Ella is almost 14 months now, and a lovely happy little girl. She has just started walking and is running around super proud of her self.

As a mother you have a lot of thoughts about what is important for you to teach your little one, and what to pass on. I have three key areas that are important to me: Healthy eating, physical activity and self-esteem.

It’s easy to judge other people. Everyone does it, and I am no exclusion. One area I am very judgemental is within nutrition. I think it is so important to teach your child healthy eating habits, and I can’t bear the thought of having to order chips and nuggets for Ella, cause she wont eat anything else. Its impossible to say for sure, but I think I have made a good job here. Maybe I am just lucky, but Ella is very good at eating the foods I give her, and from day one I have let her taste all different kinds of food and lots of flavours. I have let her appetite and interest in exploring run our weaning process. I never force her to eat anything, nor do I praise her for eating. Eating is a natural action, and should not in any way be tied to any kinds of assessments whether its praise or judgement. What I can do is to offer her a healthy well-varied resource of food and let her eat it her way.

As Ella was on formula from early on I also started weaning quite early. I did a lot of research in what nutrition small babies need, and I started making my own porridge for her. I added fruits, and seeds, such as apricot and pumpkinseeds, to increase the iron content and I added coconut oil to make sure her growing body always had the right amount of good fats. As she grew older I have continued reading a lot about nutrition for children and about what they need. Maybe not too surprising it’s very close to the nutrition a grown up need. I think It all comes down to using good raw material and varied ingredients, Lots of vegetables, and fresh meat, whether its fish or chicken/beef etc. Children need a lot of energy, due to growth and activity level so I am not scared of using good fats in my cooking. Adjust portion sizes and you can always eat the same thing as your child does. I think eating healthy dinners and lunches with your child is one of the best ways for you to pass forward good eating habits to your little one.

I will write more about my approach to self-esteem and physical activity in a later post.

Nom nom, Salmon with potato, broccoli and greek yoghurt.

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I went through my pregnancy feeling so confident I would have no issues getting back on track with regards to training after my birth. I had such a good training routine and felt so strong.

Never could I have foreseen the trauma the body goes through in labour, and the effort it takes the body to just recover and get back to its normal shape. Not only is it tough just to pull all muscles together again, at the same time your body is struggling with the mental train crash of becoming a mother.

My labour was easy, and I had no injuries to recover from. Hence just 3 weeks after having given birth I felt super strong and planned my first training sessions (This is also the last post on my blog). Looking back now I was naive and frankly quite stupid. The first session I planned for my self was a tough circuit, including relatively heavy weights and little rest. I thought, its only 4 weeks since my last sessions and I was strong then. I thought I had been kind to my body decreasing the weight a bit. I thought circuit would be good, giving me energy and inspiration, cause we all know circuits are always fun. Little did I know I would hit a brick wall… I managed two out of 5 rounds of the first sessions and was completely beasted. I did 3 training sessions within this week, thinking the first one was just an accident, but all of them with the same outcome. I came in so confident, but came out of this week with not the slightest bit of motivation left. I had thought getting back into my training routine would have helped me recovering on the mental side, but instead it just added a massive hurdle, and I couldn’t bear to push my self through it. So I quit… I really did. Several months of no physical activity what so ever. And with all that come with it for me, such as poor body confidence, mental instability etc…

Mentally I had a tough year. Looking back now I know a lot of it comes down to my way to high expectations of my body. I should have followed all the advice I had gotten from reading. I should have done all the appropriate exercises to ease my body back into shape. I thought I was stronger than that, so I completely ignored all facts I read. I completely ignored the fact that my body, just like anyone else, needed help to collect itself and pull itself together to become strong again. You live and you learn.

Now I am picking the pieces up again. I think I have learned to apply my knowledge also to my own journey, and not just to everyone else. Slowly I am getting back into my routine now. Slowly I am building my body back to its former self, and the hardest part is to be kind to my body and my self. But I need to. Training should be fun. Fun is the greatest inspiration.

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One of the things I really missed during my pregnancy was freedom of movement of my own body. I kept my training on a high level through my pregnancy, but felt limited in the range of excercices I could do. I kept longing to get my body back. My last session was 1 week before Ella came, but after that I didn't dare to do more sessions and not keeping my energy reserve if labour would be tough.

I am now 5 weeks postpartum and I have started doing some light sessions. My first session was 3,5 week after labour, and consisted of rowing, body weight squats, and some light kettle bell exercises. I'm feeling very out of shape.
Todays target was 5 rounds of:
500m rowing, pace 1:55
20 goblet squats, 16kg
20 kb swings, 16kg
20 lunges 16kg

I managed 2 rounds, plus some extra rowing... But I have to be patient and give my body time to get back. We will get there 💪🏼
I finished the session with some russian twists and planks.

It works excellent to have Ella in the gym so far! Hope she will continue being this content!

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Today Ella is 25 days old. I have landed in a role I feel very confident in, But it has been hard for me to get here. Let me tell you why: People have a lot of opinions. And there is this stereotype image of the perfect pregnancy/childbirth/baby-joy-bubble/motherhood-bliss/breastfeeding etc. that, if you are a perfectionist like I am, you feel you need to live up to.

As if its not terrifying enough to get full responsibility for this little mini-me, that strangely enough comes without (!) a manual. People express a lot of opinions about what you should do and what you shouldn't do in addition to these already mentioned stereotypes. I am usually a very strong minded individual who can make up my own mind, but you know, pregnancy and becoming a mother for the first time is terrifying and a completely new area. Blended in is this hormon-coctail your body keep producing and you are all of a sudden quite a sensitive woman.

Let me tell you about my first 11 days as a new mother.
My labour was very lucky, but even here I had ideas (other peoples ideas) about how things should go down. Enough about that.
Ella came home with us from the hospital after just 24 hours as everything was working fine, and we were feeling quite confident with the situation. She was latching perfectly for the breastfeeding, and we could show the midwifes we managed nappie changes, feeding, burping and top n tail bathing etc fine.

First days at home were scary, sleepless and amazing all the same time. My husband Richard was home with me the first two weeks.
But then together with sleep deprivation the anxiety kicked in. As all babies Ella lost weight initially. What worried me though was that she didn't do number two. She was still latching on good, and seemed to be eating with a good appetite. After some days she had a couple of bowel movements, but then she again stopped. I was determined to breastfeed, as this is what you do! Its the best for your baby! Perfect set-up of nutrition! Necessary for the baby and mother bond! Natural! Works for anyone who wants to breastfeed! Formula is bad for you!!! (According to everyone and everything you read)

When you meet new people this is what happens: "Awwww she is sooo cute!!! What is her name? Are you breast feeding?" Every single time! From people I barely know I need to answer to such a private question! Cause just as pregnancy is public property for some reason, so is newborns and their mothers.

Back to my first days with Ella. By day 10 babies should preferably be back or close to birth weight. Not only should they be back to birth weight, they should also be doing several stools a day. Even though I, for stretches of the day, was breastfeeding every 30 minutes, this was not the case for Ella. Her weight had not turned to start gaining, and by day 11 she started loosing even more.
I was a complete wreck by this stage. I so badly wanted the breastfeeding to work. It was this dream I had and I felt it slipping away from me. I was anxious, felt like a terrible mother and I was terribly worried for Ella's wellbeing. We were at the level where Richard (and my midwife as well as myself) started worrying about my mental health.
I sat at home crying, and could barely look at Ella without tears breaking out.
Remember, still having to answer to everyones "You are breastfeeding right?"

Me and Richard sat down and decided this is not good for anyone. The breastfeeding is not working, we are switching to formula.
And a boulder was lifted from my shoulders. I was, and still am, devastated I didn't get to experience this, but so relieved to get rid of this terrible pressure. Now I can answer with "No, she is on formula". I have landed in it and even though its still painfull, its getting easier to deal with. And you know what, Ella is doing just as good, and she is getting all nutrition that she need. She is now growing just as well as she should do, and is sleeping well! Several hours!

I have posted articles before about peoples need to ask questions that are not only very private, but can be incredibly sensitive and painful for some individuals. Well, breastfeeding is one of them.
I don't go around asking people how their sex life is going, and if they can get a hard on or not. Cause its non of my business. I also don't ask people if they're not going to try to have a baby soon, cause I have nooo idea about their situation.

Yes I know people are just trying to care, but that is why I am sharing this. To enlighten people that these questions can be incredibly painful to some guys. Please think before you speak.

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Today Ella is 1 week old! This week has been surreal, amazing, frightening, magic, challenging, and extremely rewarding!
At points it has felt like Im not doing anything but breastfeeding, and yet, as soon as there it a slightest break in feeding I get anxious she doesn't eat.
To me it was really important to breast feed and I knew it was not going to be without challenges. It often described as the only way to give your baby the best food, and the ultimate nutrition. Also most of the time breastfeeding is pictured as this natural process that works for everyone who wants it to work. Its really not that simple, and this put tremendous amount if stress on many mothers.
Im very lucky. It was tough the first days but seem to work well now.

I have started to learn Ellas ways of communicating, and I think she is starting to learn the life outside the womb :)
Now that we are starting to land we can start building a day to day life including more that just sitting around at home in the dark not knowing whether to sleep, feed, dress/undress or put baby to sleep, while anxiously trying to get dog to be quiet and manage to get some own nutrition as well :) its so lovely going for a stroll with the pram, having a coffee or breakfast on the promenade.

My amazing husband has been such a rock in this whole experience! He fed me, made sure I got plenty of naps, kept encouraging, brought water when I was stuck feeding, and made sure to make me feel strong and beautiful! (Even though first days of becoming a mum is very revealing and not suuper flattering 😂 )

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Finally I have gotten to meet this mystery person inhabiting my belly for the last 9 months, and its amazing to have her here!

We had to go in to hospital on Saturday 2nd of July as my blood pressure kept climbing up, and the doctor was worried about our little baby. As my body had started to prepare and cervix already was soft and started opening, they thought risks of complications due to induction were smaller than risks of her staying in there not being well.

Sat morning we went in first thing, and I got started on hormon gel. Not much happened at first but at just before 11 they broke the membrane, and labour got proper intense. Intense but very efficient. Just two hour later I was fully dilated, and with such a short labour full of energy, so pushing phase was quick and luckily not hard at all. 13:23 we got to meet out little treasure, Ella Marielynne Brown. She was quite petit, weighing in at 2,8 kg and was 49 cm tall.

It was lucky we got her out, even though it was a week before due date, as apparently something did not quite work out for her in the belly, and last 3-4 weeks her growth seem to have stopped or slowed down significantly. Doctors could not quite tell why, but I'm of course just happy she is out safe.
She also came out with cord around her neck, which caused some stress but just 5 seconds later she was making noises and was fine.

Life since Saturday has been a mix of feelings. Bits have felt like I am a natural mother and that everything is going amazing, to moments sleep deprivation and anxiety you do everything wrong and wont manage through. Luckily just a glance at this little lady makes me feel its worth it all ❤️

She is sooo little it looks like she is drowning in the new born clothes, size 50.

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Yesterday we celebrated swedish midsummer here in Malta. Seeing as I am fairly pregnant, like, "could pop any day now" kind of pregnant, I didnt want to arrange anything too big and advanced. We just went for a nice relaxed BBQ dinner at home, with lovely @emmahq and her Niklas.

Surprisingly enough Malta offered true swedish style midsummer weather even, with full on thunderstorm! Felt like back home in sweden ❤️

We had homemade Salmon cake, new potato sallad and skagenröra, and then we had BBQ sausages and Swedish treats and crisps with dip sauce. I even made a "Semelkaka". A mud-cake with cardamon and homemade almond paste served with fresh whipped cream.

And of course, strawberries!

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To me training is a big part of my life, and getting pregnant rocked my boat a little bit in this area. There is a lot of recommendations concerning training, but most people seem to think you need to go back to basics, and keep it to a very low level when you get pregnant.

I did a lot of reading and this is my take on it: If you feel good about it, continue as before. You will naturally make adjustments as your body changes, and if you are used to training and trust your body, your body will let you know what works and what doesn't work.
I am week 39 now. Baby is due basically any day. Before I got pregnant I did 105kg in squats, My body was strong, and used to heavy lifting. Training when being pregnant is not about pushing personal records or increasing weights. Im only doing max 70kg squats now, but can instead work on the perfect form and increase reps. Making me able to come back stronger than ever.
My PT, Daniel Lake, has been such an amazing support to me these months as well!

There were days, early pregnancy, when training just didn't work, and the energy was blown away. Guess what, those days I took it a bit more easy. Thats it.
I reduced my weights to not overload my body, and I adjusted my form on some exercises. I also added a lot of pelvis and transverse abdominal exercises to help my body carry the baby, and have added yoga to my previous high intensity and heavy lifting schedule.

I feel stronger than ever! My pregnancy has been without any complication and I have no pains. My babygirl is growing well, and is healthy. Most of all, the energy that the continued training is brining me is keeping my mood on top! Im super positive, and knowing my body is strong I am also very confident I will manage the labour well together with this body!

Lots of technique training (bit tough with snatch if you have a belly... )

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I found this woman here in Malta importing baby shoes. She has these matching ones for mum and daughter ❤️

Im such a shoppaholic, but honestly, who could resist?

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How to bide you time when you are on maternity leave? I have found it quite easy to fill my days.
The benefit living on Malta is that its such a small place. Everything is so close! Nothing is much more than 10-15 min walk max. This gives me such a selection of activities that are not to far away and super easy to get to!

This morning I had my weekly doctors appointment, and my doctor was very happy with how things are progressing. My blood pressure has been a touch high, so its closely monitored, but as long as it stays as it is now, she is happy.

I then went to spartan, a gym here, who arrange parent training classes, for pregnant women and women with small children. Very nice to see you can include your baby or toddler in your training routine! I got lots of inspiration for own training sessions in my own gym, but also think its a great social activity to include in my post natal life.

The day carried on with a lovely long beach front lunch with a newly found friend, Lina, who had a daughter in April. So I am already building a good network of friends for little miss, when she choose to arrive.
I ordered a nice Mediterranean chicken pasta, thinking carb loading surely must be good when prepping for labour :)

So curious how she will look!!

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