Truth be told, I’m in complete shock and awe that I’m sitting here writing this post. It legitimately feels like just yesterday that we found out we were pregnant and made the formal announcement, and here we are, four and a half seconds later, already through the second trimester. At this point I’m actually 30 weeks along, but have wanted to document the second trimester process in a little more detail – both for selfish reasons (I love looking back on these personal posts over the years – they always bring back such fond memories and this is a moment in time I most certainly do not want to forget), and because some of you have been curious. I actually posted a little q&a in instagram stories the other day re: all things second trimester and thought I’d answer some of the more frequently asked ones… If there’s anything else you’d like me to address, please feel free to shoot me an email a dm or leave a note in the comments below. I’m always happy to help any way that I can
Where have you been buying your maternity wear?
I’ve admittedly tried to refrain from buying too much on the maternity wear front since it’s such a short phase of time (and I always prefer to spend my money on travel & house updates, ha!) Instead, I’ve kind of put together an unintentional capsule wardrobe, so to speak, and find I wear the same cozy and comfy basics again and again. I’ve picked up a few essentials like a pair of jeans (I bought these ones from Old Navy and they’ve been great!), a pair of “leather” leggings for when I’m feeling fancy (seriously, being comfortable is of utmost importance to me right now). Some simple inexpensive camis and maternity t’s (I wear them regularly paired with all of my non-maternity cardigans), and some really comfortable leggings. My mother in law gave me a pair of Blanqi leggings for Christmas and I completely understand their hype – you’re going to have to peel them off of me when we’re through, I swear. Other than that, I have a hand me down Hatch dress that I absolutely love. And Pink Blush has some really cute, and inexpensive, items that I’ve been loving (including the dress I’m wearing in these photos). While I’ve been lucky wherein I still fit in a lot of my looser sweaters, ASOS, and H&M have been huge helps on this front too.
Do you have any book recommendations?
Yes! There are three so far that I’ve sworn by. For both first and second trimester I found that while I didn’t always agree with everything in the book, “Expecting Better” by Emily Oster really helped alleviate a lot of my anxieties. She goes over a lot of the conventional pregnancy do’s and don’ts, and explains (scientifically and factually) why so much of it is false, or misleading. I found it really empowering, anxiety reducing, and a whole lot less limiting than conventional pregnancy advice.
I’m almost through Ina May’s “Guide to Childbirth” and if you only read one book during your pregnancy please let it be this one. It’s so beautiful, empowering, and informative – chock full of delicious advice. It’s truly made me excited for labour – something I was previously feeling quite anxious about -and what I’m going to experience in just a few short weeks. As an aside, we’ve also just started a Hypnobirthing class which supports and expands on a lot of the guidance in this book. I recommend both wholeheartedly!
Lastly, a girlfriend gifted me The First Forty Days for my birthday and it’s such a beautiful book both visually and content wise. It talks a lot about the fourth trimester – the short period after birth – and how often it’s overlooked, yet how imperative it is for healing and bonding. There’s lots of wholesome information, as well as nourishing recipes, and helps guide you through that special time.
Any apps you swear by?
I use both “The Bump” and “What to Expect”. I’ve really enjoyed the forums on What to Expect, especially because you can sign up for your birth month so you’re “surrounded” by women at your exact phase, which has been helpful! There’s also a “Green Parenting” section in the forums that I particularly love
Any natural pregnancy related products you’ve been loving?
Yes! Beauty wise I’ve stuck by this entire list, and am still happy to stand behind each one (though I have since found a few more products I love so perhaps I should do an updated post there). For things more specifically geared to pregnancy, I’ve been loving this oil, which my sister gifted to me a few months ago. I also use Tata Harpers Body Balm on my belly every evening and while I’ve heard stretch marks are more of a genetic thing, I’ve yet to get any so I’ll continue to do so.
My naturopath also recommended I drink a cup of red raspberry leaf tea every day (I drink this one!) It’s supposed to help strengthen your uterus and aid in a much easier labour (you can read more about it here!) When I shared that recommendation on instagram stories I was FLOODED with messages from mamas around the world who swore up and down it helped, so I’ll take it!
And lastly, this is more on the woo woo side, so please stick with me, but I’ve really gotten into flower essences. I could go on at length about them, but this explains them better than I ever could. I have quite a few essences and sprays that I use on rotation, but I’ve been ingesting “inner peace” and “quiet mind” most days. Both were recommended to me by Katie herself (the goddess behind Lotus Wei) to help support me during pregnancy – and they’ve been transformative (on days where I forget, I can absolutely tell – it’s pretty fascinating).
What have you bought for the little one? Any favourite stores or shops so far?
Okay this is going to have to be an entirely different post because I’ve found so so many sweet and beautiful brands I’m so excited about (thanks to a lot of your recommendations!) Some of my favourites though: Gathre Mats, Pehr, Freshly Picked (we have their diaper bag and it’s the most beautiful thing on the planet), August Kinn, & Jamie Kay. Also, I’ve been really pleased with the selection at H&M and Zara – they have so many adorable things.
How are you feeling physically?
At first I thought the whole second trimester being the honeymoon phase was a complete lie as I was still feeling incredibly anxious, totally depleted, and quite nauseous until around the 19 week mark. One day though I woke up and it was like a lightbulb went off. My bedtime moved from 8:00 pm to a more respectable 10:00 or so, the fog lifted, and all of my food aversions basically dissipated. At this point I’m feeling really lucky as my only real symptom is sore hips. They do get pretty bad on occasion (mostly when I’ve let my yoga practice slide), but I’ve convinced myself that they’re just opening up so the baby simply falls out when it’s time (that’s how it works, right?)
When did you start showing?
I could tell a difference as early as 13 weeks (as evidence in this post, here, ha), but it wasn’t visible to anyone else until around 20 weeks. I swear it went from zero to one hundred overnight, which I hear is pretty common.
I haven’t had any incessant need for anything at any point – like there have been no midnight runs to McDonalds, which feels like a sham! – however there are certain things that just taste so. dang. good. right now. Citrus is a big one for me – over the holidays I was going through clementines at an alarming rate (to the point that I asked my naturopath if I could overdose on oranges…) And we should have bought stock in Haagen Daaz as their chocolate peanut butter ice cream has truly never tasted better.
Are you still doing the dairy free/gluten free thing?
Yes and no. I’ve been working closely with my naturopath to ensure that my body is working at an optimal level and she hasn’t felt the need to have me stick to my previous diet quite as exclusively. I’ve largely stuck to it, but since getting pregnant I haven’t been nearly as strict about it. I’ve been doing my best to give give myself plenty of grace all while making healthy, conscious, choices as often as possible. I definitely feel better when I’m eating cleaner, but the Haagen Daaz is definitely still a mainstay right now (and their dairy free version isn’t currently cutting it).
How are you feeling about becoming a mom?
I was asked this question a number of times over and, honestly, I really don’t know how to answer it. Right now I have to admit that while I’m well aware that there’s a baby girl kicking up a storm in there, it still doesn’t feel real most days. Every once in a while I’ll have a moment of sheer panic, or total elation and pure joy, but for the most part I’m finding it really hard to imagine. I’ve really tried to sit back and roll with the punches since going through such an emo first trimester, and just letting go, moving through all of the emotions, and trying not to force anything (good or bad) has been really beneficial for me.
How have you been feeling mentally since your last update?
I’m pleased to announce that my mental health in the second trimester has been one bagillion times better than the first (a real unit of measurement). I’m absolutely certain that hormones levelling out have played a major role, not to mention I’m not waking up a hundred times a night to pee so I’m getting proper sleep (and a lack of sleep is my biggest anxiety trigger). I’ve also been able to get my diet back on track since my food aversions are mostly gone, and I really do believe there is a huge link to our gut health and our mental health. I could mostly only stomach white foods and starch heavy meals (lots of white bread and pasta) in the first trimester, and I know that played a role in my overall mental health.
Mostly though I think the trauma of our early ectopic scare has finally worked its way out of my system (you can read about that here, if you’d like). We’re very grateful that everything since has been very low risk, and our midwifes have taken such good care of us all the way through, setting my mind at ease almost constantly. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely still need to keep a finger on my mental health (in fact, it’s been my main priority), but the tools that I’ve learned over the years to keep it in check have been working like a charm (I’ve shared some of those tools here and here – though it might also be time for an update there too).
Any advice for prepping for baby while not feeling totally overwhelmed?
This hasn’t been easy, especially for a type A control freak with anxiety such as myself (hi!) At the risk of sounding cliche, my biggest lesson this past year or two is to simply let go and trust that things will work out exactly as they should, exactly when they should. My current words of affirmation are “presence” and “joy” and I try to repeat them again and again.
During a recent bout of sheer overwhelm while going over my likely unrealistic and totally over the top to-do list, my husband reminded me that this baby is going to have two parents who love her, access to nutritious food, and a roof over her head, which is more than a whole lot of people can say. And while part of me wants everything to be just so, complete with the perfect instagram-worthy portfolio-piece of a nursery finished (and documented!) before she arrives, ultimately putting things into perspective has been key. And when it comes down to it, my peace of mind and enjoying the process is more important than some looming deadline I’ve set for myself. When the overwhelm hits I re-prioritize (ie what ACTUALLY has to get done, and what do I just really really want to get done). I also try to remind myself that all I can do is my best, and things will get done one way or another at some point. They always do.
When did you first feel her kick?
I felt her first real and undeniable kick for the first time while lying in a tide pool during a wellness retreat in Costa Rica when I was exactly 20 weeks along. It was actually during a “silent day” wherein we weren’t allowed to speak, which felt weird at the time since I really wanted to tell ANYONE THAT WOULD LISTEN. In retrospect it really allowed me to soak in that very real and very intimate moment entirely on my own. It was incredibly special and something I will never, ever, forget.
Do you have a name picked out?
We do!! We’re 99% sold on a name we both love, but we’ll be saving it for when she arrives (we need to make sure it suits her, of course!) This is admittedly killing our parents and siblings, which feels mean, but I love the idea of keeping something a surprise.
What was the hardest part of the second trimester? Was it easier than the first?
I think the hardest part was earlier on in the second trimester when we realize that yup, this was happening, and it’s happening quickly. We hadn’t really started to prepare for anything, which brought about those feelings of overwhelm I mentioned above. Luckily we had two weeks off at Christmas wherein we knocked so much off of our to do list, which really helped. We’ve since been slowly, and excitedly, checking things off of our list which is making things feel all the more real, and all the more exciting. The second trimester was ultimately easier than the first for so many reasons (anxiety levelling out and energy levels climbing alone), so if you’re still wading through the first trimester I’m here to tell you it WILL get better
Is pregnancy what you expected it to be?
Yes and no. I’m very grateful that I’ve had such a wonderful second trimester as I know this isn’t always the case. I’ve also had a ton of support, which has made all of the difference. Justin has truly been incredible – he has stepped up in such a massive way that I can’t even begin to describe. My family and friends have also given me so much love and grace, especially on days where I don’t quite feel like myself, or am completely depleted and need to reschedule plans (again). In addition, I’ve received nothing but kindness and tenderness from so many of you, which I’m forever grateful for.
That said, I do think that the darker side of pregnancy gets glossed over quite a bit, and I wish I had been more prepared for that aspect. I mean, life is about to change in a very big and very real way, and that can feel incredibly scary at times. Knowing and normalizing those feelings which, news alert, EVERYONE EXPERIENCES, has been really important to me the whole way through. Pregnancy is beautiful, and is a gift I will forever cherish, but it is not easy and is most definitely filled with the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. My best advice is to remember that everything passes, both the good and the bad. So try to stay present, and hold on for the ride!
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