of acknowledging that you are onto good things. So, don’t stop, keep going.
  3. Write your goals and prioritize them. I.e. some may be short term or long-term goals. You can always review them at a later date. Be it weekly monthly or yearly. Writing on a book comp or phone gives you a visual picture. It makes it easy for you to prioritize.
  4. Have a plan. i.e. the actions you need to take to achieve your goals. This includes the habits you need to adopt and daily activities you need to undertake to achieve them. Read, watch YouTube videos that are relevant to what you are pursuing. Learn as much as you possibly can.
  5. Don’t waste your time in the name of chilling. There is a difference between relaxing and time-wasting. Indiscriminately watching Tv, social media and gossiping are the biggest culprits. When you are trying to declutter the last thing, you want to do is bring in more clutter and unnecessary noise.
  6. Have a daily to-do list. Written either the day before or early in the morning. So that you can at the very least have a sense of direction. This allows you to have the kind of day you want.  You get to decide how your day goes instead of life just happening and wondering how come time flies so fast.
  7. Be grateful. As cliché as this sounds it’s the quickest way to gain back control and cut out the noise. By being grateful you automatically move away from a place of lack to a place of abundance. It helps you see all the positive things that you weren’t even paying attention to. This gives you the calmness you need to declutter.
  8. Get rid of toxic people. The problem with toxic people is that they just can’t keep quiet. Sometimes all you need to do is get rid of them in whichever way that works for you. Most of the time when bad people leave your life bad things leave with them. And this might be all you need to do to declutter.
  9. Organize your physical space. This goes a long way. It gives you a clean space to sit and think after all your home is a living space, not a warehouse.
  10.  Avoid negative self-talk. Don’t say I am confused. I can’t get anything right. I am overwhelmed. Don’t even say them as a joke or in passing because They can quickly become self-fulfilling prophecies

Don’t say to yourself that which you don’t want others to say to you. Treat yourself like someone you care about.

THINGS I WISH I KNEW ABOUT MOTHERHOOD

Motherhood besides being one of the most satisfying things one can ever have the privilege of experiencing is harder than it looks. Behind all the glory there is untold hard work and challenges that nobody can explain until you walk a mile in that shoe. I don’t mean to scare anybody but nothing good comes easy. Below are some of the things I wish I knew.

  1. You will never be truly prepared no matter how many books you read or how many babies you babysit. However, all the babysitting I had done over the years went a long way in giving me some confidence.
  2. Having a group of supportive women is very important. It’s amazing how women come together to help a new mother. It’s an elevated form of sisterhood where they support you emotionally and physically.
  3. When you are out in public with a child people are kinder, they open doors for you and they smile more. Children have a way of bringing the niceness out of people.
  4. Practical gifts like a bowl of stew say “I love you more than a box of chocolates.
  5. Overnight breast Ville is no longer a “weapon of mass destruction” you become a living food pipe and it’s not as scary as I thought it would be. 
  6. Get rid of the idea that you should do it all by yourself. This isn’t the time to be superwoman. It takes a village to raise a child. Get as much help as you can, that way you aren’t running on empty. 
  7. Women get a lot of backlash for neglecting their partners when a child comes into the picture. However, it’s time for your partner to dot on you not the other way round. You’ve earned it.
  8. A messy house will be the order of the day. I am not exactly a neat freak and I’m not a perfectionist either but even for my standards, this is a new level of messy. As a new mother take as much time to rest and get your energy back. Nobody will die if you don’t do the dishes. 
  9. You will spend an awful lot of time trying to see if your baby looks like you, and it won’t be a one-off event, it will be an everyday affair. 
  10. They say if you don’t want your son to be like him or you don’t want your daughter to marry a man like him then don’t have a baby by him. This saying hit different when you have a child. It becomes crucial that your partner isn’t just your partner but a father figure that your child can look up to.
  11. Financial freedom and literacy stops being a want and becomes a need. Something that you need to sort out quickly. You can’t stay broke because you have a child but you must become rich precisely because you have a child. In a twisted way, you start to think about death and for once you aren’t scared about dying. You will be more concerned about how your child will fare on. Selfishness goes out of the window.
  12. You have no idea how much time you have until you become a parent and your hands are figuratively and literally full. You will not have much time for yourself but you will be able to get more done in a shorter amount of time.
  13. Sleep as much as you can. I can’t stress this enough. Once you become a mother you will never sleep the same way again. When an insect crawls, you will hear. If the wind blows, you will hear. Before your baby cries, you will hear.
  14. You will have a newfound respect for your parents and all parents in general. You realize how much you took for granted. You will want to hug all the single mothers and teen mothers and tell them it will be okay. Their hardships become all too real and you can’t help but truly sympathize with them.
  15. I finally realized that the real superheroes are not on tv. It’s the lady on the supermarket aisle with 3 kids that are yelling their lungs out while she is picking groceries talking on the phone and she still manages to say “excuse me miss, I think you dropped something.” Ladies and gentlemen, that superpower is called multi-tasking. I didn’t know it was in me until I became a mum.
  16. Some days you are going to be a hot mum that has it together. Other days you will just want to chill on the couch and do nothing. There is no such thing as the perfect mum. Out of all the beautiful wonderful women out there it’s you that gets to be their mother. So, enjoy the journey.

WHEN A MAN HAS TO CHOOSE BETWEEN HIS FAMILY AND HIS SPOUSE: I CHOOSE YOU

Most new couples will at some point in their relationship find that they have to choose between their families and their spouses. I believe this was the case with Harry and Meghan when they made their decision to back down from active royal duties. Harry was saying to the world that if he has to choose between his wife and the royal family, he is choosing Meghan and their son. Whether or not it is a smart move, it says a lot about his character and that he takes his commitment to his family very seriously.

However, most people will argue that Harry is just a puppet and that Meghan pulls all the strings. Unfortunately, when a man does what is best for his wife, people have a way of blaming the woman for the man’s decision. When a man puts the needs of his wife above his own, society has a way of turning it around and make the man look like he is a weakling. While in reality, it takes a very brave man to stand up for his partner regardless of the backlash he might face. Women have been conditioned to put everyone’s needs above their own. Their needs don’t count, almost as if to say, how dare women have any needs. Most have been brought up to believe that a woman should be in servitude to her family. Women will sacrifice their careers, their time, their sleep, they will neglect their looks, their bodies, some will not even eat until everyone has had their fill. A woman is praised for being strong when she ignores her own needs, but, one can only operate in this mode for so long before they reach a breaking point. 

Meghan was newly engaged, not long after she was newly married and became a mother. These are life-changing events that take a lot from a person and right now her mental health is a top priority. The media didn’t help matters much. Even in her pregnancy, she wasn’t immune from the trolls. They would pick apart her outfits and criticize her for wearing heels and please don’t even get me started on the fact that the media had an issue with her cradling her baby bump. That’s a disgustingly low blow even for a lowlife. A pregnant woman shouldn’t be humiliated or feel embarrassed about how and when she chooses to bond with her unborn child. Whether or not she is a celebrity. 

A man has the duty of providing and protecting his family in all aspects i.e. financially, physically and emotionally. The mental health and happiness of his partner are non-negotiable. If anything threatens their peace and sanity then it has to go. Especially when she is a mother because a child’s happiness is very much linked to their mother’s happiness. 

Someone once said to me, “if I talk to someone and I get a headache, it doesn’t matter whether they are right and I am wrong, that conversation is over.” Looking back, it’s all about having the guts to put yourself first regardless of the consequences. It’s the art of choosing you. There will always be so much of the world and it’s easy to feel lost in it and its expectations. The only person watching out for you is you, and having a partner that chooses you over everyone else is the icing on the cake. 

 #selfcareisntselfish 

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