My Pregnancy Survival Tips

Tips for surviving and thriving during pregnancy

I’ve made no secret of the fact that I have *not* enjoyed being pregnant. This, despite the fact that I have been blessed with a (so far) healthy and low-key pregnancy. Mostly, I’m just a big whiner. Growing a human, it turns out, is not one of my favourite past-times but sadly it takes rather a long time – so I’ve learnt a few tips and tricks along the way to make it a bit more bearable. 

Take a Lot of Baths

This is tip number one, for sure. Baths are relaxing and lovely at the best of times, but even more so when you’re pregnant. It’s a chance to take the weight off, quite literally, and feel comfortable. Plus, it’s a relatively effective method for easing the minor aches and pains that you pick up on the daily when living the pregnant life. I’ve stocked up on a whole bunch of romance novels for light bath time reading (no complex plots or distressingly sad endings!) and was happily gifted a load of Lush bath bombs for Christmas and my birthday, so they’ve been keeping me going for the most part. Pro-tip: take a bar of chocolate or other favourite snack into the bath – it’s about as decadent as life gets when you’re pregnant. My only other ‘beauty’ tip – invest in some Palmer’s Cocoa Butter for your bump. I don’t know whether it’s actually contributed to my total lack of stretch marks, or whether that’s just luck, but it smells lovely and feels very luxurious to give yourself some fancy daily moisturising. 

Buy a Pregnancy Pillow 

Having a pregnancy pillow has been an absolute life saver for me; I’ve actually been sleeping relatively well since I started to use it properly, which has made everything else seem a little bit rosier. I have this one, which also handily goes with my bedroom decor. 

Nap As Often As You Can 

I have never been a big napper, but whilst pregnant I have learnt to let go of my guilt around napping and fully embraced having one or two extra little sleeps a day. In my first trimester, this was absolutely essential in order to survive to the end of the day, and that feeling is looping round again now as I near my due date, but even when I was feeling a bit perkier, it’s been a great way to feel a little bit more human and capable. Plus, everyone tells you to sleep whilst you can, and although I’m not sure you can ‘bank’ sleep, it’s better not to go into your new adventure totally exhausted, if at all possible. 

Try Not to Overload Your Social Calendar 

This is a case of ‘do as I say, not as I do’ if ever I saw one. At the beginning, we had something on every weekend (including hosting almost 20 people for Friendsgiving…), which was very poor planning on my part as having no time to rest and recuperate led to me getting super sick over Christmas with a lovely combination of ‘morning sickness’ (which was more like all-day-nausea) and a two-week-long cold. And then we’ve just had another run of busy weekends as everyone ramps up their social events again for summer – which is lovely, but also very tiring.

Surrender to Flat Shoes 

For a short-arse like me, this totally sucks. But my back and my hips thank me for it if I opt for trainers over boots, so I’ve been living in my Converse. Bonus: they’re basically slip-on, which is very handy now that there’s a baby in the way of me bending down to tie my laces. I’ve also just invested in a pair of TOMS sandals on the recommendation of a friend, and they’re maybe the best sandals I’ve ever owned (plus, they’re on sale right now…). They don’t rub, even though my feet are, ahem, larger than usual at the moment and they have a squidgy base so they’re super comfortable. 

H&M Do the Best Maternity Wear 

Dressing for pregnancy is the biggest challenge (you know, other than the whole ‘growing a human’ thing) and finding clothes that make you feel like yourself can make all the difference to how you feel, as shallow as that may seem. Having tested quite a few of the high street brands, it’s H&M that have led the way for me; my wardrobe is mostly made of basics anyway and H&M have a good collection which isn’t too pricey (given that you’ll only be wearing these clothes for a short period of time). However, there are a couple of exceptions to that rule – New Look Petite maternity jeans are the only ones I’ve found that fit the length of my legs and don’t end up falling down after twenty minutes of wear (so if you’re also 5’0″, this might be relevant to your interests) and I have loved the two dresses that I picked up from the Seraphine sale for special occasions. 

Go To Some Classes & Do Your Research 

I know that people have mixed feelings about NCT classes, but we had a wholly positive experience with ours (even if my squeamish self did have to leave the room for some of the more graphic descriptions of labour…). I feel a lot more calm and confident about what’s coming up as a result, and it’s been a great jumping off point for doing our own research. I’d already read a few books and done some general investigating before the classes, but having someone with some qualifications confirm what I thought I knew was really invaluable. I think the classes were particularly good for Paul, too, as there was an equal focus on what birth partners can be doing to support and prepare, which has helped him feel a lot happier with the whole process. Plus, we made some nice parent pals to hang out with on maternity leave, so that’s a positive, too! Knowledge is power, my friends – but be careful where you get your information as it’s very easy to fall into a forum or two where misinformation is rife… I’ve freaked myself out on more than one occasion doing that! 

Feel All Your Feelings Without Guilt

I have been wholly honest on this blog and on my social media channels (mostly Instagram) about the ups and downs I’ve experienced during pregnancy. As someone who is generally pretty positive and who considers herself very ‘blessed’ (ugh, I know), it’s been tricky for me to feel so down so much of the time, especially when pregnancy is supposed to be the harbinger of joy rather than sorrow. At times, I have felt really terrible about it and as if I’m already a terrible mother simply for wishing for one damn minute I could not be pregnant, but, ultimately, my feelings are my feelings and there’s no point feeling guilty about them. (Phew, that’s a lot of feelings in one sentence!). There have equally been moments of pure joy and happiness, so it’s all swings and roundabouts (especially due to those pesky hormones), so don’t beat yourself up (and don’t let anyone else do the metaphorical beating, either). 

Let People Be Nice To You 

Oh god, do I struggle with this one. When you are pregnant – and especially when you are visibly very pregnant – everyone will go out of their way to be nice to you. You will have the same conversations about names, due dates and sex of your baby multiple times a day with strangers. And it’s not just strangers – friends and family will buy you presents, travel for your baby shower and insist that you take a damn seat rather than running around doing things. At times this is particularly difficult; it can feel like you’re a bit useless, which is rather frustrating. But, let people be nice to you and revel in having drinks brought to you and chores taken off your hands. You’re growing a baby – you deserve a little rest and relaxation! 

Do you have any tips to add? I’ve still got a few weeks left, so there’s still time… (!) 


 

 

Pregnancy Survival Tips // Amy Elizabeth

Tips for surviving and thriving during pregnancy

A few tips for surviving pregnancy and how to thrive during pregnancy. [/caption]

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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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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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When 2 Become 3…

So, the secret is finally out! Not that we’ve been able to keep it much of a secret at all… not drinking over Christmas and New Year definitely tips people off, and I’m a terrible liar at the best of times. We’re very excited (and also a little bit terrified) to announce that our first baby is due in July 2017. 

I should probably have titled this post when 3 become 4, because technically we already have an extra member of our family in Tuna but I don’t think she’ll mind on this occasion. In fact, she’s been indifferent to the whole thing (like she is about most things, really…). 

I found out pretty early on, so despite only being 14 weeks along I really feel like I’ve already been pregnant for years but we’re only just getting to the good bit. That is, the bit where we can actually buy stuff for a nursery and think about names. I’ve got some thoughts to share about being pregnant more generally next week, but suffice to say it’s not been my favourite experience so far. The nausea! The exhaustion! The blood tests! The constant worry! In fact, you might even have guessed that something was up by my inability to blog for about three months straight. I’m hoping I’m out of the woods with some of that stuff now, although I’m just about to tackle the fun of maternity dressing now that I actually have a tiny bump (!). It’s all very surreal, let me tell you. 

So, if everything goes to plan, a tiny Paul or Amy (or, more likely, some mix of the two) is on their way this summer. It’s all about to get a little crazy around here… 

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