When I was pregnant the first time, I spent a lot of time focusing on me, and the baby growing inside of me. I took many expectant mommy classes, I treated myself to prenatal massages, I took leisurely naps, and I even spent an entire weekend at a spa being pampered...just because. Back then I didn’t have an active toddler demanding most of my attention and time. Being pregnant while raising a toddler is a whole new world. The focus is no longer on me. And sometimes I find myself forgetting that I’m even pregnant at all. All this being said, I think it’s even more important to take time for myself now. To treat myself to things that will help ease the growing pains, and help me feel better about my changing body. If I’ve learned anything from motherhood, it’s that in order to maintain sanity through sleepless nights and wild toddler tantrums, the key is self-care. Here is my list of pregnancy ‘must haves’—a survival kit of sorts, just for mom!
1. Skincare that makes me smile.
As I mentioned in a former post about lessons I’ve learned from my toddler, one of the first steps toward self-love is being able to look yourself in the mirror and say ‘I love you!’ But, how do you look fondly upon yourself when your once clear complexion is covered in ugly red breakouts reminiscent of high school. Even my two-year-old has taken to pointing out my particularly nasty zits and saying: “what’s that mommy? I don’t like it.” You can imagine how thrilled I was, then, when a package arrived at my door from a publicist filled with amazing, all-natural, skincare products for me to sample—including a fantastic face wash that promised to prevent breakouts and clear blemishes. It’s called the derma e® Very Clear® Cleanser and it’s packed with all these amazing products taken right from nature including tea tree, willow bark, rosewood, lavender, and chamomile. It’s also free of all the icky chemicals I’ve been trying to hard to avoid. Truthfully, it’s a great product, and a lifesaver for pregnancy breakouts. This coupled with Very Clear® Spot Treatment and Hydrating Day Crème with Hyaluronic Acid—make for the perfect pregnancy skin regime, and a smiling face looking back at me in the mirror.
2. The best support—other than my husband.
I have my husband to thank for countless late-night craving runs to the grocery store in search of sugar cereal, gingerbread cookies and other equally healthy snacks. But, the other kind of support I’m talking about—something you’ll also need while pregnant, is a good bra! When I first got pregnant the first thing to grow was my boobs. And, since I was perfectly satisfied with my C-cup, I wasn’t keen on dealing with the unattractive result of hormones and weight-gain the second time around. I was hesitant to spend money on a good bra, assuming I’d be growing and changing sizes throughout the next year or so, but finally the pain and discomfort got the better of me. After scouring the racks at Winners, which only brought about more angst, I headed straight for Legs Plus & Bra Boutique in North Toronto. While the bras aren’t cheap, the service in this store is the best it the city. Their personalized service actually makes bra shopping enjoyable (if that’s possible). All you have to do is camp out in one of the spacious change rooms while a patient sales-associate hand selects bras based on your size and needs. And trust me, they won’t stop searching until they’ve found something you love.
3. One morning of Zen, just for me.
Thank god for prenatal yoga! This time I waited until 18 weeks to begin my yoga practice—and my body was in pretty rough shape. When I got into class on the first day everything cracked, and creaked, and ached as I tried to hold stretches and get into the right positions. But after I spent that first week hobbling around, stiff and achy—I started to feel so much better. My energy improved. My peace of mind improved. And I really connected with the baby growing inside of me. Every Sunday morning I give myself a gift of one hour dedicated to me. And, thanks to Zen Beginning’s amazing yoga instruction, I feel like my mind, body, and spirit are well on the way to being ready for labour/delivery…and life with a new baby.
4. The most perfect maternity tank on the market.
There’s nothing like finding the perfect tank that can be worn under just about anything. But, when you’re pregnant, it’s hard to find anything that’s long enough or stretchy enough to hide all the emerging rolls and bulges. My best discovery of this pregnancy—hands down—was the Long & Lean Basic Tank Top by Liz Lange® for Target. My only mistake was buying ONLY two when I visited the States for a maternity shopping mission in the fall. You can bet I’ll be buying up the whole stock when I go Florida in January. These tanks are stretchy, super-comfy, and long enough that they can be worn with leggings without breaking Ali Martell’s leggings as pants rule—and they’re only $12.99 each!
5. My osteopath! Ok, I know I said my body was sore before I began prenatal yoga, but it would have been way worse without my monthly osteopath appointments. Lugging around a 30lbs toddler while growing a belly is not easy on the back (or front). Thankfully I’ve been a long-standing patient of an amazing osteopath, Robert Morelli, who I credit with the success of my first labour and delivery. He moves things around in a way I can’t really describe (it’s somewhat magical to me), but he’ll be working on my feet and suddenly I’ll feel it in my back, or he’ll be adjusting my ribs to straighten out my colon. An osteopath, by nature, is extremely gentle and the technique lets the body do a lot of the work on its own. Robert helps with stress, digestive issues, aches and pains, and keeping baby in the right position up until labour. I even took Willow to him as a newborn for a “tune up,” and I’ll likely do the same with baby number two.