With just a week to go until her due date, I had the pleasure of catching up with Lisa Williams to talk all things pregnancy and maternity style. Lisa is the Editor and co-founder of Tantrum XYZ which is a website for parents to get advice, learn about new and interesting products and gain parenting inspiration from scores of experts in their respective fields. Whilst tackling some challenging modern parenting issues, the site sets itself apart by also taking a lighthearted view of the journey of parenting, sharing articles from multiple contributors, and encouraging parents to engage with fellow parents over the hurdles they may be facing. In addition to this Lisa is also the co-founder of the Hotbed Collective, a site focused on “making life better one orgasm at a time”. Sound like a winner to me!
Here is Lisa’s pregnancy story as she nears the end of the final trimester…
As this isn’t your first pregnancy, tell us a bit more about your family…
I already have a little boy who is two and a half years old, and full of attitude and emotions at the moment!
How far along are you?
I’m a week off due date.
Do you know if you’re having a boy or a girl?
I’m having another boy. We didn’t find out with the first, so for the second we thought we would find out; just so we have the experience of both the surprise and the knowledge.
How has this pregnancy been treating you?
I had hyperemesis gravidarum in the first trimester which made my life hell. Very luckily it cleared towards the beginning of the second because I’m not sure how much more vomiting I could have managed.
Do you feel different in this pregnancy from your previous ones?
Yes. I felt sick for longer in my first pregnancy but I very rarely vomited. This was vom-o-rama and I also developed anxiety as a result.
So you’ve been feeling a fair bit of anxiety in this pregnancy?
Ha, well yes. The constant vomiting made me extremely anxious. Even tiny things such as picking up my son from the childminder made me wonder if I could make it there and back without vomming and simultaneously wetting myself while hiding behind a bush in a pub car park en route. On one occasion, I didn’t.
How would you describe your pregnancy style?
Two words: comfort first. Huge pants, big jumpers, maternity jeans, flat shoes.. Having said that, I borrowed a beautiful Clary & Peg dress for a maternity shoot I did, which made me feel extremely feminine and bump-a-licious. And for the Hotbed Collective live podcast recording I wore a brilliant electric blue sweatshirt dress from Cos. I think I’m the only person who could make a Cos dress look like body-con.
Hide the bump or show off the bump?
The silhouette of a bump is one of the most gorgeous things, in my opinion. I have embraced it as much as I can, but comfort will always trump appearances.
In terms of clothes, what are your maternity essentials?
Big comfy pants, leggings, some good trainers and jumpers which make you feel good. I bought a voluminous pink polo neck from H&M which was comfy as well as statement enough to wear out. And my trusty Lulu + Co ‘Earthling’ jumper which I’ve had for years just manages to fit over the bump and makes me feel like myself. Lastly, slip-on shoes/trainers for the third trimester when you can’t reach your feet any more.
What’s your favourite maternity clothes brand?
Clary & Peg make beautiful items with a vintage feel which can last you throughout pregnancy and breastfeeding.
Are there any high street or independent brands which aren’t maternity but you’ve felt work really well for pregnancy?
Cos, for sure. Their signature draping effect is very kind to bumps.
What beauty products do you swear by for pregnancy?
I’ve been slicking on Weleda Pregnancy Body Oil all pregnancy to help prevent stretch marks. And when I found out I was pregnant I bought their citrus deodorant too as became concerned about chemicals and parabens. I was ready for a few ‘table-for-one’ moments but, I’m pleased to report, no sweat patches! Also, during my pregnancy sickness, one of the only things which relieved the symptoms sometimes was to stick my nose in a pot of Evolve’s Tropical Blossom Body Polish, which smells like sweeties and gives you a buffed-up body at the same time.
What can you not live without in pregnancy?
Fizzy water. For some reason, I haven’t been able to drink still water or any kind of tea, so have consumed gallons of the fizzy stuff instead. Very much looking forward to not having to buy Sainsburys Sparkling Scottish Mountain Water in bulk once the baby is here.
Are there any style/ fashion lessons you’ve learnt along the way in your pregnancies?
- While your bump is small, you can wear your normal jeans by extending the waist band with a hair elastic looped through the hole and over the button.
- Lend, don’t spend. Buy a few key pieces at the beginning of your pregnancy to minimise cost-per-wear, lend them out between pregnancies to make them even more cost-effective and, in turn, borrow what you can from your friends.
- There is a way to keep your personality while dressing a bump. There’s a certain pressure to suddenly dress like the Duchess of Cambridge once you get knocked up, but I managed to avoid empire lines and stretch lace, going for bold colour, good jewellery and lipstick.
Is there anything you feel is still really missing from the maternity fashion market in the UK?
I think between the maternity brands and the Asos, Mothercare and Topshop maternity ranges, as well as being able to buy normal clothes in larger sizes, you can pretty much get enough to last you through pregnancy. What’s tricky is finding wedding and partywear which doesn’t make you feel like Barbara Cartland. I got through wedding season with Kitri’s ‘Bardot’ dress which isn’t maternity but was voluminous enough to accommodate the bump, and ‘me’ enough for use post-pregnancy. Luckily when you’re pregnant people forgive you a bit of sartorial repetition.
Have you done a lot of reading / research about pregnancy and childbirth?
Virtually none! Hopefully we have it covered from the first-time round, when I read all my email updates and pregnancy manuals religiously. This time around I’ve read more about hyperemesis and how to prepare your toddler for the imminent arrival.
What else if anything have you done to prepare for birth?
I’ve been trying to keep fit with Mum Hood by Frame’s online workout programme. They show you how to do yoga, pilates and fitness safely during pregnancy, and in the comfort of your own front room. And they acknowledge that during pregnancy you can be capable of doing more than just lying on the floor and breathing (which has been my experience of a lot of pregnancy yoga classes).
Sum up pregnancy in 3 words…
Long, difficult, exhausting.
Is there anything you’ll miss when you’re no longer pregnant?
I have to admit that I like feeling special. People are always asking how you are, finding you somewhere to sit, and turning a blind eye to your third helping.
What’s your favourite thing about being pregnant?
I like the little kicks and flutters inside me, a reminder that there’s someone in there with their own free will and personality.
What would you say is the worst thing about being pregnant?
The physical symptoms. I have never experienced anything as physically awful as the sickness, and I feel as if there is very little understanding of how bad it can be.
What advice would you give to other pregnant women?
If you’re feeling fit and well, make the most of your time; doing things you won’t be able to do once the baby is here. Maybe it’s not the best advice, but instead of resting and watching endless TV this pregnancy, I’ve been saying yes to most invitations coming my way. There’s plenty of time for TV once the baby is here.
If you could go back and give your pregnant first time around self one bit of advice what would it be?
The fourth trimester is a nightmare and will be so much worse than you were expecting, but it doesn’t last forever.