I'm Leah, and in a lucky twist of fate, I've landed my three dream jobs:
book editor, writer, and mother. Since having my son in December 2008, my
work-life has been in constant flux - full-time? part-time? freelance?
working at home or in the office? It depends on the day and which way the
wind is blowing - and figuring out how to keep it all going is a constant
challenge. Heck, I'm still getting used to the idea of being someone's
Check out my profile on Work It, Mom! and my personal blog, A Girl and a Boy.
Much of the nine months of this gestation (and before) was spent listening to advice, collecting stories, cataloging the wisdom of my elders (and youngers), and then figuring out what worked best for me, particularly when it came to “must-have” pregnancy products. Now that I’ve nearly earned my own been-there-done-that merit badge, however, I finally feel qualified to share a thing or two about what I’ve learned–despite the fact that perhaps the most stand-out lesson of all is that not everything works for everybody. Nevertheless, here’s what worked for me (and might for you too):
Belly bands. Absolutely everyone raved about these when I was in that too-big-for-regular-jeans/too-small-for-mat-pants stage, and who was I to argue with absolutely everyone? These stretchy tube-top-type garments can be worn around your waist to conceal the little secret that you’re walking around with your pants undone all day, but that’s just where the magic starts. Lately, I’ve found them helpful for holding up maternity pants that otherwise constantly fall down and for supporting my back similar to a more expensive and way less attractive maternity belt. I hear these are also the perfect transition pieces for getting back into your regular clothes postpartum. The most popular brand is BellaBand, but I had some knockoffs that worked just as well, and if you’re crafty, you might even consider making your own for a fraction of the price.
A bra extender. Bras are stupid expensive, and I dreaded the possibility of having to purchase one that might fit for only a few months. Enter the bra extender! This little thing (borrowed from a friend!) saved my aching ribs and extended (literally) the wearability of my pre-pregnancy bras. (My cup size changed very little, which I realize is not always the case.) You can pick these up for cheap or make your own by cutting the back off an old bra.
A good maternity dress. Forty weeks is a loooong time, and whether you’re pregnant during wedding season or holiday season (or both!), chances are you’re going to have to get fancy. When shopping for a maternity dress, look for something flexible—meaning that it will both grow with you physically and be suitable for a variety of events and venues. During the previous nine months, I’ve attended two weddings, a bridal shower, a baby shower, and two dress-up work events, and having a maternity dress (or several) that made me feel comfortable and pretty made it much easier to spend yet another evening out abstaining from wine and ooey-gooey soft cheeses.
A good book or website, particularly one that tells you how your baby is developing and what s/he looks like each week. This was especially helpful in the early months, since before I looked obviously pregnant and before I could feel the baby move every day it was sometimes hard to wrap my brain around the fact that there was a tiny human being growing in there, with arms and legs and eyelashes and fingernails and kidneys and everything. I had a giant stack of pregnancy books on my nightstand, but the one resource I kept going back to was the “As Your Baby Grows” magazine I got for free from my doctor; it didn’t tell me how to live my life or scare me with horror stories, just gave brief descriptions of my baby’s development accompanied by stunning photographs. I’ve also been a fan of the weekly emails from BabyCenter, even now that they’re comparing my son to foodstuffs I’ve never even heard of. (Swiss chard? Anyone?)
A pregnancy exercise DVD.I hesitated even putting this on my list because, although I did spend several months loving Kathy Smith’s awesomely eighties pregnancy workout (there’s a rap in it called the Preggo Shuffle featuring all the ladies in their shiny pastel unitards and sporting backward ballcaps and Wayfarers!), I had to give it up when sciatica reared its hateful little head in the second trimester. Still, as much as I relished the excuse to be a sluggy sloth, I missed my Kathy. It was nice having some time each week to focus on my body and all the little changes it was undergoing, and I also appreciated that the session always ended with a nap relaxation techniques (performed while lying on a pillow on the floor with your eyes closed). I tried this Yoga Journal DVD too, but yoga and I don’t get along (BOR-ING!), and besides, the lady who was 37 weeks pregnant and still putting her ankles behind her neck made me feel like a schlub.
A body pillow. There are all kinds of fancy contraptions out there for helping pregnant ladies get a good night’s sleep—from the low-profile belly wedge to the three-ring circus that is a Snoogle—but for me my fifteen-year-old body pillow did the trick just fine. It stayed between my knees and kept me from rolling over onto my belly and crushing my child, which is all I really needed it to do. Although it’s tempting to believe that things labeled “pregnancy” are more suited for us than like products that aren’t, it’s mostly just marketing, and an excuse to jack up the price, and who needs that? Use what you’ve got!
A list of blogs or email addresses for some real, honest, been-there-done-that support from peers. Because sometimes you’ve had it up to here with medical and parental advice. Because sometimes you don’t want to Google yourself into a frenzy over every little symptom. Because sometimes you just want to whine and complain (or gush or giggle) and have someone say, “Yes. I know, and it’s going to be okay.”
What about you? Do you have any pregnancy products to recommend?
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