Thirty-eight weeks today. It doesn’t seem real, while at the same time it definitely feels like the pregnancy should be over and done with. This last month has been the most challenging and the most incredible period of time for so many different (and completely […]
It is almost unbelievable to me that we are all now in the year that my son is to be born. I know that that is making the new year all about me, but for the moment, the imminent arrival of our little man is my world, my everything, my every waking moment.
On the nights of both the 29th and the 30th of December, out of nowhere and at the same time each of the nights, I was experiencing insanely powerful and almost unbearable stabs of pain in my left ovary. The pain shot down into my pelvis and all the way down my left leg until it reached my toes. The pain was akin to what I felt last year when I had a cyst on my right ovary that then haemorrhaged (when I went to emergency when that happened, the nurse said that the pain I was experiencing was the closest comparison to childbirth that they have been able to make). The first night it happened, I didn’t think too much of it – I knew that it meant that I had reached some new phase in the pregnancy (even though I had no idea what was causing the pain), and with the pain so similar to what I had felt the year before I found myself wondering, “Am I in labour?”
I breathed through the pain and about four hours of Bub moving really intensely, everything started to calm down. The following night at around the same time, the very same pains and rapid movements came flooding back – but this time, it was even more full on. My pain threshold has always been good, really good actually, but the pain was so severe that I yelled out in pain with each wave of it and then burst into tears. I managed to remain calm and breathe, but it was absolutely excruciating. I called mum and described the pain to her and she said that it wasn’t anything that she had ever experienced which, you know, made me feel just SO confident and fine and not at all concerned..
Once again, after about four hours and fifty-six different positions, Bub finally settled down and I was able to get to sleep. The next morning was New Years Eve and as soon as I woke up, the discomfort woke with me. Before Pete and I made the trek down to Clarke’s Point to settle in for the long wait for the fireworks, I called the birth unit at RNSH and told them about the pain I had been experiencing and described Bub’s change of movements. We got called into hospital.
Long story short, everything is fine – actually, better than fine. His movements were measured against his heart rate for about an hour and then the doctor came to give me an all-over check. The pain that I had experienced and the two nights of extreme movement was Bub getting into position to be born. His head is now fully engaged in my cervix, he is ready to be born. The movements are feeling more powerful and painful simply because of how strong he is and because of the different position he is in now they felt extremely foreign. The pain that I was feeling my ovary were his little fists and elbows ferociously punching my ligaments, muscles and nerves which is why I felt it all the way down my leg and in my groin. All very normal we were told. On top of that, to help him get into position I was experiencing waves of Braxton Hicks contractions and breathing into the pain actually allowed him to move. It was my first foray into what labour is going to be like and I tell you what – I am so fucking excited for it.
The new kinds of movements have been so exciting, the pain has been exhilarating in its own way and this whole new stage, the final stage, is the most fun, educational and magical time of my life so far. I also need to mention how amazing Pete has been throughout all of this. I may be the oblivious new mama, but he is just as oblivious. He is the oblivious new papa. Considering that he has never been through this before, absolutely everything that he has done over the past week has been absolutely perfect. He has allowed me to deal with my pain however I need to, helping me when I require it. He has reassured me that he is right there with me. When the discomfort has become too much he has lay next to me and rubbed my belly lightly, whispering to our son (more like pleading with him to let me relax). He sat with me patiently at hospital and always has the aircon on at home. Pete has been the most supportive, loving and understanding partner throughout this whole process and I could not be more grateful, nor more excited to see him as the beautiful father he was always going to be.
I feel that I have spoken about 2018 enough. Most of you can gather that it was a tough one – and it was so for a lot of people. It was a big year that was full of unexpected happenings and transformation. For me, this year has taught me more than I ever envisioned. I have been taught patience and trust, surrender and understanding. Last year I grieved the loss of a child and the loss of my sister-in-law. Last year I met my soul sister and watched her walk down the aisle. Last year I made two of the best friends I have ever made after landing the job I have been working towards my entire life. Last year I met my soul mate and he gave me the greatest gifts of all – love, understanding, laughter, some amazing bottles of whiskey and the gift of our beautiful, healthy, charismatic, adorable son.
Although we are only three days into this new year, for Pete and I they have already been three of the most wonderful days. Each and every day is different in our home and I have come to love that about our little family – him, me, our one-eyed cat, our goof of a dog and our over-active child who it seems cannot wait to escape my womb. This year has already brought its challenges too. Today is the first official day of my maternity leave and I feel way out of my depth and lost. I have had no motivation to write and what has taken its place is the pressure to write. When I was still working full-time, creating this website and filling it with content was such a pleasure, it was and remains my absolute world.. but now that I am without an income, it is so much more than that. I so desperately want The (Oblivious) New Mama to be everything that I have been envisioning over the past few months, and that in itself has been dangerous thinking because all of a sudden I’m not writing for pleasure or for my love of it, I am writing it with expectation. No, no, no. I have been working all day to come to terms with the fact that it is okay that I feel this pressure – I have never done the whole maternity leave thing before so it isn’t that surprising that it feels weird, right? Also the holiday period threw me, as it does everyone, and I have been rather preoccupied with the whole about to give birth thing. I know that I need to take the pressure off and write for the absolute love and joy that it brings me. I have loved writing to you, my audience, and I don’t plan on ever stopping.
I promise you that there are things in the works, there are draft posts sitting in the backend of my website and ideas scrawled all throughout my notebook. This year is going to be a big one, and though I cannot expect anything from my writing (it doesn’t deserve that kind of pressure), I am expecting big, great, wondrous, inconceivable things to happen this year.
So, from my lounge where I sit right now with both a fan and a portable air conditioner pointed at me while I continue to exist about seven degrees hotter than anyone else I want to thank you all for making my 2018 so healing and humbling and I look forward to connecting with each and every one of you in 2019. And even more so, I cannot wait to introduce you to our beautiful baby boy.
Tomorrow is my last day of work before I not only finish up for the year, but also before I head off on maternity leave. It is a weird feeling. I mean, I think that finishing work for the end of the year always feels a bit strange, but add the fact that I am not coming back to my workplace and that in a short seven weeks I will be giving birth to a baby boy – well, I think it is definitely fair enough that I feel a little out of sorts.
People have started to ask me what I plan on doing while on maternity leave and it left me feeling both excited and a little bit wary. My boss says that I will find that I will sleep a lot – especially in the afternoons. Everyone has been telling me that from now on I should sleep whenever I can because soon enough, I will be up with bub. Honestly though, the idea of being up with him and not having consistent hours sleep doesn’t phase me in the slightest. What I am coming to understand though is that I will be sleeping for a lot of my leave. It gets to 2pm and all I want to do is close my eyes for half an hour or so – and I have NEVER been a keen napper. Ever.
I am excited for leave because it means that this next phase has well and truly begun. Pete and I have reached the final stretch of the pregnancy and are all but waiting to meet our little man. All the hormones are also making me want to just nest. Leaving my house of a morning is hard simply because I want to be home, and doing anything outside of work is near impossible for me to get excited about because all I want is to be home. I can’t even explain why or what it is about home but I have been reassured several times that it is completely normal at this stage to rarely leave the house – which totally works for me.
I am also excited for maternity leave for the obvious reasons. It is almost summer and I can spend my days doing the bay walk and going to Drummoyne pool and the beach and eating ice cream at Darling Harbour or Circular Quay. I am actually SO EXCITED for ample cleaning time every day and I realise how lame that sounds but I do love cleaning our house. I am looking forward to learning how to make and use royal icing and extending my cookie making and decorating skills. I plan on experimenting a lot more in the kitchen and making use of the extra meal preparation time I will have. I really want to nail a miso eggplant recipe above all else. So good. I am keen to read a lot of books – including some children’s ones out loud to the little guy because I am starting him young – and also attempting to make my way through the seemingly endless list of television shows and movies people have given me ahead of maternity leave.
The (Oblivious) New Mama is going to be able to be my main focus for the next month and a half and I am finally going to have the time to do and create everything that I have wanted to for this site, but haven’t had the time or the energy to do whilst working. If anything, that is what I am most excited for – really making something of this website, of my words and sharing as much knowledge, baked goods and book reviews with the world. I am absolutely determined to make this a successful and profitable endeavour. I want to live and work through my passion and I am able to run this site from anywhere, and I can do so whilst still being the hands-on, available and attentive mother that I have always wanted to be.
The only thing that I am a bit anxious about when it comes to maternity leave is the fact that it will be the first time in my life that I am not earning an income. I have some money saved for my own spending and we will be receiving the parental payments from Centrelink as well, and financially, we will be fine, but it feels so weird and foreign. I do feel that I will experience a fair amount of guilt while I am off during the weeks before bub arrives. I think that surely, that’s natural for first time mothers? I know that I will need to find a way to make peace with those feelings and really lean into the comfort and safety of the fact that I am in a committed and loving relationship and that this is all part of it. It is also why I think it is so important that I remain focused on my little side projects (that I believe will eventuate in a full year’s salary eventually) as well as everything that makes up who I am. I don’t want to lose my identity. Instead, I want to use this time to really flesh out my passions, throw myself into them and make them into something really special. I want to do all of this first and foremost for myself, but also for my son and for my family.
Bring on maternity leave, I say!
Also, it’s really hot at the moment and everything is harder. So yeah, it will be nice to spend some days on the lounge, in front of the fan with a bowl of watermelon and nowhere to be.
And no clothes.
I have never found gift-giving particularly difficult. Those that I buy for, I generally know pretty well whether it be a family member, a partner or a friend. I actually love the lead up to Christmas and writing a list of ideas for presents for each person. Usually it is mum, brothers, partner and a friend or two – I have never once had to think of what to buy a pregnant woman though. Sure, I have been to baby showers before but more often than not there is a gift registry that you can look at and choose from, as well as the fact that most of the presents that you receive at a baby shower are for your baby. Choosing a gift for a woman in your life that is pregnant can be a daunting task – do you get them something for the pregnancy, or something for after? Do you still get them something for the baby or will she be offended (because #hormones)?
Being a pregnant woman myself, I thought that it would be the perfect opportunity to shed some light on gift ideas for expectant mothers. I am going off my own personal experience; I know what I would love to receive this Christmas (besides books and another one-eyed kitten), but maybe more importantly, I know what I would appreciate as a larger-than-life pregnant mama right now.
At work last week, my team and I somehow got onto the subject of robes. I told them that I have never owned a robe nor did I see the point in one, “Just wear your pyjamas?” This remark was met with each and every colleague and dear friend of mine absolutely chastising my opinion – the adjectives glorious and luxurious and comfortable and incredible were thrown around easily as they each told me where, when and why they wear robes. As I thought about it more I realised how desperately I needed a robe, but not for any of the reasons that they were so aggressively pointing out. I am at the point in this pregnancy where most things don’t fit me anymore, even my ‘comfy’ clothes for around the house. I have a pair of shorts that I live in at home, and they are getting far too tight to be considered comfortable anymore. At home, I am comfiest in a crop top and my underwear. I don’t feel comfortable cooking or preparing dinner in only that though and I have never been someone who is comfortable walking around the house naked (or pretty much naked).
A ROBE – THAT IS THE ANSWER. All of a sudden, a lifetime’s worth of not understanding robes faded away and I knew that it was going to be the key for a comfortable and heavily pregnant summer.
Another thing that people should know is that, just because a woman is pregnant, does not mean she wants to give up looking good or feeling desired – it’s true for me at least. Sure, there are comfortable things I could wear like a big baggy t-shirt with no bra, but all that does is make me feel fat, not pregnant, and then I get hormonal and wonder how anyone would ever find me attractive. A robe covers me enough that I feel comfortable cooking in it, or sitting on our deck drinking coffee, or lying on the lounge of a night whilst also making me feel feminine and soft and attractive and even a little bit sexy.
The mecca of all robes and dressing gowns are the impossibly soft and incredibly light kimono robes from Peter Alexander. My personal favourite is the Paisley Blossom Kimono that you can pick up for $109.
From Cotton On Body, I love their Kimono Gown (particularly in the misted bloom and hazel colour) which you can snatch up for a sneaky $10 at the moment or $24.95 normally.
As for Big W, their B Collection Printed Woven Kimonos are where it’s at. Especially this pretty little number, the Black Print. Swoon.
Something that I have really come to appreciate as a result of this pregnancy is just how important it is to take care of my skin. In the first trimester and right through my second, the skin around my mouth and on my cheeks was dry, red and irritable. Then, of course, there is the most obvious factor when caring for pregnant skin which is your skin’s elasticity when it comes to your growing bump. Looking down at my belly I am in complete shock and awe that it has been able to stretch to the size that it currently is, and completely dumbfounded by the fact that according to my mother, I will still double in size in these last few months. Stretch marks are a real possibility, and though I don’t mind getting stretch marks whatsoever (I have had stretch marks for all of my adult life anyway), I do care about what my skin is going to do post-partum as well as wanting to keep my tattoos as fresh-looking and non-droopy as possible!
Also, if you (or the pregnant woman in your life) is anything like me and have never really been that big into pampering or skincare, what I have also discovered is how vital it is to take time out for yourself, to devote time to yourself and to look after yourself in any way you can. It is also a really beautiful way to remain connected and aware of your body and the beautiful changes that it is going through; there have been times where I have felt so out of my body that I didn’t recognise myself, but taking some time every morning and every night to moisturise has been so important when it comes to me appreciating and loving how I look and how I feel.
If you are after skincare that is specifically for pregnancy and stretch marks then I can wholeheartedly and confidently suggest anything Palmer’s. If you are looking for a simple gift, then the Massage Lotion for Stretch Marks at $15.99 is a sure thing.
Or, if you are feeling more generous of have a bit more cash to play with, may I suggest putting together a pack for the special mama-to-be with a few of the Palmer’s product range? Grab a gift box or a gift bag and fill it with Massage Cream for Stretch Marks ($15.99), Skin Perfecting Ultra Hydrating Serum ($24.99), Coconut Oil for Hair Repairing Shampoo and Conditioner ($14.99 each) and Tummy Butter for Stretch Marks ($15.99). I would be over the freaking moon if I got a goodie bag with all of that in it.
And now, you’re going to have to indulge me a little bit here. The (Oblivious) New Mama skincare range that I designed with Gina from Behind the Pages was created specifically for pregnant mamas-to-be. A beautifully wrapped gift pack is only $25 and includes the Goats Milk Soap Bar, Bath Milk and Body Lotion. The range is all natural and uses all organic products. Not only are they impossibly pretty and feminine, but they smell incredible whilst maintaining a very subtle aroma. I can send them anywhere, to anyone and promise that they will come STUNNINGLY wrapped. Promise.
I am also SO EXCITED to offer one lucky winner a T(O)NM Skincare Pack! Simply email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or message me on instagram at @theobliviousnewmama and tell me your ideal, most perfect, wonderful, AMAZING way to relax! Simple!
Pregnancy Massage Voucher
This gift will mean EVERYTHING to the pregnant woman in your life. EVERYTHING. I cannot tell you all the ways that my body aches. I ache and am exhausted in parts of my body that I didn’t know I had. During the first trimester, you are a kind of tired that cannot be expressed in words, you are exhausted on a cellular level and nothing seems real anymore. Then, in the third trimester, you start to feel the tiredness in a much more physical way. My muscles are always tight and cramp constantly, my shoulders are tired from carrying my enormous breasts around all day every day, and I feel exhausted in my bones. What no one told me was that when you get to the 25 week mark and beyond, when your bub is not so little anymore and getting stronger by the day, their constant movements and kicking completely drains you of ALL of your energy. All of it. Gone. Poof. Bye.
The Yummy Mummy Package from Yummy Mummy Day Spa located in Clovelly, Sydney is everything that I could ever hope, dream, wish, yearn and pine for right now. The Yummy Mummy Package is their most popular package and includes an hour long full body aroma massage followed by an organic spa facial. The package is priced at $300 but I cannot stress to you enough (CANNOT STRESS ENOUGH) at what gifting this would mean to your beautiful goddess of a partner/wife/sister/friend. I completely melt when Pete simply squeezes my feet or tickles my back, having someone dedicate a whole hour to rubbing out my kinks and aches and pains makes me weep in gratitude.
Not only is the Yummy Mummy Day Spa Sydney’s most exclusive days spa for mums and mums to be, but there are also a wide range of products that they have available as well. If the pampering packages are a bit out of your price range there are a number of beautifully packaged, all natural gift packs that you can purchase as well as natural wraps for newborns, skin products and journals.
If you are set on gifting a massage voucher but are looking for a cheaper alternative, Sydney Mobile Therapies offer a wide range of treatments for pregnant women that range from $95 through to $139. This is also a brilliant option as the massage therapists come to you which is ideal if you are already a mum with young children and can’t get out of the house, or if you are at the stage of your pregnancy where the idea of driving somewhere (anywhere) is too much to even consider. Sydney Mobile Therapies service most of the Sydney region.
Personally, I would go for the Beauty and the Bump 90 minute treatment. It is a specialised pregnancy pamper package that focuses on every part of the body and face to ensure total body wellness that will leave you looking and feeling fantastic. Mamas to be will receive a stimulating and soothing full-body exfoliation, followed by a gentle and relaxing pregnancy massage and then a mini Fresh Start facial to end the treatment. Sign me up, immediately.
If you are looking for a gift for a friend or simply need to budget just that little bit further, the Happy Feet 30 minute treatment will be the best $45 you have ever spent on a grateful expectant mother. Carrying extra weight that you aren’t used to takes its toll on your feet, and you only realise just how much of a toll when someone touches them. Seriously, most days I think I am fine and then Pete will squeeze my foot and I am almost immediately in a coma. The treatment focuses on pain relief and involves a foot bath, a gentle exfoliation and a massage. Yep. I’ll take one of these as well thanks.
Ahead of our baby shower last Saturday, I took myself for a pedicure which is something that I haven’t done in years. I never have my finger nails painted and am rarely able to justify spending money on something like my feet.. I have never been comfortable with treating myself or doing nice, selfish things for myself but I thought, well it is a special occasion after all, so why not?! My god. I forgot how much I love pedicures.
More often than not, the chairs at nail salons will be massage chairs which is already a big tick for me. What follows – if you aren’t aware – is forty minutes of bliss. First, your feet soak in hot water. Then, your feet and toenails are cleaned and trimmed and exfoliated. Then your legs are massaged (and then where I go, they get these hot stones out from some kind of oven and wet them and rub them all over your legs and feet and it is heaven) and moisturised. And then finally, your toe nails are painted (all the while you are in this huge chair that is massaging you). When I got home and told Pete how relaxed I was he told me that I should take time out to do that for myself more often. I started to come up with excuses as to why not when he interrupted me, “Leah, how much does it cost?”. When I told him that it cost $30, he shook his head, laughed at me and informed me that I am to go and get a pedicure every week. He said, “if something that inexpensive can make you feel this good, then why wouldn’t you do it?” And by god, the man is right.
Even if you or the woman you are buying this for isn’t really into beauty stuff (like me), I promise you that she will appreciate this even if she doesn’t know it at the time. I have no specific suggestions as to where you should buy a gift voucher from, however I suggest that if this is a gift you are interested in, research local nail salons, read reviews and compare prices – the treatments are all very similar so find somewhere that you think will suit you, or whoever you are buying this for!
If you have a work colleague or a cousin or a friend, or if the woman you are buying for has a good sense of humour, then a novelty mug is something that I would highly recommend. My ritual of making coffee on a weekend morning and hopping back into bed for an hour or two of reading has quickly become one of my favourite things during pregnancy. You will find that a lot of herbal tea will be consumed during pregnancy to counter nausea, morning sickness and to substitute coffee, and everyone needs a mug (and a laugh).
Ranging from $12 to $25, these handmade mugs from various Etsy creatives are the perfect stocking fillers, secret Santa gifts or last-minute presents for any expectant mother who is a little bit crass. Click on each image for further information and purchase!
Also – something a bit exciting.. I am so happy to offer the following two mugs as a giveaway to one lucky reader! From Amanda at SheThatLaughs, these mugs are crafted from high-quality ceramic and microwave/dishwasher safe. They are also incredibly, incredibly true. For your chance to win a set of these mugs simply email me at email@example.com or message me on instagram at @theobliviousnewmama and tell me who you are buying these for and why! And feel free to enter if YOU are the pregnant one. Do it, do it now!
Lil Soph + Co. Products
Some of you may remember me mentioning Lil Soph + Co. in my post about the One Fine Baby Expo where Pete and I bought one of their beautiful burping cloths. Well, little did I know but this Australian company offers absolutely STUNNING gift packs. Now, I know that this present focuses on bub and not the mama herself but let me tell you, the products that Lil Soph + Co. offer are of the highest quality, are unique in their design and are quite simply the most beautiful baby products I have come across yet..
With products ranging from $13 through to $90, I am sure that you will find something for ANY mama to be. Offering bandana bibs, cotton blankets, burp cloths, teething rings, nappy clutches, play mats, cushions, organic gauze wraps and gift packs there really is something for everyone and every bub. Whether you know if you or a friend is having a boy or a girl, or whether you are wanting to gift something neutral, there is something from Lil Soph + Co. for you!
The range of bandana bibs are an absolute must for all new mums and newborn bubs, and these are in a league of their own. At $13, these handmade, cotton bandana bibs make for a stunning, thoughtful and affordable gift. And, not only that, but you can be assured that they will be used (and needed) again and again and again.
If you are looking for something a little bit more substantial to gift, the range of printed cotton blankets are a great option. Ranging from $45 to $65, the cotton blankets are made from 100% organic cotton knit backed with a high-grade smooth polyester Minky fabric. As all of the Lil Soph + Co. products are handmade, there is also the option to customise your blanket to fit a cot or a single bed!
The gift packs available take out any guess work you may have on which products to buy! There is a newborn essentials pack that include a bandana bib and burp cloth, or a teething ring and bandana bib! The packs range from $24 to $50 and again, trust me, once you see and feel the quality of these products you will never buy outside of this brand again.
I know that many of you probably don’t buy magazines anymore and instead read their online counterparts. I get it, I do. But all I can think about are those early mornings or warm afternoons where I will be on maternity leave, sitting on my deck nursing an iced tea or a coffee and flicking through a book or a stack of my favourite magazines. I keep getting told that taking time out for myself is something that I need to be really mindful of, and for me there really is nothing more alluring than a quiet pocket of time to flick through a magazine. My favourites are Frankie, Smith Journal, Delicious and the Donna Hay magazine.
Magshop Australia offers subscriptions to all magazines available on the Australian market, offering free delivery as well as the option of gift vouchers if you aren’t sure what title to get! Each magazine subscription comes in at a different price and for some, there is the option to choose how long the subscription is for (a certain amount of issues, six months, one year, etc.). For example, six issues of Frankie (which equates to a one year subscription) comes in at $60.71, while six issues plus one bonus issue of Delicious comes in at $39.95.
What I love about this gift is that it isn’t something you would automatically think to get someone who is pregnant. More often than not, the gifts will revolve around being a new mum or around the baby itself. What this gift does is provide a quiet outlet for the mama to be, it will serve as a reminder to press pause, put her feet up and lose herself in the pages of whatever magazine she delights in. Also, it means she will get a package that she looks forward to every week/month/two months and who doesn’t love that?!
Whether you are going all out and hiring a venue and catering and the whole shebang, or if you are doing something at home with a budget, your baby shower can still ooze fabulousness, instgrammableness and loveliness! I have always loved hand-making as much as […]