With just 40 hours remaining before I begin the process of becoming unpregnant, I thought I’d take a moment and reflect on BEING pregnant and share the thoughts I wished I’d known at the outset.
You know, for the rest of you people out there just starting this rather-cool journey.
I have a new found appreciation for pants with buttons on them. While I found them constrictive in many ways pre-pregnancy, when I found out I’d ‘get’ to buy maternity clothes, I was pretty pumped about the elastic waist band phenomenon. Now, I’m looking forward to pants that do NOT have elastic waist band. The grass IS always greener, isn’t it?
Seriously, though, I wish I would not have gone ape-shit at the outset and worried about having ‘options’ in my wardrobe. If you have all kinds of money to spend on a maternity wardrobe that you may or may not wear, go for it. If you’re looking to be a BIT more frugal, buy what you need AS YOU NEED IT. I have a pair of cute pants that I bought early on, because they were on sale at Target, that I haven’t worn through this entire pregnancy. And I won’t now. They still have the tags on them. I bought a denim skirt that I thought I’d get a ton of use out of. Turned out that the way I carried this Minnie girl, I didn’t need the pregnant version – my denim skirt worked just fine.
If you’re pregnant over the course of the summer and you can get away with it, but a few pair of crop pants. White, gray were staples in my closet.
I will also say this about pants while pregnant. You may think that the full coverage tummy thing is cool when you’re not totally showing yet…but as your belly gets bigger I found that I felt pretty constricted by the full coverage thing. I ended up often pulling the coverage band down so it was like where a more-normal pair of pants would sit and it was more comfortable. However, it also meant that it might hang out and be seen when you sit down. It’s hard to find maternity shirts that will be long enough…
Jeans were something that I tried two different versions of. I got the full banded jeans from Motherhood Maternity and they’re ok. I also got a pair of the low-rise band from Target. And the Target pants are my favorite. I wish I could have these in real-person pants. I really enjoy wearing them and they’re the most comfortable pant I’ve found. And the wash is dark enough that I can wear them to be casual or to dress up an outfit. Perfect.
Target and Liz Lange were my go-to’s initially. The t-shirts (long and short sleeved) are great and budget friendly. Wasn’t as big a fan of the Liz Lange tank tops, however. But the t-shirts. Loved them.
That is, until I stumbled upon a Gap Maternity store in Indianapolis on a work trip. I shopped the clearance rack and got Gap t-shirts, maternity style, for cheaper than I could get the Liz Lange tees at Target. SCORE. And they hold up better though the wash and look like they cost more money. If I had it to do over again, I’d have started my shopping at Gap Maternity for its combination of buget-friendliness and cute styles and cuts of pants, shirts, skirts and dresses.
I didn’t end up needing to purchase anything that was a sweater – I was pregnant mostly when it was warm out…or at least that’s when my body was most showing that it was pregnant. I wore my zip up hoodies a lot. I wore a few zip up hoodies of Jon’s. I wore a few of those comfortable, classic wraps that are popular right now. For work, I didn’t need to be in a suit that often, but when I did, I just wore dress pants with a cute top from Target, fun jewelry and put on my regular suit jacket and just didn’t even attempt to button it. I mean, don’t you think people look terribly silly when they have a HUGE belly and try to button their jackets? Well, I did. So, I didn’t invest in any type of suit jacket for the pregnancy.
I bought one bathing suit from Sears, which was really cute and I got some use out of this summer at Jon’s parents’ pool and on the lake a few times. If you are going to be pregnant in the summer and don’t feel comfortable with your linea negra showing (that dark line on your belly) or if you just don’t want to show belly-skin anyway, invest in the preggo bathing suit. It was worth the $20 or so dollars I spent on it. If you’re only a ‘little’ pregnant (i.e., not totally showing) just go with your normal suit.
Keep in mind that I travel for work, so I can get away with wearing the same clothes over and over again and no one is the wiser. However, I invested in two pair of nice work pants – one were from Motherhood Maternity but were clearanced “A Pea in the Pod” pants that I got for about $50 and the others were from Target. I actually preferred the Target pants at the end, though Iiked knowing I had something in my closet that was A Pea in the Pod. I got over the brand name thing pretty quick, though.
I found that wearing bigger, eye-appealing jewelry often got me compliments on it rather than on whatever top I was trying to make look cute on my growing frame.
I wore my work out/yoga pants a lot, with t-shirts from Gap and Target (the maternity kind) and sports bras. That’s sort of been my go-to outfit for the most part when I’m at home.
I don’t know why anyone would need to buy pregnant person underwear…but everyone carries differently, so you may find that it works for you. However, I just stocked up on comfy cotton undies from Target when they were on sale. I actually slept a lot in these undies and t-shirts…trust me, regardless of time of year, your hormones are going to go crazy and you’ll be HOT often.
I found purchasing a good-fitting bra was the most challenging part of outfitting my very-different body throughout pregnancy. It’s why I went with sports bras a lot. But, I did try to purchase a few bras here and there, but my boobs seemingly changed size on a daily basis. I was just reading a book that said it was worth it to go to Victoria’s Secret, get measured, and get their bras. And when you move on to needing nursing bras, to order them online. You may find, like I did, that people are going to tell you not to get nursing bras until your milk comes in. That could be very different times for each of us, and not being prepared for nursing seems like a poor trade off for bra purchases. Anyway, I just bought nursing bras this past week. We’ll see if the timing was proper for that. I still think that I’ll go and get measured at Victoria’s Secret and order a nursing bra from them online. I think having your boobs properly supported during this time, and feeling a little fancy under your clothes, is worth the extra dollars spent. At least, that’s my opinion.
Worth it to shop there as often as you can, see if they have anything new. Their clearance/sale rack changes often and you can often find a wardrobe staple discounted. I found that purchasing things here was the best bet I came across.
Motherhood Maternity (Outlets)
These stores are pretty damn overwhelming, I have to admit. There is a TON of stuff in there, and it all seems cute. I don’t know that it’s the BEST quality for what’s out there, but you can go there and find what you need if you’re looking for a specific outfit. They also have a wide selection of on-trend outfits, nursing bras, tanks and pj’s as well as some baby gear. They have all sorts of sales-y partnerships, so you’re going to get signed up for all sorts of coupons. It’s actually better if you go in each time and don’t give them your phone number to look you up – you end up getting more and more shutterfly free codes and other great coupons.
As I mentioned earlier, I wish I would have gone here first. This is the best store I came across for finding a good selection of the types of clothes I was looking for, that I could make work in a lot of different settings. I guess the main thing is that you want your maternity wardrobe choices to be versatile, so Gap is a good go-to. Start there, if you can. It’s worth the drive if you can find an actual store rather than shopping online.
Online vs. Store
Here’s how I feel about it: I love online shopping. Clothes are hard to shop for online, but if you go to any of the stores mentioned here or any others, you can try stuff on and then go online and see if you find anything you like better. I will say that if you can find a way to order through sites with free shipping, all the better. Or, wait for a Motherhood Maternity free shipping coupon code/search for one. Motherhood doesn’t always offer free shipping which is TOTALLY annoying. It makes it not worth it to order online.
Assess Your Fickle-ness about, well, everything…
I trust that I made a good choice in doctors at the outset and have let them guide me, not carte blanche, but for the most part through this pregnancy journey. I trust them. I like the office staff. If you feel like you’ll be more picky than that, definitely do your research. I like that I go to the same doctor as a friend of mine, and she had her baby about 4 months before I’m due, so she could sort of clue me in to what to expect and we could talk about how we felt about the different doctors in the practice and their personalities.
Molly’s doctors did a pelvic exam at EVERY appointment. My doctors only did a pelvic exam at eight weeks, 37 weeks and 39 weeks. I was comfortable with that. If you want updates every visit, ask that question.
Know that every question listed on thebump.com or other similar sites doesn’t need to be asked…only IF it’s important to you. I think that there’s a lot out there that feels to be in the business of scaring us all into some weird misogynistic submission about being pregnant. Remember, it’s natural to be pregnant and labor and deliver a baby. So, if you’re comfortable, don’t let someone else’s ideas or questions drive you crazy.
I stayed off the message boards of all those random sites and instead have sought out blogger Mom’s (which, if you like to blog, I highly suggest…and even if you don’t). The thing about the message boards is that you never know the person in any way behind the posts…with a blog, you can stalk them a bit more and get to know what’s important to them and then take their stance/opinion/insight with that in mind. I also find that there are, frankly, a lot of uninformed idiots trolling message boards who like to preach about what choice you SHOULD make regarding:
- Caffeine intake
- Eating lunch meat
- Labor & Delivery choices
Look, I don’t know why we all get preachy about a woman’s body and the ability to make decisions on the health of that body on our own, but then all of a sudden feel cowed into an opinion based on nameless, faceless people on websites. But, we do. I do it too. Know that it’s okay to feel like others are more strict with their choices…and just live with yours.
On the above topics…
I didn’t cut it out of my diet. I enjoy my Diet Coke each morning. I did cut out coffee for the most part – though if it sounded good, I’d have some. I didn’t notice a difference in baby’s activity if I did/did not have caffeine. When I spoke with the doctor about it early on, he said that there was more caffeine in all sorts of foods that they don’t tell you to stay away from, so…all things in moderation.
This one I didn’t know you were supposed to stay away from, then I realized that some people recommend it because the chance of contracting listeria. Which led me to research listeria. There isn’t a greater chance of contracting listeria while pregnant…your chances are the same. It can be dire for the fetus if you get listeria and if it goes unchecked. However, the odds of you getting STRUCK BY LIGHTNING IN YOUR LIVING ROOM RIGHT NOW are greater than your chances of contracting listeria. Not kidding. I did the research. But, don’t eat foods from shady restaurants and don’t eat deli meat if it seems suspect. Just use good judgment.
There will be La Leche Leaguers who insist that breastfeeding is the only way. There will be girlfriends who bottle feed. There will be those who are conflicted. Some women will struggle with breastfeeding, will not produce enough milk, etc. The battle of breastfeeding has been going on for centuries (think wet nurses) so don’t let yourself get caught up in it. Do it. Don’t do it. Try it, or don’t. But, most importantly, make the decision that is BEST FOR YOU. There is no empirical data that says that breastfeeding is best. The research that is out there can NOT be empirical because it is unethical to do a proper study of breastfeeding (it would require women to be assigned to NOT breastfeed, which is the sticky point). I wasn’t going to do it. Now, I’m going to try it. And see how it goes. But, I’m doing what I want, because I want it. I hope you do, too.
Most importantly, know that your journey will be different than mine, but we all share together in the fact that we have this unique ability to grow another human, and do it in 10 months of our lives. It requires some sacrifice, though not much. It will be fun and funny and enlightening. But, make it YOURS and navigate it with the help of friends, family and this wide, wide blogging world.