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About the Book…

The Confidence to Succeed is not just a book – it is purposely designed how-to system that has the potential to transform your life. No matter what your current situation, how bad it seems, or how long you have endured it, The Confidence to Succeed can help you be, do and have all that you deserve in life and business.

This book will help you embrace every situation with a solution focused approach so you feel and perform at your best. It is full of practical easy to implement exercises to allow you focus on all that you wish to achieve. Follow the simple steps laid out in this book and you too can have The Confidence to Succeed!

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Introduction

How is it that books on pregnancy always focus on the baby, not the mother, when common sense might tell us that the mother’s well-being and happiness are fundamental to her baby’s well-being and happiness? It’s like when the pregnancy is confirmed, mommy fades away. That is not okay. In fact, if you ask me it’s just plain crazy. Think about it. You are the lifeline to your baby. Without you, there is nothing. It is essential, therefore, that you love and care for yourself – during and after pregnancy! Through the course of this book, you will learn to do just that! In fact, you will learn how you can look and feel amazing every day of your life. Remember this, happy mommy, happy baby. ‘Having a baby is one of the most exciting and magical things that will ever happen to you.’

If only I had a cent for every time I was told that when I became pregnant! But it’s true: having a baby is simply one of the best things you will ever experience. I cannot even come close to describing how it felt to experience my baby kicking for the first time or to see him gazing up at me for the first time when he was born. It was beyond incredible.

Now, had that been the only thing people said to me when I became pregnant I would have been quite happy. But it seems that when an opportunity arises, some people aren’t able to resist the temptation to tell you all the horror stories, especially their own. If your pregnancy is anything like mine, you will be led to believe that pregnancy, although a beautiful experience, will result in you losing your identity, having less self-confidence and becoming overweight. No sooner had my pregnancy been confirmed than the comments started coming: ‘You can say goodbye to life as you know it.’ ‘Having a baby takes away your independence.’ ‘You can forget wearing those jeans again.’ ‘Enjoy that flat tummy while it lasts!’ I must be honest with you: although I was so happy to be pregnant and to know my baby was getting bigger and stronger inside me, constantly hearing such things from women who had already become mothers made me nervous about what could very easily be the new me. After all, they had been through the experience, so who was I to contradict them? Maybe I was just supposed to accept that I would end up as the woman they were describing.

I had visions of feeling trapped and upset at having to put my life on hold, disappointed that I couldn’t do the things I loved anymore. I saw myself getting loads of stretch marks and ballooning like the blueberry girl, Violet Beauregarde, from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, skin stretching to the point of explosion, and then struggling to get my figure back after I had my baby. I could see myself going from a confident woman to a self-doubting one.

I didn’t like it one bit. I liked my life, I liked my independence, I liked my jeans and I liked my tummy. I didn’t want a transformation! However, I didn’t want to look overambitious at the end of my pregnancy either, deluded into thinking I could be anything but what they were describing, especially since they were all saying pretty much the same thing. Many women believe they will inevitably have to experience certain things as a result of having a baby,
and so they just accept it. They accept that they will no longer feel confident about themselves or their bodies, and they accept that pregnancy will leave them physically scarred for life. Isn’t it lucky for you and me that I don’t believe our destiny is set in stone!

You see, my pregnancy was planned months before I became pregnant, so I had the opportunity to research pregnancy and mommy issues in advance of giving birth. I was determined to defy my apparent fate and look and feel exactly as I wanted to post pregnancy, regardless of what other women were saying. Of course, not yet a mom, I had limited knowledge of the actual pregnancy experience but, at the time, I did have a very good understanding of nutrition and biology, so I had something solid to start with. I researched the ins and outs of pregnancy and what to expect during and after it.

I figured if I knew what might happen I could steer in the direction of what I wanted to happen, obviously staying healthy in the process. I looked in depth at what women across the globe were experiencing and doing, everything
from the stuff most of us already know, to old secret traditions handed down through generations. I even researched chemistry.

Using my knowledge and research, I decided to create a practical pregnancy plan so that my baby and I would really enjoy the pregnancy experience and would come out the other side of it looking and feeling amazing. Of course, as life would have it, it was not to be done without difficulty. Looking back now, I can nearly hear the laughter of life in the wind: ‘Let’s give Donna a real challenge. We’ll make her baby BIG! A big, stripy belly guaranteed.’ And so I gave birth to a 9.2-pound (4.23-kilogramme) baby boy. But I haven’t a single stretch mark, I am in shape and I feel amazing. What’s more, my baby is strong, healthy and has a smile that would light up a Christmas tree.

So, with my little bundle of joy by my side, I can say with certainty that it’s a total myth that you have to look or feel anything less than amazing post pregnancy. It is also a myth that your life changes for the worse. It can be even more amazing than it was before pregnancy. I am living proof of it. And trust me, there’s nothing special about me that would allow nature to spare me. If anything, I was given some extra challenges.

Firstly, I have epilepsy so my pregnancy wasn’t a straightforward experience. Secondly, post-pregnancy weight gain and stretch marks are common in my family. So how did I maintain my self-confidence during and after pregnancy? How did I ensure a good figure ? Well, I didn’t attend any support groups, and I didn’t starve or diet. I didn’t work the treadmill, I didn’t have any genetic alterations and my baby isn’t a contortionist. I simply have information most women don’t, and I used that information during and after pregnancy. I will share it all with you in this book – everything from how I looked after my emotional well-being to how I prevented stretch marks and got the body I wanted.

You see, when we become pregnant, and especially after we give birth, it’s all too easy to let things slip. It’s easy to forget that we are amazing, to forget sometimes that we even matter. It’s like we go into full-blown mommy mode, focusing solely on baby, and leave our sense of self behind. After all, we have our babies to consider, right? Well, here’s the thing: children learn by example and if you teach your child from day one that looking after yourself and feeling amazing is a good thing, they are likely to do the same.

Step On, Step Up