The whole idea to bring baby mamas to FFAB blog was inspired by my dear friend, Michelle. We went to the same high school and college, and even lived together for awhile. Michelle (pictured above at about 8 months pregnant) gave birth to her first son, Jackson, on September 23, 2013. It goes without saying the little man has turned her world upside down, and changed her whole outlook on life and especially, on love. As I watched the transformation, I became inspired to share her story, and others like it, on the blog. I was especially impressed with the way Michelle gave up smoking (a decade-long habit of hers!) and the way she carefully watched what she was eating, as well as limiting caffenine. My friend was glowing! And now, as a new mom, she's beaming!
How could you not be with a baby boy this precious?
I asked Michelle to answers some questions about her first pregnancy and the changes she went through. For me (a girl who doesn't have kids) it's especially enlightening; there's so much that I didn't know! But because not one pregnancy is the same as another, I'd love for other moms to weigh-in about their experiences in the comments or, better yet, email me to get featured!
When you found out you were pregnant, what immediate changes did you make? (Obviously things like no alcohol and you quit smoking, right?)
I immediately cut out alcohol and cut back on the caffeine but didn't eliminate it from my diet completely. Smoking was hard to immediately cut out since I was a smoker since the age of 14 but I immediately cut down and eventually eliminated all smoking by week 8.
Was it hard at first?
Alcohol, not so much... Smoking and caffeine was difficult but when you read about drinking caffeine and smoking while you are pregnant and the harm it can cause, it makes giving it up a lot easier!
Did you feel better physically after making these changes?
I don't know if I would say I felt physically better because so much is going on with your body while pregnant, I'm not sure exactly what caused me feeling better (and worse). Being pregnant causes you to be exhausted, especially during the first trimester. I'd be ready for a nap every afternoon and typically, when not pregnant, I'd go for a cup of coffee but couldn't during that first trimester.
What about your diet; you stopped eating deli meat and unpasteurized cheese, right? What about seafood?
Yes, I cut out deli meat and tuna. The few times I did eat deli meat, I'd be sure it was heated to a temperature that killed any sort of potential bacteria in the meat. As for tuna, I ate it maybe once or twice during my pregnancy. The doctors said if I did eat it, to ensure it was the light tuna and to only eat it occasionally because it contains mercury. I did eat shrimp and lots of salmon during my pregnancy. When I say "lots" it would be about once a week.
Did you cut back on caffeine?
Yes, I cut back at the beginning until I was rarely drinking caffeine. Once I made it past 20 weeks, I'd have one cup of coffee a day - typically in the morning.
Did you have any cravings?
My cravings would change weekly! Every week would be something different. One week I was craving extra cheddar goldfish, the next would be kit-kats, then snickers... the cravings were all over the place. The things I craved most like bologna and an Italian sub I couldn't eat because I was pregnant. Surprisingly, there was nothing that wouldn't settle in my stomach while pregnant. I know some women are not able to eat certain foods or they would get sick to their stomach... not me! I never even had morning sickness and gained my first trimester when most women lose weight.
I know you were very active before getting pregnant with basketball and cycling, etc. Did you workout during your pregnancy? You tried Barre & pre-natal yoga, right? Did you prefer one over the other?
Unfortunately, about a month before getting pregnant, I had gotten off my regular, rigorous workout routine. Because I had stopped working out for a while, I didn't continue on with the routine because I was nervous that something might happen... the doctors give you warnings about working out if you are not all that active when you get pregnant. I did a few Barre classes and a prenatal yoga class. Both were good but difficult because I hadn't worked out in some time and adding pregnancy into a workout wasn't easy. I preferred the prenatal yoga class. It was less strenuous, more relaxing and helped get you in touch with your body and baby at the same time. I'd recommend prenatal yoga to every pregnant women!
Would you say you had a fairly easy pregnancy? Do you attribute any of that to the healthy changes you made?
Although this was my first pregnancy and I have nothing to compare my pregnancy to - besides the stories of other women - I had a VERY EASY pregnancy! In the first few weeks, I'd wake up and sometimes feel a little sick to my stomach but never really experienced morning sickness. I was also pretty tired during my first trimester but other than that, things were smooth sailing for me! I never really had issues sleeping. My doctor told me during one of my first visits that a boring pregnancy was the best type and that was mine... no issues :-)
Now, with Jackson home and the labor behind you, what are you doing to stay healthy? Are you still avoiding the foods and everything you gave up during pregnancy?
I'm trying to eat healthy since I am breastfeeding and to help lose the weight I gained while pregnant. I am not completely avoiding the foods I gave up while pregnant but am eating them in moderation.
What are you doing to stay active?
Right now, the only thing I can do is take walks. I go back to the doctors at 6-weeks for my check-up and be released to 'get active." Carrying a baby does seem to be a workout at times too... Lifting and holding him is definitely helping me strengthen my arms!
Looking back, is there anything you would change about the way you handled your pregnancy health-wise?
I wish I would have been active in the gym on a regular basis prior to getting pregnant. If I was, I probably would have kept working out throughout the pregnancy. Since I had taken some time off from the gym prior to getting pregnant, I didn't want to risk anything with my pregnancy if I started working out again but that's about it... I have a healthy baby boy and it seems to me I did follow doctors orders and stayed healthy throughout my pregnancy.
Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions, Michelle! Love you girl!
Readers: what did you experience during your first pregnancy?
What major changes did you make? Did you have an easy pregnancy?
Photos by me and my friend Vanessa.