Thursday, September 1, 2011

Maternity clothes are a pain (a second round of pregnancy observations)

In my 15th week of pregnancy I shared with you some of my first pregnancy observations. Now that I am rounding out week 22, over half way through this pregnancy, I thought it would be fitting to share a few more observations. Plus, this work week has been worse than expected and therefore other household tasks I would write about have fallen by the wayside, with hopes that we'll take advantage of a quiet Labor Day weekend at home to tackle the remaining items on the Summer Bucket List.

Picking up where we left off...

Observation 6: People really are nicer to pregnant ladies.
Once you have a fairly obvious belly, people really will go out of their way to help out, let you cut in line even though you never asked (and really don't need to), offer their seat, etc. This all probably goes with the whole "pregnant women are delicate flowers" mentality a lot of people adopt. Although I am a fiercely independent person and I don't ask much of others, if you want to let me cut in line at the sandwich counter, I won't complain.

Observation 7: Not all pregnant women are crazy hormonal with intense food cravings, and pregnancy brain is a myth.
I'm sorry, but I think a lot of people exaggerate....well, a lot. Besides wanting to know how I am feeling (the answer: still fine) people want to know what food cravings I've been having (the answer: none) and what kind of mood swings I've been having (the answer: none, though I did want to cry at work today when I could not set up my technology cart which houses a laptop, DVD player, external speakers, document camera, LCD projector, etc., but that has nothing to do with being pregnant). I think it's easy to use pregnancy as an excuse to eat whatever you want or be mean to your husband just because you feel like you can. I also get really, really annoyed when I do something wrong and someone next to me says something obnoxious like, "Looks like someone has pregnancy brain!" Umm, no, my brain is exactly the same, you just caught me messing up at something like I normally would non-pregnant, but now you think you're being cute by calling this my "pregnancy brain." I view it as a bit demeaning. Rant over.

Observation 8: You will never be able to predict how others will respond to news of your pregnancy.
A good friend of mine who had a baby in January told me this piece of wisdom, and it has really stuck with me. Having struggled for a tiny bit to get pregnant, I understand what it's like to hear that yet another person you know is having a baby, and yet you're still not pregnant. I have no idea what other people are going through, so I try to be sensitive to that. Perhaps as a result, when you're pregnant some people will distance themselves from you and some people will become way closer to you than they ever were before. Even other people will react in ways you could never predict. I think it's important not to take anything personally, to realize everyone is going through something, and there's no way to predict other peoples' reactions.

Observation 9: Maternity clothes are a pain.
Ok, here's the good stuff. Way before I got pregnant, I vowed that I would buy as few pieces of maternity clothing as possible. I spent a couple years trying to buy dresses and shirts that could be worn non-pregnant as well as pregnant. In retrospect, I did a pretty decent job. The one thing I underestimated, though, was how much I would despise trying to get maternity pants. I knew this is where I would need to splurge. So, while I have purchased six maternity shirts, each of which cost me between $5 and $9 at Gap Maternity (inside the back of some Baby Gaps) and Target's maternity section, I have really busted the budget when it comes to maternity pants.

I did find success with the Belly Band (more specifically the BeBand sold at Target for $16.99). I was wearing one around week 12 to make my jeans more comfortable. I didn't even try to wear my dress pants after week 11 because they are so tailored and they would look ridiculous with the BeBand. Then somewhere around week 15 my weight shifted and I was able to button my jeans without the BeBand for several more weeks. Then I hit week 19 and knew I needed actual maternity pants, especially with the school year around the corner.

Here I am last week at week 21, still sporting the BeBand over some non-maternity shorts. If you're wondering when my belly really, really popped, the answer would be between weeks 20 and 21 (for pictorial evidence, check me out here at week 20).

After many fruitless stalkings of eBay for designer maternity jeans, I realized that no one selling second-hand maternity clothes online appears to have a body in my proportions, so I bit the bullet and bought investment maternity jeans. You might recall that a couple years ago I got hooked on Citizens of Humanity jeans. They are ridiculously expensive, but they fit me perfectly and make me feel good, so they are so worth it. When deciding whether or not to make this seemingly ridiculous maternity purchase (of Citizens of Humanity Dita Petite Maternity Boot Cut jeans from Destination Maternity), I applied the following logic: I will wear these at least three times, if not more, per week (and probably will for a while postpartum, too), and I want something that makes me feel like I look good as I get bigger and bigger. Sold. Even Matt was on board, sort of. I've only had these jeans a few weeks, but I've worn them at least a dozen times, and every time I wear them someone remarks that they do not look like maternity jeans. Mission accomplished!

Here I am today at 22 weeks, sporting my maternity jeans (which I realize are not terribly visible) and a cheap-o shirt from Gap Maternity.

Dress pants have proven to be much more challenging. Thanks to a birthday gift card, I've been scoping out the Loft maternity offerings for a while now. The problem, though, if you look closely at the Loft maternity website, is that literally all of the non-jean pants that Loft carries are online exclusives, meaning you're buying something when you have no clue how it will fit, especially now as your body is changing. This has resulted in some frustrated trying-on sessions at home, where Matt was kind enough to tell me that I did not look good in certain pants (and I genuinely appreciate that kind of honesty). Then you have to return the items by mail only because Loft stores will not accept maternity purchases. The good news is that I found pants I like in the right size. The bad news is that I have to get them tailored and spend more money. Oh well.

My maternity clothes observations boil down to this: dresses and shirts are a piece of cake; pants are a pain in the butt.

What are your favorite places to find maternity pants that actually flatter your body?


  1. I have to disagree with the pregnancy brain being a myth thing. It might not happen to you but it sure happened to me with my first pregnancy. It was like my head was screwed on backward or something. #2 I didn't have it at all. You are just a lucky one to not have it. Pregnancy is so different from person to person and even same person, different baby!

  2. Michelle, you are totally right. Everyone's symptoms are different. For me, the whole pregnancy brain thing has proven to be a myth (and a thing that bothers me when people wrongly imply I have it). The main thing about my experience so far has been that basically nothing anyone told me to "expect" has been true.