Now that the proverbial pregnancy cat is out of the secrecy bag, I can finally talk about what I’ve really been up to lately, including some of my recent favorite discoveries. The following are some of the wonderful things that have helped make my pregnancy a whole lot less miz, or at least, less miserable so far, hence the “Part I”. Pretty sure I’ll be extolling the virtues of Dairy Queen Blizzards, 3-hour naps and elastic waist sweatpants in just a few short months…
Whether a woman gets stretch marks is likely a function of heredity, age and skin type, but that doesn’t stop pregnant women the world over from frantically slathering themselves in oils and butters like Thanksgiving turkeys in an effort to keep stretch marks at bay. Chalk it up to the appeal of the illusion of control in a decidedly uncontrollable situation.
After getting completely freaked out by The Complete Organic Pregnancy, I went full hippie with my body products and selected the phthalate- and paraben-free Burt’s Bees “Mama Bee” oil as my belly lube. To its credit, Mama Bee is chock full of almond oil and vitamin E, and smells lightly like lemon drop candy (the least-offensive smell possible, even when I was in the throes of morning sickness). While I have yet to see what it can do with stretch marks, I am encouraged by the fact that Mama Bee worked some serious magic on a recent oven burn to my forearm.
Available online at amazon.com and at Target Stores nationwide.
As I often tell the hus-b, just because I’m pregnant doesn’t mean I have to dress like a hobo. But a pregnant lady wearing children’s clothes? Abso-freaking-lutely, and here’s why: they just. Plain. Fit. While my belly might be growing, the width of my shoulders and the length of my arms have remained decidedly the same, so oversized women’s shirts and smaller-sized men’s shirts look positively absurd. Maternity shirts can get expensive and, let’s face it, they’re not especially subtle. No self-respecting preppy is going to spend nine months of her life in fitted tees emblazoned with cutesy slogans like “Gestating!” and “Due in April!” Please. With just the perfect amount of boxiness and surprisingly long shirttails (perhaps because little boys like to fidget?), Ralph Lauren’s boy’s shirts have been a game changer for me. Paired with French Sole flats and my skinny Paige maternity jeans, a nicely pressed “Blake” oxford with a popped collar almost lets me convince myself that no one can notice my growing belly. Almost.
Available online at Ralph Lauren and at most major department stores.
As mentioned above, I have been kind of nutty about keeping things organic and non-toxic during my pregnancy, even down to my bath and body products. I recently stumbled upon this soap at, of all places, the register at Ikedas in Auburn, California during an urgent razzleberry pie stop on our way to Tahoe. Once I got past the wavy gravy illustration on the box, I fell madly in love with Mother’s Special Blend, so much so that I recently had Pharmaca special order a stockpile of them for me. Many of the things I love about Mama Bee are present in Mother’s Special Blend: a zillion different oils — coconut, olive, palm — and a subtle lemony scent. Even after a week spent in the dry mountain air, I never got that itchy, crawling-out-of-my-skin feeling that many soaps can impart. Sold.
Working out while pregnant is both necessary and somewhat impossible. It’s hard to drag your butt to the gym when felled by nausea and exhaustion, so when your workout clothes stop fitting, it’s kind of the demoralizing last straw. Enter the Lululemon “No Limits” tank, which manages to combine an appropriate level of support for your growing, ahem, assets, a comfortably drape-y stomach panel and contemporary style, all without making you look like an overweight extra from a local theater production of “Romeo and Juliet”. Yes, Lululemon can get a little spendy, especially for clothing you’re (fingers crossed) not going to fit for very long, but the added motivation of having an adorable outfit to wear to the gym is not to be underestimated.
Available at select Lululemon stores.
It’s hard to get excited about vitamins that look and smell like green death, but I am convinced that these little wonders have helped keep many of the unpleasant side effects of pregnancy at bay. Food-based, gluten-free and intended to be taken multiple times per day, Rainbow Light Prenatals are designed to maximize your body’s ability to avail itself of the vitamin’s benefits (or, at least, that’s what the vitamin-hustling hippie told me at Rainbow Grocery). It does make sense: if you take two pills three times per day versus one pill once per day, your body has a much better chance of absorbing a vitamin’s nutrients. All I need to know is that they are easy on my stomach, have kept my moods shockingly even, and have prevented me from getting severely anemic during my first trimester meat strike. They also contain some interesting and less common supplements, like probiotics for digestion, ginger juice for nausea and Red Raspberry Leaf, which purportedly makes the uterine environment more, ahem, hospitable (especially good for when you’re trying to conceive). It can get challenging to take your prenatals when everything makes you nauseous and you have the keen sense of smell of a police drug dog, but I feel a thousand times better about my baby’s health when choking down these green monsters than taking some crazy Flinstones vitamin gummies that are basically fortified candy. Good god, did I just start sounding like a judge-y mommy blogger? Somebody slap me…
Available online at amazon.com and at Whole Foods nationwide.