A few weeks ago, while buying 50 things I don’t need at Target (many of them for #minimagpie, listed here), my cashier smiled over at me, gestured toward my pregnant belly, and asked: “How far along are you?”
“Almost 8 months,” I replied, noticing, for the first time, that she was also pregnant. “Due March 9th.”
“Me too!” she beamed. “That’s my exact due date!”
We chatted about how she was feeling (“the third trimester has been the easiest!” — said no one ever except this lovely girl), whether she was expecting a boy or girl (girl!), and thoughts on having a March baby (“I wish she were coming a little later in the spring”).
She couldn’t have been older than 20.
She had been standing on her two feet, ringing people up, for the better part of the day.
And here she was, uncomplainingly smiling and making small-talk about this wild shared experience of ours.
Do you ever think that God is telling you something? Like, maybe, to put things in perspective, and to count my blessings every single night, and to just work quietly through the minor discomforts of this third trimester because there are women out there who are at the same stage of pregnancy literally standing up all day long, having to deal with flustered and terse customers, who are experiencing these same discomforts, but with more grace?
I don’t mean to say that I’m not entitled to feel how I feel (my friend E. had some great advice on this front), but…my little Magpies, if ever there was a perspective-shifting moment in this pregnancy, this was it.
I was resolved, from that point forward, to keep my mouth closed and channel the gratitude I owe.
Still, I thought it appropriate, as I near the final weeks of this pregnancy, to share the little things that have made this time much more comfortable. I’ve mentioned many of these items in passing over the course of the last few weeks on this blog, but thought it would be useful to consolidate them into a single list. (A few of you have mentioned that you are dog-earing some of my #minimagpie posts for future minis of your own.)
Maternity Must: The Pregnancy Pillow.
I held out on buying a maternity pillow for many months. I thought, “who needs that?” and “it will take over our bed!” and “I can just make do with some of my normal pillows wedged around me.” (Silly girl.) Then, after complaining about poor sleep for the trillionth time to Mr. Magpie, he surprised me with the LeachCo Snoogle maternity pillow ($50). Second to this, it may be the most romantic gesture he’s made in our wedded life together. And it has been a total and complete game-changer for me. I sleep so much more comfortably and soundly, and I don’t need to worry about accidentally waking up on my back (apparently a no-no for preggos — you can compress a nerve or something), because it really holds me in place. There are lots of maternity pillows out there, but my sister had the exact same one and agrees that it’s pretty much the best invention ever.
Maternity Must: The Maternity Pajama.
I held out on buying these for too long, too — I was convinced I could get through the pregnancy wearing loose pajama bottoms and borrowed-from-Mr.Magpie-t-shirts. And I’m sure I could have. But there comes a point where nothing feels good to sleep in…except these ridiculously angel soft Cosabella pajamas ($155). I can’t even describe how luxurious these are. They fit super loose and drapey and it just feels like you’re swaddled in yards of the softest fabric known to mankind. I also love that it comes with a little robe — genius! — because you can tie the belt just under your bust and feel like you kind of have a shape! And, the top is nursing friendly, too. I know they are pricey, but I wear them every night and know I’ll continue to do so after #minimagpie arrives. I might order a second pair, or maybe get this more affordable variation from Everly Gray (which comes with a baby sleep sack, too!, further justifying the cost).
Maternity Must: Clarins Body Oil.
I’ve raved about this oil from Clarins ($64) a trillion times on this blog, and I am a true believer. No stretch marks. Enough said.
Maternity Must: DHA Supplements.
My doctor recommended, in addition to my daily pre-natal vitamin, a DHA supplement, to help with the development of mini magpie’s brain. These soft gels ($24 for 90) are easy to swallow for us pill-challenged ladies, and they’re scented with strawberry, which makes them oh-so-much-more-palatable than the majority of other options on the market, many of which apparently have a fish oil flavor situation going on (no bueno, especially in those early nauseous months).
Maternity Must: The Notebook.
I mentioned this earlier, but I’ve kept a Smythson leather notebook ($80 — get the look for less with these insanely chic personalized cloth-bound notebooks I found on Etsy for $13/pop!) on hand throughout the pregnancy to record questions for my doctor, notes/recommendations from friends and articles, and checklists in one place. It’s been incredibly handy–especially with the nursery’s design. I kept all of the measurements for the room and furniture there and was surprised by how frequently I was flipping back to it (“wait, how wide is our dresser? will a changing pad fit on top of it?” and “what size mattress did I want to get? will it fit in this crib?”). And, P.S., while I’m a big fan of Le Pens as my writing implement of choice (razor thin tip YASSS), I recently ordered a pack of these Jelly Roll gel pens (such a throwback to high school) on a whim via Amazon Prime and they are such a random delight in my life. Does anyone else color code their to-dos / calendars? (Dork alert.)
Maternity Must: Wunderlist App.
Despite the utility of a physical notebook, I have also made heavy use of Wunderlist, one of my favorite apps. It’s essentially a digital list-making tool. You can install it on your computer and phone and share lists with other people, and it all syncs instantly. Mr. Magpie and I keep lists for the grocery, Costco, home chores, etc., and that way, when one or the other of us is out at the store, we know exactly what to pick up. (It’s also fun in a big brother kind of way to get little alerts while Mr. Magpie is at the grocery– “Cheetohs has been checked off your Grocery list”; “Ginger Ale has been checked off your grocery list”; “Pop Tarts have been checked off your grocery list” (HA)!) You can even assign people tasks and set due dates for yourself. Mr. Magpie and I have loved it for taking care of all of this baby stuff and keeping it all in one place, i.e., “schedule carseat installation inspection,” “fax forms to hospital,” “sign up for infant CPR class,” etc. It keeps us all aligned. (And, minor design element, but I love the little chime sound when you tick something off the list. Success!)
Maternity Must: The Statement Shoe.
I have been super minimalist with the maternity wardrobe, buying as little as possible, both because it feels annoying to buy things I’ll only wear for a few weeks/months and because…well, most maternity clothes are hideous. Instead, I invested in JBrand maternity jeans and David Lerner leggings…and in a few pairs of great shoes. Because no matter how blah you feel and how bored you are wearing the same leggings and sweaters day in and day out, looking down at shoes you love is such a treat. (And, you’re always the same shoe size.) I went with these Rockstud flats ($745) — you can see me in ’em here — they go with everything and feel both edgy and ladylike at the same time. And I also snagged these Gucci backless mules ($595), which are a pregnant woman’s best friend (slide on, YAAAAS), although highly impractical in this cold Chicago weather. Still, I wear ’em around the house and feel cool even if I’m just wearing my maternity jeans and a black tee. [Ed. note: I’m still wearing both of these pairs of shoes heavily throughout my second pregnancy!]
If I were to invest in a new pair of high-end shoes right now, at the top of my list would be [ed. note: updated April 2019]:
If high-end shoes aren’t in the budget, never fear. You can get amazing statement shoes at a lower price-point, and achieve the same effect. Top picks:
+These woven mules ($25!)
Maternity Must: The Manicure.
Regular beauty indulgences in the form of manicures and pedicures (ahhh a pedicure during pregnancy is THE BEST) and a major splurge in the form of eyelash extensions have made me feel pretty and pulled together throughout this pregnancy when, most days, I honestly don’t feel like a look great. Treat yourself. I go to Salon Zazazoo (free La Croix and chick flicks on the TVs, wut wut wut) for nails, and for lashes, I use an excellent lady named Jennifer who rents space at Minx Salon (full disclosure: the salon itself is nothing to write home about, but Jennifer is an excellent technician!). Jennifer actually just moved with her husband across the country but still flies back every few weeks to take care of her loyal customers!
Maternity Must: The Electric Tea Kettle.
I drink tea almost every night, and this electric tea kettle (on sale for $78) is LE BEST. Do yourself a favor and invest in one of these–the water heats up so fast and there’s something enjoyable about pouring out of that long gooseneck. I also picked up some pretty new mugs–why not make your after-dinner treat a little more special?
Maternity Must: The Calvin Klein Bralette.
I have been living in these cotton Calvin Klein bralettes ($28) — so comfortable and you don’t need to mess with the question of “what size am I now?!” — but, even more importantly, when it comes to undergarments, I LOVE Cosabella’s maternity briefs ($36 — so so so comfortable) and I have some of these by Rosie Pope ($12/pair) as well. I legit look forward to laundry day so I can have these on hand, as I only bought a few pairs. It’s the little things. Like not having elastic dig into your changing body.
I wish I’d just gone ahead and purchased all of these items early in my pregnancy because, in many cases, I could have avoided discomfort–or increased my comfort!–having them from the getgo. But every pregnancy is different, and sometimes you just gotta figure it out as you go.
OH, and a few minor things:
+By the end of the day, I’m usually too exhausted to even think about washing my face. I’ve been loving these Sephora face wipes for that purpose. (Also, a few other beauty items I’ve just added to the rotation here.)
+I bought a grand total of 3 maternity dresses. This one by Isabella Oliver is my favorite! So flattering. I wore it with my Rockstuds for a few work meetings, and then with velvet pumps to Thanksgiving dinner.
+I think I own this maternity tee in every color and stripe it’s available in.
+Too early to provide a full review on this topic, and I already listed the nursing bras I snagged when I shared what I’ve packed in my hospital bag, but I’ve also recently heard great things about these nursing bras, and, on a related note, have also learned that it can be helpful to have some of these or a bag of this on hand when you’re first getting started with nursing. I have to say that of all of the aspects of maternity I’ve been anxiously thinking about, nursing is at the top of the list. I feel as though there’s a certain level of hysteria (I say this lovingly and non-judgmentally–but hysteria is truly the only word that captures the emotional intensity that accompanies this topic) in the way so many woman talk about this–how hard it is, how stressful it is, how painful it is, and yet how important and beautiful and deeply bonding it is. I’m trying to go in with an open mind but am totally bewildered by the discourse around this experience! I am admittedly intimidated. We shall see.
Fellow pregnant ladies: what are your maternity must-haves?
P.P.S. 10 life-changing baby products.