As I write this I have currently been on maternity leave 12 days and I’ve already found myself rushing around like a headless chicken in an attempt to prepare for my baby’s arrival. It’s not till people tell me to stop and enjoy this precious time I have alone that I really think about the fact that this will be the last time I am ALONE. So here are a few of my favourite things to do to really make the most of my maternity leave.
Pamper yourself | I tend to have great plans of carrying out a much-needed pamper session and then never actually see it through. But, it’s time to stop, relax and get your pamper on. If like me, you feel guilty that not only are you enjoying some relaxing time away from work but to then add some pampering on top of that would simply be taking the biscuit. Well, it’s time to get that idea out of your head. Pregnancy is tough, and so you need time to unwind, and relax those aching muscles. Remember, it won’t be long before you’re not alone and any chance of a pamper session will be well and truly out of the window. So, enjoy it while you can!
Read a book | It’s likely to be a while before you’ll read anything with little more than 10 words to a page so get your teeth sunk into a good book now before time runs out.
Get creative | I usually have no trouble working some creativity in my life, however while being pregnant I have let this slip. So, I’ve decided to take these couple of weeks before little one arrives to spend doing what I love most. Because I now don’t have to worry about fitting it around work, I can do little bits here and there throughout the day which helps pass the time I am alone but also keeps me active and most importantly, productive too. I’m currently making lots of adorable items for my little one. So, stay tuned!
Sit back with a cuppa | Sometimes sitting down with a lovely mug of coffee (decaf of course) is all you need to make you feel refreshed and relaxed. Taking that much-needed me-time is vital and very much deserved. Why not invite your friends round for a natter too?
What are your favourite things to do while you’re on maternity leave?
As I am nearing the end of my pregnancy I have started reflecting on what I just haven’t been able to live without over the last few months. It’s quite scary to think it’s all nearly over, but I don’t think I would have got by without these few staple items. I’ve had to totally re-think my usual day-to-day lifestyle to adapt to pregnant life, introducing a more regular moisturising routine as well as changing the way I look at clothing and style – here are a few of my pregnancy must-haves.
A comfy bra
I cannot stress enough how vital a comfy bra has been, especially in the last few weeks. As your breasts get bigger and the general strains of being pregnant begin to grow, it’s important to be able to feel comfortable (well as comfortable as you can be). I have invested in two extra Calvin Klein support bras to what I already had in my wardrobe, and I must say they were a MUST! This white number has extra support than the usual non-wired sports bra styles Calvin Klein produce, which is great for wearing under your usual clothes in place of your usual underwired bras.
One of my main concerns as I began to watch my belly expand was dealing with those dreaded stretch marks. Sadly, youth has not been totally on my side and I haven’t managed to totally escape my skin stretching, however I have managed to keep it under control. This cocoa butter by Palmer’s has been an absolute godsend. It does have quite a strong smell, which did take me a while to get used to, but once I got over that I could see the benefits of using it quickly emerging.
This may seem a little random, but since being pregnant I feel like I’ve turned to the trusty ponytail hairstyle more times than not. I’m not usually one for tying my hair back as I’ve never really suited that style, but for ease and comfort, throwing it back has been the best daily go-to. These plastic hair bobbles are great because they don’t leave that horrible kink in your hair once you take your ponytail out.
I’ve never been one for using hand cream really, it’s always one of those items in spa gift sets that I’ve always passed over to my mam instead of using myself. However, I’ve noticed my hands becoming very dry, very quickly. Your skin changes so much during pregnancy and it’s little things like this that seem to have really affected me. I’ve had to make sure that I’ve had a tube of this on my desk at work, in my handbag and somewhere in the house at all times.
What have been your go-to’s during pregnancy?
Before falling pregnant I never quite expected to see my body change so fast and so quickly into my pregnancy. I had seen pictures of my mam when she was pregnant with me and saw she was fairly big, but I guess I assumed these were taken when she was near enough ready to pop. She informs me this was definitely not the case.
I’ve had so many people in the last week or so comment on the size of my bump and how I’m rather big for so early on in my pregnancy. I saw a picture today of someone who is 22 weeks pregnant and it made me realise how big I actually am for 14 weeks. Nothing quite like making a girl feel paranoid. But that said, I’m trying not to let people’s comments or other people’s pregnancies affect mine. Every single woman is different and no two pregnancies are ever going to be the same so I’m fully embracing my ever-growing bump, and to be honest I’m loving it.
I’m past the stage of “is she fat or is she pregnant” and now I’m full on baby bump. Plus, I’d rather be happily seeing my bump grow and watch my body change than be worried that I wasn’t gaining weight and where’s my bump when I’m so far along.
I’ll be posting baby bump pictures very soon – I keep meaning to do them every week but as much as time feels like it’s dragging, it’s also running away with me!
As I leave the eleventh week of my pregnancy and head into week 12, I’m feeling extremely weak. I’ll be the first to admit I’ve probably had it a lot easier than others, but that honestly doesn’t make it any easier.
I had a little sickness a few weeks back but my real experience of pregnancy nausea came last night. One bite of some food and I knew what was happening. I don’t think anyone enjoys being sick, but I’m definitely not the easiest patient to deal with and I thank my lucky stars for Chris and his ability to make me calm in the most awful situations (and for holding my hair back)!
I mentioned before that my migraines have been the biggest issue during my pregnancy and unfortunately they don’t look like they’re going anytime soon. It’s becoming impossible to work and in fact, as I write this I’m looking through squinted eyes trying to make sense of the words on my screen.
After five days of constant pain I had to book an appointment with my GP to see if there’s anything that could help get rid of these pesky migraines. I was told to take paracetamol, which by the way is totally fine during pregnancy (but always check with your doctor before taking any medication while pregnant).
So far, so good. The pain is easing and I feel a little more human than I did four hours ago.
All in all it’s been a tough week, but we’re now on the countdown to our scan and we’re so excited! Here’s to week 12 and hopefully a lot less headaches!
How did you find week 11? Did you experience any migraines? I’d love to hear from you.
It’s probably the thing about pregnancy you’re fearing the most and quite often it’s the thing you’ll talk about the least.
What causes stretch marks?
Stretch marks are causes by the supporting layers of tissue under your skin tearing as it’s pulled during pregnancy. It also has a lot to do with genetics – if your mother was prone to stretch marks during pregnancy, then it’s likely you will be too. Rapid pregnancy weight gain can also lead to stretch marks.
What can I do?
If you’re trying to avoid stretch marks as much as possible you may want to try these few
Moisturise – Nothing is a cure for stretch marks, however moisturising daily will certainly help to prevent them. If nothing else, it will help to stop the itchy skin you’re likely to be experiencing.
Nourish from the inside – Plenty of vitamin C in your diet will help keep your skin toned and less prone to stretch marks.
Weight watching – Keep an eye on your weight gain during pregnancy. Putting on weight slow and steady during pregnancy is recommended rather than in large spurts.
You may have noticed a change in your skin during your pregnancy this can be for one of two reasons – hormone surges and your body retaining more fluids. The increase of hormones causes progesterone which causes an increase of acne-causing secretions of oil which can clog up pores and cause bacteria to build up. While your body is retaining more fluids, this also contains toxins which can lead to spots.
How can I rid my acne?
Clean your face with gently with a mild cleanser which is soap-free, once in the morning and once in the evening. Your pores tend to clog around around your hairline and jaw, so make sure to cleanse these areas more thoroughly. If your hair is oily, it’s important to wash it on a regular basis to try and combat this. Although you may be getting annoyed at the extra pimples on your face, it’s vital to not get too aggressive with the scrubbing. Your skin is most likely going to be extra sensitive during pregnancy and over-washing can strip your skin of its natural moisture.
Eat smartly too. It may be obvious but sugary foods can have a major impact on your skin, so make sure you cut back on these foods in your diet. Also, drinking plenty of water will help flush our your skin, keeping it cleaner.
Yes, your body may be changing at an alarming rate and you miss the sight of your toes as you stare down at your belly, but there’s so many reasons why you should learn to love your bump. Pregnancy can be the most wonderful time, but it can also be the most challenging. You’re rewarded in the most beautiful way at the end of it all, but the swollen feet, sickness and lack of energy can certainly take its toll.
1 People are nicer
Whether it be they’re more helpful or they simply seem to respect you more, people respond well to pregnant women.
2 It’s sexy
Ok, so you might not feel in the least bit sexy, but in fact you are! Think about it, with baby comes boobs and if you’re not exactly blessed in that department it’s a welcome body changer (despite the tenderness)!
3 Children love you
There’s something about a pregnant belly that seems to fascinate children. They talk to the bump in the way only a child would do so, and can often make you feel more relaxed.
4 Snack perch
Forget plates, you have a new little snack perch that means you can snack all day long! – well you are eating for two!
5 Dressing your bump is fun
It can be tough discovering what works for your new body but once you find that perfect look, you can play fashion stylist for a whole nine months.
Everyone is always saying how important our veggies in our diet are and well, when you’re pregnant they couldn’t be more vital! Vegetables such as spinach and broccoli contain more essential vitamins and minerals than most others, including vitamin E, riboflavin, folic acid, magnesium and beta-carotene.
But, it’s not only those leafy greens that are important pregnancy dietary requirements, try adding yellow fruits in there too such as mango and cantaloupe as they have all the same nutritious values that baby and you require during this vital time.
If veggies just aren’t your thing, remember you can still get all of those vitamins into your system the sweet way by opting for fruit. Why not try a smoothie instead? – This can count towards one of your daily recommendations.
I have to admit previous to getting pregnant myself I didn’t really believe those women who would harp on about how tired they were feeling so early into their pregnancy. I kept thinking, god you’re hardly even showing how can you possibly feel your body changing so much. Boy was I wrong. I have gained the biggest sympathy towards every single pregnant woman out there. I thought I might be at an advantage, with being quite a young mum I thought youth would be on my side and make feel more energetic than the pregnant women I had experienced before. Nope.
All I can say is that the word exhaustion doesn’t even come close.
Chris will be the first person to tell you I am a ridiculously tired person to begin with. I’m one of those people you probably hate for being able to fall asleep even before their head hits the pillow. If you’re talking to me past 9:30pm, well you’re lucky that’s all I can say. I guess I was expecting to feel a little more tired than usual, it’s to be expected really. But never did I think I would be tired to this ridiculous level. Even with a good eight hours sleep under my belt that doesn’t stop me from feeling tired by 10am.
Sitting at a desk all day can be extremely tough, especially because my 9-5 requires me to stare at a computer screen from start to finish too. I have noticed a significant drop in my concentration levels because I find sitting there so uncomfortable. If you’re in a similar position to me, I’ve found getting up and walking around regularly helps me feel more energised. Also, I make sure I go out into the fresh air for lunch instead of staying in the office, not only does it break up the day but the cool air seems to make feel more alive.
I’ve often described myself as a sheep when it comes to eating food. Little and often, grazing all day long. This certainly hasn’t changed during pregnancy. In fact, as soon as I eat I feel hungry again, it’s like even though baby is only the size of a prune right now, they’re literally sapping all of the food from me as soon as I eat. To avoid going hungry I’ve been making sure I have a healthy supply of food around me at all times. I’ve practically taken over one of the fridges at work with all of my fruit, and crackers and breakfast bars fill my desk too.
Never did I think hearing someone say ‘you’re glowing’ would have a serious impact on my mood, but during week ten, a refreshing reminder that I’m doing and looking OK was welcomed with open arms. It’s so hard to feel beautiful when you’re body is rapidly changing and although the change is exciting it’s also incredibly scary too. The reassurance from those around me telling me how good I’m looking when I’m feeling so dreadful has been wonderful.
Heading into week 11 feeling beautiful and positive is more than I could have ever imagined, and despite still feeling tired and hungry all of the time, I’m feeling very blessed to have Chris and baby bear in my life.
I have lost count of how many times I have been asked whether or not we’ll be finding out the sex of our first born child, and I’ve certainly got an endless list of people thinking their opinion is gospel. “You’ll regret not having the surprise,” “you need to plan.”
As cliche as it may sound, all I honestly care about is my baby being happy and healthy, whatever gender they might be. And no matter what I may think, right now, the gender decision has already been made. It’s 100% out of our hands.
I toy between the idea of both sexes. How nice it would be to dress my little girl up in all the costumes I loved wearing as a child. Or creating such a dapper little chap in the cute smart outfits for little boys. I honestly am not fussed either way.
I think it would be fair to say that before falling pregnant I would have favoured having a little girl. I think all women want someone they can talk to and relate to. But since learning I was pregnant I honestly have no preference.
Chris and I made a decision on our way to our early scan – if it’s twins we will find out the sex when we can, and if it’s one, we won’t. And as baby number one is growing happily and healthily in there on its own our decision was made.
My mam tells me all the time of the surprise of finding out that I was a girl when so many people were convinced she was having a boy.
Don’t get me wrong, a part of me thinks ‘well it would be a lot easier to find out, for planning sake,’ but we love neutral clothes and accessories regardless so that doesn’t matter, and well we have one name for each sex, so we’re pretty settled on that front.
Did you find out the gender, or did you want the surprise? I would love to hear your stories!