Reblog: Wise Words from My Friend Andrea

Hi, I’m Andrea! How do I know Kaylee, you ask? Well, Kaylee and I have been best friends for half our lives. If you ever get a chance to ask her how we met, do it. It’s quite the story! Today, I’d like to share with you about body image. However, before we dive into such a deeply personal topic, I should tell you a little about me. I enjoy crafting, hiking, anything nature-related, good conversations, board games, changing seasons, experimenting in the kitchen, and all things Christmas. Oh, and my husband is my favorite. We met in college (another great story for another time) and have been married for three years. We have an active, inquisitive 19-month-old son and are expecting a baby girl around Thanksgiving.

Enough about me. Let’s talk body image.

Remember when the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (William and Kate) had their first child and gave the public their first look at their new baby? In the photos released, a beaming but tired William and Kate snuggled their newest addition. Kate wore a beautiful dress that tucked in at her waist and revealed her postpartum baby bump. To my surprise, media in the US centered not on the sweet little bundle of joy, but rather on Kate’s newly postpartum body. I couldn’t believe that after waiting 9-10 months to meet their baby, the public was more interested in how small Kate’s waist was, the fact that her belly still bulged little, and other features not worth noting.

While stigmas surrounding body image affect every person, childbearing women especially experience this reality in a deep and raw way. Some women I’ve known have a newfound security in their body image while pregnant or even after birth, finding pride in what their bodies can do and how many incredible changes they face to nourish and care for a child. Other women face deeper and more extreme struggles when they don’t have the perfectly round baby bump they’ve always pictured, or stretch marks tear across new areas of their bodies, or they face pain with their previously normal activities such as walking, intimacy, or even sitting. 

Pregnancy has a way of impacting every portion of our being, from physical to emotional to spiritual. From the moment conception takes place, our bodies begin a long process of growing, changing, and morphing in new ways. With my first pregnancy, I pictured glowing skin smiling through morning sickness, a perfectly round little baby bump, and minimal weight gain that would slough off with a few months of breastfeeding. Boy, was I wrong. I was instead met with an overall feeling of puffiness from my face to my toes almost immediately after conceiving. My fatigue was overwhelming. I didn’t just feel tired. I looked tired. Acne popped up. When my bump began to show (much earlier than anticipated, I should add), I was met with more insecurity. I’ve always had a rough relationship with my stomach. Attracting more attention to an area I’ve always wanted to downplay brought up even more feelings of insecurity, especially considering the many unwelcome hands touching it (another topic altogether). Yes, I was absolutely thankful to be pregnant, but I just didn’t look or feel the way I had pictured. 

Once I was in the midst of the second half of my pregnancy, my weight gain – while in the healthy range on doctor’s office charts – felt like too much. My jeans were tight and my maternity shirts that had fit me at 18 weeks were creeping too high on my stomach while my bust pushed them too low on my chest. Everything was changing. By 30 weeks, my stomach had reached its limit for how far it could stretch. I tried creams, but my genetics won out. Stretch marks began to span across my growing belly. When I found the first one, I felt panic rise in my chest. “What?! This early?! How many more will I get before my baby arrives?” I’m glad I didn’t know the answer then. I needed time to accept and appreciate my changing body. 

Eventually, I couldn’t see my toes. I could hardly do a patchwork job of shaving my legs. I was too uncomfortable to do much of anything. Basic hygiene took loads of effort. I didn’t feel very human anymore. I used to be excited for this stage of pregnancy when I was obviously pregnant and feeling every movement of my little son…but the discomfort nearly outweighed the excitement. Then I faced guilt for feeling this way. Much of my pregnancy was not what I had pictured.

Then, the day came. The day. I gave birth to my miracle son, my sweet little boy. I had pictured this moment in my mind’s eye countless times. I’d heard women say everything in their world melted away the moment they saw their baby, and nothing else mattered. It’s a bit of a dramatized statement, but it holds some truth. Looking at my son and recognizing that I was his most crucial caregiver brought new perspective to my life. My dislikes about the current state of my body didn’t matter so much anymore. I had more to think about than the size of my waist or how many stretch marks I had acquired. 

Regardless of a shift in perspective, I still had the same body to sleep in, eat in, and see naked in the bathroom mirror. I had the same body to move in, breathe in, and use to care for my new baby. I had to come to terms with what it was. I remember lying in the bathtub at the hospital the first chance I had to bathe after birth. I was exhausted and thankful that I had completed the birthing process. Then, I looked at my stomach…and I couldn’t believe the words that came to my mind. “My stomach is floating.” That once-full belly with a little pregnancy fat and a little pregnancy stretch was floating. My stomach muscles were too tired and stretched to hold it. I felt another wave of panic. “Will my stomach always be like this?! How will I ever run again? How will I ever find another dress that makes me feel beautiful?” But thankfully, I was too tired to dwell on these things for long. 

In the weeks following birth, I was still too tired to do much fretting about what my body looked like. I was caring for a new life 24/7 and adjusting to a new level of responsibility and purpose for me. Eventually, as I emerged from the fog of caring for a newborn, my insecurities began to eat at me again. It took longer than I had imagined for my stomach muscles to tighten again. My extra weight wouldn’t budge much until I had stopped nursing my son. Yet, this round of dealing with insecurities looked different than it had throughout my pregnancy. This time, I had a newfound empowerment. Yes, I was stretched out, tired, scarred, and a few pounds heavier than I wanted to be…but I had carried a life. I wore the battle scars of nourishing another human from the inside out. I plumbed the depths of my heart and mind for strength I didn’t know I could ever muster during the most uncomfortable moments of pregnancy, in that birthing suite, and in the middle of the night fits of colic. And in those moments, I had the opportunity to reassess my purpose in life, and how that intense difficulty served to point me to the One who made me, sustains me, and gave me my son to care for. He gave me meaning and purpose and used even my lowest moments to teach me about himself and draw me in to his incredible grace and tenderness. 

Call me crazy, but I’ve found more confidence and strength in my postpartum body than I ever had in my pre-baby body with my flat, smooth stomach and well-exercised body. Defining my purpose and looking beyond the moment to remember it was more impactful than a few stretch marks could ever be. I’ve been scarred by childbearing…but the confidence I’ve found has meant more than any of my previous body ideals. And that confidence could only be found in seeing beyond the moment and shifting my perspective to my body’s purpose. I am so much more than my body. 

Whether you’ve ever experienced pregnancy, birth, or caring for a baby postpartum, you’re bound to at least experience some form of body image issues. Remember, your body is a vehicle to carry out your purpose in life. It’s not the prize at the end of a race. You have a chance to live every day in this vehicle that will continually morph throughout your life, with or without childbearing. And it’s worth it. Don’t let your body be what defines you. It’s about what you do with your body that matters. Who are you? What do you think? What makes you tic? How do you spend your time? What gives you purpose?

A Recap of 2021

2021 was overall a good year. There were some changes, some things that remained the same, some let downs, some celebrations and a lot of growth. The biggest thing that happen was God blessing us with the opportunity to start a family, and we are over the moon thankful. ❤️

A Recap for 2021

January
  • Published Mackenzie Goes to Heaven Coloring Book
February
  • My Hubby turned 25!
March
  • My Kitty Rocky turned 1!
  • Changed shifts and became an opener at my job.
  • I celebrated 1 year at my job as a lead preschool teacher.
April
  • Started writing my second children’s book.
  • Paid off my car.
  • Bought a new car.
  • Got Pregnant with our Rainbow Baby. 🌈
May
  • Started Growing Avocado Trees
  • Celebrated Teacher Appreciation Week with my fellow teachers!
  • Celebrated my first Mother’s Day pregnant.
  • We had our dating ultrasound and got to see Baby Bear for the first time.
  • Told my family and close friends I was expecting.
June
  • Made our Big Announcement that our Rainbow Baby was on the way!
  • Made it to the 2nd trimester in my pregnancy!
  • We had sequential screening done and got to see Baby Bear again!
  • Started craving lemons and pickles. Had a feeling we were expecting a Boy.
July
  • Started feeling Baby flutters
  • Won the Dustpan Award for the cleanest classroom at work.
  • Celebrated Rocky’s 1 year adoption!
August
  • Heard Baby Bear’s heartbeat using a Doppler for the first time.
  • Had our anatomy scan and gender reveal. We were excited to find out we were having a Baby Boy!!! 💙
  • I turned 26!
September
  • Went on a Fall themed Girl’s Getaway with my friends Alli and Andrea.
  • Told myself it was okay to start buying baby items.
October
  • Held a virtual Baby Book Party!
  • Honored my babies on Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day
  • Started Decorating the Nursery.
  • Made it to the third trimester!
November
  • Tested Positive for Covid, and had to be quarantined for two weeks
  • Got diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes and was bumped up to a high risk pregnancy.
  • Celebrated 5 years of marriage with my husband.
December
  • Packed our bags for the hospital and prepared for Baby Boy’s arrival.
  • Had our last ultrasound and discovered that Baby Boy has long thick hair.
  • Got diagnosed with thyroid problems associated with pregnancy.
  • Took a few maternity photos.
  • Went on maternity leave.
A Recap of My 2021 Goals
  • Publish My Memoir ❌
  • Pay off my Car ✔️
  • Receive my FLE Certification ❌
  • Lose 20 lbs. ❌
  • Buy a New Car ✔️
  • Publish a Second Children’s Book ❌
  • Read the entire Bible ❌
  • Start a Family ✔️
  • Pay Off My Credit Card ❌
  • Publish a Self Care Journal ❌

39 Weeks Pregnant! (Third Pregnancy/ Third Trimester)

39 weeks pregnant! Baby Boy is in between the size of a pumpkin and a watermelon. Something exciting happened this week. Baby officially dropped which means we are one step closer to starting labor and meeting our baby. ❤️

Mommy and Daddy and anxiously awaiting Baby Bears arrival. I am officially on maternity leave and have loads of appointments scheduled.

Today I have an appointment with my midwife where I am hoping to get a membrane sweep and schedule an induction in case he decides to be stubborn and not come out on his own.

Later in the morning, I am also scheduled for a pregnancy massage. My midwife made a recommendation that I get a massage in hopes that it will induce labor.

This past week I have also been trying to induce labor at home in different ways, including walking up and down stairs, curb stepping, eating dates, doing figure 8’s with my hips, the miles circuit and yoga.

This weeks symptoms include nausea, diarrhea, fatigue, nesting, frequent urination, Braxton Hicks, irregular contractions, pelvic and back pain, and lots of baby kicks.

I’m praying baby comes before the end of the year! ❤️

Merry Christmas 2021

Merry Christmas to all our friends and family! This is our last Christmas as a family of 3… and yes I am including Rocky in our little family. This year I was very hopeful that our Baby Bear would have a Christmas birthday but that just wasn’t meant to be. It’s okay. We know he’ll come when he is good and ready.

This year has been a little crazy, but Charles and I feel so blessed for everything God has taught us this year.

I unfortunately didn’t get to making Christmas cards this year because Christmas just kinda snuck up on me and I ran out of time.

From our family to yours, we hope you have a very Merry Christmas!

– The Rhames (Charles, Kaylee, Baby Bear and Rocky!

38 Weeks Pregnant! (Third Pregnancy/ Third Trimester)

38 Weeks and ready to pop! Baby could come any time! This week baby is the size of a winter melon or a pumpkin depending on which set of measurements you go by.

Today we had a non-stress test and baby did great. He slept in the beginning and they had to use a buzzer to wake him up, but he started moving and grooving after that.

Later, we had a midwife appointment. I have gained another pound and have gained a total of 9 lbs this pregnancy so far. My blood pressure is looking good and baby is still measuring a week ahead. He is still head down, and in a good position for labor when ever he decides to get things moving.

We also talked to the midwife about my ultrasound. Since baby is measuring fine, and passing all of his tests, my midwife said they will let me go to 40 weeks and 5 days before having an induction on 1/11. I did ask to have a membrane sweep done and my midwife said at my next visit (39 weeks) I can have it done.

7 weeks vs 38 weeks

At the end of my visit my midwife did give me permission to try and induce labor naturally at home. Here are a few things she suggested I should try:

  • Curb Stepping
  • Exercising/Being Active
  • Eating Dates
  • Drinking Red Raspberry Leaf Tea
  • Doing the Miles Circuit

This week’s symptoms include fatigue, nesting, nausea, pelvic and back pain, irregular contractions, mood swings and lots of baby kicks. I’m getting very uncomfortable and not feeling cute these days as my clothes just don’t seem to fit right, and everything just feels snug.

This mama is trying and doing what she can to stay active for labor, and allow my body to get ready for whenever labor kicks in. We are getting so excited to meet our baby boy. We are still of course hoping for a Christmas baby, but honestly we will be fine with whenever Baby Rhames decides to make his grand arrival! 💕

37 Weeks Pregnant! (Third Pregnancy/ Third Trimester)

37 Weeks! Baby is officially considered “Early Term” and is the size of a head of romaine lettuce.

It has been an exciting week, with lots of doctor appointments as we get closer to our due date.

On Monday morning, Baby was up kicking momma from 2-5am. After that he fell asleep. I went to my non-stress test at 8am. The way the test works is within a half hour they are looking for two accelerations of baby’s heart rate (heart rate needs to go up 15 beats and stay there for 10 seconds, Ex Baseline is 140, so he needs to reach 155 at least for ten seconds twice). Unfortunately during the test, he was only able to do this once, even after using a buzzer like tool on my belly to wake him up. So my nurses ordered an ultrasound. A little while later I had an ultrasound to check on baby and make sure he was alright.

As we suspected, baby boy was doing just fine and sleeping the day away since he was up partying all night long.

Thursday, I had a full morning of appointments. First a non-stress test which baby passed with flying colors. Then a check in with my midwife. We reviewed my birth plan and everything seems to make sense and be in order. We also discussed an epidural, how it works and what I can expect. Finally, I did the Group B Strep test and asked my OB for a cervical check. I was just curious to see where I was at. We discovered that I am 1 cm dilated and my cervix is beginning to get soft.

Next, we headed to another ultrasound appointment, to determine how baby is growing. Since I have GD and had Covid later in pregnancy, my doctors suggested I have a growth scan since GD can make baby too big and Covid can make baby too small. It was so exciting to see baby on the ultrasound screen twice in one week. He had grown so much since our 20 week scan. The tech was able to confirm that we are certainly having a boy. We also found out that our little man has long thick hair! 🥰 Finally, we were told that as far as measurements he is just above average. Baby Boy is measuring at 37 weeks 6 days and at 6 lbs 15 oz so almost 7 lbs, and in the 63rd percentile. We will discuss at our next appointment if we need to schedule an induction.


At 37 weeks pregnant, this week’s symptoms include back pain, pelvic pain, lose joints and ligaments, diarrhea, fatigue, nesting, increased hunger, lots of baby movements, lots of emotional ups and downs.

3 weeks or less to go! Come on baby! We’d love to meet you in time for Christmas!!!

Maternity Photos!

So as many of you know, I’ve stayed pretty on top of documenting and taking photos of my pregnancy and bump progress. One thing I really wish I was able to do, is take some professional maternity photos. For weeks I tried budgeting for photos and we simply just didn’t have the funds. Then I tried reaching out to different family members and friends to take the photos, but it seemed like every time we tried to schedule something there was either bad weather or someone was exposed to Covid.

Thankfully at 35 weeks, my Mama took some time out of her day to take a few cute maternity pictures of us. They turned out adorable and I’m thankful for what we have! 🥰

Baby Bear, we love you so much and can’t wait to meet you! 💕

36 Weeks Pregnant! (Third Pregnancy/ Third Trimester)

36 Weeks = 9 Months! Baby Boy is the size of a Papaya and keeps on growing!

This week’s symptoms include fatigue, increased hunger, pelvic/joint pain, back aches, stretch marks, round ligament pain, lots of baby kicks and rolls.

Our OB appointments the last few weeks have gone very well. We are passing all our NST’s and mentally preparing for labor and delivery.

This week I have been in full blown nesting mode. I have…

  • Deep cleaned my kitchen.
  • Deep cleaned my dining room.
  • Deep cleaned my living room.
  • Double checked my hospital bags.
  • Cleaned my carpets.
  • Picked up my breast pump.
  • Caught up on all the laundry.
  • Started stocking up on food and essentials for winter.

We are counting down the days until we meet our Baby Boy!

Here’s a good laugh for all of you! A quote from one of my preschoolers:

Child is rubbing my tummy and says “You’re having a baby? My mommy’s water bottle broke when she had my baby sister!”

Oh, from the mouths of babes. 🥰😂

When Will Baby Rhames Arrive?

We are officially one month away from my due date, I still can’t believe it. I’m curious when everyone thinks Baby Rhames will arrive. Before you make your guess, here are a few things to consider…

Due Date is 1/6/22

Baby is measuring a week ahead.

This is my third pregnancy, but first time making it to term.

With various health issues and complications, my doctors will likely not let me go past my due date.

I’m secretly hoping for a Christmas baby!

What’s your guess?

Top 10 Things I Am Excited to Do After Pregnancy

I feel so incredibly blessed to have gotten pregnant and carry this beautiful miracle baby. However, I am getting to the point in my pregnancy where I am ready to have this baby, meet and snuggle his face, and have my body back. As I near closer and closer to my due date, I keep thinking about the things I am excited to do after being pregnant.

My Top 10 Things I Am Excited to Do After Being Pregnant

  1. Eating Cold Lunch Meat. It has been so hard to have to heat up all my lunch meat to prevent the possibility of listeria. I am really excited to have a cold spicy Italian Footlong from Subway after I have this baby.
  2. Eating Soft Cheeses. I never realized how many soft cheeses I love, until I realized I couldn’t have them during pregnancy. I love queso, feta, goat, ricotta, bleu and all the yummy fancy cheeses.
  3. Caffeine. I miss caffeine. I miss drinking coke. I miss drinking frappes, cappuccinos and all the caffeinated coffees. It’s been nice to not be addicted to caffeinated drinks, but it will be nice to have them again once in a while if I want to.
  4. Bending, Twisting and Moving. I am excited to be able to bend, move and twist any way I want to without getting stuck or struggling to do a grand pile‘.
  5. Sleeping Any Way I Want! I can’t wait for this one. To be able to sleep on my belly or my back sounds so incredible right now. Being obligated to sleep on my sides is getting very old.
  6. Sushi and Chinese Food. I love Chinese food and sometimes sushi. I have missed it and can’t wait to eat a stir fry bowl, crab ragoons and a side of sushi very soon.
  7. Using Beauty and Make Up Products Without Worrying if They Are Safe. I’m getting tired of reading labels, trying to decide if they are safe.
  8. Taking a Hot Bath and Even Using a Hot Tub. One thing that helps me relax is a hot bath. I can’t wait to sit in a hot bath and heal after birth, if I have time between feeding and caring for my baby.
  9. Clothes That Fit. I know it won’t happen right away, but eventually I’m excited to wear clothes that actually fit without showing the bottom of my baby bump.
  10. Reaching for Things. Soon enough I’ll be able to reach for things without whacking my belly on the counter.

35 Weeks Pregnant! (Third Pregnancy/ Third Trimester)

35 weeks with 5 weeks to go! We are almost there!!! This week baby is the size of a pineapple. 🍍

I am really starting to feel the effects of the third trimester. I never thought I would reach a point where I am sick of being pregnant, but dare I say it… it’s just so hard to do the everyday things anymore. Charles has to help me put on my shoes because I just can’t reach my feet anymore. Doing dishes, cooking and any task in the kitchen is nearly impossible with out bumping my belly on something. And if I drop something on the floor, it’s game over. Looking back I have had a relatively easy pregnancy, but I can see why they say it gets so hard at the end.

This week’s symptoms include round ligament pain, fatigue, Braxton Hicks, insomnia, pelvic pressure, stretch marks, nesting, heartburn, body aches, acne, and baby kicks

We got a few things checked off our list this week including

  • Installing the car seat base in the car.
  • Creating my padsicles.
  • Reviewing our birth plan with our midwife.

This week we also had 2 non stress tests and and prenatal appointment. Everything is looking great! My uterus is measuring at 36 cm, so about a week ahead and I’ve gained 1/2 a pound. Heart rate is good and baby is in a great position for birth as he is more on the left side and head down. He has hiccups a few times a day which is completely normal. Blood pressure is good, and we have been passing all of the non stress tests. The only concern this week is Braxton Hicks. I’ve been having about 2-3 every hour. Midwife says all is normal and my body is just getting ready.

5 more weeks to go! We can’t wait!!! 🥰

Packing the Hospital Bag

I’m officially 34 weeks pregnant, and our hospital bag is all packed and ready to go! If you are expecting and trying to figure out what to pack in your hospital bag, here are a few ideas!

Things for Mom
  • Robe
  • Sweatpants
  • Sweatshirt
  • Maternity/ Nursing Shirt
  • Night Gown
  • Nursing Bra (2)
  • Socks
  • Slippers
  • Panties (optional)
  • Makeup (optional)
  • Wash Cloths/ Facial Wipes
  • Deodorant
  • Wet Bag
  • Shampoo/Conditioner
  • Dry Shampoo
  • Tooth Brush/ Paste
  • Hair Brush
  • Hair Ties
  • Bobby Pins
  • Lotion
  • Nursing Pads
  • Nipple Balm
  • Pads (optional)
  • Mask
  • Face Wash
  • Chap Stick
  • Prenatals
  • Phone
  • Phone Charger
  • ID/ Money/ Insurance Card
  • Phone List of People to Contact
Things for Dad
  • Shirt (2)
  • Sweatpants
  • Underwear
  • Socks
  • Sweatshirt
  • Deodorant
  • Tooth Brush/ Paste
  • Hair Brush
  • Phone Charger
  • Tablet
  • Phone
  • Headphones
  • Snacks
Things for Baby
  • Nursing Pillow
  • Birth Plan
  • Swaddles (2)
  • Blanket
  • Newborn Sleepers (2)
  • 0-3m Sleepers (2)
  • Socks
  • Going Home Outfit
  • Mittens (2)
  • Car Seat
  • Car Seat Cover
  • Baby Hats (2)

34 Weeks Pregnant! (Third Pregnancy/ Third Trimester)

34 weeks pregnant with 6 weeks (or less) to go! This week baby is the size of Butternut Squash! How fitting it is with it being Thanksgiving weekend!

Symptoms this week include, back aches, fatigue, joint pain (in my hips and pelvis), colostrum, dry skin, moodiness, slight spotting and lots of baby movements. At my last appointment I gained 2.6 lbs, which means I’ve gained a total of 5.6 lbs this pregnancy so far.

My weeks are filled with working 38 hours or less, non stress tests twice a week, and preparing for baby boy’s arrival when I have the energy. We are getting so excited to meet him, and I’m starting to do some light exercises now, in order to prepare for birth.

Only 6 weeks or less for this pregnancy, and I want to hear from you! What’s your guess? When do you think Baby Rhames will arrive?

Feeling a Little Extra Thankful This Year 🍂

We are feeling a little extra thankful this year! I thank God for my family and friends, my job, my kitty, my health, a roof over my head, clothes on my back, our little bun in the oven and so much more! ❤️

This year we decided to change our Thanksgiving menu a little and have a porterhouse steak instead of turkey!

We also stuck with some classics, including crescent rolls and gravy.

Charcuterie board

Of course, my holiday staple Bruschetta

Homemade mashed potatoes

Stuffing and corn

Green bean casserole

Veggies and hummus

… and cranberry sauce.

I hope you and yours have a Happy Thanksgiving! 🍂

Picking Out a Name for Baby Rhames… Here’s a Hint!

Friends, I am happy to say we have finally picked out a name for our son, of whom is due very soon. Picking out a name wasn’t as easy as we thought. Since I am a teacher and have been for almost 6 years now, I have come across a lot of names in my career that, let’s say have left an impression on me. Whether it was negative or positive, there are just some names that I couldn’t possibly name my son.

So far, Charles and I have shared Baby Bear’s name with only a few close family members and friends. However, I don’t plan to reveal his name on here until after he is born. I have decided however that I will give you guys a hint.

Hope you’re ready because here is your hint!

Baby’s first name starts with an M and is biblical.

I would love to hear your guesses on what you think Baby Bear’s first name is!