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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33 thoughts on “First Time Mum: The Whole 9 Months [Part 1]

  1. Thank you so much for this Becky – so useful and practical. Nothing like some hysteria-free suggestions to make those of us thinking concretely about motherhood feel more confident. Looking forward to Part 2 and beyond!

    • That is exactly why I love this post, honest, informative and cuts through all the terrifyingly emotive witchcraft that surrounds a lot of pregnancy advice. It’s lovely to hear a voice of recent experience too.

      Thanks Becky 🙂

  2. Another timely post! Thanks Becky for the information and column inches!

    I’m now at 16 weeks and am almost letting it all sink in…! I have a tiny ‘capsule’ wardrobe, so I have been able to do pretty well thus far clothes-wise, though I did hit up Long Tall Sally for a pair of pregnancy jeans. On the subject of Isabella Oliver, eBay seems to be your friend on that one: I’ve managed to bag myself a wrap top and dress that should hold me in good stead and for a fraction of the price. Perhaps the I.O. clientele are a bit more blase about their pregnancy wardrobes as there seems to be tons of stuff on there that’s barely worn. That is DEFINITELY not my M.O., but I’ll take it!

    Looking forward to part two!

    Em xxx

    • That’s a great tip Em.

      Let me know how you found your LTS jeans. I’m a fellow long legger but when I really needed to buy jeans, LTS were out of stock in my size. I ended up with a work pair from Next and a skinny going out pair from Topshop. I’d love to know if the LTS ones stay up better!

      • ‘Tis a tricky one, Becky. I’m probably not the best person to ask as I can’t find jeans at the best of times – … That said I’ve got the straight leg jeans and they are ok, though I find that they’re a little snug round the thighs and too loose everywhere else. I wear a belt, which seems to do the trick. I do like these because they’ve got a low rise and bump band that reaches all the way up to your bra strap (and of course they’re long enough!). I must admit I haven’t yet tried Topshop as I find anything even remotely ‘skinny’ won’t fit past my knees…. 😉

  3. What a great post with some great links– Becky you look lovely in your pic!

    I shall be bookmarking this for me (hopefully!) at some point in the future and I shall be passing it on to my sister and three of my friends who are currently pregnant and due soon!! Lots of baby presents to buy for me!! I’m sure they would agree about the amounts of advice you get. I know that’s been a bugbear for both my sisters!

    Hope the birth goes smoothly.

    Lots of love Rachie xo

  4. This is brilliant, Becky, thanks! (And excellent timing for me, too, as I’m just at the end of my first trimester and beginning to think about maternity clothes.)
    Looking forward to reading part two – and good luck with the birth, hope it goes really smoothly!
    x

  5. Great post Becky – really looking forward to this series! Very timely as I’m now 28 weeks and will be great to follow and see what I can expect ahead.

    Brilliant tip on planning your occasion outfits a few days in advance. I’ve had a couple of major meltdowns when I’ve discovered while getting ready half an hour beforehand that what I thought was the perfect outfit now makes me look like the Michelin man with a tummy poking out.

    I’ve found Seraphine jeans to be the best for me. They’re not the cheapest but they are the only ones I’ve found that I’d actually really want to wear even if I wasn’t pregnant and may just do!

  6. It was really nice to read this, I’m 17 weeks pregnant and my bump is just starting to become rather apparent! My trousers are all too tight and uncomfortable so maternity jeans have become my new best friend (H&M=amazeballs) but long topshop vests/dresses have become another good friend along with maxi skirts and massive mrs.weasley-esque jumpers.
    My black waitressing trousers have been ditched from use as with only 3 weekends left to go (I refuse to work another sodding Christmas from hell whilst pregnant!) I don’t want to fork out on more and my trusty Dorothy P skirt from a few years ago is back in favour.
    I’ve found that a lot of my wardrobe would be easily adaptable of it was the summer we were heading into as I’ve got dresses that would be perfect, but it’s a tsunami of an autumn so instead I’ve invested in some staple items that I will no doubt wear to death!
    The florists that I work at are being pretty lenient with me and “uniform” they know I soon won’t fit into their branded jumpers but an apron with long strings easily identifies me as staff still thankfully!!

    I can’t wait to read more of your posts!!

  7. Great post, definitely one to bookmark with the future. Good luck with the impending arrival, looking forward to hearing about the new arrival x

  8. I’m 24 weeks pregnant and this post rings so true for me. I completely agree that you quickly have to learn how to ignore unwanted advice and well-meant but tactless comments. I’ve been called fatty and lumpy and am constantly asked if it’s twins. What are people thinking?!
    I would second the recommendations for Seraphine maternity clothes and buying second hand things on ebay. I’ve bought lots of IO clothes in perfect condition for a fraction of the price.
    Best of luck Becky for the next exciting part – can’t wait for the next instalment!
    PS Any tips for politely asking people not to touch your bump? I find it a real invasion of privacy and it is driving me mad!

    • That’s a tough one. Most people asked me first and it was mainly my closest friends and family who wanted a feel. The first time it happened took me by surprise. It’s quite an invasion of personal space.

      If you can’t bring yourself to say something, a small step backwards might give the right idea in a subtle way?

  9. This has got to be my FAVOURITE ever guest post. It’s so warm, honest and heart-felt. There’s no drama it’s just honest!! I really hope this becomes a regular feature as I so, so want to relate to this in the future!

    Thanks so much for sharing! And good luck with the arrival of the baby! I’d really like to hear more about things like nursery choice, if you found out the sex of the baby etc…!

    Ax

    • Thanks Anna, that means a lot. I’m really looking forward to sharing my adventure with you all whenever I get the chance. We don’t know what we’re having…..an old fashioned surprise!

  10. What a lovely post. I’m 22 weeks pregnant now and this made me feel a lot more normal – the worry has pretty much consumed me for the past 5 months, whereas everyone else is super excited about their scans I was a nervous wreck before all of them! Looking forward to the new mum posts, I keep trying to imagine what “A day in the life of…” will be but having zero experience of babies it is a complete mystery at the moment.

    Good luck with the birth and meeting your new baby!

    • Hi Kate,

      I’m glad it’s helped. I was exactly the same with the worry. Taking each step as it comes was the easiest way to deal with it for me. We had our little celebrations at the milestones along the way but we’ve never been complacent about any of it.

  11. Reminds me of my first pregnancy its such a magical time, all the excitement, the new experience of being pregnant. Love it! Wish I could do it all over again 🙂

    Good luck with the labour Becky, and try not to worry your body will know what to do and then you’ll get to meet your baby face to face (aw broody again! lol) xx

  12. Hello,

    I love this post and it’s especially timely for me as i’m now 25 weeks pregnant!

    I’m in the middle of having the nursery decorated and as we don’t want to know the sex of the baby everything is very neutral – i’d love to see a nursery post with how to introduce a bit of colour. I’m making plans for a story corner and toy corner but i’m really struggling to find things!

    I’ve had a capsule pregnancy wardrobe since 16 weeks when i could no longer fit in my ‘normal’ clothes and like you say you really don’t need to splash out on too many items and ASOS has really good priced maternity basics.

    I wholeheartedly agree on the advice too – some of it is great and some you wonder what could possibly possess someone to tell you horror stories!

    Anyway, bit of a ramble but just wanted to say i think this is a fab idea for a series of posts i’m really looking forward to reading the others – good luck when the baby comes too!

    Emily x

  13. Hi Becky, lovely to see how you’re getting on and I hope you get to meet your baby very soon, looking forward to finding out if it’s a little boy or girl 🙂 am sure you can’t wait! You look absolutely fab in the photo!

    I found that I didn’t end up buying much maternity wise apart from a pair of jeans (NEXT….they were sooo comfy and loved the big band!!), a dress (Boden) and few tops from Mamas & Papas maternity range & a top in a size bigger from Monsoon. Dresses were the way forward for me, no having to match tops with bottoms. I ended up wearing a lot of dresses from Phase Eight & French Connection (their Jersey dresses were a Godsend!) which I wore before I got pregnant and as they weren’t very fitted (i.e. wrap dresses etc), I found they expanded enough as my bump grew which meant I didn’t have to spend too much money as you have enough to spend money on once the baby arrives 🙂

    Anyone living in Manchester and surrounding areas, I would really recommend Lesters Nurseryworld near Prestwich, we bought our iCandy from them and it was about £150 cheaper than a major department store and they were so helpful, spending a good hour helping me choose and answering my inane questions! Buggy buying is a complete minefield, who knew there were so many kinds?? Always make sure you can get stuff in and out of the basket below, I tried so many that you just couldn’t use the basket easily!

    Congratulations to all the above readers, hope your pregnancies & births go well and looking forward to hearing part 2 from Becky xx

  14. A wonderful post Becky and you really could have been writing about my pregnancy! Our son is now 15 weeks old, and I too remained active right up until 40 weeks when I gave birth. He was one day late. I totally agree that Yoga was such a great find. Not being one to practice at all before Pregnancy, I really enjoyed my time from 13 weeks practicing the breathing and the stretches really helped with my lower back pain in the second trimester. On the day of labour, my lovely midwife asked if I had been doing Yoga as my breathing was spot on. Labour for me was 19 hours in total, being in hospital for 8 hours of them. Actual active labour was three hours and I definitely put that down to my Yoga practice.

    Two things that I would also recommend MTB to try are Reflexology (this really helped me, and I swear that is why Little-Man was only one day late) from about 38 weeks, and I was also lucky enough to have a Water Birth since my pregnancy was low-risk and our local hospital has an Active Birth Unit as well as a regular delivery suite. I totally understand that this isn’t for everyone, due to all sorts of circumstances, but it worked for me.

    Clothes were the bain of my pregnancy, and as anyone who knows me will know, I do like to dress up. I found that a lot of the SS12 fashions were Shift Dresses anyway, so these worked, and TopShop, ASOS, Gap and Benetton were my saviours, as was a friend of mine who donated me her Maternity Wardrobe from the US – A Pea in the Pod would do so WELL over here in the UK – BRAND NOTE! 🙂

    I loved being pregnant, and now I have the baby I do miss it, but new things afford new experiences… my Yoga teacher does Baby Yoga so my son and I now do that weekly on a Tuesday. Its really helped me strengthen his neck and leg muscles.

    Would I do it all again? If you’d asked me after the birth i would have said no (even though I coped with just the Birthing Pool and Gas & Air), but now I say yes. Husband may take convincing though 🙂

    Erin
    xx

  15. Bit late, but love this post!(I’m also just reaching the end of the first trimester Emma, eek!) Looking forward to more from Becky.
    I’m trying to take every week as it comes and not go mad on planning, but I have just ordered some Topshop skinnies, a peach sweater and some ASOS vests.
    With a mainly winter pregnancy though – what do I do about a coat? I’ll probably just wear my leather jacket open with a scarf at weekends but work might be problematic. It seems a shame to splash out on a ‘maternity’ coat that I don’t really like.
    I haven’t thought about the nursery much yet, will look forward to some inspiration – especially neutral ones! x

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