In the next few weeks, I'm due to give birth to my third baby boy...
If you just read that sentence without it eliciting some type – any type – of emotional response, you will be in the vast minority. Because since finding out that our third child is going to be another boy, I’ve discovered that this is something many people have a strong opinion about. Those opinions differ greatly but do not discriminate.
I have been asked repeatedly – often by complete strangers – whether I’m disappointed and if I’ll try again for a girl (answer: no). Others have applauded my boy-making-abilities (seriously) and I’ve been told more times than I can count that, “In my culture, you’d be celebrated like a queen.”
While I’m not at all opposed to being treated like a queen, this does strike me as rather odd, and quite frankly – more than a little offensive. Does this mean my mother (who birthed two girls), my grandmother (who has three daughters) and one of my closest friends (also a mum of three gorgeous females) are any less fabulous?
Perhaps this is a conversation (and an article) for another day, but one thing I will certainly agree on is that living in a house full of males can present its challenges. With all of the glorious cuddles, endless affection and mother-son moments come a plethora of horrendous smells, awful toilet humour and more toy cars than I ever thought would be necessary.
Which is why I’m taking as many opportunities as possible – and will continue over the next eighteen years – to embrace any small fragments of femininity. My repeated request for a pale pink door has been ignored, so I’m focusing instead on the little moments of pampering. And in my mind – there is never a better excuse than pregnancy. Taking my foot off the pedal, dedicating time for beauty and prioritising self-care has been at the top of my list. Times when I can make it out of the house are few and far between, so I’ve chosen instead to create as much of a spa-like experience in my own home, with some of my favourite products from iconic French beauty brand Clarins.
Amy wears UNIK SPACE dress
Clarins is a brand that I feel so at home with in pregnancy, since I have been using the products since I was just four years old (yes, really)...
I grew up with the very good fortune of having an aunt who was a beauty therapist, with her own salon where she used and stocked Clarins products. So I grew up in the salon (in fact, my first job was writing gift certificates at age 10 during the Christmas rush), and was treated to mini facials and massages before I’d even started school. (Yes, my aunt is still one of my favourite people in the world, as you might imagine.) So using Clarins products throughout my pregnancy not only feels indulgent and beneficial, but beautifully nostalgic. Here are my top five favourite products from their maternity line, which have proven themselves to be gentle yet hardworking – in other words, what every expecting mother is looking for.
Stretch Mark Minimizer, $80
They say that stretch marks come down to genetics, but I can confidently say that after birthing two huge baby boys and being 35 weeks into the third … I’m yet to see a stretch mark. Genetics? Perhaps. Clarins Stretch Mark Minimizer? Quite likely. I have slathered this all over my stomach, thighs and bottom throughout pregnancy, and will continue to do so after I give birth … Just to be safe. www.clarins.com.au/stretch-mark-minimizer
Tonic Body Treatment Oil - Firming/Toning, $70
My skin is sensitive at the best of times (I am the only person I know to have broken out in hives following an application of pure coconut oil), but this treatment oil has surprisingly left me without allergy. It’s also super hydrating without being greasy and smells deliciously of rosemary, geranium and mint. At night, whilst still in the shower, I pop this all over my body (as it’s best applied to damp skin) and follow the application with a quick cool rinse. It keeps my skin soft and supple, and my boys are also known to request a little massage with it as an evening treat. www.clarins.com.au/tonic-body-treatment-oil
Extra Firming Body Cream, $80
No matter how fit we stay during pregnancy (read: not at all for #3), our skin just doesn’t seem to adore the extra growth. I would really rather not have sagging spots before they’re totally necessary, so this cream has been my go-to after every shower. It helps to promote the skin’s natural elasticity for younger-looking skin, so combined with Tracy Anderson’s Post-Pregnancy Project, I have high hopes that this will keep my skin exactly where it’s meant to be. www.clarins.com.au/extra-firming-body-cream
Energizing Leg Emulsion, $55
If you need to pick one product to use during pregnancy, this is the holy grail. Any woman who has experienced pregnancy will know the immense achiness that hits from the moment those two little blue lines appear. This miracle treatment seems to immediately relieve, refresh and soothe tired legs, with tingles that are akin to a good massage. It’s an absolute must (just take it from me – hide it from your partner who claims impossibly sore legs after one bike ride). www.clarins.com.au/energizing-emulsion
Bust Beauty Firming Lotion, $78
I’ll be the first to admit that exclusively breastfeeding two (potentially three) hungry boys was not the best decision for the sake of my own vanity. But I am making the best of an unideal situation in the bust arena by regularly applying this creamy lotion that is set to tone the ligaments that support keeping things looking … At least a little more taut. www.clarins.com.au/bust-beauty-firming-lotion
Amy wears UNIK SPACE dress
And finally - what I've packed in my hospital bag to continue the self-care traditions ...
There is something about a packing list that gives me immense pleasure (no doubt a result of my control freak tendencies), and the satisfaction I glean from a well-executed hospital bag is almost enough to make up for the pain of episiotomy stitches. Okay, perhaps not quite. Regardless, here is what I’m including in my hospital bag this time around.
- Francis & Henry’s Nursing Dress – This has been the softest, most versatile piece in my wardrobe since I gave birth to Charlie, so I can’t wait to break out the light grey variety for baby #3.
- The Hatch Georgie Jumper – My “going home” outfit to provide easy breastfeeding access while still feeling chic. Not an easy task.
- Jasmine & Will Monogrammed Pyjamas – Because they are as soft as they are gorgeous, and I intend to stay in them all day, every day.
- Clarins Beauty Flash Balm – The promise of this product alone is enough to have me sold – “diminishes the signs of tiredness.” It doubles as a mask and a primer, which I’m taking as an instruction to apply all day, every day.
- Clarins Instant Light Lip Perfector – This lip balm is nourishing with just the right amount of colour (I have it in rosewood) so I’ll be applying it before any guests arrive and will call it a day.
- Clarins Double Serum – I’ve recently started using this serum throughout my pregnancy and have been so impressed by how clear my skin has become. There is a notable difference and, dare I say it … Even a slight glow. I don’t intend to let that slip post-pregnancy, so will be keeping up this tradition.
- Clarins Extra-Firming Day, Night and Eye Cream – Because now that I have two children at home, the thought of just one child – and a hospital full of staff to feed and tend to me – makes me relax at the very thought. I’m actually anticipating having more time than usual to indulge in some of my favourite lotions, so these are going to be popped into my cosmetics bag at the very last minute.
- Clarins Skin Illusion Foundation – Because everyone knows the post-baby photos will haunt you forever.