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Style Tips: The First 7 Lbs.

For Your Soul Style’s Jenny Greenstein, the fertility process has been filled with ups and downs. And a handful of extra pounds.

Style Tips: The First 7 Lbs.

Since starting the fertility process, I've taken more medication than I could count--HCG, Ganirelix, Gonal F, Lupron, Estradiol, Vivelle, Crinone--is your head spinning yet? Mine is, but maybe that's from the meds. Kidding. Unfortunately while they do their job of helping me make a babe--which I'm grateful for--they are also royally fu*king up my hormone levels, landing me with some extra unwanted pounds...specifically seven. While I pride myself on eating a strict, clean diet (some may argue to a fault), not being in control of my body during this time in spite of that is something I've had to contend with and ultimately accept. Staying consistent with yoga has been difficult too because of the countless times my doctor has advised me to stop. And I really haven't felt up to it either. I've tried to make further adjustments to my regimen, but while on this cocktail of medications, the scale is not budging. It actually may be continuously going up. Did I mention my boobs are also a size bigger? It feels like I've been pregnant since January already without actually being pregnant. Good times. When your hormone levels are out of balance, so is your metabolism. Simply put, all the estrogen I'm getting pumped with to prep for a fertility cycle causes estrogen dominance and weight gain. Add on an autoimmune disease like Hashimoto's (which is what the DNA gods have predisposed me with) and it makes things even more complicated. If you're struggling to lose weight and not on fertility drugs, this article by Dr. Amy Shah breaks it down, as does this one by Dr. William Cole and this one from Natasha Turner, N.D. naturopathic doctor). Despite all my complaining, I truly have surrendered to this process and to my current shape, which I believe is half the battle, but that didn't happen overnight. It's been a slow-building process to ultimately reach a place of acceptance, and I finally decided that instead of getting caught up in my head about not maintaining my weight, I would pour that toxic energy into other areas of my life that I'm passionate about. Our bodies are constantly changing and while I spent many months ruminating over the loss of control, I have released it. I give it back. It held me hostage from truly embracing the beauty of this magical journey. We are making a baby! Letting go has been a very positive step and a breath of fresh air, and it has allowed my focus to remain on maintaining an overall healthy lifestyle from an emotional, mental and physical perspective. I've learned to see my life through a new lens--one that involves gratitude, patience, humility and acceptance. And that I'm holding on to. I won't give that back--ever. I will carry these valuable lessons forward with me into motherhood and do my best to pass them on to the soul we bring into this world. What I've gained in numbers, I've also gained in infinite wisdom. Worth the trade off. What's also really helped is working out a few styling tricks along the way--choices which have made a huge difference and allowed me to find an ease within this new body. Here are 10 styling techniques for dealing with those unwanted pounds, whether it be pre, during or post a new babe. 1. Go Deep. Pay attention to the necklines of your clothing, which can create an illusion of a slimmer frame. A lower neckline, such as a v-neck, balances proportions and helps eliminate looking top heavy (if you’re fuller in middle or have a big bust). 2. Size Up. Do not put on the pants that dig into your stomach. Let me repeat this: DO NOT put pants on that dig into your stomach. It is masochistic to wear clothes that are too tight so while your body is in a different phase, and possibly a little bigger - size up. Don't pretend to be the same size you were and squeeze into your clothes. Purchase the size you are. Just like age is just a number, so is size. Be comfortable! You exude way more sex appeal (and confidence) when you're not squirming to adjust your muffin top. 3. Skip the Brights. While I realize that not everyone loves the color black as much as I do, wearing darker colors such as navy, dark grey, burgundy and army green will help shade the areas you’re self-conscious of. Also, darker colors are most flattering in photos and during this cultures current obsession with social media (me included), you know your friend is going to request a selfie at Saturday night's dinner. Be subtle. Skip the brights until you're back at your comfortable weight. 4. Boyfriend Bestie. My skinny jeans are on a sabbatical. I want to be comfortable so I stocked up on boyfriend jeans (in blue, white and black) that are slouchy and relaxed. I would even recommend sizing up. Add a shoe like a black pointy toe pump or bootie to elevate the sexy. Paired with a top that has a deep v-neck of course. 5. SuperSize It. Remember when I discussed bigger being better this season? Well, oversized sweaters, dresses, coats and bottoms are all the rage so if you're not at your comfortable weight, embrace the sh*t out of this trend. 6. Fashion Tuck (or half-tuck). Do you know what a fashion tuck is? Here's a photo for reference. While this may be a silly little tweak, it goes a very long way. Especially if you're wearing items that are baggier and need more shape. This clever little maneuver will create a waistline, and add the perfect amount of scrunch to conceal the mid-section. 7. Shoes. I am not much of a heel-wearer, however during this time I've decided to bust mine out. Because truth be told, they add height and length to provide an overall slimmer appearance. For all the non-believers out there, comfortable heels DO exist, you just need to find them. The ones I wear here are from Banana Republic and I think they've got some of the most walkable heels around. But every person's foot shape is different so make sure you find the designer that works for you. Here's an article from Who What Wear that provides some great pointers. And as always, I'm always here to help out if you need guidance. 8. Silhouette. The shape of a garment is half the battle and strategic draping can provide ruching in your desired "problem-areas", for me, my mid-section. Pay attention to the silhouette of a garment because as your body's shape continues to change, so should the item you're wearing. 9. Highlight your Assets. Sexy doesn't always mean tight and skimpy. There is more to sexy then butt, boobs and belly. Shoulders are sexy, as are backs, chests and most importantly personalities! Put on your relaxed boyfriend jeans with an oversized sweater, sexy shoes, a bright red lipstick and smile! 10. Acceptance. Accept that you work really hard at living a balanced and healthy life. Accept that your body is beautiful no matter what shape it is. Accept that your body will change throughout life contingent upon circumstances. Be grateful for having the ability to grow a life inside of your body. Be empowered by that. Accept that we have one body to love, honor and respect. Accept. SHOP IT: dress: Zara, old (similar) // shoes: Banana Republic, old (similar) // moto jacket: Sfera, old (similar) // clutch: Just Female Get more of Jenny's style tips at Your Soul Style.

My village lives far away—but my Target baby registry helped them support me from afar

Virtual support was the next best thing to in-person hugs

They say you shouldn't make too many major life transitions at once. But when I was becoming a mama for the first time nearly five years ago, my husband and I also moved to a new town where we didn't know a soul, bought our first house and changed jobs.

To put it mildly, we didn't heed that advice. Luckily, our family and friends still made it feel like such a magical time for us by supporting our every move (literal and otherwise) from afar. They showered us with love through a virtual baby shower (expectant parents nowadays can relate!) featuring the unwrapping of gifts they were able to ship straight to me from my Target registry.

Here's one piece of advice I did take: I registered at Target so I could take advantage of the retailer's benefits for registrants, which include a welcome kit valued over $100, a universal registry function and more. Fast-forward a few years and Target has made the registration perks even better for expectant parents: As of August 2020, they've added a Year of Exclusive Deals, which gives users who also sign up for Target Circle a full year of savings after baby is born on all those new mama essentials, from formula to diapers and beyond.

Honestly, even without the significant perks of a free welcome kit with more than $100 in coupons, additional 15% off coupons to complete the registry and a full year of free returns, registering at Target wasn't a hard sell for me: Even though the experience of shopping for baby items was new, shopping with Target felt like returning home to me… and the comfort of that was such a gift.

And of course, Target's registry plays a vital role right now, as expectant parents everywhere are being forced to cancel in-person baby showers and navigate early parenthood without the help of a hands-on village. A registry like this represents a safe way for communities to come through for new parents. If you're anything like me (or any of the other mamas here at Motherly), you certainly have emotional ties and fond memories associated with Target.

What to register for at Target was also an easy talking point as I began to connect with moms in my new community. I will always remember going on a registry-building spree with my next door neighbor, who had young children of her own. As we walked the aisles of Target back in 2015, she suggested items to add… and we laid the foundation for what has since become one of my most cherished friendships.

Even as I made connections in my new hometown, I was nervous that expecting my first baby wouldn't feel as special as if I were near family and friends. But my loved ones exceeded all expectations by adding the most thoughtful notes to gifts. They hosted a beautiful virtual baby shower and even encouraged me to keep the registry going after my baby made his debut and new needs arose.

In the years since, "community" has taken on a wonderfully complex new meaning for me… and, in these times of social distancing, for the rest of the world. I've come to cherish my newfound friends in our local community alongside those long-time friends who are scattered around the county and my virtual mama friends.

Now, as my friends' families grow, I'm so grateful that I can show them the same love and support I felt during my first pregnancy. I sing the praises of Target's baby registry—especially in light of the pandemic, since I know mamas can do everything from a distance thanks to Target's website and the added benefit of getting trusted reviews and helpful registry checklists.

And now that I'm on the gift-buying side of the equation, I've found new joy in picking thoughtful gifts for my friends. (Because goodness knows Target has something for everyone!)

For my friend who is a fellow runner, I teamed up with a few others to give the jogging stroller she had on her registry.

For my friend who is a bookworm, I helped her start her baby's library with a few books that are also well-loved in our home.

For other friends, I've bundled together complete "sets" with everything they need for bathing or feeding their children.

I know from my own experience that, yes, the registry purchases are so appreciated, but the thoughtfulness and the support they represent means even more. Because although my village may have been distant, the support they showed me was the next best thing to in-person hugs.

Start your own Target Baby Registry here to experience a Year of Benefits including a Year of Exclusive Deals through Target Circle to enjoy for a full year following your baby's arrival, a year of free returns, two 15% off completion coupons and a free welcome kit ($100 value).

This article was sponsored by Target. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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