Sports presenter Layla is the face of Saturday morning children's cooking show The Munch Box. Currently six months pregnant with her first child with husband Richard, she talks here of carb cravings, nursery shopping and why she wishes she’d worked out more…
I always pictured myself having a family but never felt a need to have children until I met my husband. I'm a total workaholic and I didn't want to have children in a lifestyle where I wouldn't get to see them but together Richard and I realised we can do this.
Pregnancy is utterly impossible to plan. We decided to stop using contraception when we got married and said we'd give it a year. I blinked and fell pregnant a month later. We were happy but couldn't quite believe it: I was in absolute awe. The very next morning I woke up and instantly ran to the bathroom to be sick - that’s when it hit us!
Pregnancy sure isn’t Disney. I was sick all day every day for the first four months, in fact my body reacted with every side effect and symptom from the pregnancy manual. It's tough but we're designed to do it. I have a microphone clipped to me all day so I’ve now perfected the art of silent vomiting. I became a pregnancy ninja rushing off to the toilet in-between interviews.
“Healthy does not mean skinny and the way you look should not be a priority over your baby's development”
I found it difficult to see my body changing. Women have an insane amount of pressure on them to look hot in pregnancy, and glamorising pregnant celebrities who look tiny is very damaging. Healthy does not mean skinny and the way you look should not be a priority over your baby's development. I do sometimes struggle with this - I look at my arms and think, my baby is in my belly, why on earth do my arms have to get chubby? I'm frustrated at feeling heavy and want to be beautiful and sexy. But I’m learning to change my perception of what sexy is.
Healthy eating went out the window pretty quickly as I was so sick I found myself craving all kinds of carbs to help keep the sickness at bay: bread, pizza, pasta and noodles. My body was telling me to simply eat more carbs. When the sickness settled down the cravings changed. Now I can only think of one thing: passion fruit, 10 to 15 a day! I take pregnancy vitamins to help me feel a little safer when I can only manage pizza and passion fruit.
Exercise has been the hardest part for me. For the first four months it was completely impossible but now I'm slowly getting back into it. I enjoy pregnancy Pilates at home and my dog’s been my personal trainer, getting me walking despite me moaning about rib pain or being too tired. I wish that I worked out more pre-pregnancy. I was slim and perfectly happy with my body but I was not strong and I believe a woman needs to prepare her legs, back and entire body for pregnancy.
I have no birthing plan: it's not mine to plan, it's the baby's. I'm educating myself as much as I can and affiliating myself mostly with the hypnobirthing techniques, but I take everything with a pinch of salt. I just want to be as calm and as happy as possible, focus on the positive and go with the flow.
“I will go with the Brazilian style of parenting which says that ‘it takes a village to raise a child.’”
I also can’t plan a work/baby balance, because it depends so much on the child and their individual needs. All I can do is give it my best shot. I hope my work ethic inspires him and I hope to be around him as much as possible. We won't have a nanny but I will go with the Brazilian style of parenting which says that ‘it takes a village to raise a child.’ I'll happily be inviting the entire village to help!
I have been shopping and the nursery is looking divine! We want it to be very minimal and not overwhelm ourselves with unnecessary stuff. We spent the day at The Baby Show and that was the best decision I made. Alongside attending a first aid course and a breastfeeding talk we were able to compare a massive range of products under one roof and be selective.
The future? I've always wanted to adopt. I think it’s the most wonderful gift of love to be a family for a child in need and hopefully, (if I don't suck at this parenting thing,) that is what the future may hold.
Photo: Christopher Parkes