Maternity Style Staples: Tips To Stretch Your Closet + Budget

Once I got through the first semester, and my belly started to actually grow, is when I started thinking of having to purchase dreaded maternity clothes. I didn’t want to get sucked into spending tons of money on clothing that is insanely overpriced and, realistically, would only get worn for a few months. For the most part, the majority of pregnant women are going to need a wardrobe that takes them through 2 weather seasons, since they can get away with wearing regular clothing for the first trimester.

I did purchase a few non-fashion items in my first trimester which I found essential and would use throughout my pregnancy as well as after. However, when it comes to maternity clothing, it seems like wearing most of what’s available after pregnancy, could look a bit odd.

When shopping for maternity clothing, I found that prices range from average to just plain ridiculous. So, although it took a bit of searching (and self restraint to not blow all my cash) I managed to shop my own closet and purchase items that look great during pregnancy and will be just as stylish to wear postpartum.

 

STRETCHY TUNIC TANKS

These are perfect for layering with sweaters, shirts, and blazers. They have a whole lot of stretch and the extra length helps to keep your belly from showing a bit of skin once you’re baby bump is pretty plump. | $7 CAD, Old Navy (on sale)

 

SWING DRESS

Swing dresses are great and will fit your bump all the way through your pregnancy since they are cut in an A-line shape and the style naturally has extra fabric, allowing lot’s of room for belly growth. They look great with just about any boot, shoe, or sandal. I’ve been wearing mine since the first trimester and still wearing it proudly. | $48.96 CAD on sale at The GAP

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Pregnancy: First Trimester Essentials

 

Yes! I’ve made it through the first trimester (Tom survived as well…and is still surviving through all the pregnancy hormones) and am basking in the bliss I’ve heard SO much about that comes in the second trimester. And it sure is wonderful!

The first trimester of pregnancy is between weeks 1 through 12 and I’m not going to say it was the worst thing ever, but it wasn’t very pleasant either. All pregnant women will have a slightly different pregnancy experience, but for the most part, many of the symptoms are the same – the sore breasts, aches and cramps, bloating, constipation (I know, T.M.I.), nausea (I had ALL day nausea without the puking, thank goodness), and food aversions. I’m going to say…This. Was. The. WORST. I can’t speak for Tom but I’m pretty sure my raging hormones accompanied by mood swings will always rank #1 of the worst thing for my entire pregnancy. I think he’s a bit nervous about how I’ll be after the baby. I don’t blame him. I’m a little scared myself.

There are a handful of items I found very practical and essential to surviving the first semester. Seeing that we chose not to tell friends and family about our baby-on-the-way news for the first trimester, I was left up to my own devices on figuring out how to deal with certain symptoms. Here were some of my favourite things that helped me get through it:

 

BOOKS + APPS

Being newly pregnant and not being able to share the news or get advice from those who have been through it before, can be tough. You want to know if what you’re experiencing is normal and figure out how to manage. I found these books and app to be very helpful (in addition to talking with my doctor).

What to expect when you’re expecting

What to expect: What to eat when you’re expecting

What to expect app

 

PRENATAL VITAMINS

These are imperative during your first trimester. However, my doctor did recommend I start taking them once we started planning and actively trying since certain vitamins and minerals help to prevent neural tube defects which affects the brain and spinal cord (which are the first parts to develop of your growing baby and before you will even know you are pregnant). The most important vitamins and minerals are folic acid, iron and calcium.

 

GINGER

Another recommendation by my doctor as well as my pregnancy books and app. Since you are limited in the medication you can take during pregnancy, especially if you suffer from nausea and morning sickness, ginger is a great natural remedy to help alleviate those symptoms. Try ginger tea, ginger ale, and ginger lozenges.

 

FIBER

Constipation is pretty much guaranteed during pregnancy. It’s all due to those lovely hormones, specifically progesterone, which has a relaxing effect on your muscles, including your digestive system (causing food to make its way through your intestines rather slowly). The best way to fight this is to eat fiber rich foods such as whole-grain cereals and breads, fruits like apples (with the skin), and dried fruits such as figs and apricots.

 

CRACKERS

Such a simple thing, but when you have all day nausea and just can’t stomach anything, saltine, arrowroot, or ginger snap crackers are like gold. Have them on hand to help you get something in your tummy. The saltine crackers can help with the nausea as well.

 

MATERNITY BRAS

These are a MUST! Regular bra’s just won’t cut it when you’re breasts start to swell and become ridiculously tender. I find that regular bra’s don’t provide the proper support or comfort you will need over the next nine months. A well fitted maternity bra can help prevent stretch marks, reduce sagging, and alleviate back pain. This is because a maternity bras cover the entire breast, which is more than an everyday fashion bra covers – everything is cut higher from the top of the breast to the breast tissue under your armpit. And between underwire and wireless, I’d say wireless all the way – they don’t feel so constricting and tight.

 

THE MIRACLE BALL METHOD FOR PREGNANCY

Towards the end of my first trimester, I started to get a lot of lower back pain and discomfort in my hips. My sister gave me the Miracle Ball Method for Pregnancy, which is a set of two teeny Swiss exercise balls and an instruction book on how to use them for different aches and pains. I wasn’t sure about them, but after the first time of using them, I noticed a HUGE difference. You have to be sure and be gentle with

 

BELLY BELT

During my first trimester I didn’t gain much weight, but my waist did grow enough for me to notice a difference in the way my clothes fit, especially my pants. I didn’t want to start purchasing  maternity clothes until I absolutely had too, and besides, maternity pants seem to be made for expectant mothers unless they are in their second and/or third trimesters.

The Belly Band is a perfect start to maternity gear while still wearing the pants and jeans you love most. It’s a set of elastics, at varying lengths to accommodate you as you grow, which easily attach to you pants with a button hole and button. I needed an additional inch and a half on my jeans by then end of my first trimester, and these did just the trick!

 

BELLA BAND

This I used (and still use) with my Belly Bands. I find that while the Belly Band give you more pant room, my pants would slide down slightly. The Bella Band helped keep my pants from sliding too much and would smooth out the bit of bulk that comes with using the Belly Bands.

 

SUPPORT SYSTEM

Surrounding yourself with family and friends who provide endless support and welcomed advice is always a good idea, especially for first time mom’s. The first several weeks were tough as Tom and I decided to wait until the end of the first trimester before sharing news with our family and closest friends. After sharing the surprise with everyone, it was the best feeling to have other supportive and experienced mom’s who had been through pregnancy already.

Are there any tips or must have items you used during your pregnancy? Would love to have you share them in the comments below!

1. Rosie Pope Wireless Nursing Bra $59.87 CAD | 2. Belly Belt $30 CAD | 3. What to Expect When You’re Expecting $18.17 CAD | 4. Miracle Ball Method for Pregnancy $20.21 CAD | 5. Bella Band $42 CAD

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How To Better Manage Your Time + Get Stuff Done

 

As I’m making an effort to get off my lazy butt and get back into blogging, I feel like I’m frantically playing catch-up. SO MUCH has happened in the past three years and life really isn’t slowing down it seems, but it keeps me on my toes (I know I keep repeating this, but when I reflect on life-after-meeting-Tom, I’m still in such awe).

Now that Tom and I are expecting a little one in July, I feel like I need to dedicate some serious one-on-one time to the blog and have been thinking of how to better manage my time to achieve this. After giving it a good think, I figured why not go back to what I’ve tried and tested and I know worked well.

My “method” comprises of a handful of practices, which when combined, work wonders for getting motivated, actually getting stuff done, and feeling pretty good about it!

 

IGNORE YOUR PHONE + TURN OFF THE TV

These are HUGE distractions when it comes to getting anything done when you’re at home. They are readily there, making it too easy to plop on the couch and and be planted there while watching repeats and maybe surfing various apps on your cell phone at the same time (I’m guilty of this. Usually scrolling through Facebook during commercials or fact searching during a show), and before you know it, time for bed. Nothing really accomplished. Well, other than prepping and eating dinner. I’ve been letting myself fall into this trap much too often since wrapping up our wedding and getting pregnant. Using all our life-happenings as an excuse to do nothing. It was fine for a while, but now it’s becoming my lifestyle and I’m saying NO to it!

Some of you might not agree, especially if you have a regular day job which might be stressful, so I can see the want to just veg out on the couch and totally shut off your brain, BUT, I personally believe our brain needs more love and care than that.

 

DAY DREAM ABOUT WHAT INSPIRES YOU + SET GOALS TO WORK AT IT

We all have something that excites us, drives our passion, and gets our energy going when we really put some time and effort into it. Whether it’s a hobby, day job, side job, dream job, planning a getaway, or things you really want from and for your life.

It’s one thing to think about it, but there is so much POWER in writing your intentions, dreams, whatever you want to call them, down. I’ve tried and tested this and I couldn’t tell you how true this is. But there is a difference between just jotting something down and taking the time to really feel your desire and intention when you put those words on paper. Kind of like putting together a visual board *link – you don’t just randomly cut out 100’s of photos because you like them. You are selective in choosing images that really resonate with you. So grab a journal or visual board supplies *link and get to it!

 

SET LITTLE DAILY GOALS + WORK UP TO THE BIG ONES

There was a point in my life in 2011 where there were unnecessary things clogging up my brain. I needed to block it out and do that in a productive way rather than watching tv. At the time, I was also looking for change. Change in my lifestyle, job/career, and where I was living. So, instead of jamming more stuff into my brain, I started to write them down (see previous tip above). This it-self needed to be done strategically. I knew I wasn’t going to get everything done in a blink of an eye (instant gratification doesn’t work work with these things), but I needed to map out various ways of achieving what I wanted without limiting myself to a timeline. We have no control over when things happen, we can take the steps to help the process flow, but then trust the rest to faith, the universe, God, whatever/whomever you want to call it.

So, each day, I made a list of 3-4 things to get done which related to working toward my bigger goals, and assigned a certain amount of time to each. This helped to keep me from feeling overwhelmed with everything (I was preparing for a move and month trip to Italy) while still feeling like I accomplished something meaningful each day and kept my mind free of the “clog.” To help me get through my daily list, I bribed myself (see next tip).

 

BRIBE YOURSELF

Ok, maybe not bribe, but more like reward, which depending on how you look at it, can still be a bribe.

In order to stay on track with my daily goals, I rewarded myself with things like getting to do an artsy project, watch a movie, or meeting up with a friend. They were simple things, but one’s that gave me the opportunity to take a break.

 

REST + RELAX

This is not a reward. This is a MUST. You have make the effort to shut your brain off and allow your entire being to just relax. Yoga, meditation, stretching, working out, and sleep are all great ways to keep your energy levels high and helping you stay refreshed, not burned out. I find that yoga and meditating are great ways to keep your mind present and from thinking about all the stuff that’s okay to let go of for a moment each day.

 

Are there any tips you have for better managing your time and getting stuff done? I’d love for you to share them in the comments below.

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And Then There Were Three

 

We’re going to be parents!!

We wasted no time at all starting a little family! Tom and I agreed not to put too much pressure and expectation on ourselves to conceive right after our wedding, so getting pregnant so quickly was a bit of a surprise.

We discussed when we would consciously start “working on it” and agreed that right after the wedding would be the best time.  We decided that I would come off of birth control in mid-August right before our wedding in September, to give my body, what we thought would be, several months to get it’s natural groove back.

I did use the P Tracker app to keep a log of my cycles and any weird things happening with my body during the “re-sync” stage. This was mainly to make sure that I was consistent and to know whether or not Tom and I would need to try alternative methods of conceiving down the road should it take longer than 6 months (according to my doctor) for anything to happen.

This little person growing in my tummy couldn’t wait very long and right after we returned from our honeymoon in October, tah-dah – I was pregnant. We confirmed all the weirdness and “something isn’t normal” feelings I had in mid-November when I took an at-home pregnancy test and saw two pink lines, confirming we were going to go from two to three, in nine months!

I don’t think it hit home for either of us. I mean, yea we saw two pink lines telling us we were pregnant, but I didn’t look it, and aside from my aches and pains, bloating, and exhaustion, I couldn’t feel anything in there. I didn’t feel pregnant other than all the symptoms I was/am experiencing. After our first ultrasound, it registered that there was definitely a little life in my tummy, but the fact that I couldn’t and still can’t feel anything still makes it feel a little unreal.

All I knew was that from when we had that two line confirmation, I needed to amp up my self-care and self-love (and so did Tom!). In the first trimester, everything we read about the first 12 weeks of pregnancy was that it’s the time of high risk for miscarriage. I knew that whatever was meant to be, would be, but I was determined to nourish myself as best as I could. This did become slightly challenging when I developed all day nausea for about 8 weeks and is now history in my 17th week. Each day gets a little easier and I can stay awake past 7:30pm.

As the days pass by and this tummy of mine is slowly growing, it’s starting to hit home. I wake up in the middle of the night a few times in the week with all kinds of things racing through my mind – will we be able to cope, will we be good parents, will our little one grow up to be someone who embraces all the best attributes one could hope for in a child they raise, like not being an a**hole, has a big heart, lots of will power, honest, determined, appreciates the gift of life, has a great set of values, and just a super cool soul? We can only try our best.

Tom and I already feel the immense support from family and friends with words of advice, encouragement and support, helpful tips, books, and pre-loved maternity and baby gear being freely passed on to us. We are both so grateful and look forward to sharing this time and adventure with you.

And in case you’re wondering, we’re NOT going to find out the sex! I’m itching to know and Tom wants a surprise – so we will wait until baby’s arrival for the big reveal.

 

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Why It’s Rude To Ask “Are You Pregnant?”

I don’t make it a habit of publicly venting about things, but this question is starting to get under my skin. I apologize if this post comes off a bit harsh and negative.

Tom and I got married (yay!) on September 10th this fall (post and photos coming soon), and from the get go there was talk about us getting pregnant. I know this is a commonly expected occurrence to take place after a couple gets married, if they’ve chosen to follow this order of events. At first it was easy to laugh off, but now it’s just annoying. From the sneaky ways of asking, assumptions, and demanding that we “get started now.”

I’ve never asked someone “are you pregnant?” And I try not to insinuate the possibility to couples. My reasoning is simple and considers the situation of others’, not just my own.

BEFORE ASKING “ARE YOU PREGNANT” CONSIDER THESE THINGS

Does the couple want to have children?

Do you know whether the couple intends on having children or whether they have changed their minds about the idea? If a couple has chosen not to have children, this could become quite annoying – to have others assume you will be having kids when you are not planning on it.

Miscarriage

How do you know that this couple hasn’t been trying, managed to succeed, only to have miscarried? This question can be quite hurtful and bring up memories of a very tough and emotional time.

Ruining the surprise

If you’re asking someone who is pregnant but still very early on in their pregnancy, you’re putting them on the spot to either lie or tell the truth. And if someone ends up telling you they are pregnant very early on, you’ve ruined the moment for when they are ready to share their big news, especially if they haven’t told their family and close friends.

Personal dietary choices

Just because someone chooses not to drink alcohol or eat a certain food, doesn’t automatically mean they’re pregnant. Myself for example, I’m not much of a drinker and so I usually will have a cranberry and soda if I’m not feeling like a Cesar. I also stay away from certain liquors and wine since I seem to have an allergic reaction to them. Combine that with asthma, and it’s no fun. I’m also not a fan of runny eggs – so no, I don’t get excited about eggs benedict. Don’t forget, some women might actually just be bloated due to something they ate.

Bodies take time to recover

If a woman has just had a baby, chances are her body is going to take a while to recover. I don’t know what grueling workout regimes and diets celebrities put their bodies through post pregnancy, but for regular folk, it can take more than a few months for a woman’s body to return to “normal.”

Unable to have children

Assuming that all women and men are capable of having children, is ignorant. Asking if someone is pregnant who cannot have children, can be very upsetting.

Not your sex life. Not your Fertility. Not your business.

I can only speak for myself on this one, but I’d rather not get into the details of my sex life with my family, friends, co-workers, no one. No one needs to know how often we’ve been having sex and what superstitious methods we might or might not be using to conceive. At the end of the day, this topic is no one else’s business other than the couple themselves, whether they are adopting, trying to conceive naturally, using a surrogate, etc.

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