Monday, February 7, 2011
They're frumpy, they're stretchy, they're gigantically ugly. But there comes a time (or two, or three) in every woman's life when she has no choice but to put on those awful maternity clothes. Well, I suppose you do have a choice but that involves wearing your husband's t-shirts with your stretchiest sweat pants and hibernating in your home for 9 months. Like I said, no choice.
With my first child, I went a good 26 weeks without having to pull that panel over my burgeoning belly. With #2, it happened a teensy bit earlier. And now, with baby #3 cooking away, I find myself digging those dreaded clothes out of the closet and at least contemplating putting them on even sooner.
I still remember my first maternity shopping experience. I'm not a huge shopper to begin with and I don't own a lot of name brand clothing, so I wasn't exactly thrilled about the prospect. But I do value how I look (and was also going through pregnancy in front of a camera lens as a TV news reporter) and figured it wouldn't be too hard to find stylish, reasonably priced maternity clothes. HA! No matter what store I was at, what rack I searched, It seemed the merchandise came in two varieties: muumuu and muumuuer. Not to mention the giant, flowery prints. It was like everything was designed for the star of TLC's "Pregnant at 70." Bleccch. And then there was the cost. You want me to pay what??? To wear this garbage for maybe four months??? Talk about morning sickness!
Over the course of two (and now a half) pregnancies, I've realized there are ways to survive pregnancy in a somewhat stylish state without breaking the bank. A few stores like Target and Old Navy do carry affordable maternity wear, although I personally have found the fit of both brands to be a little... odd...if you happen to be on the petite side, and my tall friends have had similar complaints.
One of my favorite discoveries is the Bella Band, a stretchy piece of fabric that you can wear over your unbuttoned pre-pregnancy pants. At about $20, it will not only help you extend the life of your regular wardrobe but it will also allow you to get back into it faster post-baby. Because nothing says "baby blues" like having to wear maternity clothes when you're NOT pregnant.
I've also learned to put aside my slight OCD issues surrounding other people's clothing when it comes to maternity wear. Ebay, craigslist, consignment stores and Mom-to-Mom sales are all wonderful places to find great deals, as most women are more than happy to part with their lots when the baby-making is done.
And that brings me to what I hope will become a new tradition among women: paying it forward. When you find out a friend is pregnant, why wait until the baby is almost out to shower her with gifts? Go into your closet, dig out those elastic waistband pants and blousy blouses, call up your other friends and ask them to do the same, then throw her a maternity shower. I guarantee it will be one of the most useful, generous gifts you can give. Heck, throw in a pedicure for her giant swollen feet and your pregnant friend will be SO grateful she'll name the baby after you, no matter what the gender!