Beer? or Baby?

You guys. I’m still in this awkward phase where I just look kind of thick and pouchy through the middle. I am not obviously pregnant; just obviously weirdly proportioned. I love seeing pregnant ladies rocking their bumps, and I WANT to be one of them, but right now my bump-rocking looks like more bloat-flaunting.

As fewer and fewer of my tops cover this strange growth in my midsection, my husband and I have started playing a little game.* It’s called:

Beer? or Baby?

Here’s how you play:

  1. Put on a shirt you used to wear, pre-pregnancy.
  2. Show your husband.
  3. Ask, “Does this look like a beer belly or a baby bump?”
  4. Watch him squirm.
  5. Repeat.

*This is actually more of a game for me. I think it terrifies him, along the lines of the dreaded “does this make me look fat?” question.

So, tell me: beer? or baby?

These are the few shirts I have remaining that (a) fit over my belly and (b) cover up the elastic top of my maternity pants. Most of them I bought way too big, though there are a few surprise holdouts from pre-pregnancy that still work.

prenatal yoga clothes

This Gaiam top has been a lifesaver for the last month or so. It’s one of the few I can still wear to yoga classes without feeling like everything is hanging out, thanks to a loose, long cut, and a higher-cut neckline with a shelf bra and modesty cups (which I normally like, but ended up removing).

maternity clothes

I bought this bro tank several sizes too big, just because it was the last one and I couldn’t live without it. I’m so grateful I bought it in a large, now. I love wearing this shirt outside of Texas. People give me really strange looks.

prana top 18 weeks

This prAna top has worked surprisingly well both pre-pregnancy and up through 19 weeks (and maybe longer?!).

prenatal yoga modifications

Ah, the good old SweatGuru tank. This is the ONLY one my husband says makes me look pregnant, rather than ambiguously bloated. The color also blends in nicely with the elastic tops of my maternity shorts, so even though it’s a little shorter and tighter than the others, it’s still hanging in there.

Of course, when I don’t feel like looking ambiguously beer- or baby-bellied, wrap sweaters have been my actual lifesaver. I’ve been relying heavily on my prAna georgia wrap, which disguises the bump and gives me a more streamlined silhouette, while still being light enough to wear during the summer (at least, in the cool early mornings in Tahoe, and in air conditioning!).

prana sweat pink #liveinprana

Today’s prompt for the #liveinprAna challenge is:

It’s our mid-week stretch it out, show us what’s getting you through your hump day? #7daystretch #liveinprana #sweatpink @FitApproach @prAna

And I have to say the clothes pictured above are just what’s getting me through this week! Tomorrow I am officially 20 weeks along, or officially HALFWAY there. (Cue freakout).

What’s keeping you going? Share with us on social!

Disclosure: I received some of the apparel in this post for free. Opinions, bumps, and husband-terrifying games are my own. Thanks for supporting the brands who support Alyse MB and the Sweat Pink community!

And speaking of supporting brands, don’t forget you get 15% off prana.com with the discount code LiveInprAnaF15 through 9/30! 

Falling into the comparison trap

One of the most amazing things about having spent the last few weeks in Tahoe is how little time I’m spending on my hair and makeup. I think I’ve literally worn makeup twice in the last month, and blowdried my hair exactly zero times.

The lifestyle up here is so different from downtown Austin, where people are well dressed and always more put together (oh, the pressure!). And while I love looking nice, I am so appreciating this little respite from having to spend time thinking about all of that. I’ve pretty much been living in my swimsuit and maternity shorts (yay maternity shorts!), and I haven’t seen a full length mirror in weeks. There’s absolutely no pressure here to look or be dressed a certain way.  If anything, there’s a preference for “I just finished a hike and haven’t showered in days” aesthetic.

boat pose cave rock

The timing for an uber-casual environment couldn’t be more perfect, during this awkward sort-of-showing phase, and as my body softens and shape shifts into something that behaves so differently than what I’m used to.

Of course, there’s always the internet to distort our fantasies of how we look and feel. In my trawling of other pregnancy blogs, I stumbled upon a picture of a woman a few weeks ahead of me – 22 weeks to be exact – and she looked AMAZING. Not an ounce of fat on her, just a clearly defined bump on an otherwise beautifully toned figure. Her workout schedule for the week was way more ambitious than anything I’ve ever done, even pre-pregnancy.

I’m embarrassed to say I fell right into that pesky comparison trap.

Why don’t I look like that? 

Ugh, why am I not working out like she does?

Then I bounced right back out of it. She looked adorable, she’s rocking those workouts, and that’s awesome for her.

For the most part, I’ve been enjoying being a little softer, a little rounder than before, and am doing my best to be comfortable with my pants no longer buttoning, especially while I just look bloated, not pregnant. My midwife encouraged me to gain at least 30 pounds, and to eat to my (constant) hunger. That part has been fun, as long as I have food handy.

This prAna top worked beautifully before pregnancy AND during. WIN.
This prAna top worked beautifully before pregnancy AND during. WIN.

 

This last weekend was super active. I felt kind of like my old self again, especially taking a long swim in the lake. (How I love to swim!). I was feeling really alive and invigorated all day Saturday, a few short-of-breath moments notwithstanding.

warrior 3 castle rock

Then, of course, I totally crashed, and it’s taking a few days to bounce back from these flu-like body aches and fatigue. Now that all our guests are gone and the house is quiet and lonely, I’m taking some time to rest and recover. I’m trying to do away with the self-judging and surrender to my need for more rest and more moderation.

I’m not even halfway through, but I think the biggest lesson I’ve learned from being pregnant so far is gratitude. Gratitude for being able to get pregnant and (knock on wood) stay healthy while pregnant. Gratitude for what my body can do, especially in those moments when it feels utterly incapable of anything but gestating on the couch.

And, of course, gratitude for maternity pants and potato chips. 🙂

Busting out of my clothes

Today’s prompt for the #1MillionMinutes #LiveinprAna challenge is:

What in your wardrobe needs an upgrade?

This prompt couldn’t be more timely.

I told you about my new love, my maternity jeans. Even though most people claim I am not showing (come on, people, according to my app, my uterus is the size of a honeydew right now!), those pants were a necessary wardrobe update.

It’s been a while since I could really argue that my wardrobe updates were necessary. Moving to Austin was one such opportunity: coming from the SF Bay Area, I owned nothing that could stand up to the kind of heat Austin summers deliver. I had to buy a few pairs of shorts just to survive.

Now that my body is doing all sorts of strange shape shifting, let me tell you what else needs an upgrade.

My favorite prAna swimsuit.

alyse cascades prana suit

My favorite running skirt.

Um, all of my pants. Come winter, my jackets that I already can’t zip up comfortably. So, I’m taking this opportunity, not to mention prAna’s swim sale that’s happening RIGHT NOW, to at least take care of that bathing suit issue. After all, it’s still summer, and my version of #liveinprAna has had a lot to do with bathing suits, recently.

Side note: prAna swimsuits are literally the only swimsuit on earth I would order online. And I LOVE them when they show up, even though I’ve never tried them on pre-purchasing. These babies stay in place and flatter like you wouldn’t believe. #thankyouprAna.

prAna mad lib

Okay, so I have to amend my list of favorite things about being pregnant to include what may now be my #1 favorite thing about being in my condition: maternity jeans.

Now that I own this life-transforming apparel, it is unclear to me why I spent weeks fussing with hairbands around the buttons of my skinny jeans or trying to wear long shirts to conceal my gaping zipper.

Most unclear to me is why all jeans aren’t made with a wide elastic band at the top. It’s so fucking genius and comfortable I can barely stand it.

Anyway, I’m really glad my new pants are working out, because I pulled a total pregnancy card to get them. I literally made my husband drive me two hours to the nearest mall with a maternity store, wait in the steaming mall parking lot with Tigger while I shopped, then drive me another 30 minutes to my midwife appointment, then drive me another two hours to San Francisco to meet my good friend’s baby for the first time. #goodhusbandaward

I’ve got more shopping on the brain, too, because we’re partnering with prAna for the next two weeks of the #1MillionMinutes challenge, and all I can do is look at their new fall line and drool and wonder, “Maybe that would be able to accommodate my belly?”

I have reason to believe some of their gear might, too: this top worked great pre-pregnancy:

sweat pink prana

AND during pregnancy:

prana top during pregnancy

These pants are still rocking my world – I just fold down the waistline once, and though the effect is a slight muffin top, that’s nothing that a long-ish top can’t cover up:

prana pants pigeon

And my favorite swimsuit, after all, is still working for me.

sweat pink trucker hat
prAna makes the best swimsuits!

 

Actually, truth be told, I need to get a new top, but the swim apparel is all on sale so here we gooooo!

So, to help stave off (or maybe fuel?!) my shopping desires, I’m participating in this Mad Lib blog post for a chance to win a new outfit and so can you! Whee!

Copy and paste the Mad Lib below, and replace my answers with your own! Make sure to share using @prAna #liveinprAna #sweatpink @fitapproach for a chance to win!

prAna Mad Lib!

I’m so excited to rack up more minutes towards our bodacious [adj] goal of reaching 1 million minutes this summer!  While most of my sweat has come from hiking [type of activity], I have also done quite a bit of yoga and kayaking [type of activity].

To motivate myself to get from second breakfast [workout / activity] to hiking [workout / activity] and through my day, I always have to be armed with snacks! [noun]. I find that the more less hangry [adj] that I am, the more successful [adj] I am at achieving my goals.

Since staying on track requires so much snacking [adj] focus [noun], I think it’s important that I treat myself! If I were going to reward myself with something from prAna this week, it would most definitely be the Ginger top or Holly Dress [item(s) from prAna] because  the ginger top has a gorgeous drape, and the Holly dress – that back – swoon!

Disclosure: this post was sponsored by prAna. All opinions are our own. We so appreciate you supporting the brands that support Fit Approach and the Sweat Pink community!

Things I love about being pregnant

This is a post I never really expected to write.

Ever since I learned about the birds and the bees, I always sort of knew I’d be pregnant some day.

Ever since I learned to appreciate sushi and wine and exercise—and having autonomy over my own body—I thought about pregnancy kind of the same way people think about chicken pox or getting their wisdom teeth pulled.

Not going to be fun, but I guess I’ll suffer through it. 

And I’m not going to lie; there are parts of this experience that I could really, really do without. See: first trimester. See: no wine for 9 months (wah). See: obsessing over whether the cheese I’m about to devour is pasteurized.

But I also must admit there are a few benefits I’m slowly starting to recognize. I’m 16 weeks in, and here are my favorite things so far:

People are really nice to you.

blogfest sweatpink worth it

Once you’re public, everyone goes out of their way to be nice and help you. I barely did any of the usual schlepping during our conference (thanks, Jamie, Dapinder, and Liz!); my husband won’t let me unload heavy things from the car. (Whee!)

You get a hall pass on crunches

sweatpink barre

I went to a fun Dailey Method class with Giselle last week—one of my first forays into real prenatal exercise—and while I’m definitely still figuring out what works and what doesn’t, when it comes to exercise, one of the ab exercises we did definitely didn’t feel right. (This isn’t even me being lazy or taking advantage; I got into the position and had a “hell no!” moment.) Instead of pushing or judging me, the instructor gave me a modification and told me “because you’re special.”

Swoon.

Eating! All the time! All the things!

berries and yogurt

This one goes without saying.

manitoba harvest hemp hearts

 

I love to eat.

birthday cupcakes

 

I was born to eat.

breakfast burrito

Food is my friend.

salad

And now that I’m hungry all the time, I have so many more opportunities to really appreciate food.

siggi's best yogurt

It’s so satisfying to be blindingly hungry multiple times a day and to be able to solve that problem with delicious things.

It makes me feel like I’ve accomplished something, 5-6 times a day. 🙂

Letting it all hang out.

sweat pink trucker hat
Wearing my all-time favorite swimsuit from prAna. My goal is to never buy a maternity suit, but just keep wearing this one.  Tip for non-showing pregnant ladies: wheel pose does wonders for disguising your almost bump/beer belly in these early days. 

Okay, this is one I’m still striving for. I’m somewhere between the beer belly and baby bump phases, but I’m embracing the curves. Bikinis, dresses, tops, whatever: this belly is going to do what it will. No sucking in or spanx for this lady.

Boobs.

Back in middle school, the boy I had a crush on used to sing me the following nursery rhyme:

Roses are red

Violets are black

Why is Alyse

As flat as my back

If only my red-faced 12-year-old self could see how far we’ve come. I’ve only waited 20 years for this sweet redemption. #thankyouhormones.