5 Maternity Must Haves and What Not to Waste Your Money On

Ramble On, Sustainability

The maternity industry, like many others, is a cash cow (no pun intended). Slap a maternity label on something and you can be sure you’ll get an ad for it during your 9 months of pregnancy. Everything from maternity tees to maternity underwear to maternity shoes – if you use it pre-pregnancy, someone somewhere has made a maternity version. But what items do you actually need and what items can you skip and save money on. I wanted to make this list because as a first time mom, I was completely overwhelmed at all of the options at first. It felt like I had so much to buy to prepare for pregnancy and beyond and it made me anxious seeing all the money I would have to spend to be comfortable. But luckily, this is not the case. There are really only a handful of items, in my experience, that you should absolutely buy for pregnancy. Please note that this is from my own personal experience, and it may be different for everyone depending on your pregnancy. Please also note that I am not compensated for any of my opinions shared here. These are all my own opinions based on my own purchases and experiences.

  1. Belly Bands
Maternity Bellaband Support Belt - Isabel Maternity By Ingrid & Isabelâ„¢ :  Target

One of the first items I suggest buying within the first couple months of pregnancy are a couple belly bands. I bought a black one and a white one which worked perfectly for my wardrobe, but you can also find them in nude and other colors. What is a belly band? It’s basically a stretchy tube of fabric that makes it so that you can wear your pre-pregnancy bottoms during pregnancy. This is awesome because maternity clothes are not cheap, especially when you consider the short amount of time you’ll get to wear them. These belly bands have made it so that I can wear my favorite jeans, shorts and skirts over my bump and have saved me so much money. You simply wear your pre-pregnancy bottoms unbuttoned and slide the band over the top. The band hides the opening of your bottoms while also smoothing the creasing of the opening. The brand that I found to work best and be most cost effective is the Isabel and Ingrid Bellaband. They have a sticky plastic border on one end that helps hold the band in place, and they can be worn up over your belly or folded down. Sometimes I even wear these under dresses for a little extra support. They are super comfortable, and at only $17 a piece at your local Target these are a must have for pregnancy. You can find other colors on the Isabel and Ingrid website here.

2. Bra Extenders

Women Elastic Back Bra Extenders 3 Hook and 2 Hooks Bras Extension Strap  6pcs at Amazon Women's Clothing store

If you’re like me, you’ve experienced a little (or ALOT) of growth in the girls during pregnancy. Sometimes this growth can make it feel like your pre-pregnancy bras are trying to squeeze the life out of you – or at least that’s what happened to me. My bras still mostly fit cup-wise, but the band around was starting to feel like it was strangling me. Again, I didn’t want to go out and buy all new bras for just this occasion so I found these bra extenders on Amazon. These have made it so that I can save my money for nursing bras (because, yep, that’s a thing too) and keep on wearing my favorite pre-pregnancy bras throughout my pregnancy. The pack that I bought came with black, white and nude which is perfect for most bra collections and was only $5 for a pack of six – can’t beat that!

3. Body Pillow

Sleeping in your new body shape can become a bit of a challenge towards the middle and end of pregnancy. But this doesn’t mean you need to go spend hundreds of dollars on a fancy “pregnancy pillow”. I found that a simple body pillow worked just fine for me. It was long enough to hold my belly and also to wedge between my legs to give my hips support. It also is the perfect size to have in bed, where as the pregnancy pillows are so huge I’m surprised anyone can sleep with them and still keep their partner in bed with them at the same time. Want something a little fancier but still don’t want to take over the entire bed? You can find body pillows that are made of memory foam or higher support materials for less money than a crazy pregnancy pillow. Most major retailers that sell home goods will sell a nice body pillow. Another tip is to make sure whatever cover you buy is appropriate for the weather and that elevated body temperature you might experience while pregnant.

4. Maternity Leggings


Staying active during pregnancy is a must. Whether it’s full exercises or walking it’s important to have clothing that works for this type of activity. This is where maternity leggings come in. In a pinch I’ve found that I can wear my pre-pregnancy leggings folded under my bump, but there’s something so comfortable about having a nice supportive pair of over the belly leggings that just makes exercising easier on your pregnant body – bonus points if they have a little compression to help with blood flow. Keep in mind though, not all maternity leggings are created equal, and this is the one area where you might want to splurge a little bit to make sure you’re getting the bang for your buck. I made the mistake of buying cheap maternity leggings and actually ended up buying new leggings and changing in the car while running errands – I hated them that much. They kept falling off and provided no support whatsoever to my growing bump – I digress. My favorites during pregnancy have been the Blanqi Everyday Maternity Belly Support leggings, which are super ultra supportive and stay in place all day. These are a bit more compressing feeling so if you don’t like tight then they might not be for you. They have sales regularly and will often sell out so make sure you follow them on social media or check their website regularly for deals. I just ordered another maternity legging from them in another style and got two pairs for under $50 which is a major steal. They make these in a wide range of colors which is also fun and makes it so that you feel like you can still be fashionable. My other favorite leggings are from Ingrid and Isabel and come from Target – the Maternity Crossover Panel Active leggings. These are actually the ones I bought and changed into in the parking lot! I love the lower cut back on these for our hot California weather and the material is super soft and breathable making them super comfortable to wear all day long. Both brands make bike shorts as well that I highly recommend if you are pregnant during warmer weather. Having comfortable active wear is great for staying on track with exercising, but it’s also nice to have clothing that is similar to what I wore pre-pregnancy (2020 basically changed my entire wardrobe into active wear). Leggings and bike shorts are also great for later in pregnancy when everything feels too tight but you also want to look cute. You can pair them with almost anything and not feel like you’re wearing pajamas. (Here’s a $20 credit for Blanqi for anyone who might be interested: http://fbuy.me/q6Mp_)

5. Reusable Water Bottle

YETI Rambler 36 oz Reusable Bottle With Chug Cap

If you don’t already have a reusable water bottle (or two!), pregnancy is a great time to invest in one. Staying hydrated during pregnancy is one of the best ways to avoid aches and pains, curb morning sickness, keep your skin soft and overall improve your health. I have a few different options depending on whether I’m on the go or at home. My home bottle has a stainless steel straw which is super nice for lounging around the house. I also have an on-the-go hydroflask style bottle that seals completely so I can throw it in my bag and it keeps my water nice and cool especially if I add a few ice cubes. Reusable water bottles are also just a great item to have in general and will keep you happy and hydrated throughout pregnancy and beyond. There are so many different options these days available at most retailers. Bonus is that you can customize most of them with fun stickers if you want something a bit more personalized.

I hope this list is helpful for all you first-time mommas out there like me. The world of maternity shopping can feel so overwhelming and it’s tough to know if you need to go out and purchase all brand new items to make life easier. I’d definitely skip certain items like the special underwear, shoes, and heck even the crazy outrageously priced clothes. Stick with what you have for as long as it will work for you, and worst case if you end up needing to spend more money you can always order those items later. Good luck and happy baby growing!


Emotional Symptoms are the Hardest Part

Ramble On

I’m almost six months pregnant and I can hardly believe it. The time has gone by so quickly so far and I never expected that it would feel this fast. Pregnancy has brought on many things I haven’t expected and luckily has also left some things out that I fully expected to happen. I didn’t really experience morning sickness in my first trimester, I haven’t experienced any crazy cravings or food aversions, and my weight gain has been fairly steady. Overall, on paper, I’d say I’ve had a fairly easy pregnancy so far. However, the one thing I did not expect, or I guess just never thought about, was the way that I would feel internally. I never thought about being pregnant in terms of emotions, other than wild mood swings of which I’ve only had a few. But, if I’m being honest with myself the thought process around being pregnant and the feelings that I’ve experienced have probably been the most difficult part. From imposter syndrome, to doubts, to anxiety, to body-image issues I’ve experienced a wide range of emotions that I’ve never even considered before, and that I don’t think many people feel comfortable talking about. So here I am, writing this down, so that someday I can look back or maybe I can share it with others so they know that they’re not the only one.

The parenthood anxiety is real. Thinking about being responsible for a little life and caring for a tiny human is a pretty terrifying experience. What if I’m not good at it? What if I fail? And biggest of all, what if I’m not capable of that gushing, unconditional, gooey love that every parent talks about? In the beginning of my pregnancy, everyone asked “are you excited?” and it was difficult because I didn’t know if I was. I mean sure, the thought of having a mini-me is great, but shouldn’t I be over the moon? Shouldn’t I be shedding happy tears at the thought of my daughter arriving into this world? I just wasn’t. And it still sort of makes me feel bad. People’s reactions make it even more awkward because I think they expect you to gush. They expect you to twirl in circles and tell them how bubbly and bouncing you feel about your new arrival. So you learn to sort of fake it, and I guess that sort of makes you feel happier about it. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I’m not excited – I am – but I’m also nervous and anxious and a little bit terrified. I’m trying to take it one day at a time and not think too much about how I feel about it. She’s coming either way and my emotions ebb and flow like they never have before, so I’m learning to give myself a ton of grace and not get too caught up in people’s reactions to my emotive state. I’m not a super outwardly emotional person anyway. I’ve always been a bit more reserved, a bit more private, especially when it comes to the big emotions. So maybe I’m more excited than even I realize, or maybe I’m just excited in a different way.

The other question I’ve gotten, mostly from my mom, is “do you love her so much already?” to which I respond – “sure?” – which again, is not the great overly jovial response that people expect. What is wrong with me? Will I not be excited when she finally gets here? Will I be a terrible mother? If I can’t even be excited now, will I ever? So I’m trying to think of it in another way… I’ve never experienced anything like this. I’ve never had children or had a small human growing inside of my body. I’ve never known how it feels to be a parent loving a child. How would I know if I love her yet, I’ve never even met her. I mean, sure, I can feel her wiggling around in my abdomen sometimes, but I don’t know her, and how can I love someone I don’t know. I love the idea of her so far, and I think maybe right now that’s all I’m capable of. When she arrives, maybe I will gush and squeal and ooze with sappy, teary love, but maybe I won’t. Maybe my love will be fierce, and strong, and soft but also unyielding, maybe that’s just the type of parent that I’m destined to be. And maybe it goes back to just being more private about my emotions. Perhaps I’ll be that way as a parent too – more reserved, more quiet, more stoic. I can’t change who I am, but I also can’t predict the future. I’m learning to let go of control. Pregnancy has been the biggest exercise in letting go that I’ve ever experienced in my entire life.

Letting go of expectations is another huge lesson I’m learning throughout my pregnancy. Specifically with body image and self love. When you see pregnancy ads, or pregnant people in movies or television you see this perfect baby bump on a normal sized body, but if you’re like me, and probably any other pregnant woman in existence you gain weight. Your body changes and not always in the cute perfect baby bump and giant boobs sort of way that you see on TV. One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is that every pregnancy is different. Every woman grows a bump at a different pace, everyone gains weight differently, everyone is different. In everyday situations it’s so easy to compare yourself to others especially nowadays with social media, but add 25+ pounds to your ever-growing frame and do a search for pregnant women on Instagram and you’ll find it’s SO much easier to scroll for hours and hours when you’re comparing baby bumps – at least that’s how it’s been for me. Is my bump big enough? Have I gained too much weight? Are my arms the same size they were 4 weeks ago? Why does her bump look more round? Why does my bump look different? Am I working out enough? Am I doing this wrong? ALL OF THIS WILL DRIVE YOU CRAZY. You can’t have expectations. Expectations breed disappointment and the sooner we can let go and let our bodies be and LOVE the fact that they still carry us and our babies the happier we will be – at least that’s what I’m learning. I’m trying to pick something positive about my body to focus on every time I feel down on myself because it is amazing what my body is doing and it’s amazing that I could be shallow enough to not appreciate that for what it is. And, although it’s always easier said than done, I’m trying to make this a huge facet of my life right now. What’s helping me most is number one, to stop comparing – this does me no good pre-pregnancy and does even more harm pregnant. Number two, wearing cute clothes and making myself feel pretty every day – for me this is doing my makeup, moisturizing, self-tanner, pedicures, self-care. If I want to feel good about myself I need to do things that make me feel good. And finally number three, I’m taking it one day at a time.

At this point I probably sound like the biggest whiner in the entire world when it comes to my pregnancy, and if you’ve read this far I apologize for seeming that way. I truly am so grateful. Again, I think I’m just so overwhelmed with emotion that I’ve never felt and needed a place to spew the negative for just a moment. Writing this all down and being able to read back on it makes me realize how far I’m coming though. I’m learning so much about myself and I think that’s what surprises me most about my pregnancy experience. I’m surprised at my internal dialogue and the affect that is has on my well-being. I’m even more surprised at how the switch to positivity and self-love can really trigger better days and better moods and better thoughts. It’s amazing what our minds are capable of as well as our bodies. I never thought I would be pregnant. I never thought I would get to experience everything that I’m experiencing and I’m learning to be so grateful for the process. Learning to let go and let be and to be still is such a huge leap for me personally. And I can’t wait to be able to practice these same types of expectation-releasing and calm-breathing, self-loving vibes once my daughter is here. I really am, truly excited, I think perhaps I just need to give myself some time and some grace to process all off the emotional symptoms of pregnancy that not a whole lot of the baby books talk about.

I’m a Pregnancy Imposter

Ramble On

I can’t be pregnant. I mean, I know both pregnancy tests said I was, but that’s impossible. My doctor could be mistaken – right? I know that he said I was pregnant, but what if it’s gone now? What if I go into my next appointment and suddenly it’s not there anymore? What if I just stop being pregnant and I don’t even know it? What if I’ve been wrong this whole time?

These thoughts and more like them have been reeling through my brain since before taking my first set of pregnancy tests. Mind you, I pretty much knew I was pregnant before taking that first test. I could feel it in my body, something was up. As I’ve stated in a previous post, before becoming pregnant I thought there was a good chance that I was infertile simply due to never having a pregnancy scare. Of course this is ridiculous considering I was on the pill, but the mind sometimes thinks what it wants. After taking the tests and seeing the positive result I was flooded with emotions, some good and some not so good. Since that time, I’ve had a difficult time believing that I’m pregnant. Thoughts similar to the ones above would flood my mind before appointments and make me feel like maybe I was just crazy. Perhaps it’s the lack of morning sickness, or the ease of my first trimester that made me feel like maybe I was pretending. Perhaps it’s the anxiety I sometimes feel when thinking about becoming a mother. And perhaps it’s something that is a little more common than I thought, which definitely makes me feel a little bit better about the whole thing.

Pregnancy Imposter Syndrome is a real thing, and as crazy as it sounds it’s fairly common among new moms-to-be. The feeling of playing pretend isn’t something that’s exclusive to pregnancy either. In fact, according to studies done in the 1980s it’s very common among high achievers and even famous people. The feeling of being caught in the act of pretending or being exposed as a fraud is something many people regularly deal with in many different scenarios, pregnancy just being one of them. Personally, I have experienced these thoughts professionally, but I would have never thought that something like this could apply to pregnancy. How could something so physical and so obvious feel like it was fake? Well, I’m here to tell you, it’s very possible and here’s why I think so: Number one – not all women experience pregnancy the same way. Some feel very sick, some feel very tired, some feel pains and aches and some feel a combination of some of these symptoms or all at once. Lucky women, like me, experience almost none of these things. For me, it was concerning to read through every set of symptoms each week but to not feel hardly any of them. Number two – the emotions of pregnancy are like nothing I’ve ever felt before, and they can be very random and sporadic. Some days I feel completely normal and other days I feel like an entirely different person. On the normal days, I find that imposter feeling creeping in more often. Number three – being pregnant is kind of scary! I know it isn’t just me that has experienced some anxiety over becoming a mom. Whether you have a decent support system or not, whether you’ve always wanted children or not, or anything else, I think you’d be crazy to not experience at least a little bit of nerves over this life changing experience. Lastly, the belly bump – not everyone gets their bumps at the same time, and now that I’m 3 months pregnant it feels weird to look down and know there’s a baby in there but that there’s nothing to show for it (okay, except maybe my now giant boobs). Baby bumps can happen so late for first time moms, but they can also come early depending on your build and depending on your pregnancy – again EVERYONE is different. This for me is weird, but it’s also totally fine because I can still wear my favorite jeans.

All this being said, I am happy to be able to talk to friends who are mothers who say that I’m not entirely insane for feeling this way. It’s even more reassuring to look online and see that women I don’t know have also experienced this strange phenomenon. I will also say that I had my first real glimmer of excitement yesterday during our second ultrasound. I was able to see baby’s profile, hands, feet and limbs and even got to see them jumping around like a little jumping bean. Seeing this put my mind at rest a bit, at least for now, and made me believe that there really is something happening in my body, even if I can’t see or feel it just yet.