**A big thank you to my bestie, Matthew Caprotti, for taking these photos//Shot in the West Village, just shy of 37 weeks pregnant**

For those of you who are still checking the blog out, a big thank you!!!  I know I have gone full blown MIA over the past 8-9 months and in case you don’t follow me on Instagram, let me fill you in on what’s been happening…the Major and I are expecting a baby girl, due any day now!  With our little one’s arrival right around the corner, I thought I’d take the opportunity to check in, answer some questions I’ve gotten over the past several months, and also put down some thoughts on my pregnancy that I hope to never forget…

Downtown NYC maternity photo shoot in black silk gown 36 weeks pregnant

Go To Maternity Wardrobe: I absolutely refused to go on an all out shopping spree for maternity clothes.  Not only will you only wear them for a short time, most of what’s available is heinous and matronly.  When you’re watching your body expand rapidly, the last thing you want is to feel like a schoolmarm, am I right ladies?  So rather than buy a whole new wardrobe, I shopped as I grew, stuck to necessities, and got creative.

Since all of the tops that I own quickly became crop tops (no, for real), I started with some great, affordable, basic tees from Gap and Old Navy.  I suggest buying one size up from your pre-pregnancy norm (I’m usually an XS, I bought a Small), to ensure that they will grow with you through the entire pregnancy.

Next on my list was maternity jeans.  I started showing EARLY.  As in, by 8 weeks, my regular jeans no longer fit due to rapidly expanding hips, so by week 10 I was on the hunt for the perfect pair of baby growing denim.  I started with J-Brand skinny’s since these were my go-to’s before getting pregnant but I found the waistband to be really itchy.  Next up I tried a pair from Gap which were actually super impressive for the price. My only issue with these was that they stretched out quite a bit after each wear.  The ding-ding-ding winners for best maternity jeans were my third round pick of DL1961 skinnies-these never lost their shape and have a really comfy but subtle belly band.

I also wore a lot of leggings in the first and second trimester.  I know that everyone and their Mom makes maternity leggings and charges $100 for them because they go over your bump but I never saw the value.  My David Lerner’s still fit throughout the pregnancy and the band sat comfortably  below my growing belly.  So my money saving tip here is don’t invest in maternity leggings unless/until your day to day pairs don’t fit anymore.

Since Summer hit I’ve been in maxi dresses almost daily.  I had a ton of knit, jersey pieces in my wardrobe already and they, along with some Rachel Pally and T-Bags (non maternity) purchases have been life savers.  What I love about these stretchy pieces is that I’ll wear them after baby comes and I’m getting back into shape and also again next Summer when I’m (hopefully) back to normal.

Pregnant ladies, in short,…spandex (when blended appropriately) is your best friend.

Maternity photo shoot 36 weeks pregnant

Career Plans: Once the Major and I were ‘officially’ back from NC at the beginning of the year, it was time to look for a new job.  The only issue?  I was already 5-6 weeks pregnant!  I was beyond freaked, because at all my past jobs, pregnancy was a big NO-NO, so I thought, ‘who will take me?’  and ‘how can I go back to working 70 hour weeks with a little one on the way?’.

Well I am thrilled to say that I found the most amazing job at the most amazing company!  I am now the Sales Director of a small women’s RTW collection, Hutch, and I will 100% be returning 12 weeks after baby girl makes her debut.  Not only has my boss been beyond supportive of my pregnancy, he has allowed me a flexible schedule where I’ll spend 3 days a week in the office and the other 4 at home with my girl.  I really feel like I hit the jackpot.

I should say that I have nothing but respect for SAH Mom’s and I truly believe that parenthood is the most challenging path that anyone can dare to walk.  That said, I worked my booty off for 10 years, to get to where I am and I’m so excited for my daughter to have early memories of Mommy going to work, having her own life, her own money, and her own ambitions.  I don’t think I could go back to my old career, working like a maniac.  It would hurt my heart too much to be away from my sweetheart for the majority of the week, but this situation is just perfect and  I feel truly #blessed to get to experience the best of both worlds.

Maternity Shoot at 36 weeks pregnant in downtown NYC wearing black silk gown

Plans for the Blog:  I honestly don’t know what my plans for the blog are once my little one arrives.  I don’t see myself becoming a “Mommy blogger” but I also know my interests will be taking a major shift in the coming months.  I think I will just wing it and hope that my readers continue to find interest in whatever it is I’m sharing.

West Village NYC maternity shoot 36 weeks pregnant in maxi dress

Baby Name:  I mentioned a name to the Major before we were even pregnant.  Like waaaayyyy before, and as soon as we heard, “it’s a girl”, we began calling her by the nickname that we’d made up without even having a discussion about it!

Even though we’ve been certain on her name from the get go, we have not revealed it to anyone outside of our immediate family.  I have two reasons for this…

  1.  I am superstitious and don’t want to start spreading word on who she is before she’s actually here, safely in this world.
  2. I don’t like outside opinions weighing on my big life decisions.  For instance, when I was engaged, I never showed my wedding dress to a single soul besides my Mom, Sister and Mother In Law.  Everyone, even my closest friends, saw it for the first time on my wedding day.  I have found that people often give their opinion tactlessly when you don’t even ask for it, and when they’re offering their feelings on something you’ve already decided…what good is it? This way when the world hears my angels name, whether they love it or hate it, it’s done.  And hopefully people will have the good sense to just not say anything!

West Village NYC maternity shoot wearing taupe maxi dress

Weight Gain and Body Changes:  With our little girl expected to make her entrance any day now,  I have gained a HOT 38 lbs… and I couldn’t care less!

People always told me that I would ‘freak out’ when I got pregnant and started gaining weight.  I would usually respond with a smile and an, “I doubt it”.  While I understand that it’s not always easy to accept that some people are, in fact, ‘naturally thin’, this is my reality.  I never dieted in secret, exercised like crazy, or obsessed over my weight.  I was actually a very chubby kid, but since a growth spurt at the age of 10, I have been pretty slight, and have never put on weight easily (save for a year where I was really sick with hypothyroidism and gained almost 30 lbs!).

Even so, with people taking constant jabs at my body (because everyone assumes a thin girl is fair game to attack), I did develop a deep level of self consciousness throughout my life.  I always looked at my body and thought about what could be better;  I was hard on myself and I definitely didn’t understand the concept of self love.  I would get mad at my body for not being strong enough, feminine enough, toned enough, resilient enough…

From the moment I found out that I was growing a life inside of me, all of those thoughts were silenced, and I developed an acceptance for myself that I never thought possible.  Almost immediately, my hips started to round out, my breasts grew two cup sizes, by belly expanded and my thighs softened.  It was shocking and beautiful and so sudden.  I remember being about 8 weeks pregnant and looking down at myself in the shower and thinking, “wow, I am a woman now”.

Has it sometimes been hard to have clothes not fit or to see scary numbers on the scale?  Yes, of course it’s difficult from time to time; I wouldn’t be a a human being with hormones if I said otherwise.  But for the most part I’ve been very accepting of the changes, and overall I am just so impressed with myself and what this little body of mine has been able to accomplish.

Maternity Shoot at 36 weeks pregnant wearing blue ombre maxi

…I think that sums it up, but if you have any other pregnancy ( or non) related questions, please feel free to ask…

I really cannot believe how quickly the past 9 months have gone by, or that this period of my life is ending, as a new one, an even better one is about to begin.  While I can’t quite articulate how I’m feeling in this moment, I will say that I can now fully appreciate the notion of a ‘full heart’.  These have truly been the most magical, educational, and beautiful months of my whole life.  I am so excited to be a Mommy and I am so overcome with love for my little one.  Thank you for reading.

Maternity Shoot NYC Maxi and Denim Vest 36 weeks pregnant

♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥

And now, if you’ll indulge me (if you won’t just stop reading!), I’d love to end with a little note to my daughter, should she ever get the chance to read this.

Finally, we are just a few days away from meeting face to face; I am overwhelmed, excited, and bursting with emotion.   There are so many things that I want to say to you, my sweet little girl, and so many moments from this pregnancy that I want to remember forever.  That I wish I could bottle up and re-visit whenever I need a reminder of what an immense love it is that I have for you.  Here are some that I will hold onto forever…

When I first searched for your heartbeat on our home Doppler, but could only find it when overlapped with my own.  Mine beating slowly and yours much faster, it sounded as if they were dancing together, each one taking their turn.  It was then that I realized how intertwined you and I were and how connected we would always be.

Feeling you kick (hard!) for the first time just shy of 20 weeks and subsequently fighting off sleep for an entire night so I could lay awake and feel your sweet little movements inside of me.  I have never felt so alive or so in love.

At your first big scan, having the ultrasound technician tell me to go out and get a donut to try to get you to move because you refused, even after I jumped up and down for 30 minutes. Daddy and I went to Dunkin Donuts and got two chocolate glazed and an OJ.  When we went back in the room, you still wouldn’t move, now you were too busy swallowing the fluid!  I’ll never look at another chocolate doughnut without thinking of that moment.

And more recently, when you are restless and moving around like crazy, I put my hand on my belly and say, “it’s ok my angel, calm down”, and you always do.  My heart swells in a way that I never thought possible.

Carrying you these past 9 months has truly been the joy of my life, and no matter what amazing adventures lie ahead for me, I will always count this period among the happiest in my life.  You, my angel, are the blind date that I cannot wait to go on, because I know I will be meeting the love of my life.  The one who I have been hoping to know for so long now.

I spend my days wondering who you will be, but honestly, it really does not matter, because I could never be disappointed by you.  I am already so enamored with you my sweet girl, and everything you are, and will be, is perfect in my eyes.

You, little one, have given me a master class on life over the past three seasons, and I have learned more in nine months than I did cumulatively in the 30 years before you became mine. You have taught me patience.  Humility.  Self-acceptance.  Even self-love.

I am so proud of you, and me, and how far we’ve come together.  I am so impressed with my body for what it has accomplished, and no matter what it looks like once all is said and done, I promise to be proud of it because it made you.

And lastly, I am so thankful that you’ve chosen me to be your Mama.  I have never been so appreciative for anything in all my life.  I don’t know if I will be the best mother in the world but I do know that I will love you as much as any human being has ever loved another, and that seems like a really great starting point for us.

I love you forever.