I feel like there should be a small folded piece of paper included in the box of every pregnancy test. On one side it should say, “Phew! No baby!” and on the other, “You’re pregnant! Give up.”
I am 33 weeks pregnant. My husband and I came to this new and delightful stage in our lives somewhat by accident. I can guarantee you I certainly didn’t plan to be this pregnant when it is also 111 degrees outside. I always assumed I would be an adorable, compact, pregnant woman wearing cardigans and scarves and boots. Instead, I’m a sweaty, swollen, pregnant woman wearing a scowl, a tank top, and one of two pairs of elastic banded shorts. I suppose it is a small price to pay being the bearer of life and all.
There are numerous resources now for pregnant women. It’s amazing, really. From “How to dress your bump!” articles to “How to dress your bump!” pins to the numerous editorials positing that the only loving and natural thing to do is breastfeed your baby until it goes to college, mothers these days really do have so many sources of information and inspiration.
They are also mostly full of shit.
With the exception of a few boutiques, maternity clothes break down into two categories:
- Anything Jersey Knit
Now first let me give some credit where credit is due: asos is a delightful online store with great shipping and return policies. Most of the clothes I ordered from there left me feeling like I was still a real person rather than a shapeless balloon draped in some combination of stretchy fabrics. Some of the brands they carry hold up better than others, but it is nice to put on a pair of “jeans” and remember that I do in fact have legs that look like they could be attached to a normal sized person.
As for everywhere else, I suggest you just give up. The poncho/dress seems to be the most common article of clothing made for pregnant women. These come in all sizes and lengths, but mostly one shape: potato sack. Maxi dresses in particular are touted as being so light and comfortable that some women choose to “live in them” the entirety of their pregnancy. I have found this to be false in every possible way. I cannot imagine choosing to live in floor length bedding for 40 weeks, belt or no belt.
Once we move passed dresses we end up in a fairly vague area of clothing I describe as the George Costanzas. These items are easy to distinguish from the other, more intentional maternity clothing. The GCs tend to be made out of jersey knit material* and drape over you in a multitude of ways. They are both uncomfortable, unflattering and seem to only come in Coral, Gym Shirt Grey and Chevron.
I know what you are thinking, I’m being a little negative and there are certainly options to dress outfits up. For example, you can always belt it. Even when belts are absolutely unnecessary to the outfit. Another common suggestion is to layer your outfits to add depth and interest. Sure, but it is summer in Texas and I am carrying an extra 30 pounds around so, why would I put a cardigan over a high neck blouse?
I had mentioned shopping at asos. I ended up purchasing a couple pairs of pants and a handful or shirts from them. I’m a plain black and white kinda gal, so my wardrobe could remain small and up until about 25 weeks, they all served me well. However, my pregger jeans are a thing of the past as it has been so warm lately that getting them on has been my 30 minute cardio workout for the day. Not to mention by the time you finally get them on and situated you probably have to pee again and the whole routine starts anew.
It’s not all bad, though. I have found that if I wear one of three black shirts that I own that also fit over my giant belly, with one of the two pairs of elastic banded shorts I have at least a handful of outfits that I can both breathe and move in simultaneously. I have also found a renewed joy in putting on makeup. It is the only thing that doesn’t seem to accentuate the fact that I’m pregnant and also doesn’t make me break into a sweat. Usually.
I have managed to make it this far into the pregnancy without any serious wardrobe or heatlh malfunctions so for that I am grateful. I know many families yearn for the day when they get to announce to the world that they managed to make a tiny human all of their own and my husband and I are very excited to meet our little man. However I have never been the woman who looked at maternity clothes longingly or thought to myself, “I can’t wait to be pregnant!” Mostly I just wish there had been a tiny piece of paper included with my pregnancy test that ever so slightly hinted that life (and clothes) will never be the same.
*see also ponchos/dresses
I have also disabled comments on this post since there are a lot of extremely intense people in the world with extremely intense pregnancy opinions. In Texas, they seem to be mostly men.