I found out I was pregnant three weeks before our 2021 Conscious Festival, and this was not planned at all! Here is a little journey about how I made the scariest and most exciting decisions of my life and how I am trying to go green with my green pregnancy and maternity.
After three cancellations of our flagship event – the Conscious Festival – due to Covid-19, 2021 was proving to be favourable for organizing the event again, so we did! We expanded into another city, a fourth city, dear to my heart as a French woman, Paris. As we did not have anything set up, we worked really hard to make this event happen, from finding a new home venue – La Caserne – to forming a new team, translating all of our communications from English to French, creating a brand in a country which did not know us, and much more. It was super intense.
And it was during this tough and intense period that life brought me the biggest surprise ever, three weeks before an event I had been working on for over 12 months. It’s like you see in the movies – I did a pregnancy test thinking that my period delay was due to stress when I saw the two bars and started to panic. It definitely took us a while to adjust to the news. We even thought about ending the pregnancy. I came across the fact that 1 in 3 women in France was experiencing abortion once in their lives, that 73 million induced abortions take place every year worldwide. While this experience can definitely be traumatic, I was super glad to be in a country where abortion was made possible, legally and safely. But after not one or two or three but four meetings with the doctor, we made a clear and final decision to move ahead with this chapter of our lives, everything seemed so perfect.
Since I was miles away from the whole pregnant world, I have learned so much about it. Mostly thanks to my friends who are already mums and midwives, but also my sister who is a doula and gave birth to two beautiful babies in a physiological way (without medical intervention and one at home). She is the first person I called. I very soon put in place an army of support to prepare us for what was coming next. For more than 6 months, my partner and I have been seeing a doula and two midwives as I prepare for a home birth, a hypnotherapist (using the Mongan method) and a physiotherapist who specialised in preparing perineum. Those processes definitely helped us feel prepared (even though I think you can never be truly prepared for this).
I have also decided to do something I had wanted to do for a long time – going off the grid for 10 days of meditation according to the Vipassana method in the Spanish mountains when I was 4 months pregnant and that definitely helped me to chill out and to experience that everything passes and rises away.
My attempts to go green during my pregnancy
First and foremost, we went second hand for a lot of items or friends and family donated stuff to us. I recently moved to Lisbon (another new thing in our lives) and met with incredible people including mummies who so generously gave baby and maternity clothes and tips. My sister has also given me two pieces of luggage full of baby stuff. We discovered is definitely to buy stuff second-hand, you can find 99% of all baby stuff second-hand.
Regarding essential baby stuff, it took me a while to figure out what stroller I should get, between the smart compact ones vs. the more “all-terrain” ones. I finally opted for the second option and I decided to buy a Greentom stroller for its sustainability commitments as it is made out of 100% recycled plastic. We got it second-hand from a couple with 2 kids in Lisbon where we recently relocated. I am so excited to try it out.
We are even going to buy our baby bed second-hand. That is the craziest purchase we are making – the Snoo Happiest Baby bed. Jury’s out if its worth it.
Regarding maternity clothes, I am also super excited about my breastfeeding Panty’s bra which my friend gifted me. I am already wearing it every day. Minastorm has also saved my life, boobs-wise. I am also always wearing my Jolibump leopard print leggings and black dress which makes me feel sexy. I usually wore only 4 or 5 different looks in order not to waste time choosing my wardrobe. I would pair the Jolibump dress with sexy sustainable stickings from Swedish Stockings.
Oh, another thing that saved my life is the sleeping pillow which has a doughnut shape. It is life-changing! I have found one 100% organic cotton certified and locally made in Portugal.
My little confession
Really speak with your friends and people around you who you admire for their sustainability values and commitments and ask them how they have been doing. I have to also confess that although I criticize Instagram and social media overall, it did really help me connect with mummies and watch other first mums blossom. So social media can be powerful in guiding you and establishing role models. And my number one model has been Riri for her way to make pregnancy cool and sexy.
Brands I Love: Tried, Tested, and Trusted
Maintaining your consumer ethics standards and looking for the right ethical/sustainable products while you’re pregnant is not easy. Trust me, I know. Here’s a list of some of my favourite explorations so far: from green strollers to high-quality hosiery, I’ve got you covered.
When you’re well into your pregnancy/postpartum journey, health, hygiene, and comfort are key. Amidst the chaos and excitement, it can be hard to spend time looking for sustainable lingerie. Panty’s cares about women’s health and the planet, which is why they create absorbent underwear for periods and postpartum nursing.
A certified B Corp, they’ve created clinically, gynecologically, and dermatologically tested period pants for four different flows and the world’s first absorbent nursing bra. Their maternity kit contains a slim model reusable absorbent bra and panties, which together form a beautiful outfit to welcome moms with love in the postpartum period. With Panty’s, you can look sexy and feel guilt-free, by avoiding all those single-use products.
We’re such big fans of Panty’s and are so excited to announce that they have a special discount code just for Green Is The New Black readers! Get 10% off with this code: GITNB10.
What’s more, Pantys is gifting the France-based NGO Mamama 20 menstrual panties for this green pregnancy campaign. Mamama was created in response to the needs during the pandemic in 2019 when single and isolated mothers were skipping meals to buy diapers, while others simply had nothing left to feed their infants. To help them, the volunteers at Mamama started to deliver food parcels (adapted to the children’s age) and essential hygiene and period products (nappies, period protection, underwear, etc.). Their incredible work relies heavily on donations; if you can, do consider sustaining them here.
This chic label Swedish Stockings is the first-ever sustainable hosiery brand. Each year, eight billion pairs of pantyhose are produced, worn once, and then discarded. This contributes to the textile industry as one of the most polluting industries in the world. Swedish Stockings is on a mission to change and influence the entire hosiery industry by showing others that you can produce hosiery sustainably, without sacrificing great quality and design for all kinds of bodies (their maternity tights are not to be missed).
By crafting high-quality (read: no horrifying ladder appearing after just one use), environmentally conscious stockings out of recycled materials, and facilitating recycling at end-of-life, this brand is working towards a totally circular system. They have a recycling program where they take in tights from any brand, and from customers all over the world, which they use as filling material for industry cylinders as well as their own table collection.
“A forerunner in sustainably produced hosiery, Swedish Stockings produces beautiful products made from recycled yarns. Our factories engage in sustainable practices including the use of environmentally friendly dyes, post-dyeing water treatment, and the use of solar power for much of the energy needed in the manufacturing process,” Elena from Swedish Stockings shared with me.
Maternity can turn into a waste problem with you’re having a closet crisis and the apparel market doesn’t meet your needs. Most maternity clothes are made only for a nine-month (or less) lifespan, only to be disposed of after. Jolibump is the first French brand to offer sustainable maternity fashion that is slow and flexible.
Jolibump was created in September 2016 by Marie Boyer-Aubert, after her first pregnancy. Her body was changing, and she could not find clothes fitting her style, sustainable and eco-responsible, that she could also wear after pregnancy. After giving birth, she discovered her postpartum body, and it helped her confirm the idea that she needed clothes that adapt to her changing body curves and not the reverse.
Jolibump designs its items in France and production is local and European. Jolibump’s sustainable pregnancy clothes are created to accompany your body during your 9 months of pregnancy, postpartum, breastfeeding, and a long time after. Made from natural (cotton, linen) or eco-responsible fibers (Tencel, Modal, lyocell), organic cotton, or Okeo- Tex certified, they create ethical and sustainable maternity essentials.
Finding the right stroller can be overwhelming because of how many there are in the market, and even more so if you want to make sure it’s non-toxic, safe, and environmentally conscious. Greentom is a Dutch brand that creates strollers out of high-quality, non-toxic recycled plastic—the Greentom Classic, stroller, for instance, is made with 74 recycled plastic bottles. They’ve recycled over 3 million drinking bottles and counting.
With strollers, you also want to pay attention to materials. The carrycot mattress is made of organic cotton, organic wool and organic flax (always opt for certified organic where possible—it doesn’t contain toxins and is made more sustainably). Of course, an eco-friendly stroller needs to comply with safety standards and needs to be non-toxic: it should be free of harmful chemicals, like BPA, PVC, phthalates or fire retardants, which are all very toxic to human health.
What makes a stroller sustainable? Ideally, one that lasts years without breaking and can be used till it’s no longer needed. All Greentom strollers come with a lifetime warranty, and they have a 3-in-1 stroller that can grow with your baby, lasting from infancy to toddlerhood! This means fewer strollers to buy in the long run, and less waste too. Eventually, the entire stroller can be recycled, or handed down to another family for second-hand use.
Credits to our beautifully talented photoshoot team: Artistic direction by Fabiana Tavares; Make-up: Pedro Rocha; DOP: Pedro Cardeira; Assistant: Miloum; Model: Inês Correia Mendes
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