It’s been a month since my last big pregnancy update at 20 weeks, so I thought I’d fill you in on what has changed since then. The overall takeaway? I’m feeling much better, and more like myself, but my body is changing at a rapid pace. We have a pediatrician, I met with my doula to start talking about our birth plan, and the nursery design is officially underway. A lot has happened in the last month!
The biggest lesson I’ve learned, however, is that mommy shaming is real and it’s harsh. All of my mom friends (especially the ones with blogs) warned me at length about what was to come, but I had no idea. In this day and age, I was hoping that women of the world, especially mothers, would lift each other up, support each other, and offer advice. While that happens a lot too and I’m so grateful for it, the amount of judgement and shaming is intense. It’s sparred a lot of conversations with friends on how to handle it, and a lot of conversations with Anel about how we’re going to navigate this next chapter of our life here on Lemon Stripes.
We haven’t made any solid decisions, but I’m definitely going to be more cautious about the topics I write about and will probably not share things like my birth plan, sleep philosophy, child care decisions, and other “controversial” topics that send people into a tailspin for whatever reason. That makes me sad because I want to be open and honest about how we’re handling parenting, but my skin isn’t thick enough for the consequences. That could change, of course, but for now, that’s where we stand.
On that note, let’s jump right in with my 24 week update. It’s hard to believe that I’m six months pregnant this week!
Every day, it seems like I feel something new, but it’s easier to roll with the punches when I’m not exhausted and nauseous anymore.
Exhaustion: At 21 weeks, everything changed. My extreme exhaustion and constant hungover feeling went away. I can now have a relatively normal day, although I pretty much have to sit down at 6pm and get in bed by 9 or 10pm every night no matter what. The exhaustion hits, but only at night unless I try to do too much in a day. Traveling makes me extra tired, so I just have to plan for longer lunches or breaks between activities. It’s definitely manageable now.
Pregnancy Brain: I forget things… all the time! For example, I didn’t realize my shirt was on backwards in this post until I uploaded all of the photos. I’ve also left my car windows open in the driveway overnight, forgotten laundry in the dryer for days, walked into a room only to forget why I’m there, and often can’t think of the word I’m looking for. Pregnancy brain is real, but you kind of just have to laugh it off.
Abdominal Pain: I was warned by friends that I’d start getting inevitable aches and pains. I’ve been lucky to have no back pain (yet) but I get abdominal pain daily. It feels almost like cramps, but not as bad. It’s not terrible, but it definitely scared me at first because I wasn’t sure what was going on. My doctor assured me that it’s just my organs moving around and my muscles stretching, so I’m not freaked out by it anymore.
Hip Pain: It still haunts me at night, but we got a new mattress and my body pillow game is strong, so it’s much better than it was before but if I wake up in a weird position or am not diligent about putting two pillows between my knees, I wake up in pain. I don’t have it at all during the day, so that’s a plus.
It’s grown… clearly! Some days in the mornings, you can hardly tell I’m pregnant, and other days I look like I’m about to pop. It always grows over the course of the day though, so at night, it’s larger than when I woke up. I’m at the point where I can only wear maternity pants, but can still get away with longer shirts and sweaters on top (more on my favorite maternity brands below). It’s so strange to look down and see my body but at the same time, it looks nothing like my body.
Last month I talked about my struggle with this, but in the last few weeks, I’ve really come to see my bump and my extra curves as beautiful. It’s turned into a nourishing home for my baby, and to see it as anything other than a miracle, is now impossible.
Don’t get me wrong, there are still days where I feel like a giant balloon walking down the street, but now that I truly look pregnant, and not just bloated, I’m starting to love it.
Cravings & Aversions
Ice cream and pickles? Peanut butter and mayonnaise? Not quite!
Cravings: I crave things now like a normal person, not a pregnant woman. My “need to have it right now or I might explode” feeling about certain foods is gone. What has changed is that I now want something sweet after every meal, so I’ve been trying to get creative with healthier desserts. I’ve been making paleo cookies, avocado chocolate pudding, and three ingredient banana ice cream pretty regularly, and a daily dose of dark chocolate is back in my diet, but sometimes I give in to sour watermelon candies, which are my absolute favorite. I also find myself ordering dessert more often when we go out to eat. It’s all about finding that balance!
Aversions: Thank goodness my meat aversion has dissipated. It was hard to eat enough protein without meat, and it made cooking for Anel and myself quite difficult. Luckily, I’m back on the meat train, although I still get grossed out once in a while depending on how something is prepared. Besides that, strong aversions seem to be a thing of the past.
I’ve written about this before but I have to mention again that Real Food for Mother and Baby has been the most helpful book I’ve read so far. She really teaches you what your body needs in each trimester, and where to get those nutrients
Water: The biggest takeaway from my doula meeting last week was to drink more water. She said that in her experience, the more water you drink, the better you’ll feel and the fewer symptoms you’ll have. This is especially important in the third trimester as you gear up for labor. Apparently going into labor with any sort of dehydration makes it infinitely more difficult. She actually suggested upping my water intake to 100 oz/day starting at 30 weeks. That’s a lot of water, but I’m going to get as close as I can! Until then, I’m sticking to half of my body weight in ounces of water.
Protein: While hydrating more sounds like work, eating more definitely does not. I can put away more food than a large man these days. I’m hungry pretty much constantly, and never deprive myself. I try to eat as much protein as humanly possible, because that’s what she needs most (in addition to calcium) as she grows her tiny bones in the second trimester. Now that my aversion to meat is gone, it’s much easier to get the protein I need. In addition, I continue to drink or cook with bone broth and scoop collagen peptides into my smoothies and acai bowls daily.
Avoiding Heartburn: I have tried to stick with no gluten, no dairy to keep my heartburn at bay, but I’m not always 100% perfect with this rule. Unfortunately, when I break it, I always regret it about an hour later. The heartburn is no joke! Luckily, it’s mostly caused by foods I’m not used to eating, so I can keep it at bay more often than not.
As of now, I’m still on the same exercise routine I’ve been on for a few months now: Pre-natal yoga once a week, a weight-training session once a week, and two big hikes with the dog per week (I wrote more about it here). I still firmly believe in moving my body every single day. On the days that I don’t, I feel nauseous, foggy-headed, and more tired. If I push myself too hard, I am exhausted for the rest of the day, so I had to learn the perfect balance. I think I’ve got it down now.
What I’m Feeling Excited For
In the last month, I’m feeling more excitement and less fear every day, and that’s a great feeling to have!
Baby Kicks: This is still, far and beyond, my favorite part about pregnancy. Feeling my little girl moving around never ceases to amaze me. Sometimes it’s hard to believe that there is a tiny human in there, and this physical reminder grounds me. She is an extremely wiggly baby, and will kick (or punch?) for up to an hour at a time, mostly when I’m relaxed, watching TV or reading a book at night. My mom always talked about how I would move gracefully across her belly as a baby, but this gal couldn’t be more different. She jabs pretty hard, so guessing she’ll be more of an athlete than I ever was!
Nursery: We picked out almost everything for the nursery at Serena & Lily. The crib is scheduled to arrive tomorrow, and other items (like a glider, dresser, and rug) will be rolling in over the next few weeks. We moved my office out of that room and just need to paint it before we start the process of setting it up. I’m so excited to create a beautiful and calming space for the baby.
Pediatrician: Last week, we went on our first pediatrician interview and adored her. I love her approach to medicine and her philosophy of keeping things casual so that kids don’t get freaked out when going to the doctor. She’s been in practice for over 20 years and has seen it all, so I feel safe and secure, knowing that she is on our team. I had three other interviews lined up for this week and ended up canceling them all. Fun fact: When I started filling out the form at the doctor’s office, the first line asked for “mother’s name”… I started writing my mom’s name until I realized that it meant me, ha!
Doula: As I mentioned above, I met with my doula in person, and for the first time in my entire life, I feel like labor is going to be ok. Definitely the hardest thing I’ll ever do, but it will be ok. Just to know that I have someone to call as soon as things start moving, makes me feel a little more in control of the situation. She’s been on over 400 births, so she, too, has seen it all. It will be nice to have someone with us before we go to the hospital to tell us what’s normal and what’s not. When we actually get to the hospital, it will just be nice to have another familiar face in the room, someone who really knows me and understands what I’m going through.
I am trying not to spend too much money on maternity clothes since I’ll only be able to wear them for a short period of time, but I do need clothes that fit, so here is what I’m loving right now.
Ingrid & Isabel: I was lucky to be able to wear leggings for most of my pregnancy so far. In the last few weeks, I’ve graduated into mostly maternity leggings. On some days, I still fit into my Lululemons, but I am reaching for this Ingrid & Isabel pair more often than not. My sister bought them for me for Christmas, but only now do I realize how grateful I am for this gift. They’re super comfy and quite flattering. I bought a casual dress from the same brand that I love too. Mine is striped (shocker), but it comes in multiple colors.
Hatch Collection: You can probably tell that I am also loving Hatch Collection. Their pieces are looser, but also look chic. The shirt in this post is from Hatch, although it’s on backwards due to my pregnancy brain. It’s much cuter when the v neck is in front! I also have this long sleeved tee which is probably my most worn shirt at this point. The brand is not cheap, so I’d invest in one or two pieces that you think you’ll wear often, and stick to that.
Old Navy: For more affordable basics, I’ve turned to Old Navy. I bought a few black, navy, and white short and long sleeved shirts (each one was under $15!) and wear them under cardigans, around the house, and for workouts. This one is my favorite.
Shop Buru: My friend held a trunk show for this brand last week, so I popped by to check it out. I ended up buying this drapey shirt that has a snap front for nursing, but looks awesome now. It’s not actually a maternity shirt, and it’s a great price.
Boob: Although the name is unfortunate, this company is amazing. They sent me a bunch of products like this tank and a cute dress. They fit well now, and will be great for nursing in a few months. I wear their nursing sports bra every day. It’s a must, I promise you. Side bar, if you’re searching for them, don’t type in boob.com. Trust me on that!
My Fertility Journey
In other news, I’m speaking openly about my fertility journey on a webinar tomorrow night with my acupuncturist/fertility coach, Aimee. Sign up for her series here (it’s free, don’t worry!) to join my webinar. You can choose to listen to all of them or just mine, depending on what you’re interested in. I hope you can join us!
Photos by Clay Austin Photography.