I kind of like finding out what other ladies found useful and necessary during their pregnancies, so I thought I’d do my own round-up of:
Pregnancy Must Haves
- Bio Oil – This came recommended to me first by a friend when we were home in WA this winter. She has an adorable little boy just over a year old, and suggested Bio Oil to prevent stretch marks. They say stretch marks are genetic…and it’s not like I didn’t escape adolescence without them…so I just figured I’d have a hell of a time with them. Nary a one, my friends, nary a one. I’ve had my share of humbling physical issues, but stretch marks are not one of them. Hallelujah!
- c. Booth Honey & Almond Hand Cream – For Christmas 2011 Matt and I both received a tube of this hand cream from my Auntie. Dry skin happens in the winter, and winter happens in Sweden, so she hooked us up. Only, at that point, I didn’t realize how valuable this hand cream is. The two tubes have lasted us until now…and we’re not even halfway done with the second one. This stuff is thick and amazing and has SAVED my dry skin. Also, good to use with lower back rubs in the last bit of pregnancy… 🙂
- Cubus Basic Superlong Tank Top – My goal in life is to find shirts long enough for my long torso, and it’s just so hard. When I do find something suitable, it usually shrinks pretty quickly. This Cubus tank top was super long and super stretchy, so I bought one a couple of sizes up with the hopes it would cover me and last for at least as long as the pregnancy. For 99:- ($15) this has been one of the best investments ever! It’s still a touch too big on me, in all my big glory at this point. It covers the bum, it’s very fitted, but still roomy enough to be comfortable (for three days straight…WHAT?!), it hasn’t shrank, stained, ripped, unravelled, nothing! It looked good back at 4 months, it looks good at 9 months, and it’s the very best layering tank top in the world. There I said it.
- H&M Basic Leggings – Leave it to the Swedes who wear leggings and black tight/stretchy pants on the daily to sell the best leggings at a reasonable price. Comfy, long, and matte (as in: not see through when stretched). I will say that Cubus also has some awesome leggings as well…but after 6 months I had to switch to maternity pants full-time. Enter: H&M Maternity Leggings – Two words: God Send.
- Marine Corps 2003 Issue Sweatpants and Skivvy Shirts – When Matt was still a baby-faced teenager he joined the Marine Corps, and they issued him uniforms. Part of that was the old “Marine Corps Green” Soffe sweatpants and undershirts. I guess now they issue horrid track suits (Matt’s words, not mine). They gave him these items for me, only he didn’t know it at the time. His Large roomy sweatpants and skivvy shirts have provided me with unlimited love since before pregnancy, but certainly even more during. Matt bid farewell to his only pair of sweatpants long ago because, well, honestly…I never took them off. HOT WIFE ALERT.
- Ina May Gaskin – More specifically, Spiritual Midwifery and Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth. If you want to be enlightened about childbirth, natural childbirth, and modern American OB/GYN practices, read Ina May’s books. If nothing else, she has eradicated most of the fear that I’ve had about childbirth itself, empowered me, and she and the women who’ve given their birth stories have made me excited for as natural a birth that I could want or handle. As I go to each midwife appointment here in Sweden, I find the practice here goes along with most everything Ina May says and suggests. It’s so wonderful to be in a place where this is just the norm. And…since Sweden has an incredible reputation of being one the very top places to give birth, be born, be a parent, be a child, be a human…I really believe in childbirth this way.
- The iPhone – because of the apps. I compulsively check 6 apps that give me weekly updates on the baby’s growth, and daily suggestions or information. Tracking visuals, daily countdowns, and pictures of baby at each stage really help a Mamma to be excited and distracted for most of pregnancy. I also have to give it up to the app My Baby’s Beat for turning my phone into a doppler and allowing me to check the heartbeat whenever I want to/freak out and need to (after week 28 or so). It makes you turn off all cell service so holding an electronic device on your stomach doesn’t automatically give you cancer (hopefully?), and it also allows you to record the heartbeat and mail it to your partner. All 7 times you check it in one day.
- Pete & Piper – I don’t know how these hound dogs are going to do when there is a little human around (please god hopefully well!!!), but they have been the absolute most loving and protective companions I could ever imagine. Snuggle time has never been better, Pete now walks without pulling (as much) and Piper is getting so much better at getting along with other dogs, all on their own! I can only attribute this to them sensing that these are necessary things because life is changing and they better behave. Without them, Matt and I wouldn’t be as equipped to rise to the challenge of taking care of another being that we are responsible for, no matter what, and we certainly wouldn’t know how to love nearly as well. I hope Pete and Piper can also show the baby as much love, and how to love as much. Plus, they force us to go on long walks, which I need, need, need.
- Where would this post be without food? Raisins. Yogurt. Bananas. Oatmeal. I love you. I love that I crave you more than all the ice cream and lösgodis in the world. I love that you replaced my usual staples of chicken, eggs, and spinach when I couldn’t eat them at all, never, there is no making me. And to Fräcka Fröken and Espresso House, I would be nothing without your chai lattes. And to the woman behind No. 2 Pencil, your chocolate chip cookie in a cup has saved me from baking many a full-batch of cookies (and eating them all within 24 hours).
- Last, but not least, Matthew.
Every pregnant woman needs a pregnant husband. Without Matt, who would take on my symptoms so well? (Couvade syndrome is REAL.) Who would surprise me with flowers and chai lattes all throughout a dark cold winter? Who would indulge my comfort and so willingly take the dogs out on his own each morning, afternoon, evening and middle of the night in the dead of winter? Who would suffer through countless trips to H&M, and one long one to Old Navy, just to buy me cheap cotton clothes? Who would gift me a Fjäll Räven wool belly band to keep me warm when my jackets wouldn’t close? Who would stock up on the seasonal and specialty beers for when his wife is pregnant no longer? What husband would be so honest as to not indulge his wife’s vanity and tell her straight up, “Those pants look bad on you.” just so she wouldn’t totally embarrass herself when she actually cared? Not many, my friends, not many men are this good. That’s a shoddy list of his support, at best, because he is, and has done, so much more than just those things. I couldn’t be more grateful to have him as my husband, partner, dog walker, chef, supporter, provider, and baby daddy.
I will add one more thing: a supportive community is nice to be in. Family and close friends are so wonderful to have around, physically (I’m sure), but in their absence, we’ve got people here who are genuinely happy and excited for us, and they haven’t known us for much more than a year. I can honestly say that I’ve received NO annoying comments or advice from anyone in Sweden, and for that I am so grateful. Mommy-jacking is real, and it exists on Facebook. I’ve been hesitant to say anything online – not only for fear of annoying my friends who have no interest in babies, but to be open to the comments from those friends who have recently had babies. I can see the annoying peanut-gallery comments from a mile away, so usually I’m ready, but as far as real and daily life, the friends and acquaintances who surround us could not be more nice, supportive, helpful and interested. Someone please remind me of this when faced in the future with a woman who could ever be pregnant.
There it is, my pregnancy must-have list. I’m no seasoned pro, and there are far better lists out there, but these are the things that have helped me survive the past 9-10 months and feel good about myself. I wish I could have found better exercise and yoga DVDs, as the ones I have were just meh (Tracy Anderson, it’s on next pregnancy!). I wish there were more maternity options I could list, but pregnant Swedes are still so small they fit into normal clothes (apparently?!). I wish I could link up so you could buy a Matthew, or a Pete or Piper, but unfortunately…I hit the jackpot there. They’re one of a kind and ALL MINE.
I also wish I had a scale that didn’t lie to me and tell me I gained so much weight…but, one girl can’t have it all, can she… 😉