I started following Anna on Instagram after she commented on one of my posts, her handle is @bubs2bikinis and she was posting at home workout videos while her newborn babies chilled out watching her. She had a much smaller following then, a few thousand and now it's over 71 thousand! I obviously wasn't the only person to admire her tenacity and strength. Now she is pregnant with number 3 and still gets up and does her thing daily to help keep her body and MIND strong. Which is something she talks about often, this isn't just about being fit and toned but the exercise helps keep her mind fit and healthy, which is needed when you have twins to run around after! I have never featured another mum on the blog and I'm not sure if this will be a regular thing, but I just have so much admiration for Anna that I wanted to ask her some questions about health, family and pregnancy. Enjoy.
How far along were you when you found out you were having twins and what were your initial reactions?
My initial reaction to finding out I was pregnant, honestly was - SHIT! Rhett (now husband) and I were holidaying in Bali, we’d only been together 3 months and while we knew each other were ‘the one’ we hadn't planned on adding babies to the picture so soon. After about 18 cheap Bali tests which I wasn’t sure I could ‘trust’ I finally accepted that my contestant vomiting, needing the toilet every 30 seconds and appetite for a never-ending supply of pizza was probably due to the fact that I was growing BABIES. Yep, I knew it straight away, something told me from those very first moments that it was TWINS!
What was your twin pregnancy like?
HARD, so bloody HARD! I never expected that growing babies could actually be so incredibly painful on my body. The first 16 weeks I spent with my head in the toilet bowl and when that ended I thought it was time to enjoy the pregnancy but alas the aches set in - agonising pains through my ribs, back, hips and sternum. I was ridiculously uncomfortable and would place heat packs all over my body to ease the pains. With Rhett being 6”4, I was baking some pretty big babies and my small 5”3 frame really struggled with that. I remember thinking being pregnant with twins was the HARDEST thing I would ever have to go through, looking back - that’s the most naive thought ever, we were in for a big shock for how hard things would get when the actually arrived!
Did your relationship with your body change during preagnancy?
YES, most certainly! I’d love to be able to say that I really embrace pregnancy and enjoy watching my body grow… But, I do find it difficult. I think it might be that little perfectionist in my brain picking away at me, but if I could tell my negative mind one thing it would be that ‘growing babies sure IS PERFECTIONISM.’ To be honest though, I think the hardest part is the sense of loss of control. You feel like you’re still staying active and nourishing your body with healthy foods but the weight still packs on anyway! Don’t get me wrong, my children are my greatest gift but I do struggle with the changes my body makes as part of pregnancy.
You’re pregnant for the second time, how are you finding a singleton pregnancy over a twin one?
Funny you should ask, I think I may have jinxed myself with this! I expected a singleton pregnancy to be a walk in the park. I imagined no sickness, no aches and pains and enough energy to see me through the days without a nap! I was certainly VERY wrong! With this pregnancy I was just as sick as what I was with the twins, only this time I had to actually LOOK AFTER TWINS while spending days upon weeks with my head in the toilet. I must admit, the aches and pains are back but aren't near as bad and I’m tired, but hey - every mum is tired aren’t they!?
What has been the most surprising thing about having twins?
How damn strong I am!!! I’ve failed to believe in myself in the past - I’ve struggled with those thoughts that I’ve never been good enough and many times, felt very let down by myself. When you survive just one day as a twin mama, you honestly realise you must be stronger than you’d ever imagined!
What has been the biggest battle for you with being a twin mama?
100% the hardest thing has been learning to go with the flow. Understanding that EVERY day is going to be different and especially when the boys were babies - there was NO consistency! I suffered awful anxiety around their sleep and routine, those first 12 months when you just had NO IDEA what the day or night was going to bring really challenged me. Before becoming a mama I was a very organised type… I liked to plan my week out, have a list each day and tick off jobs as I achieved things. So shock horror set in when the boys arrived and I literally had NO control over my life anymore. But my biggest battle has also been exactly what I needed to embrace and that is - chilling the hell out a little more and just going with the flow.
What do you love most about being a twin mama?
EVERYTHING!!!!!!!! I love it so much I want 5 more sets of TWINS hehe, well maybe not 5 but I would still LOVE another set! Watching Lachie and Sammy grow into the best of friends everyday is something so amazing that you just can’t put into words. That connection they share that I get to be a witness to, seriously the most beautiful, special and heart warming joinery I could ever have the pleasure of being part of. Being a twin mama has certainly been the HARDEST thing I’ve ever done, but without a doubt - it’s the BEST thing that’s ever happened to me.
How has your relationship changed with your partner since becoming parents?
Rhett and I have blossomed as parents. We were thrown into this whole ‘mum and dad’ thing pretty early on in our relationship, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Lachie and Sammy are such a huge part of our lives I’m so glad they’ve been part of the ride for nearly as long as we’ve been on the ride too!
In saying that, relationships aren’t easy though - they do take work. Like any couple we have arguments and moments when I get REALLLYYYYY pissed at him - lucky I can blame the ‘pregnany hormones’ at the moment. The best asset we have though, is we make a great TEAM! We are both committed to our family 100% and our foundations are rock solid because we are not only husband and wife but also the best of friends.
What was your exercise regime like before your first pregnancy?
I have always enjoyed keeping active. Before having children I used the gym as an outlet to help manage stress and anxiety. I have always been drawn to that post workout feeling where you feel as though you can take on the world! The gym was a place I could go to a few times a week to help me feel like I had accomplished something for myself between all the hours spent living the corporate life and socialising - life was tough hey ;)
How has it differed between your last and current pregnancy?
I’m 20 weeks into this pregnancy and so far, so good. At this stage with the twins I was unable to exercise. This time around, I’m still exercising around 5 times per week for 30 minutes or so. I plan to keep it up for as long as possible and I’m REALLY hoping that means I’ll still be squating and lunging my way around the house with my boys in tow right before I pop at 40 weeks!
How do you find the motivation to work out?
Since becoming a mama, working out has reality become a ‘non negotiable’ for me. It’s not about the body or motivating myself so I look good - I NEED exercise to survive the demands of motherhood. It gives me the energy to face each day with positivity and it makes me believe in myself, it honestly is the cure to all things shit for me! I can be feeling as flat as a tat, but if I just encourage myself to get a workout in, no matter how short or how interrupted by the boys - my day really shines so much brighter.
What was the motivation behind stating Bubs2Bikinis?
When the boys were first-born I had two problems - 1. I felt incredibly isolated as a new mama. 2. I’d hit 6 weeks postpartum I wanted to get my exercise back on track. I decided to document my journey in the hope that it would keep me motivated and also connect me with other like-minded mamas so I didn’t feel so alone. I was unable to leave the house to exercise and leaving the house to meet friends with two babies was enough to give me an anxiety attack, so working out from home and connecting with other mamas online seemed like the perfect fit! It changed my life - I all of a sudden felt part of something really special - it was motivating me to achieve my goals and I was surrounded by other mums that understood me! And that’s what it still is for me today - a safe and supportive community that I really am thankful for.
What are your plans for the future with Bubs2Bikinis?
So many plans - so little time! I’d love to venture more into the world of blogging and get my own website set up, but I need to get pen to paper first. At the moment, I’m just enjoying sharing my journey on Instagram and connecting with amazing mamas all over the world!
I imagine the coverage surrounding you was something you wouldn’t have expected, has it changed your life in any way since then?
I definitely didn’t expect so many people to tune into our journey but it’s been such a pleasure having everyone along for the ride. I really do feel like I’ve gained thousands of friends from this. I definitely wouldn’t say it’s changed me in any way - I get quite embarrassed when someone stops me in a cafe or down the street, I’m still just the same old Anna Strode that likes to jump around with her kiddies in tow :)
Whats your day on a plate look like? E.G what do you typically eat breakfast, lunch and dinner and any snacks?
I try not to get too hung up on foods. I don’t believe in restrictive eating or fad diets. I’m all about listening to your body, eating mind fully and having a flexible approach to food. Since having the boys I seem to snack A LOT. Some days lunch is the food they’ve thrown on the floor (all mums do that right?!) or a bite to eat while folding piles of washing. A day on my plate might look like; yogurt and muesli for breakfast, rice cakes and fruit for a snack, salad for lunch, banana smoothie for afternoon tea, a stir fry for dinner and yogurt for desert - or, an ice cream if I feel like it. Because, life is ALL about balance!
What do you feed the boys?
Lachie and Sammy eat mostly what we eat. They’re all time favourite food would have to be yogurt and blueberries though!
Three things that have changed for the better since becoming a mama?
- I feel like I’ve found the real me - I feel like this is what I was meant to do all my life, be a mama.
- I live a much healthier and balanced lifestyle, I have the confidence to believe in myself and I look at life as a real gift
- I have a much better understanding of what is truly important in life - FAMILY.