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The Bump: Natasha Beh Comerford

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Gorgeous Singapore maternity photos in Sassy Mama’s ‘The Bump’!

This month’s The Bump’ stars the beautiful Natasha Beh Comerford with maternity photos of her sweet bump, courtesy of Littleones Photography. Natasha is the Restaurant Public Relations Manager for Unlisted Collection and she is expecting her first child in December. We caught up with Natasha to hear about her pregnancy journey, the hilarious length her OBGYN went to in the name of entertainment and her heartfelt wishes and wise words for her unborn baby about the perils of social media and in finding beauty in imperfection. 

What was your reaction when you first found out you were pregnant?
I’d love to say that my initial response was one of excitement (that came later along with all the warm, fuzzy feelings of an expectant mother). But to be honest, my first reaction was this sudden fear of the unknown. My husband and I had taken a while to conceive and during this time, my main focus had been on trying to get pregnant. I hadn’t paid quite enough attention as to what would happen when we finally did conceive and more importantly, the limited time I would have to prepare for our baby’s arrival.

Your funniest memory over the 9 months?
Our little girl let out two rather large yawns during one of our monthly scans so our doctor took the opportunity to snap multiple images of her opening and closing her mouth. He lined all the images up in sequence, and scrolled through them really quickly so she looked as if she was singing “Ha-lle-lu-jah!”. It was a hoot at the time.

Any great books and resources that prepared you for when your baby arrived?
During pregnancy, I found the ‘What to Expect’ App particularly useful. It was spot-on in describing all the changes my body was going through from month to month and helped put me at ease (seeing that I was experiencing a lot of things for the very first time.) The articles every week delivered essential advice in bite sized pieces so I never felt overwhelmed with information overload. Also, the app has a really cute way of indicating the size of your baby week by week (comparing it to a fruit or vegetable). This week (currently in week 34), my baby is as big as a pineapple. 😊

For post pregnancy, my sister-in-law, Carole bought me Tizzie Hall’s ‘Save Our Sleep which is a simple and informative read for creating an environment and routine for a well-rested baby. I cannot wait to try some of her techniques when our little girl arrives. I have also been reading ‘First Meals’ by Annabel Karmel which has some great, nutritious recipes and advice on teaching your infant or toddler how to eat well. Books and Apps aside, other mums have been an amazing resource in doling out advice and tricks on what worked for them. They have been my go-to guide particularly on information for the essential (and not so essential) things to buy for our baby as we prepare for her arrival.
               Download Sassy Mama’s Baby Gear Checklist Here

What do you think every woman should know before getting pregnant?
Never underestimate the role stress plays in conceiving. It can make it far more difficult to get pregnant.

What was the easiest trimester and which one proved most difficult?
I loved being pregnant in my second trimester. My energy levels were up, I was exuding the pregnancy glow and was able to enjoy eating again. My first trimester was by far the hardest. Anyone who knows me, knows that I love everything to do with food. It is a large part of my career and you’ll often find me either dining out, cooking at home, watching culinary shows or reading cookbooks when I’m not working. It is a passion and obsession that came to a (thankfully, temporary) halt during the first three months of my pregnancy. The last thing on my mind was food as I suffered through nausea, vomiting and that inevitable feeling of guilt from not being able to keep enough down to nourish my baby. I went on a largely vegetarian diet and survived the first trimester on clear soups and bread. Even the tried and tested remedy of ginger did not work! Thankfully my appetite and passion for food was restored after week 16 of my pregnancy.

Did you follow a fitness programme while you were pregnant?
I have a wonderful lady who comes to my house to do an hour and a half of pre-natal yoga with me every week and I also do a lot of walking. I experienced a lot of issues with my lower back as my body started to accommodate the increased weight of our baby so I started weekly visits to a chiropractor who specialises in adjusting pregnant women. And while not fitness related, I get a pre-natal massage at home every two weeks. I never needed an excuse for a massage, but with all the changes I’ve been experiencing, it is a great way to take some time out to relax, regroup and ease stress. 

Any fashion tips and tricks for maternity dressing?
My wardrobe always largely consisted of loose dresses and tops which I was lucky enough to wear right up to the middle of my third trimester. Belly belts were particularly useful in allowing me to adjust my original jeans as my belly grew. I also invested in a few pregnancy belts/bands that helped to relieve the pressure from the added weight on my pelvis and provided additional support for my back. Now on the home stretch and with a burgeoning belly that seems to get bigger by the day, I’ve tried to keep the clothes shopping as cost effective as possible, opting for loose fitted or stretchy dresses and tops that are one or two sizes up (which I can alter back to size, post pregnancy).

Did you have any weird and wonderful cravings?
Mushroom Risotto and Pasta Carbonara (I requested the egg to be cooked through) during my second trimester.

What did you struggle with most being pregnant?
My biggest struggle was probably all the uncomfortable physical changes I was experiencing throughout the various stages of my pregnancy. I’d just started a new job in my first trimester which often had me working in close proximity of a restaurant kitchen. I’d usually be found with a large scented scarf wrapped around my head as the pronounced cooking smells (which would have been welcomed pre-pregnancy) were enough to induce another trip to the bathroom. I also had to push past the constant fatigue and navigate my way through those ‘baby brain’ moments which I found terribly frustrating.
Just before I hit my third trimester, I discovered that I had borderline gestational diabetes. I am now even more careful about what I eat, controlling my carbohydrate intake, limiting sugar and increasing the amount of vegetables in my meals. I’ve also opted to cook more at home so I’m able to better control what goes into my food. I’ve started to read the labels of everything now and am shocked by how much sugar we eat without knowing! My husband, Paul has been really supportive and encouraging, opting for a healthier dish when we dine out so I don’t have food envy, eating whatever I cook at home and waking up early to take me on morning walks.

Name a mama you find inspiring and why?
I’m sure a lot of women will feel the same way about their own mothers but my mama has been the most inspiring to me. She always put us first while we were growing up and knew instinctively what we needed, to feel valued, comforted and supported. Even now, she hasn’t quite stopped mothering, cooking clear soups during my morning sickness-riddled first trimester, nursing me through migraine filled evenings and preparing gestational diabetes-friendly meals during my third trimester. I don’t think I ever fully understood the depth of unconditional love a mother can have for her child (as much as she has shown me) but I’m about to find out.

What are your thoughts about finding out the sex in advance?
I personally couldn’t wait to find out. I knew it would be torture for me to sit there for 9 months, wondering whether we were having a boy or a girl. I like to know what I’m expecting and how to plan for things. However, I know a lot of close friends and family who have opted to be surprised on the day. My advice is to do what works for you and don’t be swayed by other opinions. Whether you wish to find out or keep it a surprise, the choice is entirely up to you.

Did it take you some time getting pregnant or were you one of those mamas who got lucky on the first try?
I would love to say that we got lucky on the first try but it took us about a year to get pregnant.  

Who was your OBGYN, and where did you give birth? How was your birth experience? (optional)
My OBGYN is Dr Benjamin Tham from WC Cheng & Associates. I’ll be delivering at Thomson Medical Centre.  

Any local businesses (or websites) that made your pregnancy journey easier?
Will I get extra points for saying Sassy Mama? 😊 But honestly, it really has made my journey much easier – from providing recommendations on strollers, car seats and confinement agencies to updating me on baby fairs for some great deals.
Read about Taxi Rules and Car Seats here

What are your hopes and dreams for your baby?
This list could go on forever. I wish she will grow up healthy and happy with a kind, compassionate and generous spirit. I hope she will learn to connect with the person sitting across the table from her first before engaging with the ipad or iphone in front of her.  I want her to know that the curated perfection seen through an Instagram lens is not reality and that there is beauty in imperfection. Lastly, I hope she knows just how valuable and powerful she is, with the ability to achieve whatever she wishes and effect change through sheer hard work and determination.

Thank you so much for your time and best of luck with the birth of your daughter Natasha! And many thanks to Emily from Littleones Photography for the gorgeous photos!

Images courtesy Littleones Photography

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