Pregnancy, Parenting & Maternity Leave - Q&A With Mama-To-Be, Jazmine Rocks
Is there anything more exciting than a pregnancy announcement? Especially when it’s someone else’s 😉 When our Head of Content & Community, Jazz, shared her news with me, I was bubbling over for her - and for our first Mamamade baby! It’s such an exciting stage of life, when you’re expecting your first baby. Every pregnancy is really so different, but I still had so many questions for Jazz - I thought I’d share them here, as she’s got lots of great advice 😊
First of all, how are you feeling?!
I’m feeling great, thank you! Currently 26 weeks certainly feeling very pregnant! We found out we were expecting in mid-January, so it’s crazy to think that I’ve been pregnant for the whole of 2022 so far - this year is going so quickly!
Did you do anything to prepare yourself and your body before falling pregnant?
I’ve always wanted children and have felt emotionally ready for pregnancy for many years, so once my fiancé, Rob, and I were on the same page and aligned with our finances, life goals, career, and living situation, we felt we were ready to start trying!
Even before that moment, I was already taking folic acid tablets daily, and was using the Ovia app, ovulation sticks, and familiarising myself with the changes in my body to track and monitor my cycle. I don’t drink a lot anyway, so limiting alcohol while trying to conceive wasn’t an issue - but aside from that, I didn’t change my eating or (lack of) exercise habits!
Have you experienced any nausea or cravings, or anything like that?
Yes! From the middle of the first trimester to the beginning of the second trimester, I had some nausea and morning sickness. I was sick a handful of times, usually in the morning before I had eaten anything - I started keeping Ritz crackers on my bedside table to help with this! I also had a complete aversion to the smell of boiled broccoli and even just the smell of our fridge, so broccoli was banned from the household for a few months (it’s only just made a reappearance!) and there were a couple of weeks were Rob had to get out everything I needed out of the fridge that day before he headed to work!
Some people I know have had the weirdest pregnancy cravings, but I think mine have been pretty standard. In the early weeks, it was lots of beige food and carbs - jacket potatoes, pasta and cheese, chicken wings, Dairylea Dunkers! There was one day that I cried because I wanted spaghetti bolognese so badly - that was a funny moment! Now I’m just craving orange juice, fizzy drinks, and ice-cold lemon water.
I know you’ve talked a lot about how you always wanted to be a mum. What did you expect pregnancy to be like, and how does the reality compare?
The reality has been pretty similar to what I imagined and expected - everything from nausea and tiredness, to random cravings and aversions, to the endless Googling ‘when do pregnancy cravings start?’, ‘can I eat this?’, ‘is this normal?’ and ‘what does this symptom mean?’. And then all of those heartwarming moments that really do feel picture-perfect when you experience them for yourself - seeing everyone’s faces when we shared the news, buying the cutest baby bits, thinking about how I’d like to raise our child. It makes me emotional just thinking about it all! I’m so excited to be a mama.
What’s surprised you most about pregnancy so far? Have you had any moments of thinking to yourself, ‘Why didn’t anybody tell me about this!’
Umm, my belly button! It’s a full outie now, which I didn’t quite expect would happen 😂 And what surprised me was what it actually feels like when the baby kicks. Obviously, other mums have explained the feeling to me, but now that I’m actually experiencing it, it really is something else! Magical and surreal in equal measure.
Pregnancy causes so many body changes. I personally found that really hard to accept. How are you finding it?
I’ve personally adapted really well to the physical body changes (so far!). I’m really enjoying and loving my pregnancy body; seeing my bump grow, having slightly bigger hips, bigger boobs! But I can appreciate that this perhaps comes from a place of never having negative feelings about putting on weight (as I’ve always been very slim and have wished to gain a little more), and so far I haven’t had any hormonal breakouts, which I know I may have found difficult.
Have you been reading any books or listening to any podcasts to prepare for the birth or parenting? Anything to recommend to our community?
Yes! Obviously, researching on Google and hearing from my friends who have recently been pregnant has been SO helpful, but I’ve loved reading some books too. So far I’ve read Midwife Marley’s Guide For Everyone, Expecting Better by Emily Oster, Motherhood Your Way by Hollie de Cruz, and I’ve just started reading The Montessori Baby. Any other recommendations the Mamamade community has would be amazing!
Over the years you’ve built an incredible career in brand marketing and you also have your own platform over at @jazzabellediary - have you had any thoughts about how having a baby might impact your career, or how you might balance everything once the baby is here? Not asking as your boss!! 😉
Thank you! I’d say worried isn’t the right word, but I’m of course conscious of the financial impact that going on maternity leave will have on things, but I’m feeling positive that I’ll make it work. I’ve been asking friends, family and the Mamamade community when to start maternity leave, and I’ve decided to leave a month before my due date. I’m actually super excited to mentally switch off from ‘work’ and use my brain in a different way as I look after, teach and nurture my little one. I’ll certainly be sharing more of my ‘mum-life’ over on my Instagram, and I’m sure I’ll check in with the Mamamade community via our newsletters and social media while I’m on maternity leave - you won’t be able to keep me away! And then when it comes to returning to work after maternity leave, I know it’s going to come with a lot of mixed emotions, so I’m preparing myself for that…
Is it starting to feel real yet? What are you most excited about?
It’s starting to feel very real - especially now that my bump is seriously popping, maternity leave seems to be fast approaching, baby shower plans are in full swing, and our spare room is getting filled with hand-me-downs, secondhand baby clothes, and a few special purchases!
I’m just so excited to meet our little one - we’ve kept the sex as a surprise so I’m so intrigued to find out if the old wives’ tales are true…
And obviously, it goes without saying, I can’t wait to start weaning with our organic baby food once my little one is ready! And just look at the support system I have in place to help me on my journey 😉
Thanks so much for answering these questions, Jazz! We’re sure other mamas following can relate. We can’t wait to hear how you are getting on once your little one is born, and all of us at Mamamade will be here every step of the way when you’re ready to start weaning and return to work (if you choose to) 💜