36 Week Bump Style

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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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