Kahlana Barfield on Her First Pregnancy
The InStyle editor on needing comfort food and never giving up heels.
Generally speaking, every first is a nerve-wracking experience; first kiss, first job, first big adult purchase, and...first pregnancy. The latter, especially so. We’re novice to the practice ourselves, so we’ve used this week as an excuse to ask all of our friends just how crazy/good/scary/easy the whole experience has been. And when we’re looking for honesty, Kahlana Barfield—who’s let us into her home, her wedding, and her honeymoon—is the person we want to get on the phone with. Plus, if you look as good as she does with a baby bump—as in, glow-y, well-rested, fit, and still wearing heels—we want to know the formula.
It isn’t the same for everyone:
“It’s been so so good. We got pregnant on our honeymoon and it wasn’t planned, but it also wasn’t not planned. We were just enjoying our honeymoon and next thing you know I was pregnant. I’ve just been so blessed because I haven’t had any problems. I hear horror stories about women who go through morning sickness and I haven’t had any of that. I was extremely tired my first trimester—just exhausted. I would go to work and then after work I would come home and crash at like 6 o’clock. My husband would have to wake me up to make sure I ate dinner and then I would eat and fall back asleep. I was like a zombie! Then, all of a sudden, my second trimester hit and it was like I was a regular person again. Back to normal, I had energy, and that’s what it’s been so far. So far, aside from being really exhausted in my first trimester, and just really sleepy, everything has been so smooth and I’m so grateful for that because I know everyone’s pregnancy is completely different.”
Sometimes you just need comfort food:
“I got pregnant right off being in the best shape of my life for my wedding. So when I was prepping for my wedding I was eating salads and eating super, super clean and super healthy. Right now, a salad sounds so unappealing. I just crave good food, you know? I want soup and chilli and things that are warm and soothing. Sometimes I want that burger, but a salad? That just sounds so depressing right now. It’s really just been craving the good comfort foods. I try to eat my vegetables and all that stuff now but it’s just not enough to have a salad anymore. It just won’t cut it.”
There are some real perks:
“You know the best part—I’ll be completely honest—has been that everyone is just so nice to you when you’re pregnant. It’s like night and day. Everyone smiles and it’s just so amazing—complete strangers! A lot of moms come up to me and say, ‘omg you’re pregnant’! They tell me what their experience was. I live in New York, so getting on the train is like night and day—people give up their seats. In the morning, when I go to work, it’s packed on the train so a lot of times I don’t get a seat and I’m fine with that—I’ll just stand. But now, as soon as I walk on the train it’s like men and women are offering me their seats. Initially I was like, ‘oh no it’s okay!’ And now I am taking full advantage. I’m like, this is not going to last for much longer [laughs]. I’m taking advantage of all of that. Even my friends, they’re helping me put my shoes on and my husband is cooking dinner every night. This is the best thing ever. Everyone is completely catering to me and serving me and it’s really the best part. Now I’m just completely enjoying the perks of all the niceness.”
Take care of yourself
“I still workout with my trainer because I just think that it’s important to. I went to working out everyday to two or three times a week just to stay active. It keeps my body feeling better when I sweat a bit and I hear that when you’re in pretty good shape, the labour process is much easier to get through that. So I’ve been doing that and I always feel good. One, I feel like I did something for myself and my body and two, I just feel like I have more energy throughout the day. A lot of women have told me to get your prenatal massages as much as you can, so I’ve been trying to get a massage once every three weeks and that’s been really nice. Because your body goes through so many changes when you’re pregnant, having a massage just feels so, so good. It just feels like you’re doing something for yourself, you’re doing something for your baby. It really does just kind of relieve all of the aches and pains that you have from your body changing and expanding.
I make sure to get my hair, my nails and my facials done—I’m still doing all of that every week. When you’re pregnant and your body changes you have to do something to make you feel good. Doing my nails, getting my hair done, wearing red lipstick. All those things are essential for me now because it makes me feel pretty. Just keep myself up so that I feel good about myself and I feel like myself. I don’t want to lose myself just because I’m pregnant.”
“A lot of the advice that I’ve been getting I haven’t been able to put it to use yet. I’m so fascinated by hearing their experience of when they went into labor. I’ve never pushed a baby out. So I’m pregnant now and it’s all cute and all fine and dandy but now I’m like, okay she has to come out now. I’m terrified, completely terrified! I’m so nervous about the actual labour, so it’s fascinating whenever I talk to women who are mothers—I just want to hear their stories because everyone’s story is different. Some women have done natural birth, some women get the epidurals, some women have had C-sections. I love to hear these stories because it mentally helps me prepare for what my experience could possibly be. People have been giving me advice about how to handle when I start to get contractions. Another thing that people have said to me is, ‘don’t worry, when you hit 40 weeks, when it’s time, when you hit the end, you won’t even care because you’re so ready for the baby to come out.’ You’re large and in charge and you are just ready. You’re sick of carrying the baby, you’re just ready for it to come out so you won’t even worry about it. I’m not there yet, I’m just still really nervous about it but everyone says it’s like something in the universe; it just happens that you have this fear while you’re pregnant but by the time it’s time to give birth and go into labour, all of that fear goes away.”
“I feel like I kind of maintained my style, but it has changed a bit. I naturally have an androgynous style. I love oversized clothes, I love menswear and that does not completely work for pregnancy because you look double the size when you try to wear too many layers or if everything’s baggy. I’ve learned that with pregnancy something has to be fitted. If you wear a tight dress that actually shows that you’re pregnant and then drape a trench coat over it, that works. Whether it’s a pair of skinny jeans and then you have something bigger on top, that works but it needs to be something that is flattering and fitted to your shape, so it doesn’t just completely cover you. Now I have to be a little sexier because it’s just more flattering when you actually show that you’re pregnant. So I either usually wear a fitted dress with a trench coat over it or a pair of jeans with a fitted shirt that still kind of hugs my belly. And then always heels for me. That’s another piece of advice; some people were like you’re going to have to give up the heels, girl! And I’m like, no I’m not, girl [laughs]. It makes me feel dressed up, it makes me feel like a woman and it’s just who I am. The moment that I change over to flats is when I am going to start feeling I’m just not myself and like I’m losing myself.”
“I’m so excited about many things. I think she is going to be my mini-me, she’s going to be my best friend. I think I’m mostly excited about instilling the values and the manners that my parents instilled in me, but also doing it my way, with my twist. I just think motherhood is such a beautiful thing and it’s my purpose in life to reproduce and to be a mom. So kind of just learning things and learning how I’m going to do things—do things the way that my parents did it but with my own flavour and with my husband’s flavour and just all of the things that are important to us. Seeing how we can kind of start from this little small human being and just help her develop and really live the most fulfilling life that she can possibly live.”
It’s okay to be scared:
“I’m so terrified to drop her. I’ve heard so many stories. My trainer—he has two daughters—he dropped one of them and he always says, ‘omg I was so scared!’ Even now, I’m so protective. I find myself covering my belly all the time. I feel like I’m guarding her. I don’t know when I’m going to feel comfortable—once I get home from the hospital—taking her outside. That’s a big fear of mine, just making sure she is healthy enough and she’s strong enough to be out and about. And having this responsibility like, I am the one responsible for this child. But everyone says it comes and when she comes out you just adjust and all these little fears go away.”