Bump Diary – Christine Sofie Johansen
Christine Sophie was at the height of her modelling career when she found out she was having a baby, and she was working up until she was five months pregnant before the bump became too obvious. In 2014 Christine Sophie decided to quit the never-ending quest to fit into a size EU36, and she was determined that the client pool was big enough that her natural size wouldn’t be a problem. Since then her client base, which now includes Italian Vouge, has only gotten bigger and her calendar is fully booked. We met with Christine Sophie shortly before her baby was due.
How did you find out you were pregnant?
I had just come back to Denmark after working in New York and my boyfriend Rasmus and I were spending a sunny weekend with some friends in a summerhouse in Tisvilde (coastal town north of Copenhagen, ed.). I had noticed that for a couple of weeks my gums had been bleeding every time I brushed my teeth, and I was starting to wonder why it kept happening. Then, when we had a big BBQ with a group of friends, I realised that I was basically hoarding the food! I suddenly had an extreme craving for red meat, and although I never usually eat red meat, the big steaks on the BBQ was all I could think about. It was like there was a small voice in my head that kept chanting “MEAT, MEAT, MEAT”! The next day, when we cycled down to the beach, I felt out of breath even when going downhill, and all of these strange changes made me take two pregnancy tests – both of which had two clear blue lines. The pregnancy came as a happy surprise to both of us as we hadn’t planned on having a baby right now. We had just gotten engaged during a couple’s trip to Nice, France, and we had had planned to do things in the very traditional order: first wedding, then baby. But it didn’t turn out like that. We celebrated the news with a glass of champagne in the garden, and two hours later Rasmus drove me to the airport as I had to go to Barcelona for a shoot.
What was it like to work while being pregnant?
It was super tough in the beginning because I was really busy. I was constantly flying from New York to Europe to L.A. and back to New York where I was living at the time. I felt really nauseous and all I fancied was chilled fruit and rare steaks, which is not easy to get a hold of when you’re spending a lot of time in American airports where the only option is salted peanuts or Annie’s Pretzels with fake cheddar cheese. I haven’t even looked at a salted peanut since!
In what way has your pregnancy affected your modelling?
I was really lucky that my body didn’t really start changing until I was five months pregnant. After that it actually suited me really well to slow down a bit, especially because all those shoots mean a lot of travelling. I haven’t done any “pregnancy jobs” as the window of opportunity for those jobs is so narrow that they are super difficult to plan. More often than not, it’s easier for the brands to just use a non-pregnant model wearing a fake pregnancy belly. My career was going really well at the time I found out I was pregnant, and I had been booked for a Vouge Italia shoot with Craig McDean which was taking place a couple of months into my pregnancy. On the day of the shoot I felt absolute awful and was so nauseous that I couldn’t keep anything down. I couldn’t stand the sight and smell of eggs, and for some reason the lunch buffet on the shoot that day had so many egg dishes that I couldn’t go anywhere near it. To top the whole thing off I was fitted with two wigs and had to whip my hair back and forth while playing the bongos. It was a pretty intense day!
How would you describe your pregnancy?
I think I’ve had a pretty easy pregnancy, although I suffered from fatigue and nausea in the first trimester. It felt as if I was flying to Beijing every day and was constantly jetlagged! But I guess that’s quite normal and to be expected when you’re creating a new person. It definitely didn’t help that I was working a lot and flying between NYC, L.A. and Europe constantly in the first 12 weeks of my pregnancy. I didn’t really stop working until I was six months along, although in the end I was primarily doing smaller jobs where my pregnancy was visible. It was really hard going from working constantly to not working at all. I’ve found it difficult to just relax and do nothing. I moved back to Denmark in September to be close to Rasmus leading up the birth. I have too much amniotic fluid and because of that I’m likely to go into labour prematurely. It also means that I have extra check-ups at the hospital where they scan me every two weeks. We decided to spend all of Christmas in Tisvilde both to be close Hillerød Hospital where I’m having the baby, and also to slow things way down – it’s only towards the end of my pregnancy that the extra weight is starting to take its toll on me.
How do you feel about your body in pregnancy?
I feel amazing! I feel like woman and I’m very proud of the way my body is changing. It’s a crazy experience to feel all the changes the body has to go through in order to create and carry a child. The female body truly is incredible.
What have you missed the most while being pregnant?
I have been craving oysters throughout my pregnancy and I can’t wait to be able to eat them again. With a glass of bubbles of course! I’ve had to compromise and have had to wear nail polish as most jobs includes wearing putting it on. When I was doing the Vouge Italia shoot I had to have this crazy nail art done which took hours to do and included loads of toxic smelling glue etc. I felt quite stressed about that. At this stage I really miss exercising and being able to move freely. And jeans!!
How would you describe your personal style?
My go-to outfit is vintage jeans and a t-shirt. I also like to mix patterns and bold colours. I dress up my jeans and t-shirt uniform with shoes and jackets. I always try to buy high quality, pure fabrics such as wool and silk.
What was the first piece of pregnancy clothes you bought, and how far along were you when you bought it?
I haven’t actually bought any pregnancy specific clothes. I’ve been wearing the classic striped Mads Nørgaard dresses a lot throughout the summer. Also cashmere dresses and oversized knitted jumpers with tights. Towards the end of my pregnancy my boyfriend’s sweatpants have also been perfect.
Which shoes have you been wearing during your pregnancy?
New Balance 990, my hiking boots from Danner and my UGGs.
Have you been exercising during your pregnancy?
In the early stages I did a lot of hot yoga which I usually do anyway. Besides that, I have been cycling a lot and done long walks by the sea. There are about 150 steps down to the beach from where we live in Vejby, so there has been plenty of opportunity to exercise outdoors.
Has your beauty routine changed while you’ve been pregnant?
I’ve used a lot less products than usual. I’ve been using Aesop products in the shower and oils from RAW by Trice on my face. The almond oil from Weleda and Pure Papayacare are both amazing to use on the body and help prevent stretchmarks. My skin has actually become a lot less tricky after getting pregnant, so I haven’t really felt the need to use as many cleansing products and moisturisers as I did before.
Have you given your diet much thought during your pregnancy?
I’ve eaten more or less what I’ve fancied. For a while, all I felt like eating was tebirkes (Danish pastry, ed.) so I just sort of did that. My taste buds have acted kind of weird. Foods that I normally love such as Asian food, spicy foods and eggs I haven’t been able to stomach for long periods of time. I’ve been having a multivitamin, Baby Me Now, from Solaray as well as folic acid, vitamin C and omega supplements and B Multi from Novo Vita. I’ve also been drinking Kraüterblut to get some extra iron which has had a big impact on my energy levels, especially during the dark winter months. I’d recommend everyone to do that.
How have you been preparing for labour?
I have been using The Positive Birth Company. They have a digital Hypno Birthing package which is super easy to download. It includes videos on breathing and it gives you a range of tools you can use both before, during and after giving birth. The Hypno Birthing philosophy and everything it stands for really appeals to me. After watching the programme “Science” where all stages of labour, and how you get through it in the best possible way, is explained in detail, I feel as ready as I’m going to be. The programme costs around 350dkk and you can use it in whatever way that suits you.
To The Moon Honey
Translated by Nikoline Nordfred Eriksen.