36 Week Bump Style

36 Weeks | The Fresh Exchange

In all honesty, I have been hesitant to post another bump style post. I am not going to lie to all of you. Literally, I have put a style post off for weeks. I have really had a hard time with feeling comfortable with even Mike getting photos of me. I never would have said I had “body issues” so to speak, but being pregnant has made me realize how unforgiving I can be of myself. After a few moments of being all down about myself, I decided that was no way to live especially when pregnancy is such a special thing that some women never have the opportunity to experience. I felt pretty silly and selfish.

The truth is I know I am not the only pregnant lady who feels this way. Everyone feels differently at this stage. Some women feel like a goddess, some feel like a whale, some love it, and some just cannot wait for it all to be over. I have chosen to accept where I am each day in the journey, embrace it, and of course have a good laugh when necessary.

I don’t know if I had real expectations for this final stage of pregnancy other than that there would be a lot of waiting and anticipation. To keep the anxious thoughts of D-day at bay I am keeping myself busy with just prepping content for weeks out so I can enjoy time with our little guy when he does make his debut without feeling the pressure of anything to pull me away. I am doing crafty things and decorating the house as well to ease my nesting. Mike and I are going on dates and making time for just us. All of it is keeping me far from the waiting though I realize beginning this week (I hit 37 weeks on Friday) I am basically a ticking time bomb from here on out.

Looking back on my pregnancy I have had it really easy. It was a smooth 1st trimester relatively speaking and I loved the 2nd trimester so much. I could remain stylish, active, and do what I love with such ease. Most of the time I never even felt pregnant. I remember saying to Mike I have a bump right because I felt so often like this whole thing was a joke and felt very surreal at certain moments.

These days the bump greets many things or proceeds my arrival before I actually do. I feel SOOO thankful I haven’t had some of the discomforts I expected such as with my varicose veins. I have a family history of them and have already had 2 surgeries to correct my sartorial vein in my legs. One reopened partially about 6 months before I got pregnant and the same day my doctor called to confirm my next surgery to fix the issue I had only hours before received the call I was officially pregnant. This meant I would be having to hold off until 6 months after I had had our little. I figured that by this time I would be living in compression hose. Not the case at all! I have been very lucky that I have only had to use them while flying and on long car rides.

The thing I didn’t expect in these final weeks is how my body would feel far from being my own. I am not someone who does well admitting defeat or if I need help. These days, doing simple tasks such as carrying groceries, buckling a seat belt, putting on shoes, and even getting pants on can feel like something I should be able to check off a to-do list. At times I have felt pretty sad about the loss of the ability to do these things, but then I remember it is only for a time and period in life and I simply have to laugh at the fact my feet only fit in about 3 pairs of shoes right now (thank god that really cool tennis shoes are a hip thing to wear right now).

36 Weeks | The Fresh Exchange

I also was not expecting the water retention. I had heard about it, sure, but wasn’t sure what to expect. I am sure most of you pregnant ladies can relate. I think it was about 34 weeks it started very slowly. I noticed my feet getting a little wider. Then I went for a hike with Mike on a warm day and my hands got all swollen between the sweating on the hike and the warm weather. At about 36 weeks I started waking up with my hands tingling and now the carpal tunnel. All things that thankfully my midwife and chiropractor have been very helpful in working through with me. So even as my face seems to get a little rounder, my butt seems to be disappearring, and my fingers are constantly tingling somewhere, I have been finding acceptance of being in a phase of life where I am simply on a roller coaster ride and my body is doing things with very great purpose. This is part of this journey. Pregnancy is by far one of the most humbling experiences as someone who enjoys being fit and caring for their body. Being forced to slow down as Relaxin becomes a very present thing in my body is all part of this time in life.

All that to say, I avoided this post for weeks because stepping in front of the camera has felt so hard, but I am realizing that I need to do this. This is a time in life that needs documenting. There is beauty in the journey. More importantly, this isn’t something I am alone in. All of us ladies feel this. I mean this doodle from a friend about her final weeks sums up how most every lady in her 9th month feels am I right?!

There is no shame in struggling to find this stage of pregnancy beautiful, but there is no good reason not to document this time in life as well. I want to be real about this process and the only way that I can do that is by being willing to be myself right now.

All that to say, I have tried to find a few key things I can wear in these final weeks and even thinking about what will work for me in postpartum. All the items I have and wear right now work in a neutral palette, which I have done since my second trimester, but now I am looking for things that are soft, easy to take on and off, and feel far from constricting. It isn’t easy, is it ladies? I found this sweater dress (currently 30% off) at Madewell and love that it is something I can wear now and will love after as well. I also have fully accepted leggings as real pants these days without shame. I never purchased maternity ones because these from Zara and from Lou & Grey have continued to fit well. I am not a fan of the maternity pant no matter how I try to embrace it. The bands going over my belly make me itchy no matter the amount of coconut oil I rub before hand. I then have about 4-6 tees that I purchased from Madewell and Gap in a size larger that still cover my belly very well. I pair them with long cardigans such as this one and this one. As for shoes, I have been rocking these kicks for daily life and these ones as well. I love the pull on no lace thing a little more than the lace up but both are comfy. I can still sometimes slip into my Sam Edelman boots as well for going out. I have done all I can to keep my clothes purchasing for this time to a minimum especially at this point. Though, I am still completely obsessed with anything and everything Hatch because it will forever be a part of life from now on.

I have done all I can to keep my clothes purchasing for this time to a minimum, especially in these final weeks. I instead am looking for items that will be easy to wear being a new mom and while my body makes the transition back to a familiar shape and I am feeding our little guy. Keeping simple neutrals at the base keeps things looking chic and stylish even when it is something as simple as leggings and a sweater. I also won’t lie that I have stolen a few items from Mike’s closet these days.

36 Weeks | The Fresh Exchange

I am 100% aware this isn’t a time in life for glamour or high heels, but it is a time to still feel yourself and not let yourself lose sight who you are. Keeping normalcy on any level has kept my spirits higher as my body has changed. Our world makes it hard to accept this very amazing and important time in a life as a woman without much guilt or expectations of what it should look like physically, thus why I am choosing to still embrace these posts in these final weeks no matter the puff and cankles that may come about at the end. Hiding them away isn’t a way to live. This is a part of life and the reality of bringing life into the world.

Thanks for musing this pregnant lady. I hope it gives you confidence to own your body whether pregnant or not. We are all in process, friends.


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16 Responses

  1. at this stage in the game I was buying clothes that were not maternity that i could be excited about wearing post baby. i did this with both children. its a reminder that even though right -now- your body may not be your own, it will be once again. i am willing to bet that within 3-6 weeks post partum you will be back to your normal wardrobe for the most part. the aches and cracks and tinglies…those will become more in your life before it is all said and done. soon momma, soon.


  2. I think every woman goes through a “mourning stage” while pregnant… we mourn the loss of our old body shape, and wish it didn’t have to be so, even though we wouldn’t change the shape of our bodies for everything, and love the precious baby growing inside!

    Hang in there, Mama. This stage goes by SO very quickly. Don’t try to rush the weight loss after baby arrives. You’re doing great, and you look AMAZING! 🙂 So, SO many blessings during this wonderful season!

  3. You are so beautiful my friend. I was really eager to read this post, we’re in the phase where we’re trying for a baby and i have had all these fears about how it will be. sETTING ASIDE EVERYTHING, IT IS A BEAUTIFUL EXPERIENCE AND ONCE IT ENDS I BET YOU’LL REMEMBER IT AS A SWEET MEMORY

    1. So glad you love it and I am so excited you will soon enter this stage of life. It is really a special and growing time in so many ways. You will enjoy it!!! It is a wild ride there is no doubt but it is very rewarding.

  4. I wish that I’d have taken more photos of myself pregnant, however I never did, and now I look back at the few photos I have, in awe of how much my body changed to accommodate our daughter.

    I thought I’d mention that everyone talks about maternity fashion whilst pregnant, but I find no one talks about post partum, breastfeeding style issues. I love wearing a dress every now and then, however I have only found one dress that I can wear while breastfeeding that doesn’t mean I’m showing a tonne of cleavage. I have found choosing clothing suitable for breastfeeding (while still remaining true to my style) so difficult! I’d love to hear how you go, if you’re planning on nursing.

    Enjoy the last few weeks! I have to be honest to say that I did not miss being pregnant whatsoever! Oh man, being able to tie up my shoes, pick up anything I wanted from wherever, and walk at a normal pace to be the best feeling ever!

  5. I just have to say – Thank you for sharing – I completely experienced the same feelings and thoughts during this time of both of my pregnancies! You are not alone. Way to go getting in front of the camera and documenting yourself now – you’ll definitely appreciate it later. Not right away, but next year when you see these images again, it’s beautiful. I took my own maternity photos because I did not have the best attitude toward my pregnant body and while it was a struggle to do it, I am so glad that I did! Not only can I see what my body was capable of I can really sit back and be thankful for it now outside of that moment. Thanks again for sharing! Keep on keeping on with your positive attitude!! oh and you’re totally rockin’ the bump style!

  6. I just have to comment on the fact that I think you look amazing! I have always been in awe of pregnant women, I just think you are all beautiful. WHat you and your body are accomplishing is an incredible thing. I have yet to have a baby myself, so I can not relate to what you have mentioned. I just wanted to offer words of encouragement. You are not alone in how you feel, I have had many friends share the same thoughts with me, but just know the world looks at you as an incredible and beautiful woman. Good luck with everything! Cheers to a happy and healthy baby and momma 🙂

  7. Girl, you look gorgeous! I think you will look back and think the same once you are out of this moment. The ONLY thing missing is your beautiful smile 🙂

  8. Hang in there! I feel you for sure… And the post-partum journey is full of its own ups and downs… The body not being your own feeling definitely continues. But the best part is the tribe of awesome mamas to encourage and shoulder you onward… And baby smiles. Hugs from nyc.

    1. Baby smiles will make it all very worth it 🙂 Thanks for the comment and encouragement Sam! Also I love your illustrations about this period of life. I think you could make a book of them and you probably should 🙂

  9. You look AMAZING!! Your dress is perfection – I love cozy pieces like that. Congratulations again – can’t wait to meet the little guy 🙂

  10. I wanted to take a moment to Thank you for writing this post. I am currently 25 weeks pregnant and it was so reassuring to hear your accounts of your body changing. Like you, I am very active (running, rock climbing, kayaking), however had complications my first trimester and have only been approved to do walking. It’s killing me not to run and I’ve struggled with just taking it easy all the time. My husband has been obsessed and excited to watch my belly grow and I have allowed minimal documentation of it. But after reading your post, I have to agree. Pregnancy is a really beautiful thing that I have a PRIVILEGE of experiencing and I should appreciate it and document it at least for personal consumption. So thank you and good luck with your final weeks.


    1. Ellen, I am so glad I shared it if anything for you. I get it 100% especially since I was the fittest I had been since I was a college athlete and felt so good about my body. I know that will pay off on the otherside and make it easier to bounce back into life well, but still there is a real struggle with finding balance as your body changes. Know that it will get a little more difficult as you get towards the end but the best news is that it means your baby is healthy and your body is doing the right things. Try to embrace it because it does go quickly. Stay busy and for me I go to the gym still to do my walk because it makes me feel like I got in my normal workout even if I am wandering the track and being passed by older people speed walking. I figure in a few months I will be back to working out like I love and this time will feel so short and precious all at the same time.

  11. You look wonderful! I had three pregnancies and each one was So different….exhausting during them but make for fond memories and great stories now. 🙂 I had a terrible time with a varicose vein during my third pregnancy that I still need to have surgery on to correct! Just need to save the rest of the money. 🙂

    1. Thanks so much and yes the varicose thing is a rough one. The surgery is very easy just give yourself 24 hours as there is discomfort afterward. After that I felt pretty fine other than some bruising and blister, but within 10 days I was 100% back to working out and moving normally like nothing happened. I did too much one day and it got pretty warm and upset with me, but as long as you are just conscious of being in recovery you will be fine 🙂 I didn’t even take pain meds at all after I had it done. I opted for a few glasses of wine and pizza that night instead 😉

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