Inspiration Session: A talk on pre-and postnatal health with Holly Anna Scarsella

11 November 2018

I’m so excited to introduce you to Holly Anna Scarsella; the first time I met Holly I was 18 and had just landed my first real PR role. Not only did she blow me away with her ultra-stylish wardrobe and kick-ass PR abilities – she also taught me that you don’t have to be nasty to get the job done. It was Holly’s kindness and drive to help me learn that has stayed with me the most.

Fast-forward 8 years and Holly is now the owner of her own highly successful clothing brand Pampelone and mother to the gorgeous Sienna with another little one on the way.

With so much pressure being put on new mums, Holly offers us her insight on everything from keeping an open mind about labour, to the products she couldn’t live without.

I hope you enjoy!

Nicole ♡

As a first-time mum and very driven business woman, how did you find the experience of pregnancy?

I absolutely loved being pregnant. It was the most special and amazing feeling. Obviously it wasn’t easy – I had horrendous morning sickness, SPD in my hips and water retention, but I still loved every second.

Balancing pregnancy and work was also hard; I was aware that I needed to be cautious to not work myself too hard and to ensure I didn’t have any stress etc. Pregnancy is great at putting things into perspective so it really helped me to stop sweating the small stuff.

Can you tell us how your approach to health and wellbeing changed when you were pregnant?

It really makes you so much more in tune with your body. And really conscious about what you’re putting into it from a food and nutrition standpoint – I really kept track of what nutrients I was consuming. I had a few minor complications meaning it was not advised for me to exercise so I made a conscious effort to go for long walks and get fresh air to try and keep fit any way possible.

There are a lot of opinions surrounding birthing plans, did you have one and if so, did you find that it helped or hindered you during labour?

The best advice I ever got was to make sure I knew what my preferences were in regards to the birthing process but to keep really open minded. Nothing in labour or pregnancy regularly goes to plan so I didn’t want to make a strict plan in my head, only to be overwhelmed and upset should it go wrong. My only plan, really, was to do what was right for the baby and to keep really relaxed. Inevitably there were a few dramatic twists and turns in my labour and keeping open minded meant I wasn’t disappointed that it deviated from my plan, but I could just focus on the ‘present’ and what was next in the process.

Often the term ‘mummy blues’ is used post-birth to describe the intense concoction of emotions that women experience. Is this something you had to deal with and if so, do you have any advice you could offer to mum’s out there going through the same thing?

I’m not sure if I had the baby blues per se but I definitely had the most overwhelming range of intense emotions – even really unexpected ones from being super void of emotion one day to completely irrationally sobbing the next. Thankfully I never felt sad at all, just on a rollercoaster of emotions. I think I was incredibly lucky in that I did an antenatal class that had a whole section dedicated to experiences of these emotions etc. It was nice to hear real women speaking about their experiences meaning I was prepared to feel weird and surges of emotions on certain days.

If you had to describe your approach to health and fitness post pregnancy in three words, what would they be?

Pretty non-existent. Just kidding. I run a business so it’s really tough to be sleep deprived, exhausted, trying to run a business, keep a baby alive and happy and then on top of that try and stay fit and healthy. It’s something I really struggled with until Sienna hit 4/5 months old and life settled down a bit. I was so jealous of those mothers that didn’t have to work and could go for long walks, go to the gym and make nutritious meals.

I constantly had no time or energy, but recently I have made ‘me time’ more of a priority and am feeling great for it. When you have a baby, you do tend to lose yourself a bit, so re-connecting to yourself and feeling good is so so important.

Are there any particular exercise classes or styles of exercise that you’ve found eased you back into fitness in a healthy way?

When January hit and I felt really unhealthy, I took the knee-jerk reaction of booking myself into really intense exercise classes. The shock of doing nothing to working out really hard just didn’t work. I felt constantly sore and tired instead of making me feel good. I now just do whatever I feel I can for that day – whether it’s Pilates, Yoga or Boxing training.

As a successful business owner, how have you found balancing being a new mum and running a company?

It’s something you hear women talk about all the time and I went into the situation knowing full well how hard it would be. In reality it’s even harder because you have the cliché Mum Guilt – it’s real! But it forces you to be ten times more efficient in both fields in order to keep the business going but also being a great mum and spending as much time as possible with Sienna. I’ve also. Learnt to be super chilled in my approach to parenting and realise that flexibility is key.

Which active wear brands would you suggest for pregnant women or women who have recently given birth to make them feel confident and supported when exercising?

I just love wearing Sweaty Betty – they accommodate for pre-and post-natal and really suck you in after baby – I would wear my leggings every day if I could.

Were there any particular beauty brands that you couldn’t live without during or post pregnancy?

Jo Malone Vitamin E was my saviour!! Pre-and Post-natal. It’s completely pregnancy safe and so so moisturising.

What three pieces of advice would you offer to new mums out there?

Go with the flow – nothing goes to plan so don’t expect it to and you avoid disappointment and annoyance. Also, that the more chilled you are, the more chilled your baby will be. With working, I’ve been forced to be relaxed about where I bring Sienna – lugging pushchairs and car seats around etc. Now I take everything in my stride.

To find out more about Holly head to Mama + Max where you can read all about her experiences being a mum as part of their Mama Series. ♡