Effervescent and bright, London born turned LA girl, Lara Mead—co-founder of the highly sought after activewear brand VARLEY—is leading her brand with a toddler in tow and one on the way! We recently visited this powerhouse mama in the final stages of her second pregnancy to chat about episiotomies and C-sections, keto brownies, plus the resounding importance of postpartum self-care. @varley @meadlara

Feeling towards the end of your pregnancy?

Very pregnant. I’m in that uncomfortable third trimester stage wherein every day my stomach feels bigger and bigger!

Girl or boy?

A little girl! We cried when we found out the sex as we both wanted a girl. We have a little boy now, and while he’s terrific, he’s also very wild :). I know most people say they don’t care if they have a boy or girl, but we did!

Girls are fun. How have you prepared for her arrival?

I waited until Black Friday and bought every cute outfit I could find, but nothing practical of course, like a crib or stroller. Rest assured she’ll be the best-dressed kid around…with nowhere to sleep ;)!

 

Are you exercising?

When I was pregnant with my first, I ran upwards of 20 miles a day plus I’d go to the gym. However, with this pregnancy, I’ve been considerably more uncomfortable with pelvic pain, varicose veins, and constant fatigue; therefore running and weight-training has been out of the question for the whole of my pregnancy. I’ve been walking four to five miles a day and going to Pilates instead. Plus, I have a toddler now and find it virtually impossible to do a strenuous workout after chasing him around all day.

I hear ya! What about cravings?

I’m incredibly conscious about what I put into my body. In general, I eat protein plus veggies and opt for fish instead of red meat. Typically I would have three good size meals per day and never snack, although recently I’ve been hungrier than usual and snacking between meals.

Perhaps the one craving I’ve had is Sweet Laurel—the new gluten-free bakery in the Palisades which has the most delicious sugar-free/dairy-free/grain-free cakes and snacks! My favorite is her keto brownie which is very light and only has four grams of carbs! I’ve been keeping one in my bag on the daily, just in case, I get the urge to eat. 😉

Will you take maternity leave?

I’ve been working a lot as of late trying to get everything done at the office before she comes, because I’m planning to take proper maternity leave!  With Wilfred, the business was brand new and gaining momentum, plus we had a tiny team, so I barely took three weeks off! Now that we have a stellar team and the business is in a great place, my goal is to take a solid eight weeks off to focus on myself and the baby. Also, I’m having a C-section and will likely need more time to heal.

Why a C-section for the second?

I had a terrible delivery with Wilfred as he had fetal distress during labor which ended with an episiotomy and a forceps delivery. At one point we even thought we were going to lose him because his heart rate dropped so significantly! We were quite traumatized from that experience and based on my doctor’s recommendation have decided not to put my body (and soul) through that again.

Is it a different feeling to know the exact day your baby will be born?

A bit yes but it also helps to have a day to work towards rather than wondering when she’s going to come. At first, I was upset when the doctor told me that I would not be able to have a natural labor, but now I’ve wrapped my head around it, and I’m quite looking forward to it-especially considering my birth with Wilfred was so terrifying.

After having an episiotomy, a C-section doesn’t seem so bad because the episiotomy was incredibly painful and took weeks to recover. At least with a C-section (based on the location of the stitches), you can cover the wound and let it heal, versus having stitches between your legs! I had to sit on a rubber ring for weeks —it was the most unglamorous thing in the world.

How are you planning to recover or care for yourself after birth?

I recently bought a book that delves into the concept of the 4th Trimester and caring for yourself after the baby comes. After I had Wilfred, I didn’t take the time to nurture my body, and consequently, I suffered in the long run. I rushed back to work, didn’t eat well, and felt pressured to get up every day and look presentable. About nine months after I had him I was majorly burnt out and diagnosed with a Thyroid condition. Unfortunately, I had to live with that, and it took awhile to regulate my thyroid. I’m convinced that I developed this condition because I put myself under so much stress and didn’t allow my body to recover from this massively life-altering experience. I was obsessed with getting back to the gym and wanting everything to be “normal.” However, what I failed to realize was that it was never going to be “normal” again, and that’s OK. I don’t want to make that mistake twice. I want to enjoy my baby and body this time.

After that experience, my approach will be very different with this baby. I’m keen to take the proper amount of time I need to recover after birth and be a little bit selfish in caring for myself. Whether that means getting lymphatic drainage massages regularly, drinking nurturing bone-broth, or laying around in my PJs all day, so be it. I plan to take it as it comes and not put any pressure on myself.

Does it feel different having your second, versus your first child?

No amount of information can ever prepare you for your first child! There’s just no possible way to understand any of it until you’re in it. Whereas with the second, I know what it’s like to have a baby and how hard it can be. When Wilfred was a newborn, I remember feeling so lost as though the sleepless nights and breastfeeding would never end. I also remember thinking that I was never going to get my body back or feel like myself again. But with experience comes understanding and now I know that everything passes with time.

2019 is going to be a big year for you! What’s next for Varley?

We’re launching skincare in the springtime with products engineered to protect and balance the skin of a woman that exercises! Stay tuned…

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