This week, for our pregnancy story I was thrilled to meet with Clemmie Telford. If you’ve not heard of Clemmie already, she’s a Creative Director, blogger, wife to Ben, and mum to 2 boys. Clemmie’s blog Mother of all Lists is a collection of lists telling the story of parenting and beyond. Clemmie both writes pieces for the blog herself, and curates guest lists with subject matter ranging from trying for a baby, to being admitted to rehab, to the lessons learnt from being a midwife. Committed to presenting an honest view of life and parenting, I was so excited to hear Clemmie’s thoughts on pregnancy and here they are…
Is this your first pregnancy?
No, this is my third pregnancy, I have 2 boys, Bertie and Woody who are 4 and 3/4 and almost 3.
Do you know if you’re having a boy or a girl?
We’re having a girl!
And do you have any names sorted?
No, we’re freaking out, we’re finding girls names much harder, everyone says boys are harder but I disagree. With the boys we managed to find names which were unusual but not weird and I’m finding it hard to replicate that for a girl. Plus my husband won’t talk to me enough about it, which is very annoying, I keep saying “we will have to name a child at the end of this”! There’s a great website called British Baby Names, they break them down lists of different types, as well as the of history of a name. It’s a big decision, sometimes you need to go with the one you don’t go off, if you like it for the whole of your pregnancy, that’s the one…
How far along are you?
Due end of January, so 23 weeks
And how has this pregnancy been treating you?
I’m in the really good bit at the moment, I know to be super grateful for that, after that looonnng first trimester feeling rough.
Was it that bad?
Yes, really bad, that’s why in my heart I knew it was a girl. I felt much more nauseous. I felt much more hormonal with this one, I felt possessed with hormones infact! Thankfully that’s settled now too.
Have you been experiencing any anxiety in this pregnancy?
Yes I’ve been more worried. Logically, I’m less worried about having the baby in terms of when she’s here, but in the pregnancy way more worried actually. Maybe it’s the older you get the more you appreciate the miracle of having a baby. I was really nervous going into the 12 week scan this time. Maybe I was just more naive with the earlier pregnancies I think. Now I’m aware that some people get some really bad news in those scans. Everyone says they just want a healthy baby, and it’s so true you really really do.
But all is well?
Yes, she’s all good.
How would you describe your pregnancy style?
My aim of this pregnancy is to hold onto my own style. Which is definitely easier than it was when I was first pregnant 5 years ago. Maternity fashion has improved alot. My advice is invest in some key bits early on in your pregnancy, then you get your monies worth out of them 9 months is a long time, actually it’s longer than 9 months, because you still wear stuff on the other side too. There’s so much change that goes on in your life during pregnancy though, and in you, that if you can keep hold of some of ‘you’ then it really does make a difference.
Hide the bump or show off the bump?
Show off the bump definitely! I’ve never had a firm stomach in all my life, so pregnancy is the only time I have a chance to flaunt a hard tummy… Plus I know what’s coming the other side so I have to enjoy these “firm” months.
In terms of clothes, what are your maternity essentials?
Dungarees, always, and they are great for breastfeeding too. You’ve also got to have a great pair of jeans, as they’re a staple. I also recommend raiding your partners wardrobe for tshirts and shirts you can wear open with a vest underneath.
Where would you go to for those sorts of things?
For jeans, Topshop, and I’ve heard really good things about Mothercare jeans, though I haven’t actually tried them yet, but keep being told they’re great. I’ve made the mistake in other pregnancies to opting for cheap jeans, and they just don’t work. It’s worth spending the money . H&M for basics, and ASOS for ‘going out stuff . Actually I’ve got a wedding tomorrow, and I’ve got an ASOS dress for that and some wet look leggings that I’ve worn a lot. And there’s lots of independents out there now too. Like Beyond Nine, which I’m wearing their dunagarees today, which are the comfiest thing ever.
What’s your favourite maternity brand?
I still default to Topshop. It feels like actual fashion stuff rather than ‘mum stuff’. And a couple of things that feel like actual fashion things is what you need, and then invest in loads of basics.
Are there any high street or independent brands which aren’t maternity but you feel work really well for pregnancy?
I’m still wearing a lot of non-maternity street/sportswear: Adidas and Nike, anything with a lot of elastic is great!
What beauty products do you swear by for pregnancy?
Cocoa butter! I’m sure the stretch mark thing is predominantly hereditary, and I’ve escaped relatively unscathed, but I slather myself with cocoa butter. Just the Palmers cheap one. My beauty routine is pretty similar, though I am really in to baths in pregnancy. I think maybe because you feel heavier, so it’s nice at the end of the day. Actually, I have this stuff which is amazing, as I keep getting really achey legs in the evening. It’s Mama Mio Lucky Legs. It’s cooling, and feels tingly and really nice. I haven’t had particularly swollen legs, but I know lots of people do in pregnancy, so this would be great.
What can you not live without in pregnancy?
In this pregnancy I’ve got the worst sweet tooth ever! It’s awful. I’ve also totally gone off meat. Not so much anything thin like ham or smoked salmon, but any lumps of flesh! I hope it comes back actually. Funnily with the boys, humous repulsed me, but I’ve eaten quite a lot in this pregnancy.
Are there any style/ fashion lessons you’ve learnt along the way in your pregnancies?
Keeping your own style, and being a bit more inventive. I have t-shirt dresses, which are now just t-shirts, and as I say getting in your husband’s wardrobe. There’s a point when your bump gets too big, but I’ve definitely worn a lot of his t-shirts and shirts oversized. Trying to hold onto your own style as much as possible. You can believe you need to dress a certain way as a mum, but we know now that isn’t the case. You know, I like a breton top as much as the next person, but not day in day out.
Is there anything you feel is still really missing from the maternity fashion market in the UK?
I still think occasion-wear is quite hard, it can get quite frumpy quite quickly when it comes to maternity evening wear. I don’t feel that the collections there for occasion-wear for maternity reflect the normal ranges, there’s just a lot of wrap dresses. So that still needs to change, as most people will at least have one wedding or event they want to get dressed up for whilst pregnant!
Largely though it (maternity wear) has moved on a lot, and there’s lots more choice out there. Social media has been good for more independent brands. I think the vintage maternity market could be bigger too. I feel like there must be some really cool stuff out there but it’s difficult to find.
Have you done a lot of reading / research about pregnancy and childbirth?
Not yet. I did hypno-birthing with Woody my second, through the @theyesmummum, and had an amazing birth at home. I’ve just started revisiting that, and I hope that some the tools I learnt for that are going to stand me in good stead this time. It’s funny though, as I feel like because I had such a good birth last time, that maybe I’m due a bad one. Seriously though I feel excited about it. Hypno-birthing is amazing. I wish it could be re-branded because the name makes it sound really hippy but it’s not, its just about staying calm, and understanding what’s going on with your body. Cos the first time you’re like whaaaaat is going on here?!!? But the next times, you know what you’re capable, you know you can do ita and it’s likely to be shorter. So hopefully third time it’ll be ok. I hope to have another home comforts: own bath, own food, own bed. And of course a new baby! That’s pretty special.
Did you have a water birth?
I was in the water for a fairly long time, but actually I found it a bit much, a bit too hot. I actually ended up having him in the bathroom. I was in the pool and got a bit more urgh, and was a bit overwhelmed, and the midwife said I think if you walk up the stairs it might jiggling him down. And again (too much information) but she said go and sit on the loo, because that often triggers something in your body, because its a place you associate with expelling things. She was right!
I keep saying to Woody when we are in the bathroom: you came into the world here, that’s so mental! It’s unbelievable really. Plus all the placenta and everything went in the loo. In my head it was the cleanest experience ever, but Ben tells me that’s not definitely not the case. The midwives did an incredible job at clearing-up afterwards.
What have you done to prepare for birth?
The best thing I did between first and second was Ben and I sat down and talked about what we didn’t like about the labour first time round, talked about our concerns and fears and tried to work round them.
As I’ve said my second birth was great but I’d still like to stay calmer for longer. Other than that my prep is practising hypno-birthing relaxation technics and hoping for more of the same!
Sum up pregnancy in 3 words…
It’s funny, because talk to me now, and I love it, I feel great and it’s exciting, but I know in those first 14 weeks… I kept saying to Ben, remind me this is grim, and I hate it (in that bit). And then at the end, I really don’t enjoy not being able to do stuff, that doesn’t sit well with me.
You mean physically?
Yeah, physically, and it’s very disarming, if you’re used to doing loads of stuff, just being absolutely done in. Even now it catches me by surprise. You have days when you feel amazing, so you go into overdrive and then you get to the end of the week and it all catches up on you. You forget what a strain growing a human puts your body under!
Oooooo and first trimester is a long and it’s lonely. Have you read Suzie Verril’s post about having Hyperemesis gravidarium? When I was in my lowest and most nauseous I probably read that post 3 or 4 times… She literally couldn’t consume anything, couldn’t stand the smell of anything, had to eat food over a sick bucket! And I think of Kate Middleton too. So definitely read that blog post, because some people have it so much worse. It does lift, but it’s not knowing when it’s going to end. With Hyperemesis gravidarium that can go on until 20 weeks. I mean urgh. That’s a big portion of your life to just feel shit!!
Is there anything you miss being pregnant?
Booze!! and not being able to do stuff. Especially when you have other kids. I hate being the boring Mum on the side lines, having to watch because I feel too knackered to charge about.
What’s your favourite thing about being pregnant?
Growing a human, and that’s amazing. Plus people treat pregnant people like you are special.
What would you say is the worst thing about being pregnant?
Your body changing. It’s really hard to watch your weight go up and up. It really is. Yeah you get it back to an extent, but it’s really tough. You know on everything, all the things which go south. Someone gave me a card which said “here’s to a long 9 months with no alcohol, and wetting yourself each time you sneeze” and it’s sooo true.
What advice would you give to other pregnant women?
To be kind to yourself, which none of us are very good at doing. Do buy yourself a nice bubble bath, or book to have a manicure. You’re doing something really mammoth and you need to reward that. I’m really bad at napping but I know I should. you’ve got to try not to be a hero.
If you could go back and give your pregnant first time around self one bit of advice what would it be?
Similar stuff, to be kind and enjoy it. Also, keep exercising. Doesn’t have to be hard. But anything you can manage with make your body and mind feel better.
What sort of thing have you been doing?
So the girls at Mum-hood have an online pregnancy programme which has pilates in that. I never really thought I was a pilates person but I’ve found it really good. And I hope that the more you put in now, the easier it is to shift the other side, within reason.
What would your one bit of advice for new mums be?
To be lazy. This time around I might actually get it right. I am going to put my joggers on, I’m not going to make tea for people who come round, and I’m going to really enjoy that doing nothing phase. There’s so few a times when you can just bed-in. All my babies are winter babies, and it’s a real hibernation time too. The first time round, you feel like you’re winning when you’re getting some of your old life back, and there’s just no point. Plus there’s so much of your life to do all that juggle!
Oh and accept help, especially when you have older kids, if people offer to take them out, then let them. People do crazy things though, we went to Thailand for a month when Bertie was 7 weeks old. It was such a bad decision. I mean we did it, and we survived, and it’s a great story, but it was too ambitious. So this time around I’m doing nothing! I really hope I can stick to that, and give myself time, even if it’s just a month. It’s also good to not always put your best clothes on and stuff because people automatically think you’ve got your shit together. Wear the scabby milk covered stuff, and say yes I may stink but I’ve just had a baby, and I’m not going to make you tea!