Becoming a mama is one of life’s greatest gifts and to celebrate we’re running a dedicated feature each month featuring a Sassy Mama and her beautiful bump! This week we’re sitting down with Rebecca Jo-Rushdy the Co-Founder of BaoBae.com and chatting about her favourite pregnancy moments, weird cravings and her favourite books that helped her through the whole 9 months. Her little bundle of joy Na’ima Kaya Jo-Rushdy was born on the 21 March 2014 weighing 2.87 kg.
What was your reaction when you first found out you were pregnant?
I couldn’t believe my eyes; I took two pregnancy tests and then ran out to buy three more! I broke the news to hubby by sending him a photo of all 5 positive tests lined up in a row.
Your funniest memory over the nine months?
My growing belly fascinated my 2-year old niece. Because she couldn’t understand that a baby was inside me everytime I saw her, she would lift up my shirt or get in under my dress to try and find her new cousin. As the bump got bigger, she even started walking around with her doll under her shirt – too funny!
Any great books and resources that prepared you for when your baby arrived?
The book I now recommend to everyone is Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth – it offers an informative and objective overview of childbirth which is so refreshing when most books on the topic are trying to peddle one approach over all others and often using scare tactics to do so. She gets back to basics and highlights how over medicalized giving birth has become; very relevant for mothers to be in Hong Kong. She also wrote Guide to Breastfeeding which is another must read – it is so much harder than people think!
What do you think every woman should know before getting pregnant?
Your body is built for this and you will be amazed how adaptable you are to all the challenges that come along! Before I got pregnant, I assumed a c-section was the only option for me and couldn’t imagine going through a natural birth. Getting more in tune with my body, which happened very naturally over the course of the pregnancy (and reading Ina May), really helped me to figure out the type of birth experience I wanted to have.
What was the easiest trimester and which one proved most difficult?
Like most mama’s I found the 2nd Trimester much smoother than the 1st and 3rd. The 1st was definitely the hardest, not just because of the nausea and permanently stuffy nose, but because as a first-time mum it was unchartered territory for me and no amount of reading can prepare you for the physical and emotional experiences that come along with growing another human inside your belly!
Did you follow a fitness programme while you were pregnant?
I practised yoga regularly (3-4 times per week) throughout the pregnancy, right up to 8.5 months. As cliched as it sounds it helped me to stay centered at a time when your emotions and hormones are often pulling you in every direction. A friend recommended Stephanie Snyder’s prenatal classes on yogaglo.com – brilliant for when you want to practice at home in your PJ’s.
Any fashion tips and tricks for maternity dressing?
If you’re pregnant during the winter months, invest in a good pair of maternity jeans (I loved my J Brand jeans from Mayarya), the stretch fabric on cheaper denim doesn’t last and you end up with saggy pants within a day! Having a nice pair of pants that fits you does wonders for your self-confidence when you’re increasing in size daily :-). I also used Belly Belt & Belly Band together to extend the life of my pre-pregnancy pants.
What have you struggled with most since being pregnant?
Keeping my hormones in check was a struggle – it was an emotional roller coaster and I would cry over the silliest things!
What are your hopes and dreams for your baby?
To know that she is capable of achieving anything and not to succumb to the idea that is perpetuated in society today that little girls are princesses who need men to rescue them at every turn!
Name a mama you find inspiring and why?
Any single mama. After eight months of motherhood with a super supportive husband and part-time help around the house I am in complete awe of the millions of women around the world who raise their child or children alone. I think every one of them deserves to be celebrated.
Did you find out the sex in advance?
We chose not to find out the gender in advance. As my husband put it.. it’s one of the last remaining mysteries on earth that you can’t google! I do not like surprises (I start my books with the last chapter) so for the first half of the pregnancy the suspense killed me. After month five I managed to let go and my focus shifted away from the sex and simply on having a healthy baby regardless of gender. Turns out not finding out can be quite practical too – all the unisex items we bought and were given will be useful when number two is on the way!
What kind of birth did you have?
I had a natural birth at a public hospital. After a long (56 hour) labour we came quite close to a c-section but one hour after the two-hour warning from the doctor baby Na’ima decided it was time to make an appearance. It was not the birth I expected, but the final outcome was everything I had dreamed of… and more!
What helped you get your groove back after being pregnant?
My “pui yuet”! (Check out Sassy Mama’s guide to Pui Yuet services in Hong Kong here!) All the delicious food and traditional herbal soups helped me bounce back – plus all the hands-on advice she gave on taking care of an infant was invaluable and made parenthood less scary!
Any local businesses that made your pregnancy journey easier?
Definitely the ladies at Annerley! We had their Best of Both Worlds package with midwife labour care before delivering the baby at a public hospital. I loved having my routine checkups at their friendly clinic, and the postnatal home visits were so helpful and reassuring.
Did you have any weird and wonderful cravings?
Anything citrus! I was addicted to oranges and grapefruits, I kept a box of orange slices with me all the time.
All photos in the article above were taken by the extremely talented Beatrice Lee, if you’re looking for picture perfect memories of you and your bump or your family get in touch with her at [email protected]