Maternity Fashion Through The Ages
Take a quick tour through the history of maternity clothes in Europe and America!
The first dress designed specifically for maternity wear was the Adrienne dress, introduced in early 17th century Europe. The Adrienne had layers of pleats and other folds that allowed the dress to expand as the mother’s belly grew, and later styles featured bibs to make breastfeeding more convenient. Some women also wore men’s waistcoats during pregnancy, since the laced backs could be adjusted to make the garment looser over time.
The conservatism of the Victorian era heavily influenced maternity fashion, and by the 1800s, women were expected to mask their pregnancies with an awfully tight corset meant to eliminate any trace of a baby bump (thankfully, we’ve come a long way since then). Women who couldn’t afford nicer clothes wore oversized dresses or even aprons to hide their bellies. Going into the 20th century, it was still commonly accepted that, once their bump became obvious, pregnant women should stash themselves away at home until the baby was born.
Fashion trends gradually relaxed as the western world entered the 1920s and 30s. Maternity clothing loosened up, literally, although expectant mothers still tried to conceal their pregnancy curves with things like bows, jackets, and adjustable belts. Halter tops and empire waists were in style during the Great Depression, and limited supplies in WWII led some women to craft their own maternity wear by hand.
In the mid-20th century, Lucille Ball of I Love Lucy became the first woman to display her pregnancy on television, rocking smock tops and wide-waist dresses. First Lady Jackie Kennedy was another maternity fashion icon, and her simple yet elegant ensembles of shift dresses and suit jackets characterized the maternity trends of the 60s. Investing in a new wardrobe for each stage of pregnancy also became popular around this time.
Near the turn of the millennium, celebrity pregnancies burst into the public eye with the help of stars like Demi Moore and Victoria Beckham. Designers quickly jumped on board and several high-end maternity fashion lines were born, with long gowns, chic tops, and low V-necks being in at the time. Showing off baby bumps was the new norm in the early 2000s, and expectant mothers started to wear the belly-baring tees and stretchy dresses that we still see today.
Even over the last hundred years, the western world’s attitude towards pregnancy has progressed from embarrassment to pride. So ladies, go ahead and flaunt your maternity fashion to match that pregnancy glow!
5 Ways to Eat Healthy During Pregnancy
Follow these tips to eat right for you and your baby!
Protein is essential for its amino acids, which is a building block for tissue. Get around 75 grams of protein each day through lean meats such as beef, chicken, and pork, as well as eggs and milk. Non-meat options include tofu and peanut butter. The body’s need for protein increases especially during the second and third trimesters of pregnancy.
Calcium helps build bones, and women are advised to consume 1,000 milligrams each day during pregnancy. Salmon, spinach, and milk are plentiful sources of calcium. In addition, salmon and milk contain vitamin D, which also helps build stronger teeth and bones.
Iron is necessary in blood to carry oxygen, and expectant mothers need extra iron to deliver oxygen to the baby. 27 milligrams of iron is recommended each day, and iron-rich foods include lean meats, spinach, and other leafy greens.
The intake of folic acid helps prevent spinal cord defects such as spina bifida. Women are advised to increase folic acid intake to between 0.4 and 0.8 milligrams before conception and during pregnancy. Bread, rice, and pasta are rich in folic acid, as well as citrus fruits and leafy greens.
Studies by the National Institute of Health suggest that eating organic produce may lead to reduced risk of hypospadias, a urogenital defect among newborn males. Sticking to organic food also reduces exposure of mothers and their babies to harmful pesticides.
A Pregnant Mom’s Guide to Productivity
Staying productive in the office while juggling morning sickness, a growing belly, and more is a challenge many pregnant mothers are all too familiar with. Here are a few tips to help you succeed professionally during the newest chapter of your life!
LOOK AFTER YOUR HEALTH
One of the keys to staying productive is maintaining a healthy body. Try to keep a filled water bottle within arm’s reach at all times, since even seeing the bottle next to you can be an effective reminder to stay hydrated. Wean yourself off of that coffee or soda addiction as soon as you know you’re going to be pregnant; your baby can’t fully metabolize caffeine yet, and it increases your heart rate and blood pressure, which you should be careful of during pregnancy (and anyways, a caffeine or sugar crash is the last thing you need in the middle of the afternoon).
Daytime fatigue is no joke, so make sure to get the rest your body needs. Aim for an early bedtime, adjust the temperature to your liking, use as many pillows as you need to get comfortable, and cut down on screen time before going to sleep. It’s also very important to stay active! Even if it’s something as small as taking a quick walk outside during your break, fresh air or physical activity, it can give a huge boost to your mood and energy. Talk to your doctor and find what kind of exercises are best for you.
MAKE YOURSELF COMFORTABLE
Make sure you have a pair of comfortable shoes available in case of swollen feet, and keep a sturdy pillow or two on hand for lower back support, since a sore back can easily put an end to your productive energy. Also, power naps could be your new best friend at work, and that means you might even want to bring in a blanket to make your office comfortable enough to recharge in.
Nausea is one of the worst symptoms to deal with when you’re trying to keep up that laser focus, so bring some snacks to munch on throughout the day. Pick plain, easy-to-digest foods including crackers, nuts, bananas, and dried fruit to ease your stomach while also keeping it full, and avoid snacks that are high in fat. Ginger can be especially effective at relieving nausea, so try out some ginger chews or ginger tea.
STRUCTURE YOUR TIME
With all the distractions of the modern workplace, it’s easy to get off task even when you’re not dealing with the additional stress of pregnancy. To help keep yourself on track, plan out your time in advance; at the end of each day, make a to-do list for tomorrow in order of priority, and write down how much time you’ll need to spend on each activity. Break bigger tasks down into step-by-step actions to make them less intimidating.
Of course, it’s also important to be flexible with yourself. Get to know your body’s new internal schedule, since it might be different than what you’re used to while not pregnant. Maybe your most productive hours used to be in the early afternoon, but now 2pm rolls around and you can’t bear to stare at a computer anymore. Work with your body to find the optimal times to focus, instead of forcing yourself to grind away when a break would be more useful in the long run.
CUT YOURSELF SOME SLACK
Being pregnant is more than a full-time job; it’s a 24/7 responsibility that can seem like it’s completely taken over your life. It’s important to remember that, as hard as you might feel you need to push yourself, you’re still human, and your physical and mental health are top priorities. Don’t be afraid to delegate responsibility, or to ask your boss for a schedule that suits you better. Take the breaks that you need and deserve.
Remember that you don’t have to go through all the ups and downs of having a baby alone. Talking about your situation to people you trust is a great way to get the stress out of your system, so communicate with your friends and family and let them know how you’re feeling. Rely on your loved ones to help you cope with the emotional toll of everything from sleepless nights to morning sickness, so that you can approach the newest chapter in your life with the mental energy you need for success.
Celebrating Mother’s Day Around The World
This Mother’s Day, take a moment to learn about the history of the holiday and how it’s celebrated around the world!
The Mother’s Day we celebrate today in the U.S. traces its roots back to Ann Jarvis, a social activist living in Virginia in the mid-1800s. Ann was a spirited, resourceful woman who dedicated her life to supporting mothers in any way she could. After she passed away in 1905, her daughter Anna Marie Jarvis vowed to honor that legacy.
Anna organized a special memorial service at her local church to commemorate the work of not only her own mother, but all mothers. A few years later, she began a long campaign to have Mother’s Day recognized as a national U.S holiday, and in 1914, President Woodrow Wilson signed a proclamation declaring the second Sunday in May an official holiday to honor mothers across the country.
Many countries around the world celebrate their own unique versions of Mother’s Day. In Ethiopia, for example, the last day of the Antrosht festival in the fall rainy season is dedicated to mothers. Sons and daughters bring home a variety of local ingredients, which are made into a traditional hash recipe, and the whole family sings and dances the night away.
The French Mother’s Day, called Fête des Mères, originated as a day to honor mothers of large families, since the government was worried about low birth rates. It usually falls on the last Sunday of May, and children present their mothers with poems, handmade cards, and other arts and crafts.
India has adopted a typical, westernized Mother’s Day, where children prepare and serve their mothers their favorite dishes. Hindus in India also celebrate a festival called the Durga Puja in October to honor the mother goddess Durga, representing the triumph of good over evil, and the entire family spends weeks in preparation.
In Japan in the late 20th century, Mother’s Day became a way to comfort mothers who had lost their sons to World War II. Carnations are a symbol of a mother’s strength in Japanese culture; children used to give red carnations to their mothers on this holiday, or wear a white one if their mother had passed away.
Mothering Sunday was an early English tradition that started around 400 years ago and was celebrated on the fourth Sunday of Lent. It was originally known as a day for the whole family to attend church together and involved baking special fruit cakes called Simnel Cakes, but in the 20th century it merged with the customs of the American holiday.
In Mexico, Mother’s Day is always on May 10th. The day is filled with flowers, music, and many bright colors, and it’s one of the busiest holidays of the year for restaurants across the country. Mariachi bands and a cappella groups often serenade mothers with the traditional birthday song “Las Mañanitas.”
Thailand’s current version of Mother’s Day falls on the queen’s birthday, August 12th, and was introduced in the late 20th century as a way to honor the royal family. During this holiday, mothers around the country come to their children’s schools, where each child pays respects to their mother by kneeling at her feet. The traditional gift for Mother’s Day in Thailand is the jasmine flower.
Some Mother’s Day Traditions in Peru are very similar to traditions in other countries, like giving flowers, cards, and other gifts. One unique difference is that many Peruvians gather in cemeteries to honor the mothers who’ve already passed away. Sometimes families hire workers to clean the tombstones of their loved ones and decorate them with flowers.
In Serbia, Mother’s Day is part of a series of holidays in December honoring the whole family. First, the kids are tied up with ribbon or string on Children’s Day, and must promise to behave before being untied. Then on Mother’s Day, the children get to tie their mom up until she gives them treats and small gifts. On Father’s Day, the dad gets tied up until he gives out the Christmas presents, and finally the family celebrates with a feast.
Australia celebrates Mother’s Day on the second Sunday of May, and flowers play a big role in the holiday there. In addition to carnations, chrysanthemums are also a popular choice of gift, since Australians call their mothers “mum.” Children give presents to other mother figures in their lives as well, such as aunts and grandmothers.
Ancient Egyptians celebrated motherhood with an annual festival honoring the goddess Isis. The modern version started thanks to the efforts of a journalist named Mustafa Amin, and takes place on the first day of spring. The tradition eventually spread to other Arab nations, and involves lots of fairs and classic songs about motherhood.
Modern-day Russia has celebrated Mother’s Day on the last Sunday of November ever since 1998, but during the time of the Soviet Union, International Women’s Day in March was their primary holiday to honor women. Even with the introduction of Mother’s Day, most people still give gifts in March, rather than in November.
No matter where or how Mother’s Day is celebrated, the sentiment and emotion behind the holiday is the same. It’s a day to remember and appreciate all the time and energy, all the love, and all the sacrifices that go into what mothers do for their families. It’s a day to give back, in return for all our mothers have given us.