Everyone’s holidays look different but from my experience, when our families come together, it is not just to celebrate the date on the calendar but also to gather with the loved ones who bring our culture, spirit, history, and experiences to life. Before I became pregnant, I would prepare myself – not just for the holiday logistics – but to also field the inevitable questions my large extended family would direct at me; How many kids do you want? When do we get some great-nieces and nephews to chase after? Once I became pregnant, it was all about what I should or shouldn’t be eating, doing or when was another one coming? I’m sure I’m not alone in dealing with this and while it all comes from love, the holidays can add stress to any pregnancy.
And just like pregnancy, the holiday season comes with so many exciting highs and challenging lows. You may be feeling the stress of hosting family and friends. Or maybe you’re dreading dressing up your bump. You may be battling morning sickness, trying not to reveal an early pregnancy, or dealing with challenging news about a pregnancy everyone is already aware of and excited about. Add the stress of gift-giving (and receiving – being asked what I needed or wanted was always challenging for me to answer) or navigating a table full of food you may be discouraged to eat and this time starts to feel more miserable than merry.
Regardless of which elements of the holidays are hitting you hardest this year or what is top of mind for you, here are a few tips that helped me get through years of pregnant holidays. And if people are asking you what you want, I have a few ideas for that too!
Making it through the season:
I’m a self-proclaimed foodie and the first to admit that one of my pregnancy challenges was avoiding foods that were not safe for the baby I was growing. But as with most things on the pregnancy journey, food and drink restrictions are temporary and mindset is everything. Don’t be afraid to make some changes to your holiday menu this year. If you’re hosting, substitute a dish or two for ones you can enjoy so that you don’t feel like you’re missing out. If you’re a guest and you’re comfortable enough to share your restrictions with the host – do so and offer to bring another option to add to the table.
When you look good, you feel good so take the time to make sure you’re dressed confidently and comfortably. This is an opportunity to show off that growing bump (or not.) Regardless, make sure you stay true to yourself and don’t feel pressure to live up to a pre-pregnancy standard or to dress to impress anyone else!
Family members (mine at least) are great for offering unsolicited advice. I know that being pregnant prompted a lot of guidance from my family about what I should or shouldn’t be doing while pregnant or after the baby arrived and how I should or shouldn’t be doing it. Try to keep it all in perspective and remember it’s coming from a loving place. And be open-minded! You may be letting most of the feedback go in one ear and out the other but you never know what nuggets might stick and prove really useful. And I admit to having learned so much from those who walked this path before I did!
Mae’s Mama Must-Haves – Gift ideas for YOU:
If one question you keep getting this holiday season from friends and family is “what do you need?” or “what do you want?” and you’re not sure how to answer – I have some ideas for that too!
Below are just a few favorite brands that are Black (and some are mama) owned, organic, natural or locally sourced, and innovative and beautiful – great additions to any holiday wish list!
This all-natural skincare line is sourced from family owned farms in Togo, West Africa. The grains in the face wash feel incredible, the toner is refreshing, and the moisturizer is super rich and nourishing! Definitely add this to your list.
Stina and Mae
While they have no relation to us at Mae, we love them as if they did! Their beautiful nursing pads, blankets, burp cloths, and baby accessories are sustainable, stylish and the Black women who own this business are also giving back to important causes with the help of your purchases! A percentage of their annual revenue is distributed to fighting childhood hunger and bringing awareness to maternal health inequity.
If you’re already thinking about postpartum style and function, check these out! Created by a mom who also happens to be a doula, these pants are stretchy, stylish and comfortably cover and secure your midsection to support your postpartum belly.
Pretty Please Teethers
Ok – this one is really for the baby but they’re possibly the chicest and most beautifully simple teethers and accessories you can find. Organic, made here in the US and the business is owned by a Black mom – they definitely would’ve been on my wish list!
Here at Mae, we are all wishing you a great holiday season and the chance to safely reconnect with family and friends! Enjoy your pregnancy during this festive time and if you’re looking for more community, resources or support, create a profile and become part of the Mae community!