The Third Trimester: Thoughts on Growing a Person

The Third Trimester // Amy Elizabeth

When I first scheduled in to write this post, I thought that it would be relatively upbeat compared to my previous pregnancy updates. I’ve made no secret of the fact that I have not been enjoying pregnancy at all, but the second trimester hasn’t been nearly as bad as the first (just like everyone tells you). I know plenty of people who have had a rougher time of it than me, so I’m sure this will elicit some eye-rolls, but I have really struggled with the tiredness, the nausea (thankfully past now), the aches and pains and all of the associated nonsense that comes along with pregnancy. I know it’s supposed to be magical when the baby kicks, and sometimes it is, but mostly it just hurts. I thought I was getting on top of everything; we’d ordered the pram and the nursery furniture, which definitely made everything feel so exciting, but I definitely hit a wall last Monday. In the last week I’ve had more than one cry over the fact that everything I’m feeling is an almost permanent state for the next three months, and could even get worse. 

Maybe I’m hormonal, or maybe it just sucks to be pregnant (or maybe a bit of both). I hate that it hurts every time I go to get out of bed. I hate that I can’t stretch enough to put my towel on the hook of the back of the door. I hate that I get out of breath if I walk up the stairs too quickly. I hate having heartburn. I hate that walking into town to get some lunch now feels like an ordeal, complete with stitch-like pains across my bump. I hate that it’s almost impossible to get comfy, but that turning over or adjusting position when I’m sitting or lying down is a mission in itself. I hate having almost nothing to wear. And this baby still needs to get at least twice as big as he is now… I also feel a bit useless in my current state, and whilst it seems a nice idea to have people doing stuff for you, I’m not very good at sitting to the side and letting everyone else get on with things. I am simultaneously worried about leaving work and counting down the days; I’m worried they won’t cope without me, and maybe more worried that they will cope too well and won’t want me back. It’s all just a bit much. Slowing down is *hard* and I go from being grateful that I have time off at weekends to nap and recuperate to feeling guilty for not making the most of this time. 

Can I confess something to you, dear Internet? I also sometimes still have doubts about becoming a parent – even now, when there are less than 100 days to go until this little babe is with us. I catch myself wondering whether this whole baby thing was such a great idea, when we could have been swanning off to exotic locations, or visiting friends, or working on exciting projects, or any of those many other things that feel like they’re slipping away at a rate of knots. This isn’t a logical thought, since those things are not closed off to us in any way even when we become parents, but I can’t help but wonder if I’m *really* ready to saddle my whole life to a tiny being who relies on me (on us) for everything. Before I was pregnant, I was adamant that was what I wanted for my life, but as the reality draws closer, the doubts creep in. Don’t get me wrong, I already love this little baby and my daydreams are filled with all of the fun we’ll all have as a family, but just sometimes I am struck by the reality of this parenting lark and suddenly my carefree life where I’m only truly responsible for myself seems all that more appealing. Does that make me a bad mother already? I hope not as I’ve barely even started yet. 

I’m also getting to the point of dreading the whole ‘birth’ thing. For someone who really struggles when it comes to all things medical, I’ve been surprisingly calm about the actual birth part until now. Whether it’s blind delusion, or all of the very calming yoga classes I’ve been going to, I was sure I’d have it in hand. I wasn’t looking forward to it, exactly, but it felt entirely manageable the more I read about it. I had visions of being super calm and earth mother-ish at home, lighting candles and letting my body do all the work. The closer it gets, the more I feel like I was kidding myself that such a thing is even possible; although we’re in the process of planning a home birth, the stats suggest that most first time mothers end up in hospital regardless of their best laid plans. I know there’s really no way to know what’s going to happen, and for a control freak like me, that’s pretty scary – especially when it could end up with me in exactly the place I *least* want to spend any time. Whilst I’m pragmatic that medical intervention may be necessary, and I’m not going to resist that, I am still holding on to a little bit of hope that I might be able to avoid it and stay home. I am trying to surround myself with positive birth stories, rather than accidentally falling down comment threads with too many horrific details – whilst forewarned can sometimes mean forearmed, I’m not sure that’s the case for me right now. 

On the positive side (just so this doesn’t become a total sob-fest), I have been thinking lots about what our little bubba will be like. It’s exciting that he’s entirely a mystery to us right now, but soon we’ll know him better than we know almost anyone else on earth. I’m pretty sure he’ll be fair with blue eyes, if genetics are anything to go by (and I am reliably informed they are) but other than that? There’s just no way of telling. I’m impatient to meet him (and dress him in adorable little outfits), so I’m trying to focus on that feeling, rather than anything else – which is easier said than done when he’s giving me a good kicking… 

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5 Podcasts I’m Obsessed With Right Now

5 Podcasts I'm Obsessed With Right Now // Amy Elizabeth

If you’ve ever spent time with me in real life, you’ll no doubt have heard the phrase ‘I was listening to this podcast…’ (and probably rolled your eyes at it, too…). I have never been a big music fan, but podcasts? There are so many great ones out there, and it can be hard to keep up now that so many are publishing new episodes weekly, but whilst I’m happy to leave some in my queue for a long journey or to accompany a mammoth baking session, there are a few of my favourites that jump straight to the top of the list every time, that I just can’t wait to listen to.

Buffering the Vampire Slayer 

The rumour goes that babies can be soothed by the sounds they heard when they were inside the womb, so I’m hoping this little bubba of mine is slowly becoming indoctrinated into loving the sound of badass ladies discussing pop culture and dismantling the patriarchy. Starting with the Buffering podcast – a must-listen for Buffy fans everywhere. Kristin and Jenny are rewatching and discussing every episode of one of my favourite ever TV shows, and writing a song to go with each one. I can’t listen to this podcast out in public, because otherwise people will look at me very oddly when I burst out laughing at their commentary. But it’s not all jokes, 90s wardrobe analysis and awarding a weekly sexual tension award, there’s some serious discussion of gender, sexuality, race and culture. Buffy has a lot of depth (and is probably the reason I’m a feminist to this day…) so there’s a lot to chat about – and I only love the show more now. 

Dear Prudence

Mallory Ortberg’s brand of loving, wise but whimsical advice is absolutely in my wheelhouse. I’ve been a fan of hers for years (does anyone else still mourn the loss of The Toast and they’re ‘If X was my boyfriend…’ articles?) so it’s nice to have this little snippet making its way into my ears every week. This podcast follows the usual advice column format, tackling everything from petty office disputes to some more serious topics that provoke discussion between Mallory and her steadily rotating cast of guests (my favourite episodes are the ones featuring her family members – so they’re definitely worth seeking out if you’re new to this show!). I listen to quite a few advice podcasts (I’m also a fan of Savage Love and Dear Sugar) but I find Dear Prudence the most comforting, with Mallory’s combination of enthusiasm and joie de vivre, with her focus on kindness, empathy and boundaries – alongside some more amusing and ridiculous tangents. 

Hashtag Authentic

If you’re into Instagram, chances are you’ve come across Sara’s beautiful account ‘Me and Orla’ which features snippets from her life in rural Yorkshire with her daughter. Whilst many of us use Instagram to share snaps in any which way (and there’s nothing wrong with that!), Sara’s Instagram is a thing of true art and beauty, so it’s not wonder she’s become such an expert on the platform. She’s your go to girl for Instagram strategy, and she’s sharing everything she knows in her great new podcast. If you’re a blogger, photographer or small business owner, or you just find marketing and creativity really interesting to talk about (guilty) then you’ll probably be just as hooked as I am on the gentle, fascinating and inspiring conversations that Sara’s been having with her guests. Expect big things from this one, my friends. 

Another Round

This podcast has made me laugh and it has made me cry, sometimes even within the same episode. Tracy and Heben are the hosts of this podcast, chatting about everything from race, gender and pop culture to bad jokes and great drinks. It’s like happy hour with the coolest, smartest people you’ve ever met – and their interviews are some of the best I’ve heard (my favourites have been Hillary, natch, Kelly Rowland and Margaret Cho). I’ve learnt a lot from this podcast, and with such varied content you never really know what you’re gonna get – so it has me tuning in straight away every time. Seriously, you need to be listening. 

Call Your Girlfriend 

Yet another feminist pop culture and politics podcast that I’m slowly indoctrinating my unborn child with… and I’m not even sorry. Amina and Ann are real life besties who let us in on their weekly calls where they chat about everything from serious political issues (their ‘Cheeto Watch’ is basically how I keep up with what’s going on in US politics) and gender theory, to TV shows and celebrity gossip. So basically, all the things I like to talk about in real life but no one ever wants to discuss with me. It’s the perfect mix of highbrow and lowbrow, and since they publish on a Friday, it gives me something to listen to on lazy Saturday mornings. Total winner. 

Plus, a special mention needs to happen for Witch, Please, a feminist literary criticism Harry Potter podcast, which is currently on hiatus and due back in the summer. I cannot frickin’ wait. If you’re nerdy in the same very specific way as I am (I’ve only found one person so far…) then you will love it. 

Read more: 4 New Podcast Obsessions // 11 More Podcasts You Should Be Listening To // 5 Bookish Podcasts to Listen To

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Feeling a little overwhelmed. 

Wearing my dungarees all the damn time. 

Loving the lighter nights and the bursts of sunshine we’ve been having. 

Cooking a couple of roast dinners. 

Getting my bridesmaid on and organising a hen do! 

Celebrating my new tumble dryer! Adulting at its best… 

Buying our new car (can you tell we’re nesting?). 

Laughing until I cried at the All Killa No Filla live show. 

Lathering this moisturiser on now that I’ve got a proper bump! 

Trying to practice a bit more self care

Moving a lot slower than before! 

Feeling baby kicking more and more every day but… 

Stressing when I don’t feel him quite so much! It’s a rollercoaster, this pregnancy lark. 

Learning more about copywriting with the wonderful Elly

Watching Ali Wong’s Baby Cobra, Garfunkel & Oates, and Big Little Lies

Taking some of my favourite Instagram pictures of all time. 

Starting the countdown to maternity leave… 

Receiving a wonderful email letter from my Grandad about this post

Scoffing Mini Eggs. It’s basically compulsory at this time of year. 

Going on a pizza date with Paul at Pizza Fella

Winning the work bake off! (At long last…) 

How about you? 

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5 Things I’ve Learnt About Self Care in Pregnancy

Self Care in Pregnancy // Amy Elizabeth

This weekend, self care looked a whole lot like caterpillar cake. Like any good grammar school girl, I’ve always put a lot of pressure on myself to be ‘perfect’, which tends to mean bringing freshly baked goods whenever I visit someone’s house, or invite someone to mine. This weekend, though, I gave myself permission to buy a cake instead – a birthday caterpillar cake for the birthday girl in question. Cake is cake, after all, and after two nights of broken sleep and a hectic week at work, I just couldn’t bring myself to drag myself into the kitchen. And you know what? The world didn’t burn to the ground. My friends didn’t love me any less. And we still ate cake. 

Being pregnant has been a game changer in so many ways, but it’s really made me take a step back and prioritise self care. In the original sense of the word – not bubble baths and scented candles and manicures, but remembering to eat, getting some basic exercise and all that jazz. You know, the stuff that actually keeps you alive and able to function. As someone who has previously enjoyed good health, both physical and mental, it’s been a bit of a learning curve and I suspect it will only become more so as this baby makes himself more at home. 

Work with your body, not against it

I’ve always been able to ‘push’ myself on the occasions that I’ve needed to; whether that’s late nights or early mornings for work or play, I’ve been able to ignore what my body’s telling me if I’ve needed to. Obviously that’s not a sustainable strategy for life, so it’s not been something I’ve done much – but I could if I wanted to. Now? I just can’t without suffering the consequences quite severely. Me and my body have had to become a bit of a team, working together rather than against each other. Things are a lot easier if I give my body what it wants and needs, even if that means missing out on a night or two. 

You really, really can’t do everything

I didn’t expect growing a baby to take up so much time and effort. I kind of thought it was going to take place in the background, and I would mostly get to carry on as normal. Oh, how I laugh at poor, naive past Amy. Despite not requiring any *active* participation, your body’s going through a whole mess of stuff and I’ve definitely found myself a lot slower over the past few months, even as I’ve felt better from all the morning sickness and whatnot. I am slower at walking, at turning over in bed, and there’s so much ‘baby stuff’ to be thinking about that I’m always a little bit distracted. Gone are the days of blogging until the early hours (jk, my bedtime is always 10pm at the latest), cooking everything from scratch and packing my diary full of plans. It’s the caterpillar cake all over again. Sometimes you have to pick and choose what you can do, because you can’t do everything. 

Make fewer plans 

There are some things you just can’t avoid in life; work and chores are on the top of that list for me. I need to turn up to work every day and continue to do a good job, and I need to keep my house vaguely clean & tidy, and make sure we have some food in the cupboards every week. On top of that, other obligations are pretty much optional. Gone are the days of heading out after work every night for some such or the other event or gathering, I’ve worked out through trial and error that two is my maximum. That includes my volunteering commitments and my yoga class. And if I exceed that number for some reason (usually work meetings running late), then I need to have a free weekend or I will eventually cease to function. It’s a good reminder to give yourself some space in the calendar for rest and recuperation – and is probably applicable to pre-pregnancy Amy, too… she just tended to ignore it. 

Exercise is not optional

I have never been a big fan of exercise, in any form. I’ve tried to get into running a few times, and taken a few exercise classes here and there as an adult, but the attitude towards exercise that I developed as an awkward teen during freezing hockey lessons has pretty much stuck. It’s always been on my list of ‘one day’, but that day really needs to be right now. I felt super sick for the first few months of my pregnancy, and I feel like I’ve been super busy and hectic ever since, but it’s something I really need to make time for to stop my body from rebelling against me entirely. A weekly yoga class, at the very least, goes a long way to relieving the various aches and pains I’m currently experiencing, and I need to incorporate more stretching and whatnot into my everyday life to try and make life a little bit better for the next four months. Turns out that they’re not  entirely bullshitting when they say that exercise is good for you, after all… 

The Rule of ‘Most’

Are you eating healthily, getting some exercise, sleeping the right amount… most of the time? It can be easy to beat yourself up if you let something slip for a day or two, but if you take a wider view of things, you’re probably doing okay. A takeaway every now and again, or an occasional late night is not the end of the world as long as you follow the rule and try to do better most of the time. Over the course of a week, or a month, or a whole pregnancy? As long as you’re looking after yourself for the most part, those slip ups will fade away in the big picture.  

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Seeing our baby again at our 20 week scan today (after being very impatient about it for the rest of the month!) 

Flipping some chocolate chip pancakes for Pancake Day

Celebrating the wedding of Dave and Jenny in Sheffield – such a beautiful day (and a beautiful bride!). 

Baking banana bread and cookies. Going back to basics. 

Cuddling my friends’ babies to get my cuteness fix. 

Despairing at maternity formal wear… but finding something in the end. 

Wearing leggings more days than not. 

Stuffing my face at Dishoom – that cheese naan, you guys. 

Crying with laughter at Josie Long’s show, Something Better. 

Loving the (slightly) lighter mornings and lighter nights. 

Sending some Galentine’s Day cards and messages. The best day of the year! 

Getting my pregnancy yoga on. I’m all about those hippie vibes. 

Immersing myself in Season 2 of Buffy – my favourite season, for sure. 

Toasting my sister’s 20th birthday with Mexican food! 

Getting my craft on making some macrame plant holders with my colleagues at Stitch Up

Putting Tuna on a diet – she’s chubbed up immensely over the last year! 

Enjoying a Nando’s for our Valentine’s Day date. 

Publishing my first piece on Buzzfeed

Experiencing my first ever wedding fair and organising my first ever hen do as bridesmaid. 

Learning all about getting my Instagram on at The Blog Squad

Cooking up brunch for friends before a mammoth Reign session (have you seen it?). 

Planning some post-baby getaways – if only in my head, right now. 

Feeling the love! 

How about you? 

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Maternity Wear Woes

Maternity Wear Woes // Amy Elizabeth

I don’t consider myself a particularly stylish or fashionable person. I like to look nice, sure, but I mostly stick to a uniform of relatively plain clothes for the majority of my life. My office has a (very) casual dress code, and I don’t often go to fancy places at the weekend (and when I do, I tend to wear the same couple of things on rotation). I own a lot of navy-striped tops and dresses, and you’ll rarely find me outside of jeans. My attempts to accessorise are cursory at best, stopping at my wedding rings and a gigantic blanket scarf most days. However, I’ve been pretty happy that way for the last few years. I know what suits me, I like to think I look relatively pulled together and I rarely have a panic when I’m getting dressed. That is, until the bump entered my life. 

Over the past couple of weeks, my bump has very much made itself known, meaning that almost all of my regular clothes are very much out of the picture. I spent years finding pairs of jeans that would fit me, only for all of my pairs to be regulated to the back of the cupboard with the hopes that I will see them again come Autumn. Suddenly, I feel awkward and uncomfortable in everything – except for maternity leggings, which are some kind of godsend (and I will probably continue to purchase them post-pregnancy, they’re just that comfy). 

The thing is, I want to look like myself at a time when that is almost impossible. I can’t help but feel my hatred of maternity clothes is tied up with a bit (read: a lot) of anxiety about my body changing outside of my control. My previous style worked for my petite-but-with-big-boobs body and now I have to find one for short-with-even-bigger-boobs-and-a-growing-stomach body instead. It’s hard enough to find clothes that fit my too-short-for-the-high-street legs at the best of time, but factor in a bump and a headache is inevitable. 

Part of the problem is not wanting to buy *too* much, in case it doesn’t work when I’m even more pregnant than I am now, and also because buying a full new wardrobe for a six month period is a little decadent when you’re also trying to save for a new arrival and the inevitable period of maternity leave, which is not known to be the most flush time in anyone’s life. 

So I’ve ‘invested’ in a couple of pairs of maternity jeans – one Topshop Leigh under-the-bump pair, which fit length-wise but become irretrievably baggy the longer I wear them and thus are currently being held up by safety pins, and one ASOS maternity over-the-bump pair, which stay up more easily but still don’t *quite* fit well enough to avoid bagginess. I’m hoping that as my bump grows, they’ll become a little bit more wearable and won’t need the constant hitching up to look vaguely smart and fitted. Between those and my trusty maternity leggings (the grey are better quality than the black, for some reason), and I’m pretty much covered for daywear, for now.

Of course, an extra woe is formal wear – particularly for a wedding that we attended this weekend. Most shops don’t stock their maternity ranges in store, so you’ve got to give yourself plenty of time for deliveries and returns, whilst also factoring in the fact that your bump might have grown and changed before the big day itself. Having never been pregnant before, I was a bit at a loss as to which shapes would suit me so I ended up ordering at least 5 or 6 different ASOS deliveries in the space of a couple of weeks (I’m quite well known to the DPD driver now…) to try and find something that worked. The problem is that so much of maternity wear is also covered in hideous florals or made of strange materials, so narrowing down the selection was a little tricky. I did eventually find this lovely dress in teal (which appears to be sold out now…), which I’m hoping can progress into daywear as Spring comes around! I also picked up a black jumpsuit, which I didn’t think was wedding appropriate but is destined for a few date nights and meetings in the near future. 

I’m hoping that as the weather warms up, I can embrace my dreams of becoming an earth-mama style pregnant lady in an ever-changing series of maxi dresses (which, in my fantasy never drag inches along the ground because of those aforementioned short legs…) and maybe a pair of dungarees… Either way, I suspect my maternity woes are not quite over yet! 

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Life Hack: Freezer Cookies

Is there anything better than a freshly baked cookie? Warm, slightly gooey with crispy edges, just the perfect amount of sweetness. If heaven exists, then I imagine it will have a lot in common with a cookie. Only, whilst cookies aren’t the most complex of bakes to whip up, sometimes you don’t have the energy, the time or the ingredients to hand. And let me tell you, those supermarket cookies will never quite scratch that itch. So let me tell you my little secret… freezer cookies! Make up your cookies like normal and then, instead of baking them, freeze them into little balls and save for when you’re feeling snack-ish.

Any cookie recipe will work for this, and you don’t really have to do anything special. Just follow the instructions and, instead of popping them in to bake, pop the tray straight into the freezer (because they’re not going to spread out like they would in the oven, you can probably fit all of your cookie dough balls on one tray, depending on the size of your batch). Once they’re frozen (overnight should do it), you can pop them all in one big freezer bag or tupperware box so they take up less precious freezer space. 

You can even bake them straight from frozen; just add a couple of minutes onto the baking time from your original recipe. Voila, freshly baked cookies any time you want them! They make a great gift for friends, too – we took some round to our sweet friends who’ve just had a baby, but I’m pretty sure there’s no occasion when people wouldn’t appreciate their freezer being stocked up with cookies just ready to be baked. All of the delicious with almost none of the effort. Life hack: achieved! 

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A Birthday Brunch Party (Plus Tips on Throwing Your Own!)

I’m not one for making a big deal of my birthday, but I do like to feed the people that I love so I didn’t want the opportunity to go to waste. Since I’m not drinking this year (and feeling very sore about it, if you can’t tell…) a dinner or night at the pub felt like it wouldn’t be all that much fun for me (being the only sober person at your own party is not my idea of the best time!) so brunch was the obvious choice.

I considered a brunch out, but with almost 20 people on the guest list, finding somewhere suitable felt like too much of an undertaking, so I decided to throw a little brunch party instead. Bloody Marys were still on the table for those that could partake, but it’s not such an alcohol-focused event (and meant I could still have an afternoon nap once all the guests had left…). Plus, with two new little babies due into our friendship group by the end of January, the casualness of a brunch party just seemed to work for everyone. Oh, and there’s French Toast. Whilst I don’t want to blow my own trumpet, it’s a winner of an idea all round. 

It was so lovely to spend time with my wonderful friends, and on a Sunday morning to boot – which is usually dead time in the world of socialising. The casual nature of the event worked so much better than a dinner party for this number of people. I got to have baby cuddles, some of my favourite brunch dishes, and I didn’t spend the whole time over the stove. Best birthday ever? Maybe. (Unless you’re Tuna Fey, who hid upstairs under the spare bed the entire time. Safe to say she’s not a party person). 

If you want to have a go at hosting your own brunch party, here’s a few top tips from me to you. 

Keep it Casual 

People are busy these days, which means getting people to all sit down together at a set time can sometimes be more hassle than its worth. The beauty of a brunch party is that it can span over a few hours, with people popping in and out as needed. Don’t stress about getting everything on the table at once, let people pick dishes as and when they come out of the oven, and save yourself the trouble. But… set an end time so people know when to expect to leave – it’s much easier than having an awkward ‘kicking out’ when friends have outstayed their welcome past your nap time! 

Make Ahead 

You ideally want to minimise your time in the kitchen, where possible, so make ahead dishes are your friends. Here’s what I made as a starter for ten, but there are infinite varieties on French Toast, scones, muffins and breakfast casseroles to suit any taste. 

I find that a mix of sweet and savoury works best to satisfy everyone when it comes to brunch! A few condiments, some freshly cooked sausages and a fruit salad with honey and yoghurt completed the menu and there was more than enough to go around (despite my panics to the contrary). 

Decide Where to Cut Corners

I like to serve people home-cooked meals when they come to my house, but it’s not always possible (or pleasurable) to make everything from scratch when you’re hosting for a big number. Deciding where you’re happy to cut corners will make your life a lot easier – especially when people are turning up at 10am – and most people probably won’t even notice (or care). For me that looked like non-fancy coffee, frozen pastries that could be baked on the day, store bought condiments (like salsa and guacamole) and a quick dash to the shops for bread in the morning (I would have liked to make my own, but who has the proving time?). Your corners might be different depending on what you care about the most on your brunch table, and don’t forget the best corner cutting measure of all – asking people to bring a dish! 

Go Disposable 

Whilst I realise it’s not great for the environment, sometimes it is easier to just gather everything up at the end of a party and throw it in the bin rather than saddling yourself with piles of washing up. I certainly don’t have enough crockery or cups for 20 people, and I doubt you do either, so grab some paper or plastic plates and vow to recycle religiously for the rest of the year. 

Happy Brunching! 

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Starting the New Year with some of our favourite people in Wales. 

Seeing our baby for the first time at our 12 week scan! 

Arguing over baby names, already. 

Celebrating my 27th birthday with a brunch party. 

Wearing maternity jeans for the first time. 

Being a bit of a homebody – much needed after a hectic end of 2016. 

Knitting with my first every Stitch & Story kit (and it won’t be my last). 

Welcoming two new babies into our friendship group (and stealing as many cuddles as possible!). 

Baking with rhubarb as much as I can. 

Taking down the Christmas decorations and giving our bedroom a bit of a refresh. 

Shivering every time I go outside – who so cold, January? 

Attending a sweet friend’s hen do, and looking forward to the wedding in February. 

Starting to plan my first ever hen do as a bridesmaid! 

Re-watching Buffy, inspired by the Buffering podcast

Perfecting a recipe for raspberry cheesecake brownies, that I can’t wait to share! 

Despairing at the news on a daily basis. 

Feeling empowered and hopeful at all of the coverage of the Women’s March. 

Writing more blog posts than I have in month – and feeling inspired for even more. 

Resolving to take more photos and share more on Instagram in 2017.

Getting back on my yoga mat for some Pregnancy Yoga. 

Trying not to make my whole life about being pregnant right now! 

How about you? 

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On Being Pregnant

Being pregnant is the singularly weirdest experience of my life. How could it not be? There’s a tiny person growing *inside* me. However natural that is, it’s also incredibly trippy. I know, of course, that I am just one in an incredibly long line in women to go through pregnancy but, despite having read all the blogs, questioned all my friends and done all my research, it still feels like such an individual and strange experience. 

Before I found out I was pregnant, I was desperate for children. Or, it certainly felt that way. Trying for a baby was far more emotional than I expected; the sense of failure and disappointment each time it ‘didn’t work’ was crushing, however much I tried to stay light and breezy about it. Luckily for us, it was a relatively short process (shorter than I expected) but my heart goes out a million times over to those who are not so lucky – I don’t know how people go on that journey for years without breaking into tiny pieces. Partly, I think, my need for control was what was making it more difficult; you have no say in what your body does, and there’s no way of knowing what will happen. I suppose it prepares you for having a child, when the idea of control is laughable, at best. 

However, the moment that little window on the test said ‘Pregnant’, it was like a switch was flipped and I wasn’t so sure, after all. Of course, by that point, it was too late to change my mind, but the feeling of finding out was so overwhelming that I just burst into tears. I don’t think even now that I could pinpoint exactly what emotions I was feeling but it was a mix of elation at getting exactly what I want, and fear that I had made a terrible mistake. Be careful what you wish for, and all that. The first few weeks were definitely filled with more of the latter; I was incredibly anxious that it would all go wrong, whilst at the same time equally anxious about what would happen if it all went right. There’s no denying that parenthood, in whatever form it comes to you, changes your life beyond recognition, and certainly does a number on your body, too. I spent a lot of time worrying and crying, which is not really what I pictured for my first few weeks of pregnancy. 

As I got used to the idea and started to allow myself to get a little bit excited, that definitely calmed down. However, that was when my pregnancy symptoms hit; and, oh boy, did they hit. So many women I know talk about how they loved (or love) being pregnant, but I am definitely not getting that feeling. As I mentioned last week, it’s definitely been a rollercoaster ride of experiences that have made me feel *very* sorry for myself. Suffice to say, I am not great in the face of adversity. I’ve just not felt like myself for weeks; being exhausted and nauseous all the time has stopped me from doing a lot of the things that I enjoy, like blogging and baking, and I’ve gone from being an ‘up and at ’em’ sort of girl to a ‘let me just take a nap’ one. And there’s nothing wrong with being the latter, but it’s just not *me*, you know?

I’ve also had to face my greatest fear – blood tests. I know that no one exactly loves them, but I have been phobic of them pretty much all my life. I’ve avoided them thus far (thankfully due to good health) but that wasn’t an option. I had a small meltdown in the midwife’s office and eventually managed my first one on the third attempt, thanks to some very wonderful nurses at Chapel Allerton Hospital who I want to shower with flowers and chocolates. 

Thankfully (for me, and also for you, as this is turning into quite the essay…), I feel like I’ve turned a corner over the past week or so. A little bit of feeling faint and a sore back are still plaguing me, but it’s infinitely preferable to eating toast for every meal and napping as soon as I get in from work every day. Now that we’re into the second trimester, it also feels okay to get even more excited – to plan a nursery and think about names and coo over tiny baby clothes. The mantra I’ve been working with until now has been ‘if you’re going through hell, keep going’ but now I think I’m ready to switch to ‘it will all be worth it’. 

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