Every month we talk to a mum you might recognise, about her journey from girl-about-town to stylish mummy. This month the blogger and style influencer Tabitha Willett, who you might remember from E4's Made in Chelsea shares her top tips and experiences with us. She recently joined the gang after having her daughter Ottilie in June 2019 at Chelsea & Westminster hospital.
What would be your one tip to a pregnant first time mum?
Just be kind to yourself - I was so excited to be pregnant and so disheartened when I found it so difficult. Eat what you want, sleep when you want, cry when you want and don't feel bad about cancelling any and all plans if you simply just don't feel like going.
How did you prepare for your baby’s birth? Is there anything you would do differently?
I prepared for every type of birth that could possibly come my way. I did hypnobirthing lessons as this was my preference, I spoke to some C section mummies about how dignified and civilised a planned C section was and I also kept a very open mind towards pain relief. I oddly enough wasn't anxious about the birth at all, but the later weeks of pregnancy I found myself panicking a lot about what I would need after the baby came home! I wish someone had told me just the few basics that are necessary and nothing else mattered - bottles, formula, steriliser, breast pump, loads of plain white onesies and about 200 nappies! I also got my cleaner to come the day I went into labour as I wanted to make sure we were going to bring baby home to a clean house and clean sheets.
What is your must have hospital bag item?
Some shower shoes! No one told me this and I ended up showering in my slippers - as wonderful a job as the NHS does, I promise you DO NOT want to have a shower bare foot in the loos provided after giving birth. so pack flip flops or slides or something waterproof in case you need to stay for a whole week on the post-labour ward like I did.
Describe your birth experience in five words.
Long, Unpredictable, Beautiful, Scary, Exciting. (This is an odd one as it was a really traumatic birth after quite a horrible pregnancy but I seem to look back on it and smile!)
Those early days of motherhood can be quite lonely, what did you do for emotional, physical and practical support?
We were very lucky to have some money to put towards some help at the beginning and I decided that I wanted a housekeeper over someone to help me with the baby. Your midwife is still on call at the beginning and my mother, father and step mother were all around for any advice that I needed. So just waking up to a hot cup of tea, clean house, clean laundry and have someone to make my bed was just a godsend! Like living in a hotel! And a whole lot cheaper than a night-nurse! We had a lovely lady come 5 days a week for a few hours a day starting at 7am. In terms of mental support, I know it could have very easily gone the other way, but I was just on cloud 9 in my baby bubble so actually didn't want a whole lot of people around me.
As a woman your body changes so much through pregnancy, birth and postnatally. How did you find dressing for your new shape? What are your top tips for dressing a bump and then postnatally?
I'm still getting used to my new body and how to dress it - I used to rely on my waist as I don't have naturally skinny arms and legs, but now I don't have a waste at all! - I have a newfound love for my ankles = cropped jeans! I think it's just about finding something about your body that you do like and working with it! When I was pregnant, I found that tight, bodycon things were a lot more flattering than big billowy dresses. Embrace your bump! Try Zara for some great knitted midi dresses that I lived in my whole pregnancy.
For many women their confidence can dip after having a baby, what advice can you give new mums to boost their self-esteem?
I would say to seek out some friends that may relate to you. I am so lucky to have Instagram as a platform to speak to my followers on and have found some real insta-friends at my lowest times! I have heard that PEANUT App is great for this reason too. My friend Roxie Nafousi is so brilliant and has been very open about her pregnancy and new mother journey so she is a good place to start. And just do what you can to stay relaxed and happy, whether that means a massage, a hot meal, going shopping, anything! - As I really believe that when babies are really young they pick up on every little mood change. Just love your baby!
As a mummy it can be hard to fit in ‘me time’, how do you make sure you get yours?
I don't! But I have made a conscious effort to not change my lifestyle too much. I take Ottilie everywhere with me whether it's a meeting for work, a restaurant for dinner or just walking the dog. I still need to get her to like shopping as even walking near a Zara or Harrods she starts whining!