Sustainable survival tips for wellbeing and pregnancy.
I made it through the second trimester, and with a handful of weeks to go I’m wondering how I managed to lose the last few months in the blink of an eye. Everyone says ‘It’ll go so fast’, but it’s true!
A couple of weeks ago I hit the sleep wall. So many people suffer with sleep and I am by no means an insomniac. Once i’m comfortable, i’m off, but what with a dodgy shoulder from bag-making dedication, and the growing tum (not to mention all the aches and pains that accompany it) things have been a little tricker than usual.
There are some nights I remember wondering if i’ll ever manage to stockpile on sleep before the baby arrives, and some days when I questioned whether my body even belongs to me anymore.
Not one for for buying in to novelty products, I set out to find some simpler ways to survive the second trimester. If you’re not expecting, you could use these ideas to aid your general wellbeing, to help with picking some extra zz’s or boost your feel-good factor.
1. Pillow talk
Pillows are so important. I’ve had alll kinds of back/shoulder/neck issues, so I’ve tried them all. When it came to getting a pregnancy pillow for supporting the back and tum, I took my sweet time to make my choice. I landed on a bean-filled soft jersey curved pillow for Jojo Maman Bebe. The bean filling means that it holds a stiff shape once you’re cosied in, and it doubles up as a feeding support pillow once the babe is here. What’s more, Jojo hold great ethics in terms of their contribution to sustainability. It’s worth taking a look at their ‘From a Mother to Another, clothing recycling initiative’ which donates good quality children's clothing to those in need throughout the UK and abroad.
I’ve also been using ‘This Works’ sleep spray on my pillow for 3 years. Whenever I feel like I need a really deep restful sleep I spritz a bit of this natural mist on my linen and breathe it in. Honestly, it works!
2. Get comfy
It got to about week 25 and I realised even my biggest pair of PJs no longer fit the bill. My husband bought me some big, soft and cosy organic cotton PJ’s from People Tree and I haven't taken them off. Those, combined with an ace pair of slippers is all you need to feel comfy and calm before bed.
3. Make your bed your sanctuary
I’ve really focussed on making my bed a fresh and calm space to be. I love our bedroom, it’s so bright and for want of a better word, empty! It’s exactly what I need when it comes to waking up well, too. I recently made a patchwork quilt from all of the linen offcuts I had in my fabric box. I patched them together and stitched them on to a summer weight duvet. I love it when a sporadic project comes together from materials I can find at home.
I’ve also been cosying up with my new Hope and Fortune Quilt. I say ‘my’ new quilt - it’s supposed to be for the baby. I can’t help myself! It’s so soft and has a beautiful quality to to the fabric. The layers of organic, unbleached herringbone weave muslin have stayed so soft and now it smells like home too. Other than being a beautiful product, there are so many more reasons to invest. When you buy a blanket, 5% of every sale goes to charities and projects that focus on protecting women, children and tackling exploitation. Hope & Fortune have also recently partnered up with http://www.edukid.org.uk/. This charity work in Uganda, Cambodia and Palestine, sponsoring and educating children affected by long periods of conflict and civil war. Their first batch of blankets left for Uganda 2 weeks ago and they will be given to the babies in the families who are being supported. I think that’s a fairly fantastic reason to get involved!
4. Choose some nurturing bedtime reading
I’ve always been a crime thriller kinda gal, but it turns out that winding yourself right up on murder mystery before bed is enough to induce insomnia. I’ve been reading some more factual stuff instead recently and giving myself some positive stuff to think about as I drift off. Currently, I’m halfway through the amazing ‘How to grow a baby (and push it out)’ by Clemmie Hooper AKA @mother_of_daughters. If you’re expecting, no matter what stage in your pregnancy I would highly recommend. It’s no-nonsense and easy to read, unlike a lot of other preggo info books!
If you’re not expecting, then I would still recommend reading something less dramatic. My husband reads up on anything from living like a monk, to the best way to chop a log! And that guy could sleep on a washing line.
5. Start and end your day well.
One of my pals said to me recently that they start the day with fibre no matter what. This is for obvious reasons (that I won’t go into!) but also to encourage them to eat well from the get go. I swear this baby takes EVERYTHING overnight because I always wake up starving. I’m a real breakfast woman anyway, but these days it’s getting real. I’ve been trying to calm myself down and make good choices. It started with fruit on my cereal, and has now adapted to oat milk, superfoods and vitamins to start the day.
And to finish? If you haven’t tried it, then Clipper ‘Snore and Peace’ is the one! I gulp down a small mug of this herbal dream before I read, and before I know it my book is on my face. It’s not too heavily flavoured or scented and you can get two mugs from one (unbleached and biodegrabale) Chamomile, Lemon Balm & Lavender bag! I’m considering buying in bulk.
6. Introduce some positive thoughts.
There’s nothing worse than spending your day and night worrying about things you can’t control. My wonderful friend bought me the ‘Yesmum’ positive affirmation cards, really early on in my pregnancy. I’m so grateful to her for this gift. Everyday, normally over dinner, I take a new card from the back of the stack and remind myself that i’ve got this, and it’s all going to be ok! My good friend Annie Dornan-Smith also makes the most beautiful positive affirmation prints. It’s great to have a visual in your home, to lift you up each day, go take a look at her gorgeous botanical pick me ups!
7. Bath like you’ve never bathed before.
Baths are so good for relaxation and circulation, and they force you to take a break. I have three key products that I use when I’m in the bath.
- Neals Yard mothers bath oil to soothe and nourish my stretched tum!
- My Hobo soy candle collab in fig and cassis. I’ve been dragging this one out for ages and i’ll be so sad when it’s all used up.
- And a Herbivore lip scrub. Since being pregnant my lips have been so dry! This stuff is amazing and smells incredible!
Hydration is key people! Never have I been so thirsty in all of my life! I’ve had this BKR bottle for about 2 years now and I have to say it is a lifesaver. BKR are BPA free and weirdly my fave thing about them is their signature small mouth. It makes gulping without spilling a whole lot easier!
9. Get some exercise
We all know that exercise tires us out! It’s tricky when you’re preggo, because suddenly, your body doesn’t do what it used to, and you’ve got another person to think about jiggling around in there! I’ve taken up as many low impact blood-pumping activities as I can, and I get outside for a ramble whenever I can. If you don’t do much exercise, then this is a good way to start!
Pilates - I’ve joined a weekly pilates class. It’s specifically for Pregnancy, but I would highly recommend ANYONE giving Pilates a go. I’ve always been a yoga gal, and saw Pilates as too low impact, but i’ve noticed improvements to my posture and a dulling of any existing aches and pains.
Walking - I walk everywhere I can and always have. I think it’s a bit of an addiction, but getting outside, or making a trip to the woods or the beach for a ramble will do you the world of good!
Aquanatal - I go to a hilarious weekly Aquanatal class. Being in the pool makes me feel like less of a hippo. I’m always amazed at how tired I am when I get out of the pool. Swimming is fab for circulation too. Get in the pool, or better, the sea!
10. Relax. Taking time to chill, and do nothing (actually nothing), can be so good for your wellbeing. I used to find this so hard, but recently i’ve discovered relaxation tracks and it’s been amazing!
Remember, everyone goes through phases of feeling a bit off-piste. All it takes a few little changes and you can steer yourself back on track. You got this!