Marking the start of maternity leave

I’ve finally stopped working and started my leave! I will seriously miss the office, but the commute and the desk chair were just getting far too uncomfortable. I have just under five weeks until my official due date, but after the hospital stay they recommended I stop a bit earlier than planned. I thought I’d mark the start of leave by sharing a few things that have gotten me this far. 

Clothes
I didn’t have that big a bump until after week 28. So throughout the pregnancy, I’ve managed to get by without spending a huge amount of money on maternity clothes. 

Jeans: I bought a pair of Paige maternity jeans, as I’ll wear them after the birth, and a friend loaned me a pair from Topshop that are very comfy. I have now grown out of the Paige jeans, but at 35 weeks I think most jeans are going to be uncomfortable. It’s all about stretch at this point! 

Dresses: A few stretchy ones from Gap and All Saints. Some buys from Topshop. Two Isabella Oliver dresses – again loaned by a friend. They are amazing though, and worth the investment if you can’t borrow them. And some last minute ASOS purchases. I also lucked out with a few skirts from places like & Other Stories and Forever21 so worth a look.

Tops: Gap tanks, a cashmere cardigan from Splendid that I will wear pregnant or not, and lots of stretchy jersey. I managed to make a few of my ‘normal’ tops work as well by layering longer tops under them.  

Shoes: I have only worn heels three times in the last nine months, which for me is pretty rare. I ended up investing in a few extra pairs of flats and am so glad I did. A pair of Grenson brogues, some navy leopard print slip ons, and a fresh pair of Converse. Lately I’ve also hauled out my trusty Frye boots. Walking gets hard enough – don’t make it more difficult. Your back and feet will thank you. 

Blogs
For me, reading about real people and their experiences was far more interesting than any of the ‘experts’ out there. These three blogs have definitely given me plenty to think about: 

For birth stories: http://gasandairblog.com
For lifestyle and parenting anecdotes: http://joannagoddard.blogspot.co.uk
For fun: https://www.youtube.com/user/WhatsUpMOMS and https://www.youtube.com/user/whatsupelle

Yoga 
With the kitchen and a lot of other items on our budget, I ended up looking for ways to do yoga at home rather than join a class. It helps that I’ve practiced yoga before, so am familiar with a lot of the movements and poses. After trying out a few different ones, I settled on this routine. Half an hour long and a good mix of breathing and active movement – it’s definitely kept me calm and flexible, and I’ll be doing it every day I’m on leave. 

Hypnobirthing
A few of my friends absolutely swore by hypnobirthing, as it helped them to overcome their fears of labor and actually made things easier for them on the day. It sounds more alternative than it actually is. It’s all based on breathing, visualisation and relaxation techniques, and understanding the physiology of the body. There are classes, websites, apps, and books. While we wanted to do a class (if you’re in SE London, I can highly recommend Suzy Ashworth) again kitchen took priority in our budget. So instead I picked up this book, which has been fantastic for both me and my husband to read. 

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I also downloaded a few apps from the iStore with free meditations to listen to. My favourite is the Hypno 4 Birth Home Study by Dani Griffiths. In hindsight, I wish we’d done the Hypnobirthing class instead of the NCT course as I think it would be far more useful, but lesson learned for next time. 

Luxuries
The middle of my pregnancy wasn’t actually too bad, and I do think this is because I indulged in a few things that helped my body adjust to and navigate all the changes.

A monthly facial from The Organic Pharmacy in my second trimester completely cleared up my hormonal skin. I stopped when I hit third trimester, but will be having one for sure in the next month.

A few pregnancy massages from the ESPA Spa at The Corinthia Hotel helped to realign my back and relax me. I’ll hopefully have one more before the baby comes, and a friend recommended going after as well to help realign your body. 

I slathered on REN Rose Oil every night before bed and also have a REN Rose Bath Oil that doesn’t leave a weird film on the tub. When I was in duty free, I picked up L’Occitane Sweet Almond Oil, which smells delicious. And my husband bought me some really lovely Clarins lotion as well. It could be all the water I’ve been drinking, or the fact that I’ve rubbed something moisturising into my tummy every night since week 7, but I’m currently stretch mark free, and keeping fingers crossed that it stays that way til the end. 

So that’s it. You’ll hopefully be hearing from me more often now that I’m homebound, but I promise that my life and motherhood posts will be mixed in with the same interiors and design content. And with 100% Design coming up, there will be lots of cool stuff to talk about. Anything you’d like to hear more / less about, just drop me a line.

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