Thursday, April 18, 2013

Posh Mama, Zen Baby: Early Pregnancy-- Styled & Conquered

by Sarah Davis

Styling a baby bump has to be this effortless for everyone, right? YES.
Trina Turk Maxi Dress, $228

We can't always control what happens in our life, especially when it comes to the strange side effects of pregnancy, but we can control our approach to it. And, it can all be done while still wearing your lipstick & heels! Forget minivans, mundane diaper bags (replacing our handbags), and "mom" jeans. There has to be a stylish and fabulous way to get through this exciting & crazy new journey & we are here to share our "new to pregnancy" findings every week on "Posh Mama, Zen Baby."

I wrote a blog a few weeks ago about massive change (read it here) that some of you may have been wondering about.  You may have been thinking, “what on earth is this girl going through?!”
Well somewhere in my life of fashion blogging, theatre reviews, working on a billion and half writing projects, maintaining a full-time job, and finally getting to a point where healthy living was my main focus, I began....growing a stylish little baby bump.  Okay, stylish may be a stretch--since it came along with plenty of side effects that are the farthest thing from the concept of “style.” Yes, folks, I’m talking about pregnancy.  

Pregnancy is supposed to be one of the most wonderful times of your life, but it can also be a very strange, new time.  Of course, it’s full of precious moments, but overall, it’s a wild ride of changes for your body.  Since next week, I will be five months pregnant, I decided to not only begin blogging about it, but start a sister blog, “Posh Mama, Zen Baby" for new mothers who love style and are motivated enough to be a young mother AND have a career.

I wanted to focus on the “Posh Mama” portion of the title a little heavily because I was out to breakfast the other day and I saw this young and new mother with a baby...and this giant diaper bag made of light pink, puffy “children’s snow suit” material. And, it wasn’t just her diaper bag--it was her actual purse.  Even though it’s vain, my immediate thoughts were, “There has to be another way. This can't be the end of my glamorous days!” I’m in no way saying that this woman wasn’t a strong, probably fantastic mother, but for me, I want my child to always know me as his/her stylish mother who had a life before them, so that he/she feels empowered to get out there and “crush” the world.  I have always had this vision of being a stylish mother who my child can look up to, who dresses well and wears makeup, and is a crazy-famous writer.  (Hey, a girl can dream...) I want them to know that fashion doesn’t make you who you are, but it is a fun thing to take advantage of.

And, so that brings me back to my rant-- there has to be a way to get through pregnancy and the first year of motherhood without the mom jeans, without the minivan, without the ugly diaper bags...etc.  There has to be a way to be glamorous!

So, these are some of the things I went through during early pregnancy that I hope benefits someone out there.  

Finding Out- First off, just because I am writing these blogs does not, in any way, mean that I initially didn’t think, “How the f&ck am I going to do all of this?!” Or, that whenever my doctor said, “Congratulations” for the first time after officially telling me I was pregnant, that there wasn’t PANIC involved.  Yes, I look back at it now as a beautiful, life-changing moment, but let’s be real, it’s a big change and having a baby isn’t a walk in the park.  Even if you’ve been planning, one of the biggest fears EVER, is childbirth. Plus, no matter how many books you’ve read, nothing really prepares you for your first pregnancy until you just start experiencing things for yourself. Some of the best advice I’ve been given from a dear friend, and someone who I consider my “grandmother”, has been, “there is nothing that you will feel that isn’t normal or that hasn’t been felt by other pregnant women--all of it is normal.” Keeping this thought in the back of your mind during the first couple of months, when it doesn’t seem worth it (with how awful you feel), is incredibly grounding and comforting.

The man in your life is able to support you and comfort you, but since he isn’t able to experience everything you are, it’s a really important time to connect with other women. And, trust me, it’s a good idea to find a woman who isn’t going to fill your head with horror stories, because there are oddly, a lot of women who bring up the hard parts of pregnancy and labor the INSTANT you share that you are pregnant.   

Zen Mama- Something that really surprised me about pregnancy is that even though it is a wild ride through new experiences, there is a zen feeling that happens within you. You know you have tons of things to do, to get ready for, so you do everything you can in a day (and you just do them without procrastinating) and then you rest. It's almost a very primal routine--you work as much as you can, rest, and then start over again the next day. I guess it's "nesting", which is something even animals do, but you get your shit together when you're pregnant but it's never as overwhelming as you think it would be.  

Any time you experience pain or discomfort, for the first time in your life, it isn't as bad because it's for a purpose and you have a little friend with you at all times that even though this is all so new, you can honestly say that you would do anything for this tiny person. Truthfully, the calmness you experience one of the best parts.

Prenatal Vitamins-  During the first three months, you feel like you may be on the brink of death. You may feel like you are dying, but there is no reason why, except that a “miracle” has taken up residency in your uterus. I was lucky enough to never experience morning sickness, but I didn’t escape a feeling I can only describe as feeling extremely fatigued, irritable, and plagued with body aches: or, like a witch had cast a spell on me to rob me of my energy, will to get ready in the morning, and most of my happiness. (Not to worry, as the books say, this actually does magically go away in the second trimester.) All that I wanted to do was lay in bed and feel sorry for myself, otherwise known as watching crazy movies like “Rosemary’s Baby” or every single episode of “Keeping Up With The Kardashians” with a bowl of mac and cheese (which was all that I ever felt like eating at first).  Needless to say, this was a time to be taking really good vitamins, since my life was out of whack and I didn’t feel like eating ANYTHING with any nutrition in it.  

When I first went to the doctor, they wrote me off a prescription for prenatal vitamins. Over the past few years, I have been a vitamin freak (who researches vitamins and what goes into making them in her spare time), so I was a little wary to just start popping them.  I did a little research and found raw prenatal vitamins that were never heated while being made (which is really good) called Vitamin Code Raw Prenatal from Garden of Life. You can find these at Whole Foods.  

Eat well- If you know anything about nutrition, now is the time to kick it into full gear (although your body doesn’t really let you do this until late first trimester or the beginning of first trimester.) Once I got settled back into my “able to eat fruits and vegetables routine”, I felt on top of the world.  I started to notice that my body would get mad at me if I ate unhealthy, actually.   
Any time I eat junk or any refined sugar, I get a headache. If I eat healthy, or at least real food, I feel great.  I think it’s amazing that the body lets you know what you should be eating by how you feel afterward.  Before pregnancy, I was under the impression that all that I would want to be eating was weird combinations of food like relish mixed with ice cream, a lot of junk food items like bags of chips or ice cream, and that I would be hungry all the time.  In reality, it has been a really relaxed time-- I crave a lot of fruit, juice, grilled chicken, salads, and after breakfast, I really, really, really want hot food.  Hot, home-cooked food, like soup, meatloaf & mashed potatoes, stir-fry. If I don’t get enough protein, especially now in my second trimester, I can feel myself start to power down, so I am always in the mood for red meat, which is new during this pregnancy.  Usually, I prefer chicken or tofu or even not even eating meat for weeks at a time.  

I’ve always had a sweet-tooth, and actually, I want less sweets now.  I’m not going to lie and say that I don’t ever have the urge to eat a piece of chocolate cake, but truthfully, I had more intense cravings for all food when I wasn’t pregnant.  And, when I do eat chocolate cake, I find myself being okay with a just a few bites.

A great resource for me on healthy eating during pregnancy has been "Mama Glow" by Latham Thomas.

Exercise & Taking Care of Your Back - During my first trimester, I read at least five pregnancy books and none of them seemed to mention back pain.  I felt sciatic pain right away and over time it grew into excruciating pain. Today, I finally went to the chiropractor and to my surprise, my neck is in even worse shape than my lower back.  When your spine is out of whack, your body will react in ailments that we think of as being really common (or completely unrelated to our back), like heartburn or even stomach problems. Ideally, according to my chiropractor, your back shouldn’t hurt even if your body has a baby in it, so when it does, it’s because something in your body needs fixed.  

It’s really important to take care of your spine during pregnancy because it can even make delivery easier in the future. Plus, this is a taxing time on your body, so it’s better to take the best care of your body as you can. I love how it is a more holistic approach to taking care of your body than just popping Tylenol for “pregnancy headaches.” I can honestly say that I sleep better now, from going to the chiropractor, than ever before during the past couple of years.  

Exercising is another great way to feel better during pregnancy.  It isn’t really about taking care of your weight anymore, it becomes a way to beat fatigue.  Things to look into: yoga, pilates, walking, and swimming. (Once I find a “pregnancy pillow” that is totally comfortable, I’ll let you all in on it!)

Caffeine- The biggest part of my former life that I had trouble letting go of was my addiction, or shall we say, love affair, with coffee.  Everything you eat or drink goes to the baby before it goes to you, so when you drink caffeine, your little bundle of joy is getting hit with the caffeine even before you do.  But, doctors say that a little bit won’t affect the pregnancy, so I allow myself a half of a cup to a cup every three days or so.  I don’t need it to wake up in the morning and I definitely don’t even want it usually, but every once in a while, in the afternoon particularly, I get to that point of exhaustion that it is the only treat I allow myself. I sometimes picture my baby wanting coffee, though, since it’s experiencing caffeine in the womb...

Weird Side Effects You Won't Be Prepared For: I won’t be as blunt as Jenny McCarthy in Belly Laughs (which is one of my must-read books) on this one, but it is definitely a frustrating surprise to see how your digestive system reacts to all of the iron pills you are popping... Fiber (more fiber than you even think is necessary) becomes your best friend! I wanted to put this in here, because while it is totally mortifying, it’s REAL LIFE. Another side effect that you really aren't prepared for are: GIANT boobs. Right away. It might be fabulous, but it's also hard to avoid stares when you aren't ready to tell people you're knocked up yet.

I was just reading about Jenna Dewan-Tatum in this month’s issue of Glamour and she looks so graceful and beautiful-- but celebrities don’t get out of some of the weird side effects of pregnancy, even if they are posing for photos in Vogue.  As strange as it sounds, it’s amazing to see that perfection definitely, repeat definitely, doesn’t exist during one of the most important human experiences-- creating another human.  So, why do we think it exists anywhere else in our lifetime?

Take the extra time to get ready in the morning- During my first trimester, I didn’t want any makeup on my face.  I basically felt like, I said, death was upon me, so the last thing I wanted to do was do the “works” every morning before work- like drying my hair, straightening my hair, putting on makeup, etc.  The minute I got my energy back when my second trimester hit, I went and got a fresh hair style, got my eyebrows done, and bought some tops that would fit me at work.  It’s a strange, panic-worthy, moment when the only pre-pregnancy pants that fit are your yoga pants, so it is really important to still feel beautiful.  

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