First of all, if you are reading this – thank you for being on this journey with me!
Pregnancy and motherhood have been one of the most profound experiences of my life. I feel that I have grown into the person I was meant to be when I became a mother. It has opened my eyes to what is really important in life and helped me to prioritize those things. So the fact that you are here reading this truly means the world to me.
My hope in sharing my experience is to make other mothers feel seen, understood, and not so alone.
Pregnancy is such an exciting and special time. However, I want to make sure that I don’t gloss over the challenging and extremely hard parts as well. I believe they aren’t talked about enough!
If you are wondering if you can work out and continue barre classes while pregnant, Yes! It is totally safe and actually encouraged to stay active during your pregnancy if it is safe for you to do so. However, during my first trimester, I honestly wasn’t able to continue my daily workout routine. Even 20 minutes of yoga or barre would often make me feel like I was lightheaded and like I could barely stand up. This time around I am also chasing a very active 14-month-old around every day, which keeps me moving a lot. What I did end up doing during my first trimester was taking lots of walks and 10-15 minute gentle workouts or yoga. I really tried to listen to my body and not force myself to work out. If I did force myself, I ended up depleting my energy instead of creating more.
I think that rest is just as important to talk about here as exercise. During the first trimester, I gave myself unconditional permission to rest whenever I got the chance. For me, this looked like lying down when my son took his naps. Sometimes this meant that we would wake up for the day at 5:00 am, and I would be back to sleep for a nap at 7:30/8:00 am. I was so exhausted that I would fall asleep immediately, often taking two naps a day and going to bed around 8:00 pm.
One of the first things people will ask you when you tell them you’re pregnant is if you know what gender you’re having. I am guilty of doing this too, I can’t help myself but ask! My husband and I decided to found out our baby’s gender for this pregnancy (we didn’t the first time) and I am so glad that we did. We opted to find out at 10 weeks with the optional genetic labs that were drawn. While on a family vacation five days later, I got an email that said our results were ready. I will write a separate blog post about the gender reveal!
Similar to my first pregnancy, I started to have morning sickness (aka all-day nausea) around week seven. I am writing this at week fifteen and still experiencing some nausea on and off.
I still am not really craving chocolate, sweets, or ice cream. None of these foods sounded appetizing to me during the first trimester. I was also repulsed by green salads, fresh vegetables, and coffee (which are some of my favorite foods!) and I instead craved bagels with cream cheese, lemonade, and tart popsicles.
A few things that helped my nausea:
Staying hydrated – Ensuring that I am drinking enough water, especially during these past hot summer months. Did you know that your blood volumes increase by about 20% during pregnancy (woah!) and it is just super important to prevent dehydration. One time that I learned is to try and hydrate in between meals. Drinking a lot of water during a meal tended to exacerbate my nausea so spacing it helped was helpful.
Taking prenatal vitamins + supplements – this time around I discovered prenatal gummy vitamins and am obsessed! I used to take the large pills but swallowing them with water made me nauseous, so I gave gummy vitamins a try and am never going back!
Journaling – I am obsessed with Promptly Journals and purchased one for this baby right away! You won’t believe how fast time flies by and how soon you forget the little things about pregnancy and motherhood. I make sure to carve out time to journal and jot a few things down as often as I can, but ideally several times a week. They are cherished entries that I know I will look back on and pass onto my children someday.
If you’re like me when you start creating a baby registry for the first time you have no idea what to add! How do you figure out what is essential and what is just for fun! How many burp cloths do you need?!
This can result in asking Google for the answers, and don’t get me wrong – there are a ton of very helpful guides out there, but a lot are sponsored or affiliate links. Although I am only a year into motherhood, I now know what was used every day from my registry and what items weren’t.
Just to preface my take on baby items – my hubby and I value quality over quantity. We would rather invest in items that will last and are well made than those that would have to be thrown away or replaced in the future. We also value a home that is decluttered and don’t love having a ton of “extra” lying around. So everything that I’ve included in this list meets both of those criteria – well-made, quality items that are used often (essential if you will!).
My husband and I very meticulously created our baby registry together. I spent so many hours reading reviews, watching Youtube videos, and looking at articles. Looking back, we did an excellent job at choosing the items that we purchased for our first baby but we also definitely learned from the experience too!
Today I’m sharing the items that I would recommend splurging on, and the items that are just as good secondhand, borrowed, or bargained!
Getting a video baby monitor was really important to me. In hindsight, it helped ease some of the postpartum anxiety that I experienced and I love being able to see that my baby is safely sleeping in his crib. I would also recommend getting a monitor that doesn’t work via wifi. This allows it to be transportable and you can take it with you if you need to! We have this one. Rocking Chair
Of course this is on my list for splurge, and it also goes hand in hand with the stroller. A lot of companies make carseat stroller duo’s that work easily together. I recommend finding a car seat that has high safety ratings, is brand new (this is important! please do not EVER buy a used car seat. If a car seat is in an accident of any kind it is deemed unsafe, and when you buy a used car seat you do not know the history of it) and is hopefully compatible with your stroller. My husband and I were deciding between the Nuna Pipa Lite and the Uppababa, but went with the Uppababy since it easily attaches to our stroller and I couldn’t be happier!
Our most used baby item! We opted to go with our dream stroller and car seat combo (purchased on Black Friday for extra savings) the Uppa Baby Vista stroller and car seat combo. We have used this stroller every single day for 8 months, in sunshine, rain, and snow! It folds easily to transport in your trunk and goes smoothly over the bumps. If you live in an area that doesn’t have sidewalks or pavement perhaps consider getting a sturdier stroller such as a jogging stroller to take for walks so the baby doesn’t jostle around.
Save sleep is extremely important in newborns. I highly recommend getting a new mattress for your baby. You never know how long a used one has been used for and they may be indented and uneven. We bought a foam mattress that is GreenGuard certified and love it.
If there is ONE takeaway from this blog post, please do not overlook this section! Looking back, I wish I had invested in postnatal education and support for both myself, my baby and my partner. Instead we struggled and scrambled and suffered. I do not want this to happen to you! You can find a list of my favorite perinatal educational resources on my “resources” tab – it is a freebie of mine!
I thought that I wanted the fancy changing pad that cost over $100 (this one). I’m glad we didn’t get it! No need! I ended up changing diapers pretty much everywhere, on the floor, couch, etc. We bought THIS ONE! and it’s worked perfectly. We use it without a cover and it is wipeable and clean always.
I adored looking through the Pottery Barn websites and oohing and ahhing at the beautiful cribs. It gave me great inspiration! However, the crib is an awesome place to save since cribs are not used for very long. We found a gently used crib on Facebook Marketplace and the family lovingly passed it down to us. Save some money here!
Used books can be so fun! A lot of folks on Facebook marketplace or a secondhand baby store offer them in boxes or bags. We actually asked for books instead of cards for our baby shower and it was a fun way to build our little library! Now when we read them, we know who gifted it to us because I wrote their names in the front cover!
Although a birth class may feel IMPERATIVE at the moment, I would emphasize postnatal and newborn care over birth preparation. Your birth experience is largely out of your control. You lean into your bodies plan and it happens and is over within a few days. The postpartum period is challenging, beautiful and much longer. I did not feel prepared for postpartum and would encourage you to invest in postpartum classes and support.
There are a ton of diaper brands out there and we’ve tried a lot! The best option: Target Up & Up. They don’t leak or cause rashes. Our second favorite brands are Huggies Little Snugglers and The Honest Co.
For newborn diapers (don’t buy a ton!) but definitely get The Honest Co. to start with. They are super soft and didn’t cause any rashes on the sensitive baby skin.
We did not have a great experience and I would say to avoid: Seventh Generation (leaked & scratchy), Luvs, Pampers (rash!),
Self-care is the act of caring for oneself and doing things that make you feel more like YOU. Self-care is more than pampering. It is a daily act of kindness and compassion that allow us to live well and care for others.
As mothers, we continually give. We give time, energy, love, encouragement, and even give physically through birth and breastfeeding. Eventually, we will burn out. We will become worn out, fatigued, and mentally unavailable. Self-care is extremely important because it is the only way we can continue our roles as mothers and continue to give to others, by taking care of ourselves first and foremost. As the saying goes, you cannot pour from an empty cup.
I believe that self-care is an integral part of your wellbeing.
Simply put; whatever works for YOU. There is no “one size fits all” for self-care, regardless of what society or social media has led us to believe. Simplicity is key for self-care in motherhood. Tiny moments of self-care can make all of the difference!
Here are some examples of small, simple acts of self-care that can be integrated into your daily routine:
The bottom line: self-care is an individual and unique practice. Explore what makes YOU feel good, and once you identify it, make sure it is something you prioritize daily.
When I was pregnant, I watched soooo many YouTube videos about what to pack in a hospital bag for birth. I tried to pack as minimally as possible. The COVID pandemic added a few things to my packing list and changes in our plans. I wanted to share what was useful in my experience to hopefully help other mama’s out!
This is not an all-inclusive list (those can be found in many other places) but instead is a list of specific things that I couldn’t have gone without!
As I’m writing this blog post, I’m curled up on the couch watching the snow come down heavily. We are in the midst of winter storm Harper, and it feels like -19 degrees outside!
Jonathan and I left for our honeymoon on January 4th, exactly five months after our wedding. We traveled to the Dominican Republic, and were greeted with sunny skies and a fruity cocktail. We spent the entire week relaxing at the beach – reading, swimming, snorkeling and talking. I read three whole books! It was absolutely perfect, exactly what we needed and wanted for our trip together.
Leaving behind a brown and white winter season in VT made the colors seem so vibrant and lovely.
An early morning walk on the beach.
We LOVED the coffee at our resort. It was made in the DR and was so, so tasty. After our morning runs together, we’d eat a buffet breakfast (which consisted of made-to-order omelettes and fresh fruit) and sit by the pool for cappuccino’s. The mornings we spent together was my favorite part of our honeymoon.
Yesterday Jon spotted (aka almost bumped into) an owl on his evening run! We went back this evening to see if we could spot it. Jon and I watched it hunt and interact with other birds for a while this evening. I named it Harrriet.