Pregnant and Stylish on a budget

With my first pregnancy, I started exploring my maternity fashion and budget options and below i share my findings. I should admit that i traveled extensively during my 1st pregnancy which also gave me an opportunity to score some great buys from across the globe.

              (This is a regular summer dress picked up on sale from American Eagle which cost AED 90/-) 

To Do's

1. Make an inventory of your closet-  Take a hard look at your closet to see if you own pieces of clothing in there that will work. A tunic or empire waist dress, flowing tops, stretchy pants, tights and leggings. 

2. Shop smart-  Consider shopping for outfits that are wearable post pregnancy too. Instead of shelling a fortune on maternity stores opt for your favorite high street store and look for clothing one size larger than your regular size. Pick button downs that will be beneficial post pregnancy for nursing, empire cuts, flowing and legging style.

3. Score the sales - If you've been eyeing all the exorbitant priced outfits on the window of a celebrated maternity store, wait before you take the leap towards a desperate purchase. You can still own at least a few. There is always a sale coming up.

4. Save up for an investment purchase- Allow yourself the opportunity to get extravagant on one or two baby shower, maternity shoot or a special occasion dress. Save up for it and shop guilt free. You absolutely deserve it! Splurge also on one piece of well fitted and comfyjeans, work pants or a good quality leggings. It will be used and reused and the money spent will add good value.

5. Hand me downs - If your bestie or a great friend has bid adieu to her maternity season you can always approach her and borrow her maternity clothes.  Ensure to take extra care and return them in good condition.

6. Choose good quality nursing bra's- For the last trimester i suggest that you invest in nursing bras that offer support and can be used after delivery for nursing. If you pick this early in your pregnancy, go for 2 sizes plus what you are currently. Choose silicon underwire or just a good support stitch. Do not opt for metallic and hard underwire's and heavy padding. Support and comfort is the name of the game. I collected mine on sale (in my first trimester) from Destination Maternity and Triumph.

7. Get colourful and accessorize- Do not limit yourself to drabs and neutral pallet. Alternating between colorful scarfs and a bright neckpiece can add variety and splendor to your block colored tees, topsand dresses.  Color and accessories add sparkle ,lifts your pregnant spirit and perks up any outfit.

Not to Do's

1.  Steer clear of carrying tiny hand bags- They make you look oversized . Opt for larger bags to complement your growing bump, but ensure to keep the bag light for comfort.

2. Avoid sporting crop jackets- They make you look like midgets who ate way too many cheeseburgers.

3. Abstain from baggy clothes - You can opt a size bigger, but baggy is just so wrong and does no justice to showing off your  pregnant curves. Its deceptive and makes you look like a tent, larger than you really are.

4. Refrain from short shirts that reveal the orb and hot pants that ride up-  It calls for constant adjusting and it steals the grace and charm of gazing at a beautiful pregnant lady.

5. Super High heeled footwear is a NO NO- However stylish it may sound, rocking in super high heels is not just dangerous to yourself and the baby but is painful, uncomfortable and makes you look plain funny. An inch and a half is the limit. 

6. Expensive stretch mark creams are just a marketing gimmick-  You do not have to fall into pressure of having to shell a fortune on those high end creams to avoid the marks. There a natural and effective substitutes such as olive, coconut or vitamin e oil. Drink lots of water and eat healthy which will boost your skin's elasticity and keeps you away from the marks.

Whatever your personal fashion preference may by, remember to adorn confidence and a smile. No matter what- you are BEAUTIFUL. You are carrying the greatest gift, the miracle of life. Look deep, there is beauty within you, let it radiate to the outward and make your spirit and fashion shine. Love being pregnant, Love being fashionable, Love being you!

Grieving Moms on Mothers Day

While there are many things i can chalk down, this is one of the hardest! How do mothers who have endured the greatest pain, a still birth, a miscarriage, a sunshine whose giggle and play they will never hear and behold again grapple with the absence and void in their heart. On Mothers day as we receive those cute cards and praises let's not fail to remember those mamas who we know are battling despair. I have been through three miscarriage myself and it was one of the coldest seasons I braved out. There have been days I have dreamed about holding my 3 little angels that never made it to earth, but some day will welcome me on the golden shores across the bridge. This mothers day i know of a few mommies who have endured the worst pain, who have held their precious children here in this world but will never again feel their warmth as they have gone too soon. I hold so closely in my heart all those recently bereaved moms. You may have another child, but that does not take away the pain of a great loss and mothers day may always remain as one of those bitter-sweet days to live through. I honor those incredible women who carry in their heart love and memories, who pick themselves up and live again. The tears in the dark, the cracks in the heart, one who has withstood the unthinkable and emerged as a survivor. To you i pay respect!

Remember to write a note or visit a grieving mommy-friend and acknowledge their mother-heart. Let them know they are loved, precious and that you care. A little support can go miles to brave the hardest of days.

Green Smoothie lifestyle

  smoothie

Time to give thought to 'Healthy'- Give Green smoothies a try. It is the best fast food you can ever down. With a preparation time of under 10 minutes, it is packed with the goodness of  leafy greens and fruits. It aids in boosting your immune system, increases your energy, packed with anti-oxidants and helps with weight loss. It's yummylicious and guaranteed to make you insanely addicted.

Ingredients

2 cups of fresh or frozen Spinach
2 cups of Papaya
1 cup mango
1/2  cup Celery
6-7 blueberries
2 cm piece of ginger
1 cup Greek yoghurt
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoon Linseed
1 tablespoon  honey (optional)

Preparation

Process all ingredients in a blender until smooth. Sit back sip and enjoy some power packed green infusion.

 

 

*Disclaimer: I am one who enjoys creative, healthy cooking. My family table is a place of comfort, nourishment and satisfaction. My past work experience qualified me to be a service trainer for a leading International airline assessing service rendered in fine dining environments. I am not a chef and have no formal eduction in food preparation, food writing or food photography. Everything I write  is from my own experience. I  love to help women in all walks of life create a healthy lifestyle and enjoy an abundant life in every area.

 

 

Slay Your Dragon

I am excited to be back and to engage with my readers after a short blog break. The break was intentional as I decided to dedicate time to focus my attention on my start up. I have to admit that I have missed writing and hearing back from my readers. In this post I have decided to tackle one of the most common but rarely mentioned and discussed issue of 'Postnatal depression'. This past week I have had four new moms who approached me and shared their personal struggles and fight against this predator.The severity of this hit me when one of the moms mentioned she often fantasized about killing her baby and another stated how she shook her baby so hard in despair. This post is dedicated to my friends who have requested that I write as an effort to raise awareness and help reduce the stigma attached to this issue.

This subject is very close to my heart as I am one of those many million children who were caught in the whirlwind of maternal depression. My mother suffered severe postnatal depression after my birth and she has struggled with the effects of it since. I have not personally experienced the blues or depression with any of my pregnancies but I am well aware of the consequences that come along with the package.

Listening to the stories my friends had to share of their struggles in battling depression, I questioned why in the recent past this issue has become an increasingly common occurrence with new moms. I have realized that in our modern nuclear family setting with little or no help,the pressures of life added with balancing a home and getting used to a new baby can be one of the most stressful moments in the life of a woman. A combination of the above with the hormonal changes and many other changes to a new mothers lifestyle is a perfect recipe for depression. Many families suffer through this in silence as a result of lack of awareness or the stigma attached to mental illness. Through this post I attempt to tear down some social veils and offer facts on how common this phenomenon is.

Research states that 50 percent of new mothers suffer baby blues and one in every 10 new mothers suffer postpartum depression, which is a more serious condition.Postpartum depression results in intense feelings, and long lasting symptoms, which could occur anytime during the first year of birth. The symptoms could include intense sadness, anger, guilt, insomnia, fear of hurting you baby, lack of interest in things you enjoyed before etc. This requires support; counseling and early medical intervention. If you are reading this post and you are suffering through post partum depression you owe it to yourself and your children to get the help you need.

I have had many women address me as a 'Super mom' to which I have always responded I am no super mom. I have 3 boys aged 5 and under which is indeed a challenging age group to handle. I look at them as my most valued gift and source of investment. I try to give motherhood my best shot and to be there for my children. My honest confession is that there are many instances I have failed and made mistakes. As much as I enjoy home making and raising my kids, there are days with my boys around my home everything seems chaotic with broken sleep and an overwhelming sense of responsibility and a sense of inadequacy. A great learning that I have taken away is the understanding that there is no super mom or there will never ever be a perfect mother. Every mother needs the one and only super God and support from people around her to fulfill her call as a mother.

New moms i urge you not to come under pressure to be a super mom,to get everything right. My big advice is for you to relax your standards. It is more important to care for your wellness and for your baby than to get the home looking spotless or to prepare a fine dinner. Prioritize your sleep and eat healthy. Get out of your home and enjoy a walk in the park,coffee dates with friends ,shopping for yourself or indulge in any treat you would enjoy. There is nothing shameful about admitting that motherhood has taken a toll on you and you are finding it difficult to cope with the role.Seek help and delegate responsibilities. If you are suffering with symptoms leading to postnatal depression do not disregard your feelings and suffer in silence. Find courage to share with people you are comfortable with and count on your spouse. Learn to tune off the voices that says you are not getting this right. You are not a bad mother.You are finding your grounds and learning everyday as every mother does.

Your moment of breakthrough and healing is just around the corner. It will come with a combination of changing you’re thought patterns to reflect hope, caring for yourself and seeking a support group and medical help. There is a bright light and hope awaiting you. Never give up and never give in to this thick cloud. Choose to rise up, choose to be resilient, choose to slay your dragon.

Event: C2B Coffee morning and Kids play-date on May 17

  Cocoon to Butterfly Community  wishes to invite aspiring moms, moms-to be, yummy mommies and kids to a coffee morning and play date. This will be at Caboodle in Dubai mall on Saturday, May17th at 11am.

Come by and indulge in some healthy conversation and fun activities where you could enjoy prizes from our sponsors. The kids have an opportunity to play right next to where the moms are at. The play area is charged at 70 aed for an hour for crafts,cartoons,play and more. If you do not wish to send your children to the play area, they are more than welcome to hang out with the mommies.

Looking forward to catching up with you beautiful ladies,yummy mommies and fun kidos. Do not miss the fun!!

 

 

A Woman who dared to tread on a road less travelled

Today I bring to you a real and incredible story of a special mother of great strength and courage. This story first and foremost is of faith and of acceptance that life is sometimes about crosses to be borne cheerfully and resolutely. I have the unique privilege of sharing my friend Jaya Jacob's story. A story of her unexpected invitation to maternity and giving birth to a child she was told she would never hold. A story of nothing less than a heroic choice, which may seem foolish to many but has much value in eternity. Jaya and her husband had discovered they were pregnant for the first time and were joyous and thrilled as they were entering this new phase in life. However in a few days time everything changed. One night she experienced severe bleeding and was rushed to the hospital. The doctor’s diagnosis initially confirmed a miscarriage, but the ultrasound proved otherwise. The fetus was healthy and living.

At the 12th week scheduled a routine scan, she was told those awful words that no parent should ever hear “Your baby is not normal”. She was told the brain matter of the child was outside. Subsequently she was advised to go to a high-risk pregnancy-scanning institute and confirm the results. Here she had the option of a second ultrasound monitor where she could view the fetus as the radiologist did the examination. She patiently watched as they carried out their duties. They showed her how well the heart was beating and the baby was growing and provided explanation every step of the way. In the end the doctor stated, “Your baby’s skull is not formed” and explained what the statement meant. Jaya was alone in the room with the doctor at this point with no support as this is the norm in India. Jaya’s response to the doctor was “now what”. To this, the reply was “terminate the pregnancy”. She enquired with the doctor if waiting and going for another scan would improve the situation at hand. The doctor’s response was, “if it were to improve, it would have happened within the first 8 weeks of pregnancy and there is no chance of this happening in the future”. The sound of this statement was a shattering blow to her in her fragile mental state. She could not get herself to think of terminating her child whom she had carried and cared for 12 weeks. Finally mustering courage she informed the doctor of her decision to continue the pregnancy. After she made the statement she broke down sobbing, consumed in a flood of tears. The radiologist stepped in and comforted her saying she would support her with her decision. This was reassuring and her heart was rooted to believe God would work out a miracle.

She went to her consultant doctor with the hope that the doctor would render the same support as the radiologist did. However, she was astounded as the doctor reprimanded her and left her with the single choice of terminating the pregnancy.  She put her face forward like a flint and pleaded with God to change her situation around.She decided to go down to her hometown to find doctors who would support her through her decision. To her surprise, she found that all the doctors she approached seemed to have one final decision “Terminate the baby”. She battled in her mind saying, “God, how can I do this when I have not created this life. What right do I have to take it away”. Then she made the most heroic statement that a lot of women I know in my lifetime would not dare to make. She stated, “God, you are more than able to give me a healthy baby, but if you choose not to, you know best, I choose to be in your will and whatever the outcome I will not terminate this child, all I ask is for grace to go through this”. This is the one decision that made her the recipient of accusation and rejection. Yet she possessed a heart of gold in which rested an un-wavered and honorable decision.

From that moment till the 7th month, she had not consulted with any doctor as she had failed to identify any who would support her through her decision. She carried the baby gracefully, and with confidence knowing that her life and the baby’s life were in better hands. In her 7th month, a family friend referred her to a doctor. She was pleased to find out this doctor was supportive of her decision and offered her much encouragement. However, the doctor informed her to be mentally prepared for a C-section delivery as the baby’s skull was not strong enough to push through the birth canal. She and her husband committed this to God and were hopeful and certain that she would go through a normal delivery process.

In Jaya’s 8th month of pregnancy, on August 10, 2013, at 11 pm her water broke and she was admitted in the hospital. The examinations proved that there was no contraction and the uterus was relaxed. Jaya sought God much to take her through a normal delivery process. As soon as she hit the hospital bed she felt discomfort and knew in her heart that the birthing process had started. She gave birth through a normal process to a baby boy. The baby was taken to the NICU, where he rested till evening and passed away to be in a better place. Jaya tells me that though she cannot comprehend completely why she and the baby had to go through all of this, one thing she knows is that her heart is rested and she is guilt free. It was a painful process, but she tells me it was more painful and difficult to face people who were ignorant of the situation and who questioned her about her baby.

Trough all these circumstance she felt like she was walking closer to God and had a certain peace she could not explain. She does not clearly see the bigger picture, yet she is certain of one thing that she has been molded and changed to be a better person through this process. She sees herself with a renewed compassion, humility and newfound consideration for people. She has learned children are truly special gifts people own, and how precious life is and never to take it for granted.

Her message to people out there is, when you knowingly or unknowingly curse your child or decide to take life away from the womb, just stop for a moment and ask God to open the eyes of your understanding and to reveal to you how precious His creation is. He looks at each one of His created ones with much value. Let each one of us learn to value life in this light.

There are choices we make which stems out of  Faith and conviction and seem ridiculous. Jaya might have attracted much criticism for her decision. So many of us in Jaya’s situation would choose abortion, simply because we did not feel we could face the fatal diagnoses and the challenging journey into motherhood. Yet Jaya courageously defends her decision of carrying and giving birth to her son. I take this opportunity to celebrate and salute this woman of honor for being a trailblazer and for her stand in life.

My attempt in bringing this story out is not to gather a pity party group, rather see the brighter side of life, to emphasize life is valuable, no matter how small or vulnerable. Take a moment in life; in the life-altering choices we make to give the thought to what impact our decisions would have in the light of eternity. Are we willing to travel a road less traveled?

 

 

 

 

A Brighter Pregnant me!

maternity  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am here to remind every pregnant woman-‘Enjoy the journey of pregnancy, savor the moments’.  Your body has just been nominated for the next 40 weeks to be home for the greatest miracle to evolve inside of you. It’s hard not to marvel at the thought of that.

I absolutely love being pregnant.  I’ve always been naturally slim, could credit it to good genes, great metabolism, and to healthy eating habits. However, I have been fortunate and not slogged my way to sport the look.  I’ve carried 3 babies to full term and given birth, gaining overall 10 to 11 kilo’s for all pregnancies. Friends stated I was glowing and my husband often flattered me stating I was the most beautiful pregnant woman he’s laid his eyes on. You would think this would be affirmation enough for any woman to walk on clouds. Yet I had days I thought I was ugly, I was bulky and I was unattractive. For a lot of my friends out there who know me well enough, this would be a shocking statement to proceed from my mouth. The fact of the matter is, there were days I felt that way. Before I could get deeply entrenched in this lie I began to surround myself with positive words, positive music, and positive people. I stopped obsessing about my appearance and started channeling my energy to greater endeavors like building my family and my spirit.  It was only grace that allowed me to think straight and not get trapped and take a blow from this ‘Low self-esteem enemy’.

My attempt is to lead you to an amazing experience of having a new affection for your growing body. Choose to embrace your body than despise it. I understand it’s sometimes hard to look at yourself and you see a bit of a muffin top going on, your smooth bottom and thighs are graced with dimple galore, your hips have inflated like a balloon and the ‘glow’ is a dream but spots and stretches seem to be more of a reality. Let us admit it, not every woman gets to sport the picture perfect pregnant silhouette.  I believe a shift in thinking and small lifestyle changes can help us achieve a better physical image. I am all for eating healthy and engaging in a balanced fitness routine. But there will always be a cover page model, a movie star or an entertainer that catches our attention with the ‘All belly, no fat’ pregnant figure’ they sport, and BANG! there emerges the negative voice in the mind with its attempt to convince, stating 'you are unattractive'.  Be quick to navigate your mind away from the negativity rut, before being attacked by its brutal blow. Every pregnant woman is beautiful; no matter what size you wear, the bulging vein, the swollen feet, the gallons you pee. No matter what- you are BEAUTIFUL. Let nothing or no one snatch your moment away. You are carrying the greatest gift, the miracle of life. Look deep, there is beauty within you, let it radiate to the outward and make your spirit shine. Love being pregnant, Love being you!

Photo on 2012-11-21 at 12.02 #2

Overcoming the pain of Miscarriage

life I was pregnant for the First time. It was very early in our marriage and we were not quite prepared, yet like any first timer there was a gush of excitement running through me. I wondered whether the baby was a boy or a girl and dreamed about what my child would look like. We had been to the doctors and knew for certain that we were 6 weeks pregnant. The next night I woke up in discomfort to discover bright red stains. I knew it shouldn’t have been there. My heart was racing, my stomach tightened and my neck burned. I had lost my first baby, my biggest dream and my ticket to entry into motherhood. The doctors verdict: spontaneous miscarriage. My body recovered almost immediately, however, my spirit writhed during the months that followed. I chose not to expose the enormous void in my life I was facing and put on a confident front to take on life again. Within me, I fought the biggest battle. I had not yet found complete healing in my heart.

Three years later I discovered I was pregnant again. The cycle of excitement and expectations followed. It was not long before I discovered at 7 weeks I had lost the baby to this prey of ‘SPONTANEOUS MISCARRIAGE’, yet again. This time around I was a wreak emotionally. It hit me like a hurricane. All I could do was cry. It took me longer to get over the feeling. It was the worst phase in my life. Within me, I was still struggling and trying to hold on.

Believe it or not a few months down the road, there I was at the doctors confirming my third pregnancy. This time, it was different. I chose not to get too excited and I chose to take it one step at a time. I chose not to announce it and to take things as it comes. Third time lucky they say, but not in my case. At 9 weeks, I lost my third baby. We ran many tests to determine what was causing this unnatural phenomenon in my body. Doctors were lost for words and test came back stating my body was completely normal to conceive, sustain and bring forth a baby into this world. I questioned what was going on. I did not know what to feel anymore and was numb all over. I was disappointed with God. I could feel the cloud of depression hovering around me and ready to swallow me. I was at a stage I would give anything, pay any price for the opportunity to become a mom. It was at that moment that a friend handed me a book by Jackie Maize called 'Supernatural Childbirth'. Reading it was a transformational experience for me. I decided to give God another chance. I was girded up in my spirit to see my miracle. I chose not to be disappointed and complain but to be joyful and praise. It was a decision I had to take, no one could take it on behalf of me. I found the courage to gather my Faith with God’s help. There was peace beyond any I’d ever known. I walked out of my low into my victory.

Today I have a thankful heart and arms that hold 3 precious children. I know the pain of losing 3 and the joys of being rewarded with 3. Today I understand more than ever that children are a gift and I have a great responsibility in stewarding them. One thing I’ve learned is that life will sometimes throw its challenges and there may arise questions which seem to have no answers, but as long as I remain open to God he’ll continue rebuilding my heart. Do not ever allow your spirit to sink deep enough to let it drown and for your mind to be exposed enough for the cloud of depression to swallow you away. Instead lift your heart and place it before God to gather each piece and to mend the broken. Help and hope are just a whisper away.