Pregnancy Update Week 26: Kicks, Coffee, and Culture Shock

Pregnancy started off tough for me, but has definitely gotten easier. I feel more energetic now the majority of the morning sickness has gone, and am enjoying the comfort of feeling baby Zeke’s kicks – knowing that he is safe and strong.

It’s been a while since I’ve updated – 14 weeks in fact! It’s crazy. The time has gone by so fast. So, what is happening for me now?


Every time we see the doctor, Baby Z is growing well and healthy with no abnormalities. I am so very thankful. I see what other families go through with their sick children and my heart goes out to them. I really am so thankful to be growing a healthy baby. When I see him moving on the screen or feel him kicking inside me I feel so reassured.

Currently, the scans indicate that he is already around 1 kg (2.2 pounds in weight). I don’t know, but that seems pretty big to me. I can feel the strength in his kicks increasing almost daily. Sometimes his kicks make me laugh because they kind of tickle (kind of like popcorn popping?), and sometimes it kind of is uncomfortable. There are times when my belly pops out from his kicks! He loves to kick me in the ribs. I can imagine that’ll be fun in a few weeks time (not)!



I basically have no morning sickness now (hoorah!), but the morning sickness has been replaced by a very squashed stomach. Every time I bend over or squat down I can feel everything being squashed together inside. I’m only 26 weeks – so I imagine that’s only going to get worse!

I can tell you, I am looking forward to having my body back to myself. I love that my baby is healthy, and I wouldn’t want to do anything to jeopardise his health, but still – I can’t wait for normal clothes and for my baby to be on the outside!


I am enjoying new-found energy and strength this trimester, and so have been strength training 2-3 times a week consistently. It feels so good to lift weights again, even if they are a bit lighter! Honestly, for the first few months, I was kind of afraid that I was going to hurt the baby, but after reading the book, “Exercising During Pregnancy,” my mind was put at ease. Now I know, I’d love to be able to help more mums have the confidence that I was able to find!

See two of my sample prenatal workouts here:

Quick Workout for the Busy Mum-to-Be #1 (15 minute HIIT circuit, whole body)

Quick Workout for the Busy Mum-to-Be #2 (30-40 minute gym circuit, hamstrings, glutes, back, and biceps)

Here’s me deadlifting at 25 1/2 weeks:

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Andddd… here’s me squatting @ 22 weeks:

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At the moment I have been craving:

  • Scrambled eggs (as always)
  • Grilled haloumi
  • Grapes (particularly red, seeded ones)
  • Watermelon
  • Strawberries
  • Natural yoghurt
  • Homemade oats with maple and cinnamon
  • Rice cakes with cheese, freshly cut tomatoes, salt and pepper
  • Homemade chocolate chip cookies/brownies (I don’t know why!)

The spicy cravings have backed off, especially since the squashed tummy brought on heartburn and indigestion. No fun! I have been able to enjoy about a coffee a day though, since the morning sickness went away. That has been wonderful. I really missed my coffee kick!


I am feeling a lot better than I was, but I have to admit, there have been a lot of times where I have struggled with being pregnant and in another country. The attitude towards pregnancy and health is so different here, and sometimes their comments cut me. I know they love me, and I know they don’t mean to hurt me with their words – but they do. Afterwards I can laugh when I think about what they have said – but mostly because it’s just so strange to me. Where I am from, a pregnant lady is always beautiful and can do whatever she wants!

Culture shock is being experienced to a whole new degree for me – and I’m having to hold myself together and distract myself so it doesn’t overcome me. I know this’ll just make me stronger if I push through.

The best ways I find to overcome culture shock:

  • Stay busy
  • Learn something new and challenging
  • Find people to talk to in your host culture who don’t make you feel rubbish
  • Find people to talk to who understand your situation (for me, other missionaries), but aren’t going to help you throw a pity party (you don’t need help to throw one of those!)
  • Try to tell the people who are insensitive (if you have a good relationship with them) you don’t appreciate their comments in a tactful way so they know to be more sensitive
  • Do something/go somewhere you particularly enjoy at least once a week
  • Keep doing everything you know is good for you (e.g. going to church, exercising, eating well, etc.)
  • Keep a gratefulness journal, or do a “100 days of happy” on social media

I also remind myself that I’m pretty strong and healthy for a pregnant woman. There aren’t many pregnant women deadlifting 50 kgs (110lbs)! Plus my baby is healthy. I would rather me and my baby be healthy than be healthy than tiny any day. I hope to help other women to stay healthy through pregnancy in the future.


I finished the book I talked about last time, “Women of the Word.” I definitely recommend it to all discerning women who want to know more about how to really study the Word. I’ve come to realise more and more how very many wishy-washy devotional books are out there for women to “study.” We really need to just get back to basics and glean truths for ourselves in a systematic way. I echo the sentiments of the author:

Don’t fall into the trap of wanting instant gratification when you engage in Bible study. Patience is a long-lost virtue in today’s society. While we can get almost anything we want instantly at the click of a mouse or a drive thru window, we neglect to realise that not everything comes easily. Some things take work. In fact, almost anything that’s worth eating, having, or achieving takes work. Have patience. “[…] sound Bible study is rooted in a celebration of delayed gratification […] The Bible does not want to be neatly packaged into 365-day increments. It does not want to be reduced to truisms and action points […] By all means, bring eagerness into your study time. Yes, bring hunger. But certainly bring patience–come ready to study for the long term.” ~ Jen Wilkin, Women of the Word #truth #bible #Christianity #study #learning #scripture #godlywomen #godsway #thinkaboutit #womenaftergod #womenoftheword #patience #nojunk A photo posted by Chantelle Marie Swayne (@happyhealthyholyhome) on Apr 5, 2015 at 6:44pm PDT

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So far as new study, I’ve started a Proverbs course that my husband is offering on Wednesday nights. It involves attending on the Wednesdays, memory work, exams, and a term paper. It’s been a great study so far. I am so blessed to have such an incredibly godly husband. I’ve also been engaging in a self-guided, in-depth study of the book of James, as well as a re-visit to my Minor prophets notes from Bible College.

I’m starting to get things back into balance, and it is feeling good.

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You can follow my pregnancy “adventures” (aka, what I am eating and lifting, and some shots of my growing baby bump) by following my Instagram account, Happy Healthy Holy Home.

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Connect with me and keep up to date with my most recent recipes and ramblings.

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