Posts tagged pregnancy
Love thyself: Three Months Postpartum
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I had a baby three months ago.

This is the honest truth I have to say out loud when I look at myself in the mirror. Sometimes, I have to say it over and over again. I had a baby three months ago.

It seems like society places so much emphasis on “snapping back” after having a baby. I had so many people commenting on my body after having Sire, it made me incredibly insecure. I felt like a specimen in an invisible cage that was on display for people to comment on and give their opinions to.

I heard everything from “Yeah, you look bigger now,” only two weeks after having Sire. Well, duh. I also heard “Wow! You just had a baby?” [Cue the eyeroll]. Some people let it be known that it annoyed them that I lost most of my weight so quickly. Regardless of the feedback that I heard, it left an awful taste in my mouth like my weight and body were being picked apart by people I knew and even absolute strangers.

Why is it anyone else’s place to tell me how good, or bad, I look after having a baby? Three months postpartum, I still have about 8-10 pounds left to shed to get to my “pre-baby” weight but I am in absolutely no rush to see any specific number on the scale. Why? Because, I am so incredibly proud of my body and what it has done to deliver two healthy beautiful babies. So what if I have extra weight on my hips or that those stretchmarks from my first pregnancy look more noticeable than ever.

What I wish people paid attention to more than a mother’s physical appearance is her mental health. This time around, I’ve been able to keep postpartum depression at bay which is an incredible feeling to have a sound mind. I can be fully present at my job, and when I’m home being a wife and mother. I don’t have the fog of darkness that surrounds so many of us when our hormones are going haywire.

I know there will be plenty of time for toning to get ready for summer when I’m ready. I haven’t been putting emphasis on working out rigorously because I’ve been so busy trying to nurse a baby and establish a sleep schedule for Sire with my [amazing] partner.

I know that I’m rounding the corner to depart from my 4th trimester which is all about loving yourself and your new flaws as well as obsessing over your new baby. Love thyself. It is so important to be kind to yourself even in the midst of constant criticism from people who make a comment about your body. I’ve officially said screw all the feedback. I am damn proud of my mom-bod and the incredible blessings it’s provided, my children.

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What I’ve learned…

All you can honestly do is tune out all the comments and focus on eating healthy during and after pregnancy, especially if you’re nursing. Set fitness goals for yourself to start at your own pace. I encourage you to listen to your body. It will tell you what it needs and focus on loving yourself from the inside out.

Just Throw It In A Bag!
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No clue what to pack for the hospital? My best advice is if it will make you more comfortable, just throw it in the bag!

Hopefully, you will only be there for a night or two but those first couple days are some of the most painful when your body is recovering from even smooth deliveries. 

There are a handful of essentials I would recommend for you and baby since you’ll be packing for the two of you. 

For mama:

1. Comfortable loose fitting pajamas & non-slip socks. I’ll be bringing a red button down set with minimal elastic that’s easy for nursing. My jersey T-shirt dress will serve nicely as a backup.

2. Nursing bras and nipple cream. Definitely not cute but necessary. Leave anything with underwire at home. For nipple cream, my fave is the organic balm by The Honest Company.

3. Toiletries. For me, it’s daily contact lenses & saline, deodorant, body wash, a toothbrush and some deodorant. 

4. For the millennial mom, bring a charger and a phone loaded with soothing playlists. 

5. Maternity underwear! This is the thing no one says. You need a few pairs of underwear that you can ruin. Something you can fit an ice pack in because you’ll be icing your Lucy for the first few days.

6. Non-slip socks or comfy slippers. The hospital is a cold and slippery place. It may seem silly but it’s better to be safe than sorry. 

7. Last but not least, snacks. My #1 must have are Snickers bars. They have no nutritional value whatsoever but they are de-licious.

For baby:

1. Bring an outfit or two. Cute ones at that! This is their grand entrance into the world so bring some clothes with personality, some socks, and a hat that isn’t hospital provided.

2. A stretchy swaddle blanket. Loads of companies make them. I made my own from Cotton-Lycra fabric I purchased online and cut to size. Most babies prefer to be tightly bundled in the beginning. 

3. A nursing pillow like a Bobby pillow. This is if you plan to breastfeed. If that’s not in your plan than please disregard! No judgement here. Sub for formula if that’s your plan. A fed baby is a happy baby.

4. A pacifier or bottles. This is completely optional depending on what your families’ needs are. 

The goal is to keep you and baby warm and comfortable before you make that life-changing trek home.

For my fellow veteran mamas, what was the one thing you couldn’t live without during your hospital stay?! Let me know below.

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Stretch Marks in the Home Stretch
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Watching your body grow a baby is one of the most beautiful things to witness. What's not so beautiful? The stretch marks. It seems like they make 1,001 products for scar removal, but what about prevention?

This is my second pregnancy so there are a ton of things I've learned from the first go. One of the main things I wanted to do better this time around is to experiment with what works to keep my skin moisturized against all the tugging and stretching it endures, especially in the second-third trimester.

There are two items I absolutely swear by. Let me first say I am not advertising or affiliated with these brands! These are just products I use and love. They aren't super fancy, but they are super effective. The item I use every day at least 2 times a day is the Palmer's Cocoa Butter Formula Skin Therapy Oil with Vitamin E. This oil is amazing because it isn't heavy and absorbs straight into the skin. It's good for scars, stretch marks, uneven skin tone, and aging. It is very lightly scented which is great because I have very sensitive skin.

The second item is from a natural brand that I found when I was at an event in Washington, DC. It is the Shea Gourmet Oatmeal Essence Cream by Kimo Bentley. Kimo Bentley can only be found on their website! The owner is a International Esthetician who's been making natural beauty products for over 10+ years. Her and her husband are the spokespeople for the brand and they are literally the sweetest people ever! They even added free oatmeal soap bars to the order for Aria who has pretty severe eczema.

I use both of these products everyday, the oil first, then the moisturizer. I'm a little obsessive about rubbing down my belly because I really only got stretch marks in the last three weeks of my first pregnancy. This time, I'm absolutely determined to stick to this regime until our boy is born. So that's it! I've linked both of the products I shared with you all above, so definitely take some time to check them out if you're growing your own bean. 

Let me know if you have any amazing home remedies or family recipes. I'd love to hear what worked for you all.

Xo,

Ashley

Goodbye OB, Hello Midwifery!
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Goodbye Obstetrician, hello midwife! 

A typical hospital birth can be described as a triage check-in and waiting until you're fully dilated (10 cm) and then you're shuttled into a frantic delivery room, with twenty nurses running around, and an on-call obstetrician who grabs your baby and rolls out before you even name it. This time around, I suggested to use midwives instead, and I'll tell you why.

First, what is a midwife? What is the difference between delivery with an obstetrician and delivery with a midwife? The difference is vast but for me, it boils down to two things, energy and environment.

Obstetricians will intervene often. There's a lot of yelling and swift movements with lots of people running through the hospital room. After you give birth, there are umpteenth visits from nurses Jill, Sue, and Steve and you're laying there on that hospital bed that is painfully uncomfortable. 

Midwives are highly-trained nurses who specialize in fertility and fetal-health medicine. They are generally used for women who are considered "low-risk" in pregnancy because they allow the patient to labor largely on their own in natural birthing suites. Their deliveries cater to making sure the women are comfortable and tend to their individualized needs during labor like music preference, temperature, aroma, etc. Midwives also provide a source of calming, feminine energy that is empowering when you need the strength of a superhero.

Labor is going to be SO different this time around! Aromatherapy to relax, in-suite hydrotherapy tubs to labor in, immediate skin-to-skin contact with baby, and a family-centered room.

This is super important for us because my fiancé, Dez was instrumental in assisting with the labor and delivery of Aria- he even cut the umbilical cord! Now, I will have him and Aria to be a part of such the beautifully painful process of delivering our son and Aria’s new brother.

Through a my first pregnancy, I found out that I am a friggin' warrior. I've already developed one baby and brought her in the world, safely, with "0" pain-reducing medication. I sure as hell can do it again!

(SPOILER: Our whole plan was to deliver naturally in a very comfortable birthing suite in our hospital with an 'OB' but Aria came so damn fast, she had other plans! I ended up laboring at home in our tub, Dez raced to the hospital fully dilated kicking out the speakers in our backseat and gave birth only about an hour after we checked in)

When it comes to delivery, I feel way more confident going into labor knowing what to expect and how we should do things differently. What they don't tell you during pregnancy is that the contractions are the worst part of the birthing process. I wouldn't advise suffering through contractions on a hospital stretcher.

I mean, you can physically feel your pelvic bones shifting to make way for your baby, it puts into perspective any type of pain you've ever experienced. Anything up until that point was really not that bad compared to what you endure to bring life into this world.

Since I'll have to go through that labor all over again for number 2, I'd rather do it in a tub, with soothing fragrances around me than strapped to a hospital bed, wouldn't you?! 

If you've used a midwife in the past, feel free to share your experiences with me!

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The Holy-Grail of Toddler-Proofing Sharp Corners!

Raise your hand if you've ever seen your toddler smack their heads on the not-so-smooth corners of your house's furniture?

Baby-proofing can sometimes seem like an enormous task. I’ve seen people tape down entire edges of tables and countertops to prevent unnecessary bumps and bruises. But what if adding padding to those nasty corners could be easier?

In our household, we had WAY too many close calls between our kitchen, Mommy’s office, and pretty much anything that furnished the living room. We spent so much time picking out those pieces, the last thing we wanted to do was to ruin the paint with tacky adhesives that would peel the stains off the furniture once it was time to remove it.

Voila! We finally found the holy-grail of baby-proofing table corners. A company called Roving Cove makes a product called Safe Corner Cushions! Luckily, they come in a variety of colors including white, brown, and black. The adhesive tape is just strong enough to stay bonded but delicate enough where you can pop them off when your toddler is a little more agile. We’ve put them on just about everything as you can see.

The best part about these is that they are super affordable as well as accessible since they are a Prime product on Amazon. The four-packs start around $7.00 and you can also purchase packs of 8 or 16! They are amazing! You can pick up a few for your house, here.

Thanks to these, I can relax and not panic every time my kid gets too close to my desks' edges. Now you can throw out those l baby-proofing eyesores.

Talkin' First-Time Pregnancies With MTV's Cheyenne Floyd!

Talk about pregnancy glow! Cheyenne rocked form-fitted and bump-enhancing maternity style.

I got the chance to catch up with MTV AYTO star Cheyenne Floyd who is expecting a pretty little girl in a few weeks- and she has been effortlessly glamming her way through pregnancy I might add! I've been dying to ask her the questions we've all been asked when we were #youngdumbandmomming for the first time. 

A. Cole: What is your biggest fear becoming a young mom?
Cheyenne: I am so excited to become a mom that I haven't let fear in my heart. This is such a blessing and positive time in my life that fear has not been a part of. Between meditation and educating myself on what is going on with my body and labor I am at such a calm place. Combined with the support that I have and my mother I am just ready!

A. Cole: What are the unexpected things in your pregnancy you wish someone had told you?
Cheyenne: I wish I knew how bad heartburn was! I have had the worst heartburn and nobody told me how much it would effect my pregnancy. I also did not realize how much my eating habits would change, certain foods that I normally love i can't stand to look at now.

A. Cole: Where do you experience the most pain now that you're in the final stretch?
Cheyenne: The final stretch has been the hardest part of my pregnancy. My first two trimester were a breeze compared to these last few months. This last month I haven't slept, I am constantly uncomfortable and the biggest I have ever weighed. Honestly getting out of bed is the most painful haha!

A Cole: Has sleeping been harder in this last trimester? If so, what do you use to help you sleep?
Cheyenne: Thank God for my friends who have been there for me from day one of my pregnancy, they have helped me a lot with all there gifts. One of those were a huge body pillow that takes up about half my bed. I don't think I would be able to live without my pregnancy pillow. Along with taking heartburn medicine before bed and have a bottle of water close by.

A. Cole: Do you worry that your friends or people your age wont be able to relate to you the same once your priority is baby Ryder?
Cheyenne: My support system is incredible, my family an friends are going to love Ryder and already understand that she is my mine priority. I am the first out of my friends to have a baby so it will be new to all of us and a learning experience.

A. Cole: What was your favorite part about being pregnant?
Cheyenne: My favorite part about being pregnant has been watching my belly grow and feeling her kicks. I love feeling her move around and hearing her heartbeat. It's been such a life changing experience and crazy to watch my body grow to create this little girl. I can't believe that I have been so blessed to have her and now all I can do is patiently wait for her arrival.

It's amazing to know that we all share similar maternity experiences- whether we have boys or girls, pregnancy takes it's toll on the body! Thank god we are rewarded with the cutest nuggets to make up for all the pain and heartburn. Thanks Cheyenne for sharing with us today.

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