25 Things I Didn’t Know Happened After Giving Birth

Nine months I spend preparing myself for the day of giving birth. I was mentally and physically ready (Although, I thought I was. But that topic deserves another post) I went to centering pregnancy, took breathing technique lessons and read about hypnobirthing. The big day of giving birth came and after a sixteen-hour rollercoaster of emotions and pain, my baby was out. I survived the most anticipated day. I knew it was going to be hard, painful and intense and I thought that was it. I finally made it to my last chapter of the childbirth lessons book. But, it turned out that a lot of things happen before you even leave the hospital that I didn’t learn in class, and no one ever mentioned. I’m going to share those things with you. Not to scare you, but to prepare you. Here they are: 

  1. As soon as my baby was out and on my chest, I felt overwhelmed. Tired of pushing and not understanding what was happening.
  2. The umbilical cord was still attached to the baby and placenta. The cord feels very warm and weird.
  3. I immediately lose my heavy pregnant belly, but I still looked like when I was 20 weeks pregnant.
  4. The black line which divides the belly decided to stay with me. I have read that it might stay for some indefinite time. I still have it after 15 weeks PP.
  5. After the nurses and doctors have seen me naked and vulnerable, I lost all the modesty. I wasn’t ashamed of anything anymore.
  6. As soon as the baby is out (actually since the pushing part begins) I started to lose blood. A lot! The bleeding doesn’t stop up until six weeks PP. Some women are lucky and bleed less, some other bleed longer. But you will bleed for sure.
  7. The first time walking from the hospital bed to the shower feels painful and shaky. It might be only five steps but it can feel like hundred meters.
  8. Showering feels actually very good. It might be painful to shower standing. You can ask your partner or a nurse to bring you a chair and put some towels to sit on.
  9. The first-time peeing. Not only pee but also blood and a lot of other weird looking stinky fluid comes out of your precious body. It doesn’t hurt, and the water just comes out without needing to put any pressure. But it can be surprising to see where all those fluids come from. At home, it might be more convenient to pee in the shower and clean yourself with water afterward.
  10. The first-time pooping is scary. The muscles are very sore and because of the pushing work, you will lose sensibility on your back door. This causes that you won’t really feel that you are pooping but you are actually doing it. This sensation (or lack of) can last a couple of days or even weeks. My tip: eat a lot of fiber in order to have a good digestion. And not have any constipation problem.
  11. You won’t be able to control your farts. So yes, the farts will come out without you even noticing. Only the smell will betray you. The smell is worse than when you have a heavy stomach disease. I guess the smell is a combination of blood, poop and your body recovering. This situation can last for weeks. At some point, you will get used to it and let the gas out without apologies.
  12. Sitting down on the bed or on a chair is very painful. If you had an episiotomy it’s going to be even more painful. The pain might take days or even weeks to go away completely.
  13. A couple of hours after giving birth, a nurse will help you to hand express milk for your baby. Because you don’t have any modesty you just let her hand press your tender breasts.
  14. Breastfeeding might be painful in the beginning. You can have blisters and it can get bloody. Everyone will tell you to just hang in there and you will like to punch everyone in the face. But the pain will go away indeed. My tip: shower with warm water and massage your breasts. Before wearing your bra put some Lanolin on your nipples. If you still have a lot of pain, try a nipple shield.
  15. The first days PP you will still feel little contractions every time you are breastfeeding. This is because the uterus is slowly shrinking back down to its pre-birth size.
  16. Breastfeeding is exhausting. The first days, you will need to feed your baby every three to four hours. This is in order to get your production going on. You wake up often because newborns normally sleep just a little. If you are lucky, your baby will sleep longer at night for a couple of days on. I wasn’t so lucky and my baby woke up every three hours (day and night!) to eat until she was around twelve weeks old.
  17. The lack of sleep and the hormones will make you think that you are crazy. You might wake up in the middle of the night and not remember if you already fed your baby or just dreamed it.
  18. Some nights you might be so tired you’ll consider letting your baby cry a little bit longer to wake up feeling like the worst mother in the world. Just remember it’s not you. It’s the lack of sleep talking. Consider asking for help so that you can catch up some sleep during the day.
  19. You will get hot. Not the good looking hot, but the one that makes you wake up in the middle of the night in a pool of sweat.
  20. Your breast might leak while you are sleeping. Since you are already in a pool of sweat why not add more liquids to it, right?
  21. You won’t be able to sleep on your stomach for a couple of days or weeks PP. If (like me) this is what you miss the most while you’re being heavily pregnant, I have bad news. The first days PP it’s very painful to sleep on the stomach due to the engorged breasts. If you continue breastfeeding it stays uncomfortable to sleep on the stomach.
  22. If you got an episiotomy, around the fourth day PP, the stitches will hurt a lot. More than the days before. So much that you will wake up crying thinking that you can’t deal with this anymore. As soon as the stitches start healing they pull the skin together and this feels like a burning sensation. This pain will eventually go away. Make sure you put cold compresses and leave your wound aired.
  23. You might miss your pregnant belly and won’t be able to make the link to the baby and the missing the belly.
  24. You might not miss your pregnant belly and be the happiest person again. And that is totally fine. (My case 😉 )
  25. You might feel depressed and find this is too much for you to handle. This is totally normal. Try to recognize these feelings and ask for professional help.

 

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Picture by Marisa Elisa Photography

This list is made out of my postpartum experience. Remember that this is different for every woman. Don’t be freaked out by my list, but be prepared for some heavy days full of discomfort and pain. After the pain is gone and you can fully enjoy your new family it will feel like it was all worth it.

With Love,

Alisson

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The Benefits​ of Sensory Play

As soon as babies are born, their curiosity starts developing. Every little thing a baby is exposed to is an amazing thing to be explored. With their eyes, ears, mouths, noses, and fingers. There are activities that help develop the senses of a baby. Stimulating a baby is therefore very important. Early stimulation can help improve attention span, memory, curiosity, and nervous system development. The first year of a child is the time when the brain grows the fastest that it ever will.

There are a lot of games and ways you can stimulate your child. You can do it at home or you can join baby lessons where you will learn how to play with your baby. A famous class it’s called Baby Sensory. This programme was founded by UK’s leading parenting expert Dr. Lin Day. The course offers a complete approach to learning and sensory development from birth to 13 months. It is designed to stimulate and educate a child during the first year of life.

During the classes, parents are provided with ideas for creative play, massage, tummy time, and movement in simple ways that can be easily repeated at home. All of the activities are accompanied by music and sensory signing to help develop early speech and language skills. A sensory environment rich in sights, sounds, smells, and textures promote brain growth, increases the capacity for intellectual development and forms the foundation for all future learning. Every week the activities are different. There’s always something new and exciting to look forward to.

This summer I joined the Baby Sensory lessons in Amersfoort. The class is held by Linda Veldman in the south of the city. The lessons start always with a beautiful song called ‘Say hello to the sun’ and follow with different activities. Linda is very sweet and good with parents and babies. The lessons take one hour. During this time, we play, we sing and we discover new sensations. My fifteen-week baby doesn’t make it, to be awake and alert the whole class. At some point during the class, she will feed or nap. And that is ok. Every lesson she is more awake and eager to learn. These classes have helped me to learn how to play with my baby. It also helps me to feel more confident and happy as a parent.

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Father and daughter during a car washing time.

You can join Baby Sensory lessons too! Check here to see where is the closest location to you. If you live in Amersfoort, there are two locations. In de Leusderkwartier and in Vathorst. You can contact Linda for more information at amersfoort@babysensory.nl

With Love,
Alisson

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How I Survived The First Weeks Postpartum

For nine months, I was preparing myself for the big day of giving birth. I went to pregnancy centering, took breathing technique lessons and read about hypnobirthing. One thing I was not prepared for: the postpartum time. I guess I was too relax because in The Netherlands, through your health insurance, you will get a maternity nurse. She will help you the first days after giving birth. The one I got was very kind and helpful. She taught us a lot in terms of how to take care of the baby. Besides checking the health of the baby, she was also checking my health and my recovery process.

Apart from the help of the nurse, here are some things that helped me to have a gentle ease into motherhood:

1. Let your partner take the first two weeks off (or longer).
You probably heard it before, every labor is different. But there is one thing ALL labors have in common. You end up feeling tired, weak and exhausted. On top of that, because of the episiotomy I got during my labor (Ouch!), It took me weeks to be able to stand, walk and sit again. Making me feel a little bit handicapped. Which means, my partner was full-time helping me. Our routine was like this: when the baby woke up, my partner would wake up too, take the baby and bring her to my side. I would breastfeed her on one breast. Then my partner would take her again, change her diaper and give her back to me to breastfeed her on the other breast. When she was done, he would put her back in to her crib. We worked like this until one and a half weeks. After that, I was feeling stronger and was able to walk and grab the baby myself. My partner was still helping me a lot during the first four weeks.

2. Rent/lend a double pump.
While I was pregnant, I decided that I wanted to exclusively breastfeed my baby. I was lucky that she latched well since the beginning. I was only having trouble with my milk supply. Around five days postpartum, I rented a double pump and under the advice of a lactation expert, I was pumping every three to four hours to stimulate my milk production. The double pump was great because it saved me a lot of time. After two days of intense pumping, my milk supply was increasing and I went back to live feeding my baby. After that, I kept a single pump that I still use to extract milk when I want to have some time off from live feeding.

3. Wear sanitary pads and comfy undies made of cotton.
Right after birth, the bleeding starts and it seems to have no end. During the first days post-partum, I was using pads made of organic cotton and zero plastic. For me, it was the best due to the episiotomy. The stitches felt very painful. The cotton pads helped with the air circulation down there, so the healing process was going well. I was lucky I didn’t get any infection. After a couple of weeks of bleeding, when I realized that it was not going to stop soon, I bought washable sanitary pads. They are very soft and easy to use and wash. I liked them because the blood doesn’t stink as much as with disposable pads. Through the whole time (and still now) I wear organic cotton underwear from Organic Basics.

4. Have family close to you.

I considered myself lucky. Five days after my baby was born my mom came all the way from Colombia to The Netherlands. She stayed with us for two months. Her help was amazing. She not only took care of my baby, she also cared for me and my partner. The first weeks post-partum are very intense and I was in a lot of pain. My mother would help me to take care of my baby so that I could rest. This really helped me to heal and feel better within weeks.

5. Eat healthy, every meal.
Due to the help of my mother I was able to eat healthy in the morning, at lunch and for dinner. I was also having a lot of snacks due to the breastfeeding hunger. The days before my mother was with us, we had someone of my partner’s family cooking for us. Every day someone else. They cooked bigger portions so that my partner and I could eat the leftovers the next day for lunch.

6. Shower every day.
This point seems obvious but I have to mention it because this really helped me to feel good. As soon as the baby went to sleep I would walk to the shower and have a moment for myself. After that, I felt like a person again instead of a living zombie.

7. Wear comfortable clothes.
For me, comfort was more important than anything else. During the first weeks, I mostly wore leggings, big comfy sweaters, and socks. The first week was very painful. The comfy clothes helped me to feel a little bit better.

8. Have as less visit as possible.
This might sound anti-social but I was glad we didn’t get any visit except for close family during the first weeks. My baby was having a routine every three hours. First, change the diaper, then feed her, then she would go to sleep and in two hours it would start again. My partner and I were full-time busy with our baby. Every hour we could get ‘off’ we would rather rest. Of course, grandma, grandad, aunts, and uncle were welcome but no one else. This was really relaxed for us. After a month when I was feeling better and able to walk and sit, we started having more people around.

9. Stayed away from social media.
The first four weeks after birth, I didn’t check any of my social media channels. While I was very happy that everything went ok, I was also very tired and exhausted. I consciously didn’t want to be on social media seeing how amazing everyone’s lives where, while I was in pain and feeling handicapped, laying on my bed. This ‘digital detox’ helped me to focus on my baby and live in the present.

Giving birth was the most bizarre experience of my life. All of a sudden there was a tiny new person with us and all we wanted to do was taking care of her.
The days after giving birth were very painful to me. I felt muscle pain everywhere, I had pain in the stitches, pain in my breasts and felt very uncomfortable on my back door. I have to admit that due to the pain, I felt that I wasn’t able to enjoy my baby the first days. But I had the best of the supports. My partner and my mother (and the kraamzoorg). They made the first days easy for me. As soon as I was able to walk and bend over to grab my baby, I started to enjoy more of this rollercoaster of having a newborn.

Picture by Marisa Elisa Photography

I hope these tips help you to have an easy start to motherhood.
Are there any tips I am missing? Let me know in the comments below.

With Love,

Alisson

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Another Dutchie Thing: Geboortekaartjes

Geboortekaartjes. A Dutch tradition of which I thought it was weird and unnecessary. A waste of paper. I even made fun of it on this blog post, I’m sorry. I could never understand or care about this ‘sending cards’. I didn’t grow up with that. Even when I was pregnant in The Netherlands and I actually had to start thinking of this, I was against it.
But one day, when I was six months pregnant, my partner and I visited my mother-in-law for a coffee. Chatting with her I found out that she collected all the birth cards she ever received from her friends and family, included her first two grandchildren. ‘how can I miss a card from Luna?’ Not only her collection was important, also the tradition of presenting the baby with a postcard is very important, she told me. It’s also a nice way to keep contact with family members you otherwise don’t have contact with at all.

It was after that visit that I decided to join the tradition of sending birth cards. One thing I was clear about, it needed to be simple and super easy to do. That is when I found Hip Design.

Hip Design has different categories with hundreds of different cards. It also has the possibility of uploading your own design. From the category ‘geboortekaartjes’, my partner and I decided to go for a minimalistic card for baby Luna. We chose a simple template and we adjusted the colors, the font, and the size. On this website, it’s very easy to edit the cards. User friendly approved. When we finished our first draft we ordered a ‘proefdruk’. We received that with samples of colors for the envelopes and the kind of papers for the card.

After some corrections, we were happy with the end result.

This is how our card looks like:

Baby Birth Announcement
Picture by Marisa Elisa Photography

We opt to send it in a lilac envelope. Once Luna was born, my partner took care of all the arrangements and sent the cards to his (our) family. I took advantage and also sent some cards to my friends in Germany. Unfortunately, the delivery service to Colombia is really bad. Otherwise, I would have sent some to my family as well.

Even before we sent Luna’s birth cards, we received a lot of cards from family and friends expressing their congratulations. This felt very special. I have to admit that I liked to receive beautiful messages in the form of cards. I’m glad I joined the tradition.

How did you like this tradition? Let me know in the comments below.

With Love,
Alisson

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LIFE LESSONS I LEARNED DURING MY PREGNANCY

It took me some time to accept my pregnancy. I wasn’t prepared for the changes to come, and deep inside I didn’t want anything to change. I had no other choice but to give in. Fast. Nature gives me only nine months to prepare for everything that’s about to come. From the beginning, I knew that it was going to be hard. But now at the 38th week of my pregnancy, I am surprised about how much positive things I have learned about myself and my body. What I didn’t expect was how much this change would open up my eyes to other aspects of life.

All the time I was neglecting my pregnancy I was assuming that only the worst things were going to happen. It took me some mind training and a lot of conversations to realize that it can go well as well. Getting pregnant unexpected can be fulfilling, enlightening and empowering too. It may be the hormones, but I am almost sure it was my mindset. The mind has the ability to make us go crazy but it also has the ability to make us feel better. It’s not easy, but I have learned that it’s better to let the negative thoughts go and to adopt a positive attitude. And more important: to live in the present. This has made me a better person, hopefully 🙂

I still have a lot to learn, but I thought it may be nice to share the things that pregnancy has taught me about life.

1. Inhale, exhale. Everything is OK. Even when it doesn’t feel like it.
The hardest part of my unplanned pregnancy was the strong grip of fear, doubt, and resistance for what was happening. Slowly, I have been learning to be more aware what is really going on, and that self-doubt clouds my judgment, suffocating me. Even the worst situations can turn into a better one by changing the perspective. Our minds are used to think the worst of everything instead of the best. We are pessimistic by default. Now I am finally aware of this, I find it easier to change the perspective of situations. I start to embrace my pregnancy.

2. Learn to listen to my body.
During my pregnancy, it was the first time I paid attention to my body’s needs. I used to work over-hours and skip lunches or any other meals. I never slept long and if I did, I felt guilty about it. Now I learned to listen to my body. I take the time to rest and eat and I stop when I am tired. The physical changes play a very important role here. The bigger I was growing, the less I could do. But the less I cared about that. I learned to care less when I didn’t make it to answer emails or to clean the kitchen.

3. Say no without feeling guilty.
I used to be one of those girls who says yes while my head is telling me no. I found it very hard to say no to a boss, to neglect an event I didn’t want to attend or to refuse a phone call… Now I don’t have the energy to spill it, so I have learned to choose well what I really want to do and kindly refuse what I don’t want to do. These choices led me to a happier life. I know I am not the only one here. We are not used to protecting ourselves and set boundaries.

4. Do nothing and enjoy it.
We live in a world where we always need to be doing something productive. When we meet family and friends we only discuss how well we are doing our work and how it goes financially. For me, it was very hard to go back to be a ‘kid’ and lay down on the sofa for half a day and listen to music. Or even take a nap. I was a victim of this generations motto and blamed myself for wasting my time while not being productive. Now I feel good and take more time to rest during the day. Paradoxically this gives me more energy to continue doing my things with a more positive attitude.

5. Let go of control.
This has been the biggest lesson I have learned during the pregnancy. It also has a lot to do with physical changes. I used to plan my to-do list every morning and be very strict with it. Even if it was late in the day, I had to finish the list. Since the pregnancy, I can never predict how I’m going to feel. I might wake up feeling good and energetic, but suddenly get heavy heart palpitations which tell me that I have to stop everything and lay down. That makes all my plans go away for the rest of the day. Well, tomorrow is another day. This mantra helped me to get through the first times that I had to stop what I was doing and just rest. These situations have taught me that I don’t have to control every little thing. This is a lesson I’m continuing to learn and re-learn.

I know I’m going to learn even more lessons once the baby comes. For now, I’m grateful for what I’ve learned already, and I can’t wait to see what comes next.

Picture by Marisa Elisa Photography

With Love,

Alisson

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EEN IETS DUURZAMER KRAAMPAKKET

Giving birth in The Netherlands is totally different than in Colombia, where I am from. Starting with the fact that the pregnancy gets followed by a midwife, instead of a doctor. Another new thing for me is ‘kraamzorg’. A kraamzorg carer is a person that helps the midwife during the labor. After the baby is born, she will keep on visiting your house for a week to look after you and your baby and to teach you and your partner how to care for your newborn. With kraamzorg also comes a ‘kraampakket’. I needed to make sure that I would receive a kraampakket before the day of birth. A kraampakket is a maternity package that contains all the necessary products that the midwife and assistant will use when they take care of the mother and baby during delivery, birth and the first week after that. It is very common here in The Netherlands to give birth at home, and therefore the insurance gives you all the products of the kraampakket. You will need this in case you give birth at home.

Depending on which insurance you have, you will get the maternity package for free. Lucky for me, I didn’t get it for free. I say lucky because when I checked what the package contains, most of the products from the insurance are not eco-friendly or organic. After doing some research, I decided to gather all the products myself so they would be a little bit more natural and organic. Next to the kraampakket I added some extra products for the baby that I will need. Those things are not necessarily for the giving birth process, but to use afterward. Here are the products I gathered:

Duurzaame kraampakket

This package contains:

  • Sanitary pads from the brand Yoni made of 100% organic cotton. It has no plastics or perfumes.
  • Cotton pads made of 100% organic cotton.
  • Large mats made of 100% ecological filling and they are biodegradable. These mats are to protect the matress before and after giving birth.
  • Belly button lace made of 100% cotton from the brand Nobamed. This lace is an alternative to the plastic navel clip.
  • Sterile wound compresses from the brand Nobamed.
  • Washable post-partum slips from the brand Carriwell. These are to ensure that all the bandage down there does not shift and can be hygienically worn.
  • Diaper cream, nurturing cream and milky bad oil from the brand Naif. Naïf skincare products are vegan, cruelty-free and made from natural oils.
  • Organic cold-pressed shea butter from the brand Zoya Goes Pretty. This product is to prevent cracked nipples.
  • Washing nuts and liquid from Seepje. This detergent is made from nuts that contain a natural form of soap called saponin. The natural soap gets released with the contact of water. Seepje is hypoallergenic and chemical free. The liquid version of Seepje is made from powdered nuts. The packaging is made from old milk bottles from England.
  • Organic alcohol.
  • Organic healing wool from the brand Popolini. This wool is to repair damaged skin for the baby and the mother.
  • Organic and chemical-free diapers and wipes from LILLYDOO. These products are chemical-free. The wipes are compostable. (Note: I am planning to use disposable diapers during the first days or weeks. After that I will use washable cloth diapers.)
  • Organic and fairtrade baby castille soap and liquid soap from the brand Dr. Bronner via biggreensmile.com. These soaps are made from extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, jojoba oil, hemp oil and pure essential oils. There are no perfumes or other additives so that’s good for sensitive skin.

 

With Love,
Alisson

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THE BABY STROLLER MADE FROM RECYCLED PLASTIC BOTTLES

Looking for the right stroller can be very tiring while pregnant. There are so many different types, models, and colors. On top of that, every brand claims to make the best stroller ever. During my search, the only thing I was clear about, is that I wanted a stroller as sustainable as possible. In my research, I found a Dutch company that makes green strollers in a circular way: Greentom. The designer Bart Bost is the man behind Greentom. He makes strollers from almost one hundred percent recycled materials. Their mission is to design, develop and produce smart and sustainable products that make the world a little bit greener. For their strollers, they use recycled plastic bottles. This helps because the waste does not end up in our rivers, oceans, on our beaches or in landfills. At the end of its lifecycle, all of the Greentom products can be reused or recycled.

I wanted to give it a try and got the Carrycot model in color beige, with the frame in white. As soon as I got it, my husband and I were curious about it and started putting it together. The stroller was to ensemble very quick and easy. It feels lightweight and rides very smooth. I like it that the stroller grows up with the baby. When the Carrycot gets too small (or de the baby too big), I can use the reversible version. The frame stays the same, you only need to get the extra reversible or the classic chassis. These you can use the rest of the stroller time.

Greentom is the proof that circular products can be beautiful and timeless. You can use smart, cool and functional green products and make a difference.

I took my Carrycot stroller for a test ride. I can’t wait to start using it for real when the baby is born!

Picture by Marisa Elisa Photography
Picture by Marisa Elisa Photography
Picture by Marisa Elisa Photography

Discover more about the world of Greentom here: https://www.greentom.com/nl/

With Love,
Alisson

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13 THINGS I DIDN’T EXPECT WHILE EXPECTING

As you might know, I was unexpectedly pregnant and not busy at all with anything that has to do with the topic. The information I had about pregnancy came from movies, series and some women who shared their experience with me. I thought I knew what to expect: tiredness, vomiting and feeling nausea. I survived the first 27 weeks and realized that there were many things I didn’t know. Every single woman has different experiences but here are a few of the things I’ve learned from my own pregnancy.

It took me some time to accept this pregnancy and to go through my first weeks. Forget everything you have seen in movies. This is how it really feels:

1. The pregnancy test is positive, let’s call the doctor!
Wrong! I live in The Netherlands, where pregnancy is followed by midwives. The chances that you will see a doctor are very little. The first thing you have to do when a pregnancy test is positive is to call your midwife. Don’t feel surprised when you get your next appointment in at least four more weeks! They will first want to see you when you are 8+ weeks pregnant. And remember: you are pregnant from the first day of your last period. Make sure you have your agenda with you when you do the phone call.

2. If everything is alright, you will only have one sonogram per trimester.
If you are as naive as me and think you will get a sonogram every month, you are wrong. If everything is ok you will only get one per trimester plus the one at 8 weeks. In total, you will have one sonogram at 8 weeks, at 20 weeks, at 30+ and one close to the due date to see if the baby is positioned well.

3. Your belly is not growing but your hips and butt are.
Say goodbye to your normal jeans and say hello to: leggings? Well yes. You will be too big for your normal clothes, but too thin for maternity clothes. Much of the first trimester is a strange experience. You know that you are pregnant, but you don’t feel pregnant.

4. From one day to the other you will turn into a dog
Oh, all those smells you didn’t mind before, you do mind now. A lot. I couldn’t stand the smell of onion, red bell pepper, my kitchen, my bathroom, dirty clothes, the sink…

5. Morning sickness or better yet all-day-sickness
From the moment you wake up until the moment you go to sleep you might feel nausea and disgusted by food. I couldn’t eat anything until 4-5 pm. Besides dry crackers, everything else made me want to throw up. This feeling started to disappear from the 14th week on.

6. You will forget what it’s like to eat normal food again
Crazy cravings are something inevitable. But for me, rather than cravings, I got into a fight with some ingredients. I couldn’t see or smell onions, leeks, red bell pepper or spinach. As a vegan, it was hard sometimes to cook without those ingredients. Luckily my partner did all the cooking because I felt too nauseated to cook.

7. Your breasts will get bigger
Or not, like mine. My boobs haven’t got any bigger and there’s a big chance that it’s going to stay that way. For my mother, it was the same, but she was still able to breastfeed three beautiful daughters. It’s really true that not all women are the same.

8. The pregnancy glow
Before looking pretty and radiant you might look ugly and tired. During the first 20 weeks of pregnancy my skin started to change, I had more freckles than before, my scalp began to get dry and my hair began to fall off, which gave me empty spots in my scalp. Luckily now, after 27 weeks all those things disappeared. I wouldn’t consider that I glow, but I don’t have those symptoms which made me feel “ugly” anymore.

9. The tiredness is real
Your new bestie is your bed. You will spend the whole day dreaming about when you will get to lie your head on your pillow again. Some days I could sleep all day, wake up to eat and go back and rest again. You will feel bad – when your husband has been neglected. You get over it quickly and then get kind of mad that he doesn’t have to feel like a big piece of poop like you. Totally unfair. This feeling of being tired all the time disappeared when I was around week 14. Slowly it started to come back at week 16 and it keeps on during my pregnancy so far.

10. Sleep on your belly while you still can
From week 20+ it starts to get challenging to sleep. You can only sleep on your right side, and you will constantly wake up to go to the bathroom. By week 25 it gets really difficult for me to sleep comfortably without waking up in the middle of the night to find a comfortable position. On my right side I get heartburn and on my back, I can’t breath good. The only side I can sleep on is the right one. Just the one side I was not used to.

11. Say goodbye to the morning sickness, say hello to more discomfort
As soon as you start to feel better about the morning sickness, other discomforts may appear. For me, I felt good for about one week and then some pains started to come up. The body is constantly changing and adjusting to the new life you are creating. For me, it started with heavy migraines. From one day to the other I had a very bad headache that turned into a migraine. It lasted two days and went away. Then a lower back pain and pelvic pain followed. Some days it was heavier than others. It lasted a couple of weeks but it eventually went away. Suddenly I started having heartburn. That is a burning sensation in your chest after you eat. It’s caused by the hormonal and physical changes that happen in your body. This symptom disappeared after a couple of times. Since the beginning of the pregnancy I was having bladder control problems, but since week 24 it got worse. I might need to do some pelvic exercises to get back my control. Since my body is making extra blood from week 20, I started to have heart palpitations. This extra blood results in a heart rate that’s about 25 percent faster than usual. This feels like your heart is beating extremely fast. Heart palpitations can be normal and nonharmful during pregnancy. When I feel it, I have to sit down, breath and wait for it to pass. The latest discomforts I have are leg cramps, thanks to my growing belly and the pressure from my growing uterus. All these discomforts are for a good cause. But we are still allowed to joke about it right?

12. From one day to the other your belly will grow
I spend the first 5 months waiting for the belly to start showing. Sometimes it got a little bit awkward because people started wondering if I was really pregnant. When someone asked how the baby was doing, I felt insecure because the belly was still small. As if something was wrong with the baby. Suddenly between week 24 and 25, my belly started to show. But it wasn’t until week 27 that you could really see the belly very well. Some women have big bellies, some small, but the size has nothing to do with the health of the baby. This was my mantra to avoid feeling bad when someone had a negative comment on my small bump.

13. You will question everything
The voice in your head can make you crazy. Suddenly from the second semester on, I developed a little voice in my head, suggesting that I was doing everything wrong and probably was killing my baby. You start questioning everything you do, from the way you sleep to what you eat and so on. I am a little bit controlling so maybe this symptom was bound to be worse for me. My Google searches showed me that it’s clear that many women are asking the same questions: “Is it okay to do this? Is it bad to drink that?”. The best thing to do is to let go and trust that everything is alright. Because most of the times, EVERYTHING IS ALRIGHT.

 

Being pregnant is a miracle. The female body is a miracle. To be able to grow a life inside is almost surreal. Even though being pregnant has been tiring for me,  I try to celebrate the good things and not to focus on these annoying symptoms. So, my dear fellow pregnant friends, let’s all relax and enjoy this moment. (I’m saying this now because I had a good night of sleep. Tomorrow I might feel annoyed by my own advice).

With love,

Alisson

 

More pregnancy topics:
Flying while pregnant tips
Perfect outfit for a growing belly
Unexpectedly expecting

 


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TIPS FOR FLYING WHILE BEING PREGNANT

Flying while pregnant might feel a little bit scary. Some women have to travel for business, some other for pleasure. In my case, I wanted to travel to my hometown in Colombia to visit my family and spend Christmas together. I am currently living in The Netherlands and had to take an intercontinental flight to visit my family. Luckily I was well prepared and now I want to share my tips with you.

1. Get a pregnancy statement from your midwife or doctor.
Most of the airlines will allow you to fly up to week 34 of the pregnancy. Before that time you will need a recent pregnancy statement with information about the due date and any complication. Regulations differ from one airline to the other, always check before you travel. Two days before the flight, I went to my midwife and had a regular control. There I got the pregnancy statement free of charge. I am currently at the end of my second trimester of pregnancy, which is the best time to travel. I was 26 weeks on the day of my flight.

2. Wear comfortable clothes.
The best thing to do is to wear separate pieces of clothes. Forget about jumpsuits and overalls. Wear instead leggings and a big sweater, or a dress. You will be going to the bathroom more often and you need easy clothes to make the process less annoying. Bring some extra clothes in your carry on bag for when it get’s cold in the airplane. During my trip, I wore a legging with a big sweater. Under the sweater, I wore a spaghetti top. As extra layer, I had a basic long shirt for the cold and a thin blouse for when we arrived. We flew from Madrid to Bogota and the difference in temperature was very big.

3. Wear long socks.
Long socks help you against swelling and aching legs. Best is if the socks are a little bit tight, to keep the blood flowing. During the flight, I only wore one pair of socks, but I had an extra pair of thick socks just in case it got cold.

4. Wear easy to take off shoes.
Comfortable shoes are a must. The best is if the shoes have no laces but expandable elastic panels. It is very common for the feet to swell. Elastic shoes makes it comfortable for you to survive the pit stops to the toilet. Every time I went to the toilet I put my shoes on and when I came back I left them under my seat. If you don´t have this type of shoes, you can wear your regular shoes but bring a pair of slippers to wear around the cabin.

5. Choose a seat in the aisle.
Since you will be standing up more often than normal, it´s better to have a seat in the aisle. For me, it didn´t matter much because I was sitting next to my husband and he didn’t mind standing up every time I needed to go out. It helped him to do some stretching. But if you are travelling alone, it’s better to sit in the aisle. I personally don’t like to sit close to the bathrooms because of the smell. Since the pregnancy, I have turned into a dog. I can smell everything very well. This time I chose a chair far from the toilet. That way I was able to walk a little bit and do some stretching.

6. Walk and stretch frequently.
It is important to walk and stretch in the cabin every one to two hours. Even if you don’t need to go to the bathroom, you should get up or do some stretching while sitting. Sitting for long periods of time can make your feet and ankles swell and your legs cramp. Take off your shoes and elevate your legs by resting your feet on your bag under the seat in front of you. If the seat next to you is empty, put your feet up on it. Pregnancy makes you more susceptible to thrombosis and varicose veins. It’s important to keep your blood circulating. When you are walking make sure you sit down as soon as there’s a whiff of air turbulence and while sited always keep your seat belt fastened under your belly and low on your hips.

7. Drink plenty of water.
The air of the cabin is dry, it’s important to keep yourself hydrated and drink as much as possible: only water. Try to avoid coffee, tea, and carbonated drinks.

8. Bring enough snacks for the flight.
Pregnancy can make you more hungry than you were before. During a long flight, you will get enough food, but in my experience, it’s not enough for pregnant women. The same morning of the flight, I stopped at the supermarket in the airport of Amsterdam and bought snacks for the flight. Remember that you can’t bring any liquid. Choose solid foods like nuts, wraps, sandwiches, cake, and bread. You can store the food in your carry on bag and have it always with you.

9. Spend the night in a hotel before.
If your flight is early in the morning and you need to be at the airport before dawn, the best is to spend the night in a hotel close by the airport (unless you have someone to bring you at that time). This was my first time to spend the night before in a hotel, and I found it very relaxed. I was able to sleep  longer than if I would have slept at home. The hotel offered us a ride to the airport that only took 10 minutes. I felt good to starting the long trip in a relaxed way.

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Sit back, relax and enjoy your flight! I hope these tips help you to have a smooth flight while being pregnant. Do you have any tips? Let me know in the comments below.

With Love,

Alisson

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OUTFIT: PERFECT FOR A GROWING BELLY

Dungarees are perfect for a growing belly. They are practical, comfortable, stylish and versatile. Last summer, I was lucky enough to score a second-hand denim overalls at a vintage market in Amersfoort. As my belly begin to grow, I have put them back in my closet and now wear them almost daily. When I wear it, I simply adjust the straps to my comfort and voila! This is my favorite piece of clothes at the moment, I have been wearing it since week 15 and hope to still wear a couple of weeks more.

On these series of pictures, I show you how I style the dungarees in two different outfits. The pictures were made in Amersfoort by the photographer Mitchel Lensink.


What I´m wearing:
Dungarees // Blur goes vintage market in Amersfoort
Sweater // Second-lifestyle Amersfoort (second-hand shop)
Shoes // Pinatex via En& vegan webshop
Beanie // Vintage kilo-shop in Paris

 

What I´m wearing:
Dungarees // Blur goes vintage market in Amersfoort
Sweater and bag // Kringloop Amersfoort
Shoes // Pinatex via En& vegan webshop
Sunglasses // Unicenter market in Cologne

P.S.: I made a Pinterest board where I gathered my favorite pregnancy styles. Check it out for more maternity outfits ideas.

With Love,
Alisson

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