Gorgeous maternity photography in Sassy Mama’s ‘The Bump’!
This month’s ‘The Bump’ features stunning maternity photography of American Jovann Walker by Gunilla Lindgren of Sugarlight Photography. Jovann has been living in Singapore for four and a half years and gave birth to her daughter Gisèle Nicole in July 2018. Jovann used to be a professional dancer for 14 years in the NFL and NBA but now designs her own kaftan collection, Nicola Kaftans, and has plans to expand to swimwear made from recycled plastic and fishing nets. Read on to hear more about her experience with pregnancy in Singapore – including the ups and downs of IUI and IVF – and to check out her gorgeous maternity photoshoot at the Singapore Botanic Gardens.
What was your reaction when you first found out you were pregnant?
When I suspected I was pregnant I was overjoyed with so many emotions. Excitement that my dreams and prayers had finally been answered, and fear that something would go wrong.
Your funniest memory over the 9 months?
My funniest pregnancy moment was every time we had to do a sonogram and we wanted to get a glimpse of her she would roll over and turn away from the light, preventing us from seeing her until she arrived. By the third visit of that happening it became quite funny. If nothing else, that definitely gave us a glimpse of her personality very early on.
Any great books and resources that prepared you for when your baby arrived?
What to Expect When You’re Expecting was my bible. I loved it and found it very useful.
What do you think every woman should know before getting pregnant?
Your journey is your journey! You should tune out the noise and do what’s best for you. Everyone’s pregnancy is different and everyone has an opinion. This is about you, your partner and the life that you’re bringing into the world. Things that worked for other people may or may not work for you so we put this enormous amount of pressure on ourselves, causing ourselves unnecessary stress that is not good for getting pregnant or being pregnant. So I say just relax, enjoy it all, and know that this is your journey and your journey only.
What was the easiest trimester and which one proved most difficult?
My easiest trimester while being pregnant was my second trimester as I was finally able to hold food down, work out, move around, be normal and just enjoy everything about being pregnant. With that said my most difficult trimester was my first one. I was extremely sick for the first 14 weeks. I was diagnosed with Hyperemesis Gravidarum and everything made me sick, from attempting to eat anything other then saltine crackers to brushing my teeth. The dehydration caused me to be hospitalized and I just felt overall miserable every day.
Did you follow a fitness programme while you were pregnant?
I did prenatal yoga which was very relaxing and therapeutic for me. I never had any back pain throughout my entire pregnancy and I felt the yoga helped me get the best sleep ever.
Read more: The Best Prenatal Yoga Classes in Singapore
Any fashion tips and tricks for maternity dressing?
Kaftans were my go-to saviour. For very nice stylish wear, Seraphine out of London has the cutest chic maternity wear and they ship to Singapore. Also a must are the Align II leggings from lululemon. These pants are soft, high rise, no elastic, stretches with your bump and hands down are the most comfortable piece of clothing you’ll put on while pregnant and your everyday comfortable go-to post-pregnancy.
Did you have any weird and wonderful cravings?
Strangely enough all I wanted was kale greens. During my first trimester it was the only thing that didn’t make me sick so I googled every kind of kale recipe there was. Kale soups, shakes, salads, chips, you name it and I made it with kale.
What did you struggle with most being pregnant?
My biggest struggle was fear of bad news, of my pregnancy not being successful. I was always nervous something would happen so yoga and meditation was very helpful for me as well as hearing her heartbeat at every appointment. That always gave me reassurance that she was ok.
Name a mama you find inspiring and why?
I find my own mother very inspiring. We all love our mothers but I don’t think you can truly appreciate their strengths and their sacrifices until you become a mother yourself. My mother was a single mother that gave my sister and me an amazing childhood. She never complained, never looked tired, was always very cheerful and positive, and made sure we had everything we needed. When you become a mother you appreciate that level of love even more.
What are your thoughts about finding out the sex in advance?
For me I hate surprises or being anxious about anything. I also try to plan everything so for planning purposes I wanted to know what our little miracle baby was. And once I found out it was a girl it was pink, ruffles, bows and tutus overload.
Did it take you some time getting pregnant or were you one of those mamas who got lucky on the first try?
It did. After two years of not conceiving on our own we did two rounds of IUI and two rounds of IVF, all of which was unsuccessful. We decided to give it a break and except perhaps God had a different plan for us, as less then 3 months later to our surprise I was pregnant naturally without trying. It was AMAZING.
What kind of birth did you have?
Emergency C-section at Mt. Elizabeth Novena.
What helped you get your groove back after being pregnant?
My family, friends and husband insisted that I begin doing normal things right from the start. Taking proper time for myself to do whatever I needed to do or to get proper rest made the transition of becoming a mommy so much easier.
Do you have any mama-friendly favourite places (restaurants, parks, etc.) to hang out with your baby? Why?
Maggie & Rose is my favorite place ever! However I find every place in Singapore accommodating.
Any local businesses (or websites) that made your pregnancy journey easier?
I loved The Bump app and website. Each week they would send me what fruit size my baby was that week along with the best articles by doctors, nurses, midwives and therapists from all over the world. A lot of my questions and curiosities about things I found got answered there. I also found ParentCraft by Dr Wong Boh Boi classes and books amazing. Not only did she make me very comfortable and calm about giving birth, what to expect, after birth info, etc but she’s also very funny and always accessible to you after her classes and after you give birth. She’s a baby whisperer and truly amazing.
What are your hopes and dreams for your baby?
Good health, happiness, the opportunities for her to accomplish whatever she wants, and for her to always know how loved she is.
Thanks so much for chatting with us Jovann and big thanks to Gunilla Lindgren of Sugarlight Photography for the beautiful images!