Truth be told, Natalia—the half Italian, half Costa Rican mama—is a real-life wonder: grounded, super-kind, and stunning! I was able to catch up with her in LA a few weeks after she gave birth to her son Leo. Siting pregnancy as an unexpected life-changing experience, she related her experience to the Italian song, “Laura” by Vasco Rossi, ‘Laura’s going to have a baby by Christmas and everything else can wait.” because as the song says, pregnancy was a time to really care for herself and everything else could wait. @nataliabonifacci
On having a strong support system:
I was so fortunate to have an incredible group of women to help guide me physically and mentally through my pregnancy. Although I had a beautiful experience, I was not without fear. I was terrified to loose my identity and initially felt embarrassed by these feelings. Therefore, it was key for me to have friends that I trusted to voice my doubts and emotional struggles. It made me feel less alone, as no matter how much your partner is involved and wants to support you there are certain things that men will never understand, ever.
Prior to becoming pregnant I loved happy hour, was a smoker, and the dance floor was my workout, but going through this experience changed everything for me—I felt so empowered. As a model I’ve been conditioned to find flaws in my body, whereas now I feel nothing but love for myself and have zero criticism. I changed everything about my lifestyle to turn my body into the best home for my baby. I went to physical therapy for my scoliosis, hiking, swimming, prenatal yoga, and acupuncture weekly. I made adjustments to my diet and only to surrounded myself with positivity. I enjoyed how much I took care of my body and mind in order to cultivate the most beautiful energy for my baby.
I was so scared to loose myself in motherhood, as I liked my life and who I was. I was terrified of giving birth and having my body change, and I felt so guilty and superficial about having these feelings. I now know that it’s normal to have those fears and OK.
Early on a trusted girlfriend gave me some solid advice. When I first found out I was pregnant, I would order pancakes all the time, which really wasn’t me. Then my best friend, who has a 3 year old, suggested that I eat something more nutritious. She warned that you’re actually not eating for two as the baby is tiny. From then on I choose eggs over pancakes.
I wore a waste band from the day I left the hospital, which probably helped me to lose my pregnancy weight fairly quickly. Plus, I remained active during my last trimester.
During my pregnancy, I quit eating sushi, drinking coffee, and smoking cigarettes. I mainly ate meat, potatoes, and pasta—I was anemic and had to force myself to eat meat. I also made an effort to drink a ton of water. Other meals that were high on my list: lentils as they’re strong in iron, rice & black beans (the CostaRican in me), grilled cheese sandwiches with tomato soup, plus Nutella & Ferrero Rocher (the Italian in me).
First Forty Days:
I was gifted a wonderful book called “The First Forty Days”, which I highly recommend. I loved exploring the Chinese approach to taking care of a woman’s body after birth. I’ve also relied on acupuncture, Chinese medicine, and iron supplements.
On having a doula:
I really respect women after this experience and I love my mom so much more.
I had a natural vaginal birth—which was the last thing that I ever thought I’d do. During my pregnancy my best friend suggested I meet her doula. She really helped me cope with the pain naturally and by the time I was screaming for drugs, the baby was nearly out. It was all very quick. I got to the hospital at 1:30am and he was born at 2:59am.
My doula had suggested talking to my baby when I was pregnant and I did that often—it’s such an intimate and special thing. When I was in early labor she told me to take a hot shower, talk to my baby, and sleep until I was in active labor. I told him “Bebe please let me rest now, and when you come, come quickly.” It kinda worked, I had a precipitous birth.
My water never broke and he was born in the sack. Apparently it’s rare, we looked it up after the fact and only 1 in 80,000 births are in the sack.
On pregnancy beauty:
I had a few sun spots, so I was vigilant about applying sunscreen—they went away after I had Leo. I rotated between Clarins Huile Tonic, Weleda for breast and belly, La Roche-Posay sunscreen, Clinique Even Better Clinal Dark Spot Corrector, Almond Oil for my whole body, and I love the HATCH Nipple + Lip balm.
I’m not very structured as a mom and try to follow what my son does. If he’s awake, then I try to be awake with him, and if he sleeps, then I try to sleep as well. For the first month I was all over the place, but recently there’s more consistency to my day. Typically we hang out in bed for awhile and breastfeed, then I shower while he’s in the Baby Bjorn chair, and we’ll pop out for some sun.
On pregnancy style:
I bought a lot of flirty maxi dresses which I thought I’d wear afterwards too, however now that I’ve had the baby I’m so sick of wearing them. I also lived in black maternity skinny jeans mixed with a rocker Tee or one of my boyfriend’s shirts.
Voice your insecurities to your closest friends, as there’s no shame in it. Also, enjoy the ride, because it’s one of the most beautiful experiences a woman can have. And lastly, make it your own—you can read all the books and all the information, but in the end, do it your own way.