Sunday, 17 June 2012

Books and Bikinis

In the not too distant future, we will be leaving soggy Blighty for sunnier shores.   I can almost feel the warm fingers of sunshine beckoning me; willing me to lie on a sandy beach, so that they can caress my body with their gentle rays.  I can’t wait.  The combination of pregnancy tiredness, the hectic pace of life in the Plum household and the recent terrible weather means I’m really looking forward to this holiday. 

This year I was organised when it came to buying any new items that Pip might need, purchasing them early in the season.  He has now has sunhats/ sunsuits/ crocs/ suncream and pretty much anything else he might need, in all the right sizes and factors. Husband and I don’t generally waver from our default list of things to take.  He always packs too little, I always pack too much. I never wear those 3 extra pairs of shoes I insist must come with us.  However, this time around, I’m facing one clothing dilemma I wouldn’t normally have; what to wear on the beach.  The question I keep turning over in my mind is....Should pregnant women wear bikinis?

When I hit the beach, I’ll be seventeen and a half weeks pregnant.  In my non pregnant state, I would have worn a bikini on holiday without hesitation.  Two months ago, when an early pregnant me considered holiday swimwear for this trip,  I was dead set on wearing a bikini (albeit with good coverage on the derriere front). But as the day when I’m set to bare (nearly) all draws nearer, I’ve started wavering.

I’ve always been a believer that a pregnant woman’s body is wonderful; a sight to be marvelled at and celebrated; that one’s bump is something to be proud of, and not something that should be hidden away.  However, as I tried on my swimwear choices yesterday, staring in the mirror at the reflection of my burgeoning bump, topped and tailed by bands of M&S deep blue Lycra, I started to have doubts.  We’re being joined on this holiday by some friends and their pre-school daughters. We’ve known them a long time, but, whilst I may feel happy lounging like an enlarged lizard in a bikini by the pool, is it going to be a complete stomach turner for them? I don’t want to put them off their Greek salad.  Equally, whilst I don’t usually worry about what other people think, I'm now wondering if there will be a throng of anonymous holiday makers made queasy by the sight of my pre-partum body.  And now I'm wondering, how all this might actually make me feel; I don't want to find I have an attack of self consciousness.  In short, I’m now questioning my confidence to wear my bikini with pride; to stand up and say, “pregnant and proud”.  I’m wondering whether I should dash out last minute and buy a maternity tankini. Although frankly, I don’t want to, because in 32 degree heat, it’s going to be hot enough as it is, without stretching some tight Lycra over my already tight, taut, itchy skin.  It’s a real dressing dilemma.   Should pregnant women be more demure when it comes to beachwear? Did you wear a bikini when pregnant?  If so, did you receive any negative reactions as a result?

My other packing dilemma concerns reading material.  Since I became a mother, opportunities to consume a book in a couple of sittings have become rare, and a few snatched hours on a sunbed whilst on holiday now tends to be the sum total of my annual reading quota.  Usually I have a book or two on my ‘to read’ list, but this year I’m really struggling to find a book that excites me enough to put it in my case.  Typically, I like books with a mystery element to them, if this encapsulates historical fiction, even better.  A few of books I’ve really enjoyed are: Fingersmith by Sarah Walters, The Secret History -Donna Tartt, The Pillars of the Earth - Ken Follett, Holy Fools - Joanne Harris, The Meaning of Night - Michael Cox and The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruez Zafon.  What’s your most riveting read? If you have any recommendations for a gripping blockbuster I can devour in the sunshine, I’d love to hear. (Must be available in paperback though, I find hardback is too cumbersome on a sunbed, and I don’t own a kindle.)

Once I sort out my book and bikini dilemma, I think I’m good to go.  The only other thing I need to remember is my flight compression socks, which according to my GP is a must for pregnant women. I’m sure they’re going to look just great with my new 'over the bump' capri pants. Glamour personified; that’s me.


  1. I'd say wear a bikini, and you could always get one of them beachwear maxi dresses or kaftan or something if you do feel self concious. x

  2. I absolutely loved A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini. Stunning book which I couldn't put down and left me breathless at the end of it. Sister by Rosamund Lupton had a similar effect. Neither is light reading but both were so absorbing there could have been a hurricane and I wouldn't have noticed. I say wear your bikini with pride. You may attract glances but only in an "oh, she's pregnant" way. Who cares if it's any other way, you'll never see them again! How well do you know your friends? If they've got kids, they know what a pregnant tum looks like. Maybe take a large sarong so you can drape / wrap / tie discreetly if / as required. Hope you have a lovely time. Polly

    1. Thanks for the recommendation Polly - Rosamund Lupton's Sister has made it into the case. Along with The Night Circus by Erin someoneorother. :o)

  3. I agree with your other comments - be yourself - it's enough!

  4. We have just come back from a week's holiday in Tenerife and I was 16 1/2 weeks whilst there. I brought just normal tankini bikinis and they were perfect. I never felt over hot having the material over my bump and they were not the tent like size of maternity tankini's either. I would have happily have worn a normal bikini but for some reason when I am pregnant I seem to suffer in the sun and my skin is more sensitive so I wanted to cover bump up so he/she didn't get any unwelcome sunburn!

    You relax and enjoy!

  5. A dilemma. We went to North Wales when I was pregnant so no swimwear needed there! If you are comfortable around your friends wear your bikini (with a loose drape for wandering around) - its your beautiful bump - the most inoffensive sight ever. A tankini will be fine too and wont make you too hot. You may find that you don't want to be in the direct glare of the heat too much too. I wish I could recommend you something but I can't as I'm reading 'trash' at the moment! Have a super fab time! X

  6. I would say go Bikini! However, I did suffer with the same as what a few of the ladies have already said, when pregnant my (already easy to burn skin) got even more sensitive. My advice, take both and see how you feel. Once you have been on the beach you will be able to tell if you feel you have the confidence to wear a bikini and if your skin is going to be o.k in a bikini.xx

  7. I agree with what some of the other ladies have said, i found i wanted to cover up as my skin felt more sensitive and ended up putting a tshirt over my tummy wishing i had gone with a tankini. Books.......... i find it really difficult to keep one eye on a book and the other on the young man so these days i opt for chic lit any Sophie Kinsella is a good sun lounger/ child read !!! xx

  8. As long as you don't wear your inflight socks with your bikini I reckon you'll be fine ;-)

    Have a great time :-)

  9. I bought a tankini from Isabella Oliver for my first pregnancy and have worn it throughout this one, too (making me feel much better about how much I spent on it!). I'm still swimming at 39 weeks and would feel embarrassed in a bikini at this stage. Would have been okay a few months ago, but no-one wants to see how stretched my belly button is! In terms of longevity, a tankini might see you through a bit longer. Have a fab holiday! x

  10. Hi everyone, thank you all for your helpful advice. I hadn't thought about enhanced skin sensitivity in the already stretched tummy area, so this afternoon took myself off to the shops and purchased a rather fetching maternity tankini. (Alas, non maternity ones would not stretch over the bump!)
    Nevertheless, I still intend to give the bikini a go - but you can sleep easy - I won't be publishing any photos! x

  11. Definitely go with the bikini! It's a difficult stage though, not big enough to look pregnant but you just feel a bit 'fat'. I'm not suggesting you do, but I certainly did! I hope you have a fab holiday, am totally jealous, sick of this sub-standard weather we are having in blighty. Go get yourself a suntan and feel fabulous :)

  12. I went for a walk along the lake on Sunday and there was a woman in a bikin who I'm guessing was about 6 or 7 months pregnant. She looked beautiful! Go for it! That lovely bump won't be around for ever. Cherish it and show it off x