Though I have continued wearing as many of my non-maternity clothes as possible so far, I recently had to begin buying maternity clothes. I wasn't totally against the idea, but I certainly wanted to prolong the wait as long as possible.
At about 26 weeks, if I wanted to wear anything other than dresses, I realized I was going to have to go out and buy some maternity shorts for the summer as well as some more tank tops and shirts that would accommodate my expanding belly.
As any woman who has experienced pregnancy before can probably relate to, a growing tummy (and breasts and thighs) is an exciting, albeit interesting experience. There's a whole slew of emotions that come along with being pregnant, but some of them are especially centered around our developing bodies and our changing sartorial options.
The range of sentiments surrounding maternity clothing for a mommy-to-be goes from sweet and happy moments to frustrating and annoying rage cycles, and even extend to rather depressing and disheartening occasions. But the overwhelming feeling surrounding becoming mother tends to be that no matter the experience — the heartache or the joy — our enduring of it all is for our precious little bundle, who we simply cannot wait to hold in our arms after nine months of growing in our tummies.
I was honestly surprised at some of the emotions I had during my first maternity clothing haul, though I was of course excited to get some new pieces for my wardrobe. I'm sure the experience might be similar for others as well, and if you're not quite there yet — but possibly nearing this time in your life — here are some things to look out for.
1. Acknowledging It's Time
You've done the best you can for as long as you could, but you'd really like some pants now that aren't too tight, because it's getting a little old making sure your dress or skirt isn't flying up everywhere. You can't quite see your toes when you look down anymore, so the belly has got to be accommodated.
2. Grieving Over Your Wardrobe Favorites
It's just a little sad to have to see your favorite tops and comfortable jeans hang in your closest without getting used anymore. Thinking of a time when your tummy fit comfortably in them can make you a bit crazy, too. Because yes, those were more comfortable days in general, and no, it isn't all fun having a hard time getting out your chair, feeling like you're decades older than you are.
But you have to remind yourself that it's only for a little while, and if you really want to, you can probably be back in those clothes some time after your baby arrives. And even if you never get back into those clothes, you would never take back the experience for anything. Clothes are just clothes, no matter how emotionally tied to them we can get. Letting go absolutely sucks, but it's a skill we mothers have to get good at.
3. Preparing For Where To Shop Now
You know that all your favorite, trendy shops don't have a maternity section. Even just getting several sizes up at Forever 21 or whereever it is you usually go isn't going to do the job when it comes to a baby belly. So shopping is now this whole new experience you feel completely clueless about.
You spend some time browsing the best options online, and trying to find out which department stores actually carry maternity wear — and it's a bit of a shocker when you realize that the maternity market — no matter how overly monetized and ad-based the whole baby industry is — is actually pretty scarce.
4. Getting Excited About The Motherhood Maternity Store
Then you find out there's a whole store in the mall dedicated to your maternity needs. Maybe you had seen it while out shopping at the mall before, but either way, you're delighted to know there's going to be a place just for you. You walk in and immediately notice all the super cute designs and it's reassuring to know someone was thinking specifically of your needs when they started this company.
5. Feeling Marginalized And Taken Advantage Of
After the initial excitement over your local maternity shop has worn off, and you've gotten out of the sudden stupor you went into when you saw those adorable maternity tees, you realize the store isn't actually that big. And a plus size section? There are, maybe, four racks. You realize the sizes are super generalized — S, M, L, XL — and they don't always take care of your needs.
And the prices? Well, those are certainly not what you were expecting. You failed to realize that you were apparently walking into a designer retailer instead of the average, everyday fast fashion stores you were used to.
The thing is: Maternity wear is so specialized and rare that many brands can pretty much get away with charging you higher prices, not unlike the plus market. It's time to put your bargain hat on and go compare prices through other stores, so you walk into Belk, JCPenney, Sears, and Macy's, only to realize that Belk is pretty much the only store that has at least five racks of maternity wear, and its prices aren't any cheaper.
So back to that first maternity store you go, feeling totally taken advantage of.
6. Happy About Consignment Finds
Even though you really do enjoy your new (but expensive) maternity clothes, you are just as happy to find a great maternity consignment shop. Much like how you feel like a bargain goddess when you get a great secondhand deal on regular clothes, that maternity bathing suit you just picked up at a local thrift shop thrills you to pieces. Especially when you realize you would have paid $75 for it brand new. You'll only be needing this suit for a couple of months, so it's pretty exciting to have gotten it at 10 percent of the cost. You're feeling more like a thrifty mommy-to-be now.
7. Delight Over The Stretchy Fabric
Whether you bought it full price or at a consignment shop, those maternity shorts are truly a godsend. The flexibility in the waist and for your baby bump is pretty much the best thing ever, and you can finally sit down without the pressure of a button bearing down on your stomach.
In fact — because you likely had to pay so much for them — you vow to wear these things even after you have your baby, because there's no shame in getting a little extra wear out of some truly comfortable shorts. Besides, your other mommy friends did the same thing!
8. Longing For Your Normal Clothes
There's absolutely no shame in feeling it. I think the majority of us do, but even with the awesome maternity clothes, there's nothing like your ever-growing belly, especially near the very end, to make you feel a little reminiscent over the ability to move as you please and wear normal clothes again. Besides, you are desperate to get a glimpse of your new baby and start this new life with him or her!