Bring slippers and flip flops. I was walking around my room barefoot even though I know that's gross, I just didn't care. But you do need them to walk around the hospital halls and when it's chilly. My body was so swollen not only at the end of pregnancy, but postpartum it was a JOKE. AN AWFUL AWFUL JOKE. I was so swollen from my surgery and I could feel myself swelling more each day of recovery! It was so horrible that one day I could feel the tops of my feet actually jiggle as I walked! Needless to say, I couldn't wear my flip flops home and I wore Josh's as documented in the photo above...humble pie people. But I was holding the cutest nugget ever, so priorities!
BellyBandit!! I can only speak from my point of view with this product, but I think it's totally worth it. The hospital actually gives you a very soft version of the band and it feels so much better to have it on than not. It made me feel so much more secure and less afraid I might laugh too hard and my intestines would slide out, sorry for the visual. But I wore the Original Belly Bandit for the first couple weeks and then it became too big. I then went down to a small but in the Bamboo BellyBandit. The Bamboo is much softer and more comfortable for when you are sitting at home, nursing all the live long day. The original was stiffer but I didn't care I just wanted it to work! But I swear that thing helped me go back down faster and flatter, not to mention again that it made my incision and ab muscles feel much more supported.
Whole-y Mama :
Bare with me, I know this might get a little crunchy. I know, slowly but surely, I am getting even more earth mama everyday. Maybe it was Bellingham just feeding on the hippie side of me. Let's blame on Bham!
I have been slowly becoming more aware of the importance not only of what we put in our bodies but what we put on our bodies, especially when you are carrying another life in you. We are all about foods to avoid while pregnant, but what about we put on our skin and absorb into our bodies and now theirs? As a beauty industry professional, this is huge to me!
This is a great time to become more aware of your beauty product's ingredients and house held items. All of a sudden you are thinking of what is being given to your baby from your body and / or what is touching their perfect, fresh skin. You can't help but want the best for this new, sweet little life!
For me, first and foremost I switched to an organic, paraben and sulfate free, no harsh chemical body wash and lotion. I loved lathering up my belly and knowing he was getting the best. We first used Honest Company because I had always heard great things about their products, I am a huge fan. I registered for both Honest, Babyganics, and Burt's Bees. I prefer Honest or Burt's Bees out of the 3.
Cove has recently had sensitive skin on his face that causes him to breakout with a rash similar to baby acne. The doctor said if it continues he would consider it eczema, insert sad face here. He suggested that we switch to an all natural lotion and body wash, which until that moment I thought I was! I went home and looking at our bath products, none of it was a 100% natural. So I purchased the Tubby Todd starter pack and 4 days in, I am obsessed. His skin is starting to clear, it smells wonderful, and I am going to order the body wash and lotion for myself! I wish I would've found out about this company sooner and purchased with them from the get go. Everything is a 100% natural, sulfate / paraben free, all packaging is BPA free, no animal testing...music to this mama's ears! Plus, I kid you not, it smells like what I imagine heaven must smell like.
I also used all natural oils and balms for my belly to avoid stretch marks. Which, full disclosure, I almost did until about 38 weeks, but tiger stripes it is! I had some to start just from life and growing, so I am not surprised I got some, but I figured it couldn't hurt to try and prevent it. I also still slather on the balm and oils to help heal the marks and prevent ones in the future. My marks are soft and faded already so I really think it helps as much as it can!
Prenatal's are really important during this time as well, obviously, and finding one that has high folic acid and DHA in it are amazing for your babe.
Careful when you are cleaning! It begins when you are pregnant, you can't stomach the smells of the chemicals to clean the house, then you can't physically bend over to clean. Or, you're like my friend who craved the smell of bleach all throughout her pregnancy! Pregnancy symptoms are so weird.
Yes, obviously, I still cleaned the toilet, shower, bathroom and kitchen floors until I gave birth. It was hard and it sucked, but hey, it's gotta happen. For me, I stopped using bleach, mainly for the smell that just filled our tiny house too much. Then I slowly started switching out some house hold cleaners for safer and more environmentally friendly options, again, mainly because I believe in that not for some proven study that it's unsafe for pregnant women. There's actually no studies showing it's unsafe for you to clean while pregnant, it's usually just a general rule of thumb to avoid the strong fumes and to make sure the area you are cleaning is well ventilated. I think those are suggestions because you get light headed easily when you are pregnant, I had to stop while cleaning and take short breaks because I would get light headed from bending over.
Switching to free & clear laundry detergent is a great idea too for little sensitive baby skin. They lay on pretty much everything from your clothes, to sheets, to blankets, so just switching the whole family over to the same detergent is a great idea. Except for work out gear, I will wash that crap with Tide :)
You're beautiful mama!
Feeling good about yourself pregnant and postpartum is so important! I am a big fan of whatever it takes to do that, go do it. Within reason of course. You know your budget, you know what you will realistically wear or do. But if a dress will perk you up, go buy yourself something pretty! Know that you are creating LIFE and give yourself a break.
Gaining weight was sooo much harder on me mentally than I thought it ever would be. I wanted to be pregnant so bad, I wanted the belly. What I did not want was the thighs, the butt, and the arm fat that came with it. No one does! I ate healthy and the amount that I normally do, but I let myself have some of my cravings. If my body was craving peanut butter and jelly with a glass of milk, we had it. If it was a donut, we had it. Probably why I gained just over 30 lbs though! I was nauseous and EXHAUSTED, making working out low on the list, which I hated and really beat myself up over. I tried to cut myself slack and tell myself everything I told friends about their pregnancy bodies. I never saw them the way I saw myself or would think one mean thing about them the way I thought about my body. I thought they were perfect (they were!) and I was just whaling out. The truth is, I truly think pregnancy is so incredibly beautiful, no matter what. I finally chose to believe that I was also part of that beauty.
Surprisingly, I did love my pregnancy body! It was very weird to look down and see this big ol belly, but it also felt like what I was always meant to do. It felt so natural and entirely scifi at the same time! Being a mama is worth the stretch marks, the weight gain, the acid reflux, the humble pie of your clothes not fitting right...it really is all worth it.
Both breastfeeding and walking daily with Cove really helped me loose all the weight and then some over the first couple months. Things slowly settled back into the new normal when I thought they never could. My scar is still raised and red, I tend to keloid scar so no big surprise. My linea nigra is still fading, my tummy is still softer than I wish it was, but I am actually delighted with how my body has bounced back post pregnancy. I do think I have a Mom Bod and that's ok, because I am a mom, my body did grow a human. And quite frankly, that makes me a badass. So, there's that!
I hope each of you ladies knows that you're gorgeous, whether you're a mom or not. Whether you are in perfect shape or you're taking fertility drugs that come with a nice hefty side effect of weight gain. Whether you have that weird postpartum body or you're 16 weeks pregnant looking like you had too much Chipotle. We are beautiful because we're all created in God's image, perfectly shaped and colored in, just as He designed us. All we have to do, is believe that.
I believe it.