Note: Welp. After spending a few weeks on this post, I was putting the finishing touches on it on a Monday night, when my contractions started coming on strong. I ended up going into labor, tapping here on this little keyboard, trying to frantically get this post done before he came. But the little guy had other plans. So, I’m publishing it now anyways, and adding in some notes from post-labor and life nowadays as well. I hope it’s helpful!
It’s been a while, right?
As I’m writing this, I can’t believe it’s been 9 months already– something I never thought I’d be saying after those first two trimesters of mine 🙂
But. Here I am, 39 weeks as I’m writing this and about to enter into a whole new phase and season of life, within days. Or weeks. Or whatever this little guy’s plan actually is.
But, I wanted to take a few minutes to talk more about my third trimester experiences, and answer all of your Q’s too!
Let me just start by saying, you guys- THIRD TRIMESTER was my JAM.
After being sick, nauseous, throwing up and down for the count for the first 6 months straight, when I hit that 28 week mark, I was finally like- yeaaaah baby. Oh this? I can do this kind of pregnancy. Where strangers smile at you and ask when you’re due, and workouts feel great, and my energy was normal, and I could eat things that were closer to my normal way of eating, and I had a nice reason to rest when I wanted and not lift all the heavy things. This is what it must be like for normal pregnant people. I get it.
At week 39 now I’m feeling great, truly. And finally feel like I’m maybe even enjoying this belly and all the sweetness of the season that comes with it. Better later than never right?
Ok. So, on to the Q’s. These have been ones popping up in my DM’s and emails, so what better way to share and have them to refer back to if you need, later?
Q: Are you going to take maternity leave?
A: Yes, absolutely. It’s so important to me to take some time and space to be present in this amazing little time of life.
But being an entrepreneur and small business owner, I knew this would look different than most people’s. Honestly, it’s one of the reasons I needed time to prepare for this season of life for over a year before we started trying: when you run your own business and are the sole person in charge of everything, there’s no paid leave, no time off, and unless you set your business up in a way that can grow and serve people in other ways than based on your time alone, the whole taking a few months off could be more stress than it’s worth.
So, sitting here now, this time this year, feels much different than where I was at last year: one of my big goals this year was to 1) get more help and support and grow my small but mighty team, and 2) be more strategic with my time and energy, so that taking time off could be a reality that wasn’t stressful.
So, I will be taking January- beginning of March, “off” for maternity leave.
This means: No emails. No one-on-one clients. No speaking gigs. No events. No meetings. No launching anything. No running live programs. No doing weekly blog posts (that aren’t already done & ready for you). No pressure to post on Instagram daily.
Just leaving a little more white space.
But here’s the thing. I LOVE what I do. Like love, love it. I’m so proud of what I’ve built. I feel truly so blessed every single freaking day to have this opportunity to teach and lead and help people make their lives better every single day. So much of what I do is because I love and enjoy doing it.
So, while I’m off, I will be working on and doing things that are either already done and ready to go: (the Winter Meal Plan that gets released in Jan, the cookbook re-stock in Jan, editing the 2nd cookbook all through Jan & Feb, and running my yearly mentorship small business group with B-School every end of Feb).
All with the help of my amazing little team (shoutout to my Kate and Jordyn, my literal angels and the ladies that are holding down the fort until I’m back). And to my mom who will be helping me recover and rest and cuddle and watch the little babe if I need to pop in on things.
I’ll be writing some I’m sure (here and elsewhere), and sharing our journey to becoming parents, but here’s the key: if and when it feels aligned and like I want to.
I know a lot of entrepreneurs plan out their content the entire time they take maternity leave, but that to me just didn’t feel right. I want you know that I AM taking time. Without guilt. That working non-stop, powering through, and being proud about it, isn’t healthy. For me, at least). I know I will need time to rest and recover and heal. To take care of myself and my family. To have more space. To snuggle and just enjoy our sweet baby. To carve out that space and time honor this truly once in lifetime event that will forever change me.
That the world won’t stop if I take a month or two to focus on something that really matters to my life and being intentional around it. Because, I want you to know and feel inspired to do the same in your life- whatever that looks like.
How did I set it up? (for other entrepreneurs who are curious):
I blocked out 2 weeks before my due date on my calendar, just to make sure I didn’t schedule anything big, and leave myself some extra margin to finish up any extra projects (both for work and at home for baby prep). Um, hi. I’m so glad someone told me to do this, because I’m currently in that time period and for the first full week I was still working my normal days and schedule because there was still so much to do. Now I’ve got what I’m calling “bonus days”- days to work leisurely, get this house cleaned, ready and organized, and mentally get set for all the changes that are about to come.
Specifics: When I go into labor, I created a auto-responder that explains I’m on leave, and points people to the commonly asked Q’s and links. For all other Q’s, Kate, who normally handles all the Simply Real Health emails, customer service, program help, and project organization, etc will be there to answer anything else urgent. For the rest, I’ll be letting people know that all emails will be deleted and to reach out again in March if they’d like.
Q: Are you still working out?
I’ve been keeping my goal up of at least moving still every single day. Up until 37 weeks, I was doing my normal routine: 2 30 minute spin & 30 minute weights classes per week, 2 weights and/or TRX classes a week, and prenatal yoga 1-2x/week, all because it still felt great, and made me feel normal.
At 38 weeks, I started to notice sitting on the spin bike was starting to feel weird, so I backed off to just one spin class a week, 1 day of weights (also starting to feel weird with loose joints and being careful of my lower back), have been keeping my 2 prenatal yoga classes a week and going on what I call “snail walks”: very slow little shuffles around the block in the afternoon just to get fresh air and get my blood flow moving.
I say this because so many people told me they “gave up” exercise and moving in the third trimester because it didn’t feel good. It’s felt good to me, so I keep doing it. So, no guilt either way.
Q: What’s going on with food? Any cravings? Things you’re loving (or missing)?
I’m still not LOVING and having tons of joy around food like I normally do, which has been the funniest part of these last 9 months. Usually I’m all about it– planning it, cooking it, making it, trying fun restaurants, etc. But all I really want is simple stuff still: fruit, cereal, crackers, soups, beans, make-ahead salads, potatoes, etc. At week 38, I can finally eat some kinds of protein again, so have been having some when I feel like it. Still can’t eat a kale salad, but can have some blended in a smoothie. I’m still listening to my hunger which just isn’t very strong, but does have me eating smaller things every so often instead of big meals. And definitely smaller dinners.
Q: How are you feeling as things get closer?!
As my due date got closer, we’ve spent almost every weekend in 3rd trimester trying to finish up stuff around the house (2 bathroom remodels, outdoor deck/fence/patio remodel finishing up, moving my office downstairs and turning that room into a baby room, a pantry build out, 2 closet org systems), plus all the normal (I think?) aggressive nesting (pantry clean out, fridge & freezer clean out, garage cleanout, goodwill runs, building cribs and bookshelves and dressers, etc).
So many of those things weren’t initially planned, but it sounded good to get it out of the way before we brought a baby into the mix. So cue a few weeks of extra chaos, lots of cleaning, organizing and home not feeling like home = stressful for a while for me.
Add to the mix me trying to finish the 2nd cookbook and meet my deadline, all by my due date, and things got wild there for a bit. In truth, I ended up checking myself into a hotel for a few nights just to focus and work and go into the zone for the book (and yes…. secretly just wanting to shower in a shower and not smell the paint and chemies). Kind high-mai, but it was what I needed, and I’m glad I did. A breakdown might have happened if not.
So, lots of journaling. And lots of focus on my manifesting visions that I create every few months. Most have been around motherhood and this sweet baby and just trying to connect and enjoy the experience of carrying a child before I know his little soul. I spent a lot of time writing down any fears I had, so I could be present with them and start to work through them. And a lot of time just imagining what life will be life, and making the room and space for whatever that may be.
Second: making pre-natal yoga a non-negotiable at least once a week. I’ve been going to Aditi Yoga since around 18 weeks or so, and it’s been great. It doesn’t seem like much at first, but the mental calming effects and hour and half set aside to just breath and remind myself I was carrying a human and to connect to him and relax, was so helpful for me. Let alone helpful for my muscles too– which I have no idea how, but they do get so tight as your body changes every week. It was a good reminder to just slow down and take things in. I found myself a few times just doing poses at home at night just to relax and get in the head space for labor prep too.
And third: prenatal massage. For some reason I didn’t know insurance covered this until a few weeks ago, but have been doing it weekly since week 34. Holy moly, such a game changer, and so necessary if you are able. It helped everything in my back feel so much better, and enabled me to keep walking and working out for this long, I’m sure of it.
Q: Any good podcasts/books/resources you’ve found?:
I know there are a tons of great resources out there, but these are just the ones I’ve read and found helpful:
Hypnobirthing, The Mongan Method — so helpful in feeling more calm about labor in general, and how to train you mind to relax even in pain. I did the audio version.
Mamma Natural Pregnancy: A Week by Week Guide- the book I found myself reading the most, as it has a week by week account (that I’d usually read ahead on). So much great info and more naturally inclined without feeling judgy. Get a hard copy vs kindle.
Nurture: A Modern Guide to Pregnancy, Birth & Early Motherhood another great resource handbook, similar to the above, and naturally inclined as well. Get a hard copy vs kindle.
The First Forty Days: The Essential Art of Nourishing the New Mother: a beautiful little book on the “after” that no one talks about much. It’s about recovery, healing and nourishing new mammas properly and why it’s needed. Recipes too, although I haven’t gotten to them so far. Give a great perspective on life after and self-care and getting and receiving help.
Baby Wise: interesting book on sleep schedules & feeding. I know it doesn’t work for all and every baby is different, but liked hearing about how people structure it. I did the audio version.
Q: Any great natural baby products you’ve found?
Sunflower Motherhood Recovery Gift Boxes: a really great gift idea for a new mamma to be: a full recovery basket, with literally everything a new mamma could need. My friend from college just started this business and it’s such a great idea!
Q: Are you planning a home birth or hospital?
I’m doing a hospital birth with midwives, or what feels like the best of both worlds to me.
Q: Are you planning on getting a epidural?
I’m planning to just be open to whatever I need to do, and whatever needs to happen to get this baby safely out into the world. Ideally I’d love to try to do things naturally for as long as I can, and am not opposed to an epidural if I need one.
Q: Are you having a doula?
Yes, and she’s amazing. I asked around for referrals and it felt like fate when we found her! Her name is Katie from Hello Baby Seattle. We did our childbirth classes with her at our house too, and it made the whole experience so much better.
post birth update: literally the best money we’ve spent. I don’t know what we would have done without Katie there. There are so many unknowns with birth, and she just knew exactly what to do when, with tons of ideas, options, encouragement and support when Kyle and I needed it most.
Q: Any favorite brands & registry items you’re most excited about?
Dock-A-Tot (post birth update: the best thing we’ve bought– naps, nighttime, to soothe, etc)
post birth update: he doesn’t love this.. yet? A friend let us borrow a swing instead and it’s been a lifesaver!
Sleep Swaddles- to sleep: we’re starting out with a few different kinds, based on other people’s recs we know and love: 1) the Halo microfleece sleep swaddle sack. 2) the Halo cotton sleep swaddle sack 3) Swaddle Me sleep swaddles.
post birth update: We have only used the Ollie World Swaddle (game changing) and ordered the Swaddle Me Sleep Swaddle in premie/newborn size, and use both (doubled up when it’s cold out). The above ones (size small) were way too big for our tiny one.
post birth update: these pacifiers are apparently much better for newborns for their size and shape
Other things we didn’t know we needed but have been so helpful (aka, the 2am amazon orders we’ve placed since):
The Baby Shusher: it sounds ridiculous but it really works and saves a lot of your voice in the middle of the night!
Nicer quality nursing tank tops: I bought a few cheapies from H&M and amazon in the beginning but didn’t want to wear them because they weren’t that comfortable and kinda scratchy. Then I tried these from Motherhood Maternity and have since ordered 4 more since it’s all I feel like I’m wearing. That way I can wear all of my open sweaters and flannels with these underneath.
Honest Co Diapers, in newborn size: I had ordered a bunch of 7th generation natural diapers in newborn size, but they are way too big on him. The honest co ones are still pretty natural, and have much more realistic sizing. And cute patterns (like baby pandas, stop it). If you like them they do a monthly shipment option as well.
The Hakaa Milk Catcher: So great to catch letdown milk- you will be shocked at how much you get. It’s a simple suction cup that you can take anywhere.
Kiinde Breast Milk Storage pouches: these hook right up to your pump and store flat in the fridge. BPA free too!
Best Finds for Cute Baby Clothes:
H & M Baby
Catch up on all the pregnancy posts here: