Motherhood Musings From Stephanie M. with Photography by Jacqueline Vega Photography
I have been blessed to have gone through pregnancy and birth two times now. The privilege of creating, carrying, and giving birth to my beautiful little humans was so humbling. You undergo such a transformation, starting the moment you get that positive test. Your thinking shifts from being all about “me” to being all about “them”. I loved watching my belly grow and feeling every little kick and hiccup, knowing they were safe as I carried them everywhere with me. You truly realize how precious and fragile life is. It was just so surreal even up until they laid them on my chest. There they finally were! This real person that I had never met before, but knew on a deeper level than anyone ever before and already loved more than anything.
Baby’s Name (First & Middle)
How did you find out you were expecting?
My first pregnancy I had no idea I was pregnant until my husband pointed out that I was a whole week late. However, with this pregnancy I knew almost instantly. I told my husband I was pregnant 13 days before my missed period and he thought I was crazy. I started taking the early response test as soon as I could which came back negative every day until the morning before my missed period. I was so excited when I finally saw that faint second line appear.
How did you tell the father?
It was early in the morning before anyone was awake and I ran out of the bathroom, waving the positive test around and yelling that “I knew it!!” I should have done it in some cute and creative way, but I am terrible at surprises! I just get so excited I can barely stand it.
How has pregnancy changed you as a woman?
I have so much more respect, admiration, and appreciation for my body. Prior to getting pregnant, I was the typical 20-something-year-old girl. I was extremely insecure and caught up on reaching for the superficial standards we are bombarded with from our culture, society, and social media. However, my perception and values have changed drastically after pregnancy and motherhood. I see much more clearly what’s really important. My body was a miraculous vessel of life that continues to nurture and provide the perfect nutrients for my babies through my breastmilk. Although my body has obviously changed after two babies, I have more self-love than ever before. How could I not after it gave me the two little loves of my life!
Did you find out the gender of your baby? Is there a name picked out yet?
Yes, as soon as possible! Did I mention I’m terrible with surprises? We picked out our boy’s name after MUCH deliberation. He would be our Grant Kekoa. The first name is after my father and the second name is from my husband’s home, Hawaii.
What advice do you wish you had known before getting pregnant (even if it’s something gross)?
If there is ever a time in your life to be disciplined in regards to your health, it is now. Sleep, eat well and exercise as much as you can up to and throughout those short 40 weeks. It will benefit you GREATLY to already have healthy habits established so that you are more likely to maintain them even on your worst of days when you’re exhausted, swollen and nauseous. If you can maintain a healthy lifestyle throughout your pregnancy; it will ease pregnancy symptoms, make labor easier, and give you a huge headstart on getting back to your pre-baby body. Furthermore and even more importantly, studies have shown that these healthy habits have a significant impact on your baby’s health and development as well. It is so worth it.
What is one thing you find beautiful about being pregnant?
Everything! Especially the science behind it all. In school, I took an embryology course and it is absolutely incredible how our babies grow and develop within us. From the tiniest cells grow a brain that will have independent thoughts and feelings, a heart that will beat for a lifetime, lungs that breathe, eyes that can see, and so much more. Don’t even get me started on the magic of placenta!
What would you tell someone who just found out they were pregnant?
1) Do your research! I cannot stress this enough. Knowledge is power. The more you know, the less fear of the unknowns and what ifs you will have. The less fear, the more you will be able to enjoy your pregnancy and birth. My two recommendations are “The Birth Hour” podcast and the book, “Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth”. I learned a tremendous amount of information from these two resources. 2) It is not something to be fearful or anxious about. Your body is perfectly designed to not only create this tiny human but also to bring them into the world. All you have to do is take care of yourself and RELAX! This is not a medical emergency, it is one of the most natural events you will ever experience. Enjoy every second of it!
What has been the hardest part of pregnancy?
I’m extremely lucky that my pregnancies are a breeze up until the last 4 weeks. That’s when I get so big it’s hard to move around, my pelvic joints and back are achey from the loosening of ligaments and the pressure of my 8 lb babies, as well as the exhaustion from pregnancy insomnia. All of that on top of the anxiousness to meet the love of your life makes it drag on for what seems like forever.
Did you have any pregnancy cravings or aversions?
The old wives tale was spot on for my cravings. With my girl, I had a serious sweet tooth (give me all the ice cream!). Whereas with my boy, I craved salty foods like chips, chili cheese fries, and sushi (thank God for California rolls). The only aversion I had for both of my pregnancies was salmon, which is unfortunate because it’s so good for the baby.
What are your beauty must-haves while pregnant?
My homemade belly butter with essential oils! As for the rest of my routine, I just keep it as simple and chemical free as possible. The “Think Dirty” app is perfect for this.
Do you have any favorite maternity items you couldn’t live without?
Red raspberry leaf tea, my pregnancy pillow and belly band.
Can you share with our mommies where you purchased the items you wore for your maternity session?
My fabulous photographer had an entire wardrobe for me to choose from! According to her they are “Sew Trendy” dresses. USE CODE BLMOMMY20 for 20% off your first purchase
I am so thankful that I found Jacqueline Vega to capture this beautiful time in my life. Her sweet and calm energy made our sessions flow so easy and naturally. She has such a great gift for capturing angles in just the right lighting. These priceless photos will be something my children and I will treasure for a lifetime – Stephanie M.
Meet the Photographer:
Hello!! My name is Jacqueline, but most people call me Jackie. I am married to my high school sweetheart. Together we have two wild, fun, amazing boys. We are a very active family and spend most of our time outdoors. I have a gypsy soul. I am constantly seeking adventure, and I love to travel. We are currently fulfilling our dream to visit all 50 states. It has been quite the adventure! My love for photography started at a young age. It was something I always knew I wanted to do, and I feel so blessed to be living my dream! As a photographer, I am a storyteller. With each client, I shoot I aim to tell your unique story.
Hi, y’all! I’m Faythe. I’m Alex and Karson's mommy, a blessed wife, a dreamer, and a believer in the "miracles” I am the Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Beauty & Lifestyle Mommy — a magazine that I birthed and created from the ground up. I am passionate about faith, treasuring time with my little family on the weekends, and saying YES to the impossible, taking a leap of faith. I love the women I work alongside each day, addicted to hot chai lattes, building sand castles, the smell of the ocean, exploring new flavors in the kitchen, and living in historic St. Marys, Georgia. Yes, I am a proud Georgia Peach! Website: http://www.blmommy.com