1. Pampering products: Taking the time to care for myself has been absolutely necessary this pregnancy. When I'm not pregnant, I really am not big into pampering myself, but it's the little things that have made a difference during the past several months - relaxing baths, scented candles, soothing lotions.
Gift ideas: I can't recommend the products from Bumblewood Handmade enough (and owner Meg is wonderful!). I also adore Immaculate Waters, lotions and soaps made from Lourdes Grotto Water!
2. Cute maternity clothes: It sounds a little silly to say this out loud but when I feel physically beautiful during this pregnancy, it's much easier to feel internally joyful about the upcoming baby. So having a few favorite pieces of maternity clothing has made all the difference for me. A very sweet friend sent me a ton of adorable maternity clothes, but I've also boosted my maternity wardrobe by shopping local thrift shops and online used clothes stores Schoola* and ThredUp*. (Schoola is my absolute favorite - I got some designer maternity pieces for under $10!!!) Spending money on maternity clothes (even though it's not a lot of money) also has a deeper significance for me. It means that I'm investing - financially or otherwise - in this pregnancy. Especially early on, it required me to say, I believe I'll be pregnant long enough to wear/need/fit into this clothing. And, it's an investment in future pregnancies, admitting that I believe we might be able to have more successful pregnancies in the future. And admitting those things internally are way more important than looking pretty.
Gift ideas: Gift cards for a place that sells maternity clothes or if you're comfortable picking out something for your friend, a cute new top or dress. If you're feeling particularly generous, Stitch Fix credit* would be amazing too. (Apparently Le Tote* will have a maternity option soon too.) Hand-me-downs definitely feel like gifts to me too, so if you have some maternity clothes you can pass on, do!
3. Food, prepared by someone else: I'm sure all pregnant women appreciate a break from shopping and cooking, but I've felt that way especially this pregnancy. When anxiety and depression set in, there just isn't a lot of energy available for food prep. Sometimes I think that meals delivered during pregnancy are just as important as meals delivered after the baby! I've been very blessed in that most dinners have been prepared by my sweet husband or my parents (since we live with them). Having one less thing to worry about has been such a blessing:
Gift ideas: Home cooked meals, gift cards for restaurants, or drop off a bag of groceries.
4. Natural remedies: I don't presume to speak for all moms pregnant after a loss and some of the things I've mentioned may not be your friend's cup of tea, this one especially. I'm just sharing what is meaningful to me, and for me, natural remedies for pregnancy symptoms and discomfort have been great. I tend to avoid medical intervention unless necessary for a few reasons: 1) This pregnancy is already more medicalized than the average. I had four or five ultrasounds by the end of the first trimester. My husband gave me frequent injections for the first few months. I'd just like to avoid feeling like a walking science experiment every second of every day unless it's absolutely necessary. 2) Any additional risk factors from medications make me nervous. They would anyway, but since I already have my own risk factors in pregnancy and I already have proved to be a rare statistic in many ways, the anxiety they produce is intensified. Of course, I'll take any medication that's needed, but when it comes to just dealing with uncomfortable symptoms (like mild nausea, heartburn, etc.), I'd prefer to seek relief from natural remedies.
Gift ideas: I love Earth Mama Angel Baby teas** for morning sickness and heartburn and magnesium oil** for leg cramps. (Be sure to talk to your midwife/doctor about how much magnesium you're getting because magnesium toxicity is rare, but possible. I'm not a doctor and not offering medical advice here.)
5. Distractions: Being able to escape for a little while into a hobby (knitting for me), a good book (or coloring book - seriously, coloring is so relaxing!), or a favorite television show (my number one pick is probably jeopardy - geriatric at heart over here!) is so needed. Sometimes it's nice to just be able to stop thinking (worrying) about the pregnancy and put 100% of my attention into something else. I also do this by staying busy around the house with housework. Housework is fine and all, but I'd prefer to stay busy doing something I enjoy too.
Gift ideas: Netflix or Amazon Prime** subscriptions, books, Creative Colouring Books for Grownups**, supplies for your friend's hobbies (yarn for a knitter or crocheter, etc.) or a gift card to a craft store
6. Cute things for baby: Up until just recently, it was really, really hard for me to buy anything for baby. Because I just couldn't imagine that this pregnancy would end with a living baby that would actually need things. I still can't quite imagine it, but I do need to prepare for baby and since I purged baby things after each miscarriage, there are a few thing a baby will actually need that we don't have. But, even though I've been getting the basics, I still haven't been buying the cutesy things. I can't go there. But I appreciate it so, so much when someone else gives me cute baby things. There hasn't been a lot of joy or excitement expressed for this baby mainly, I'm sure, because friends and family were worried we'd have another loss. I completely understand - I haven't been able to muster much joy myself because of fear and anxiety - but when someone does take the time to buy or make something for baby (or sort their hand-me-downs for us!), it means the world to me.
Gift ideas: Baby clothes, books, toys, hand-me-downs, etc. Cute baby things are easy to find, so you probably don't need any help, though I'm loving Bison Booties and these muslin swaddle blankets** as gifts.
7. Prayer: Prayer has been my constant this pregnancy. I haven't always been able to pray much myself, so I've often depended on the prayers of others (including the Saints) and surrounded myself with visual reminders of prayers, the Catholic faith, and God's love. Some of my favorite items include an amazing St. Gerard chaplet a reader sent to me quite a while ago (there aren't any available in her etsy shop right now, but you could probably request she make a custom one) and the new statue we just got for our room (and to bring with us for the birth).
Gift ideas: Catholic books, prayer cards, rosaries or chaplets, medals, or just your sweet prayers. Jenna just posted some of her favorite Catholic jewelry, which is all so beautiful and would all be so cherished in my home.
What has helped you during your pregnancy after loss? Did you receive any gifts that were particularly meaningful?
Joining Kelly for 7 Quick Takes.
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