Team Yellow…

Good morning readers! This morning I want to talk scans… more specifically, finding out the gender of your baby. (Apologies for the baby bombardment, I’m kind of on a deadline here) 😉


Our ’12 week’ scan; We’re joking that we might have a little skier on our hands!

So, on Thursday we have our 20 week scan and of course, we have the option to find out what we’re having. After weeks of to-ing and fro-ing, deliberating and mulling it over (with a few heated discussions thrown in!) I am still undecided and the clock is ticking. I really don’t know what to do.

Firstly I should say, Pete knows exactly what he wants to do. He has been so excited from day one and he wants the surprise. He thinks finding out if it’s a boy or girl takes some of the magic away from the actual birth (I am still undecided if I feel there will be any magic in the room when I’m labouring,) but I disagree. Even if you know the gender, you don’t know what he or she looks like, what hair colour it will have, if any, eyes and all the rest.

I started off wanting to know, then I didn’t, and now I’m really undecided. I can argue it both ways. I like the idea of not knowing, as it’s our first. Although initially my thoughts were that I wanted a girl and so I thought finding out would give me time to come round to the idea of a boy, as time has gone on I have been less bothered about the sex and more interested in a healthy baby. After all, it’s a done deal now! I would never plan a gender specific pink or blue nursery, so I don’t need to know for the decorating.

But then because it’s our first, it’s all very surreal. Until feeling some movements last week I didn’t feel pregnant at all. I wonder if I knew I was having a little boy or girl would I be able to get more excited about it and bond with this little thing better before it’s born? Would I enjoy the pregnancy more if I could really immerse myself in shopping for it and picking things out with a little person in mind?

And then my thoughts oscillate back again. What if once I found out I thought, I wish I hadn’t? It’s too late then and I want to respect Pete’s wishes too, after all it’s his baby too. Either way readers, if we do find out, it’s going to be a secret! I want to share baby Norris’s arrival with appropriate fanfare and surprise everyone, including my family and friends.

So I need yo hear your thoughts to help me decide! Would you find out the sex of your baby, or did you? Maybe you’ve had more then one and done it both ways? I await your wisdom readers!

Love,
Rebecca
xo

PS Feel free to guess based on the scan pic for a bit of fun! And cast your vote quickly below…

News Flash!

Ahem! So, today is quite a big day and I’m going to let the picture do all the talking… 🙂

I can’t believe that the time has gone so quickly already and I’ve been waiting to have a bump to show you all! It’s lovely to be finally able to announce that Pete and I are expecting our first baby! I’m almost half way along now and so glad the bump has finally popped out so I can start talking babies, motherhood and get advice from so many of the mums who I know read Florence Finds.

As always, the blog is a reflection of my life, so I hope I don’t put off those of you who don’t have or want children, yet or ever, but I’m not expecting to have a personality transplant now there are three of us, so much of the blog will remain unchanged. Hopefully, this will be a welcome addition, it certainly is for us. 🙂

Anyway, I’m going to write a bit more next week, for now, I’m so glad you all know!

Love,
Rebecca
xo

PS I’m wearing the ASOS dress I posted about last week in a size 12 for extra room!

Mentioning the unmentionable…

… Miscarriage. It’s not something we talk about often is it? Or hear about, dispite the fact that 1 in 4 of all pregnancies end in miscarriage. We have talked before about people admitting they are trying and why you may or may not keep that to yourselves. Miscarriage is the inevitable fear of early pregnancy. Tell people early on and you may have to break bad news later at a time when you feel most vulnerable. Keep it quiet and you have to shoulder the sorrow alone. It’s a catch 22 situation.

Before you all leap to conclusions, this post was sent into me by a reader who wishes to remain anonymous but wanted the support of the Florence Finds community in this time of isolation. It’s a huge compliment to you all that she felt she could find comfort here. Although I have never been in the same situation, it’s certainly something I have seen through family and work and I know how much heartache it causes. I know amongst many of you there will be women who can identify and offer support and I know our anonymous contributor will be grateful for your advice.


image credit: mindful mum

That little blue line.

The overwhelming excitement, fear and happiness floods my body all at once. This is something we’ve been wanting for some time. Working towards, never really knowing when or if it would happen, trying not to make a big deal of it each month when it didn’t happen. And now it was here, it was real. It’s so strange the emotions and thoughts you have… is it really happening? Can we be sure? Let’s do another test. Yep it’s really happening. Let’s see the doctor and get them to confirm. THIS IS REALLY HAPPENING!

The days that followed those tests went by in a blur of pure elation. The closeness we felt to each other was like nothing I’d experienced before, like we were now truly one, totally in sync and blissfully happy at what our future was to hold.

We reminded ourselves it was early, that the rules tell us not to get too excited, to wait to tell anyone until we’ve seen that little scan that tells us this is real, this IS really happening.

It felt nice to have this little secret to ourselves; at the same time it felt painful to not be able to share our good news, to shout it from the rooftops like we wanted to. We’ve had a lot of bad news recently, times of upset and despair for both our families. This is what I was looking forward to the most, delivering the most amazing news ever to our unsuspecting family. We grew more and more excited, chatting into the small hours about how life was going to drastically change, how we thought we’d cope, how we’d tell our families, how we’d tell his little girl and help her to understand what it meant, ensuring she felt loved and cared for, not left out and overlooked for something and someone new. We worked out dates, marked them up in code on our calendars, figured out how we’d get through the forthcoming social events in the diary without giving the game away, and we gave our growing child a nickname that only we would understand. We watched my belly begin to grow, filled the fridge with super-healthy foods and waited for the sickness to begin, knowing we were doing everything we could to ensure a healthy, happy pregnancy for both of us.

Blood.

It’s a scary sight at the best of times, but when it’s not supposed to be there it’s the most frightening sight of all. Just spotting at first, we chat it through, we google the hell out of it and convince ourselves, it’s normal, it’s implantation bleeding, it’s getting settled in.

Red blood.

It’s not normal. This should not be happening.


image credit: universal blueprint

I think I knew the second I saw it, it’s hard to explain really, call it instinct, call it intuition, call it what you want. I wish I didn’t have it, I wish I hadn’t known in that very second that my baby had died. That my baby who hadn’t even formed properly yet had already left this world. Of course, you hope you are wrong but deep down you know. We call the doctors, it’s a Saturday and we get little support, we’re told to ride it out and if it gets worse go to A&E. More googling, I find an early pregnancy unit nearby and call them. The advice is clear, sensible and compassionate without being patronising. Bleeding can be normal, it doesn’t necessarily mean there is something wrong but get some sanitary pads, monitor the blood for clots and if they start then call them back and we take it from there. A pensive few hours pass, thoughts swim around our heads like sharks waiting to eat us alive. We convince ourselves it could be okay, the voice inside me screams it’s not okay, its over.

Blood clots. This is really happening.

And then the tears flow, my body convulses as I fall into my partners arms and sob and sob. We call the unit, they tell us to go down there. Hours later and the feelings of loss are replaced by confusion, I’ve had my urine tested, twice, the results are negative. We’re told this is common and doesn’t really mean anything. They take blood to test my hormone levels, the results will take 24 hours. They do an internal examination, my cervix is closed. They tell me this means I haven’t miscarried and that I am pregnant. But they need to do a scan to know for sure what is happening. It’s all so terrifying and so confusing. Deep down I still know, I no longer feel pregnant, it’s hard to explain this feeling, I guess you do just know.

They can’t scan until the morning as the sonographer has gone home. We have a long and sleepless night, another round of convincing ourselves things could be okay, but inside I know it’s over. I feel calm, I know what’s coming, I know this is just clarification.

We arrive for the scan, we stare at the screen, we hear the sonographer say the words ‘early miscarriage, normal, nothing you have done, try again’. They float around the air like daggers waiting to sink deep into our hearts, remaining there forever. I don’t cry, I had already played this scene out in my head, I was expecting it, I already knew.

But as we begin to drive home, the tears start to flow once again, the uncontrollable sobs, the convulsing body. It’s all so alien to me, I am the together one, I am the strong one, I’m the one who reasons everything, supports everyone else through their troubles and traumas. What do I know!


image credit: saying goodbye

The feeling of emptiness is overwhelming.

Mourning the loss of something that never was is a strange concept to wrap your head around. It’s not like losing someone you know, someone who has lived a life. That’s a concept I understand and as painful as it is, it’s a natural process and one we feel equipped to deal with. This, it feels different. It’s mourning for the what could have been, grieving for the lives we thought we were going to have, for the life we had pictured, imagined and wanted so badly. It’s bewildering and the pain is physical, not the pain of the miscarriage, the pain of loss.

And what was our beautiful little secret that only the two of us shared has now become our never-ending nightmare that we cannot escape from. No-one knows, our family are unaware and we’ve decided not to share the grief with them as they’ve had enough to deal with recently. Work don’t know, I’ve managed to juggle some annual leave days around to take a week off with a little explanation provided that I have some women’s problems to deal with. Our friends don’t know, it’s just us and the medical team who know.

The thought of ploughing on, of getting back to normal, of pretending like nothing is wrong makes my heart ache. I feel ill-equipped and incapable right now of putting on that brave face and getting through it. So I’m hoping that time really does heal and this week will give me what I need to wrap my head around this situation. That it will be just enough time to find that strength I know I have somewhere deep inside to put on the smile and carry on, despite my silent tears.

Please remember readers, if you would like to leave a comment anonymously, your gravatar is associated with your email address, not your name, so please use a fake email and pseudonym or simply ‘anon’.

My heart goes out to our writer today and any of you who have been through similar pregnancy related traumas.

Love,
Rebecca
xo

The Baby Body

I don’t often talk about ‘social interest’ topics on Florence Finds as I’m never sure how you will all engage with a a given topic. Last week however it seemed everyone had something to say about the birth of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s baby, Prince George, but an even hotter topic was Kate’s post baby body. Her simple appearance with baby George infront of the Lindo wing sparked a flurry of comments, ranging from bravo to admiration to weight loss advice – particularly the now ubiquitous comments from OK magazine on her post-natal shape up routine.


Image via The Metro

If I’m honest, I’m not surprised at OK. They are a trashy magazine and their weekly choice of content and celebrity stories pretty clearly states their position on championing ethical female role models. That would be not at all then. Am I surprised at them trying to make a quick buck out of capturing the public interest in The DoC, her always immaculate presentation and enviable figure? No. It’s sad that they are also targeting every woman who has recently given birth and will sadly be comparing themselves to Kate and how she looked leaving hospital; women who are often questioning their every decision already and desperately trying to rescue a self of self and self-esteem after such a life changing event and physical transformation. But am I surprised at that even? Not at all.

My reaction was two-fold. My first thought, prior to seeing the media storm that followed was how daunting it must have been to go out there, only 26 hours after becoming a mother, and face that bank of photographers. What can have been going through Kate’s mind? I am not a mother but have seen and can only imagine the ferocious change that women undergo, the fierce protectors they become of this little life they are responsible for, the immediate worry that arrives with the baby. How terrifying to be tired and emotional and so very vulnerable in so public a situation. I wonder if she saw their lives flash before her with the ever present papperazzi encroaching on every moment of his life?

Which leads me to my second thought. How mortifying after showing everyone your first born son to have some people find the main event to be the size of your post-partum bump? Did Kate make a conscious decision to display it rather than try to hide? Who knows. I suspect whether she ‘displayed’ her bump was the last thing on her mind. No doubt she hadn’t given it a passing thought amongst her emotions of joy and fatigue.

Aside from my feelings for Kate however, it has been fascinating to see the public reaction. I’ll admit, before I had close friends and family who had babies, I didn’t really realise that bumps don’t just shrink away after the birth, and that’s after seeing many babies born – when mums are nursing their newborn or lying flat post delivery it’s not as obvious at all, but once stood up it’s clear that the uterus and abdominal muscles are going to take some time to shrink back to their pre-baby shape. So it’s not surprising I suppose that some women are taken aback by a new mum’s tummy. After all if you’re not party to those first few days and weeks when a woman is post delivery then all the experience you have is of celebrities ‘snapping back’ into shape, described by the media like a piece of elastic stationary with no thought to responsible journalism. It was amazing to see the outpouring (both publicly and amongst my friends) of pride amongst the virtual sisterhood that identified with her ‘mum tum’, women applauding her who spoke about it like a badge of honour and the palpable sense of affirmation that even someone as ‘perfect’ as Kate had looked like they did post-baby.

I don’t have a conclusion to my musings, other than that it seemed to me to represent the most intrusive and distasteful part of being in the public eye, and that Kate as always handled it all with aplomb. I would love however to hear what you guys thought about it all. Are you one of the mums who cheered her on? Had you never seen a woman so close to a delivery before and were you surprised? Were you delighted to see some normalcy when it comes to a post-baby body?

Do share your thoughts readers…

Love,
Rebecca
xo

PS Apologies if this is very mother and baby centric when there is obviously a very present father involved!

The Last Taboo

Last month there was a flurry of baby announcements in my circles, (4 ladies bearing good news, including one set of twins!) after a bumper baby year in 2012. Although often when one hears of a friend expecting it’s wonderful news but not a surprise, amongst the growing number of professional women I know (and readers here,) and pressure to live life to the full these days, it seems more the fashion to be ‘not ready yet’ (as I have heard from so many of you here,) making baby announcements are all the more surprising and unexpected. As we all grow older it’s inevitable that many of us will start to change our feelings towards starting a family and it’s got me thinking, are the least heard words (around the dinner party table, in the blogosphere, between friends even,) ‘we’re trying‘?


Image Credit

Deciding to try for a baby is an intensely personal thing, there may be doubts, wobbles, high hopes, disappointments and surprises along the way, but it’s a stage we all go through, and one that more than likely we go through at the same time as our friends, so why do we keep it secret?

Is it the very real fear that there may not be an end in sight – after all, nobody really knows what will happen until they try… do we want to spare ourselves the gut-aching reminder of another month’s failure when a friend asks if there’s any news, or is it the fear of over sharing and that too-much-information factor of knowing the inevitable result of your friends contraceptive choices hitting the bin?! Perhaps we want to dodge enquiring glances from aunts, cousins, even the nice lady next door?

I can see the appeal of a secret, after all, what could be more special (apart from perhaps that elusive positive test,) than taking a giant leap into the unknown, hand tightly holding the one person who will experience it so acutely with you. And should the worst happen, by keeping the problem between the two of you, no-one has to fear idle gossip about who is the ‘responsible’ party.

I wonder though, is it not easier to have it out in the open? To have a reason to decline that second glass of wine, or not know what your plans are in 6 months time? To have someone to talk to if things are not happening as you expected, someone outside your marriage where tensions and expectations may be high? Perhaps it is my medical background coming to the fore. I see women at all stages of motherhood from contraception to pre-conception, through sub-fertility to conception and talk about it openly. Whatever the news, whether it be a got-it-in-one result or months of nothing happening, I’m never surprised and that naturally extends to my personal life. All of that said, if the time were to come, I doubt I could be so honest here as to share something that remains very much the unknown. Maybe people do share these things with their closest friends and I just haven’t yet been privvy to such an exciting development in my friends lives?

So today I thought I would turn it over to you guys. Would you, (or did you) tell a trusted friend that you were trying to get pregnant, or did you keep it secret? Would you do it differently in hindsight or do you have plans for what you will do when it’s your turn? Perhaps you have friends who handled it in an unexpected way?

Love,
Rebecca
xo

PS! As with all personal posts, please feel free to comment anonymously by using Anon or a made up name when filling in the comments box and a fake email address. If you have a Gravatar, remember, your Gravatar is attached to your email address not your name, so if you forget to use a fake email, your picture will still show, even if you use a fake name.

The Whole Nine months… [Part 2]

Good afternoon readers! I’m excited to share Part 2 of Becky’s pregnancy diary with you particularly as last weeks Part 1 was so popular! I’m also delighted to tell you that Becky’s pregnancy is now over – Becky had a beautiful baby girl on Sunday 14th of October – Constance Elizabeth, who weighed in at a very cute 7lbs 8oz. Mum and baby are home now and doing well – I can’t wait for a cuddle!

My heart melted when that little face landed in my inbox!

Now, lets finish the rest of Becky’s pregnancy guide.

THE KIT…

Despite the lists you may be bombarded with during your pregnancy, you don’t need a huge amount of kit before you have the baby. If, like us however, you have no idea where to start, I can thoroughly recommend a nursery advice appointment at John Lewis. Ed was sceptical when I told him we had an appointment booked. He assumed we’d leave with a list containing overpriced items we’d never use. He was pleasantly surprised.

You can use the service like a wedding list and give your list number to family and friends if they want to buy you a gift. We however used it as a two hour advice session for prams and nursery essentials and a shopping list tool for ourselves. Your list is compiled by the nursery advisor you see and you can then add or remove items from it online. You can spread the cost by purchasing items here and there but they’ll be stored for you until you arrange a one off delivery that suits you. It’s also good to watch the prices on your list before purchasing each item as John Lewis will price match any competitors’ current offers. The service is free and you get a voucher for a hot drink and piece of cake in the cafe. What’s not to like?

Your pram is likely to be the most expensive piece of kit you purchase so make sure you do your research. We went to 3 different shops to look at the different options that would suit our lifestyle. We spoke to advisors in each shop and then went home to research reviews, videos, and advice online. I then went back on my own to try collapsing, lifting and pushing each pram on our shortlist. After all, I’ll have to manage it once Ed’s back at work. The best advice we were given was to look ahead to the longer term. Think about what you might need in a year or two’s time when your baby has grown and will the pram you are purchasing for your newborn baby be able to adapt for your future needs?

PREPARATION FOR LABOUR…

There are two camps to fall into here…….Knowledge is power v. Ignorance is bliss. Early on in my pregnancy I thought I’d fall into the latter but as time has ticked on and I’ve exposed myself to more and more information I’ve found that I definitely fall into the first camp. I’ve signed up to every workshop or learning session the midwives have offered me on labour and breastfeeding. We’ve also attended NCT classes (these are often oversubscribed, so be sure to book early). Along with what I’ve learnt at yoga, I feel almost excited about my labour, as if it’s a challenge like a marathon that’s just around the corner. I don’t think you can ever be prepared for what’s ahead but with a little training, you can certainly feel a lot more confident about tackling it.

THOUGHTS FOR THE FUTURE…

It may seem a long way off but if you are planning on returning to work, you need to think about childcare early on in your pregnancy. We started looking at nurseries when I was 30 weeks and couldn’t be guaranteed the days and dates we really wanted for the end of my maternity leave. At the time, we were planning over a year ahead. It’s a very daunting prospect to choose childcare before you’ve even met your child but as we’re in the middle of the biggest baby boom since the 1950’s it’s something you just have to get on with.

MY FAVOURITE RESOURCES…

Online:

NHS choices – sign up to the parent information email to get a weekly newsletter relating to your week of pregnancy.

Gas & Air – written by a Mum and Midwife. A refreshing, down to earth, and personal insight into the labour ward and motherhood.

Mumsnet

Books:

Your Pregnancy Week by week, Lesley Regan – This has been my no nonsense pregnancy encyclopaedia. It’s got the reassurance of being like a school text book.

The Rough Guide to Pregnancy and Birth, Kaz Cooke – A humerous book giving sensible advice amongst witty diary entries following the authors own pregnancy. Split down into short sections for each week which makes for very easy bedtime reading.

Hypnobirthing, Marie Mongan – I haven’t attended hypnobirthing classes, nor did I purchase the accompanying CD. The book was recommended to me as a resource to learn relaxation, breathing and visualisation techniques to help during labour. It certainly helps to reassure you if you are frightened by the prospect of labour. It may seem a bit ‘hippie’ for some but you can learn more about hypnobirthing here. I have found it ties in very well with the breathing and relaxation techniques I’ve learnt in my yoga classes.

Babies: The Mumsnet Guide: – Another recommendation that I’ve recently purchased. I’m only just delving into it now that my pregnancy and labour books are coming to an end. Well, I’ll need something to read in hospital won’t I ?!

Apps:

What to Expect – A concise app that gives you a weekly update comparing the size of your baby to a different vegetable or fruit as well as providing you with a countdown. It’s American so take some advice with a pinch of salt but it’s a fun and easily accessible resource to have on your phone. Be warned, things start to become scary when you reach butternut squash!

I’d love to hear any of your thoughts on this or anything about your own pregnancies that may help other bump free ladies. I’ll try to check in regularly to answer your questions, but please bear with me if I don’t reply straight away!

Becky x

First Time Mum: The Whole 9 Months [Part 1]

I’m very excited about this afternoons post. Becky Hay, who normally writes Florence’s Florals, is about to have a baby and as such, she will now be writing a column about her experiences as a first time Mum. Hopefully (baby permitting) these will be monthly and I’m equal parts excited and nervous to see what motherhood may have in store for me in future. I also know that so many of you reading are considering starting a family, pregnant or have small ones around, so I do hope you’ll get involved.

Welcome back Becky!

I’m writing this on my due date. 40 weeks of pregnancy quite literally under my belt. In an attempt to take my mind off my impending labour, I thought I’d write a little about my experience of pregnancy as an introduction to my ‘new mum’ posts.

I’ve been very lucky that my pregnancy has run extremely smoothly. It’s been a much easier ride in comparison to getting pregnant. I’ve never taken it for granted though; especially as I’ve seen some of my closest friends really suffer with sickness in their pregnancies.

Each and every pregnancy is different but I hope that some of my experiences which I’ve broken down into sections will give at least a few of you an insight into life with a bump.

NAUSEA…

I’m yet to find a pregnant woman who didn’t experience nausea at some point. Mine wasn’t morning sickness, it was all day sickness. I was never physically sick but the best comparison I can make is to a hangover from hell where you don’t know if you need to throw up or eat to feel better. This is the time when plain white carbohydrates are your friends…..potatoes, crackers, crisps etc. I found that constantly grazing was the best way to get through it.

The other way to keep your mind off it is to keep yourself busy. My nausea was at its worst during my busiest time at work. With hindsight, this wasn’t such a bad thing as I had no choice but to plod on through.

WORRY…

You’d better get used to it. Unless you are the most chilled out person ever, there’s always something to worry about. The 12 week scan, the 20 week scan, the fact you’ve not felt the baby move yet, then when you do, is it moving enough? What you’re eating and drinking, every twinge, the size of your bump etc. etc. We all deal with worry differently but my only advice would be to stay away from the internet when you’re feeling particularly anxious. My husband Ed very sensibly banned me from searching forums and googling symptoms early on in the pregnancy. The easiest way to calm yourself is to ask your midwife or your GP. If you do use the internet, make sure it’s a reputable UK based site such as NHS Choices, Mumsnet, Emma’s Diary or Bounty

ADVICE…

You’ll be given it by the bucket load from friends, relatives, colleagues, acquaintances, and total strangers. Sometimes it’s great, other times, not so much. I’ve jotted down all the good bits in a notebook or on my phone throughout my pregnancy. The stuff that reduced me to tears is what I’ve tried to forget. What you have to remember is that the majority of people are only trying to help. There are a few who will try to make themselves feel better by making you feel worse. It’s best to put some distance between you and that sort of advice.

During my pregnancy I’ve learnt that timing is crucial. At 30 weeks, I thought I should start considering what to purchase for my hospital bag. As I left the M&S underwear department in a hot sweat, I realised I wasn’t quite ready for that stage. At 36 weeks however, I took Primark by storm in preparation. The best piece of advice I can give is to trust your instinct and do things when they feel right for you.

FITNESS…

My job is pretty active. I’m on my feet for large chunks of the day and I also have a dog who needs walking twice a day so staying active throughout my pregnancy was essential. From around 20 weeks, I started to incorporate activities that are better suited to pregnancy. I started swimming on a regular basis and took up pregnancy yoga. I’ve continued both activities right up to the end of my pregnancy. Even later on, when the drag of my bump in the pool made swimming lengths a little more challenging, I’ve found as much enjoyment from midwife run aqua-natal classes.

The weightlessness that the water offers is a total relief from the pull of gravity your bump experiences on dry land. I’ve also loved being able to get my heart rate up whilst jumping about in the pool, safe in the knowledge that the water is cushioning me.

Yoga was something I’d never tried before but I cannot recommend it enough. It gave me a guaranteed hour and a half every week of total relaxation; a time when I could focus on my posture and breathing, both very important tools for labour I’m told.

I don’t know for certain yet but I’m hoping that having remained active will stand me in good stead for labour. It’s also meant the extra weight from all the cake I’ve been eating hasn’t attached itself to every part of my body. The other huge benefit from these classes has been the group of Mums to be that I’ve met through participating. Many of us are due around the same time and we’ve already formed friendships outside of the classes.

FASHION…

Pregnancy and fashion can go hand in hand, it just becomes very time consuming. Most shops devote little or no floor space to maternity wear. You’ll find the majority online. Normally I’m happy to shop online but when you have no idea what size your bump will require and getting to the post office to return parcels is more difficult, it can become a bit of a drag.

Don’t go overboard with buying new clothes early on. Your bump will change every week and you’ll be surprised by how much you can adapt from your existing wardrobe with the addition of a long vest. Anything that stretches is your friend. Leggings are a lifesaver, as are long vests, low cut waistbands and shirts. A winter pregnancy will require more layers. Wrap style cardigans and scarves are both bump friendly.

If you’re going out somewhere special, try to plan your outfit a day or two in advance. I’ve been caught out at the last minute on too many occasions where I thought I knew what I was going to wear, only to find my bump had outgrown it when I went to put it on.

My favourite pick of shops:

Topshop – the large stores have a small selection of maternity wear in store with more online. I found a good selection of varying length jeans and the Tall range also gives extra length to cover your bump without being ‘Maternity’ wear.

GAP – Good for jeans, casual tops, and knitwear. The sales are always great and I had success buying regular t-shirts in a larger size to normal. The larger stores have a selection of maternity wear in stock but for the best choice you need to look online.

ASOS – Fashionable and very affordable. Like Topshop, less ‘Maternity’ in style which is always a bonus. They do a great selection of dresses if you have a party or a holiday looming. The tankini I bought has been my most useful item of clothing throughout my entire pregnancy.

Isabella Oliver – If your budget stretches, the quality of their leggings and jeans are excellent. They were all a little snug for my ‘chunkier’ legs but I was very sad to have to return them. I was lucky enough however to be loaned one of their wrap dresses from a friend for a Christening. I’ve never had so many compliments on an outfit beside my wedding dress. A little out of my price range for a one off party outfit but if you are pregnant over the Christmas period or a Summer where you have a few weddings to attend, I’d recommend having a look at their collection.

Primark – comes into its own when you are shopping for your hospital bag. Nightshirts, pyjamas, big packs of granny pants, slipper socks, and dressing gowns. These are not items of clothing that you will want to be spending a lot of money on!

NCT online shop – this is a great resource for bras (maternity & nursing)

Other shops I should mention are Dorothy Perkins, Next, and Mothercare. I personally didn’t have much joy but different shaped pregnant friends have rated them very highly.

And finally, for those who are on their feet a lot and suffer from swollen sore legs. These maternity support leggings were a lifesaver for me. I loved the fact they were more like leggings and not tights so they’ve seen me through the summer and into the Autumn with a pair of socks inside my boots.

BEAUTY…

Nothing needs to change from your usual routine here apart from the fact you have a little more skin to cover. I’ve used Bio oil on my bump from 12 weeks of pregnancy and touch wood, not a stretch mark in sight. If you’re lucky, you might be treated to some ‘Mum to Be’ products from loved ones. My favourites have been The Sanctuary Mum to Be range, Burt’s Bee’s Bump Butter, and Clarin’s Tired Leg Emulsion.

TREATS…

A coffee and a piece of cake, a pedicure, a massage, a bubble bath, a girly lunch, a daytime trip to the cinema or a weekend away with your other half. Make sure you organise plenty of treats to enjoy throughout your pregnancy. I thoroughly recommend saving a pedicure for near the end when you really can’t reach your toes anymore!

Amazing advice Becky! Please do get involved in the comments box below with any of your tips and look out for part 2 coming soon 🙂

Love,
Rebecca
xo

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