Our two little girls are now 13 months old. A lot has happened in our lives since they were conceived almost two years ago. And, a lot has happened to my body in that time. During my pregnancy I gained almost 70 lbs, which was more than half of my body weight before pregnancy. I’ve also lost about 65 lbs of my pregnancy weight, so I’m almost back to my “normal” weight. The result of all that weight gain and loss has been boxes of clothes in a wide range of sizes. So, one of my tasks for myself this week was to go through my clothes and get rid of the ones that don’t fit anymore (I’ve also been doing this with kids clothes so we’ve got bags and boxes of clothes all over the place). All of this got me thinking about clothes and pregnancy…
Here are some of the types of clothes you might encounter in your pregnancy:
First, you wear the “early” pregnancy clothes. This is when you are feeling bloated and uncomfortable in regular clothes, but it is still way too early to tell anyone you are pregnant or to start wearing maternity clothes. If this is your second pregnancy and a multiple pregnancy, like in my case, this stage starts within a couple of weeks of finding out you’re pregnant.
Next come the “look-at-me-I’m-pregnant” maternity clothes. You go on your first shopping trip to buy maternity clothes. You are excited about being pregnant and can’t wait to let everyone know. You buy the cute maternity tops and low-rise pants. If you’re daring, you try them on at the store wearing the pillow around your stomach to show how they’ll look further along in your pregnancy. Depending on your budget, you may also have some “hand-me-down” maternity clothes. These are the maternity clothes that you get from friends and family who have had babies. They might not be quite your style, but you probably can’t afford a whole new wardrobe, especially if your pregnancy will take you through more than one season.
Eventually, you realize you have to get some “I-have-to-buy-what?!” maternity clothes. These are the clothes you buy when you discover that your normal underwear is just not going to keep fitting through your pregnancy, even if you buy the next size bigger. The same with bras, and socks, if your feet swell. They are ridiculously expensive and you can’t imagine what you’ll do with them after your pregnancy.
At some point, fashion sense doesn’t matter and you want the “I-just-want-to-be-comfortable” maternity clothes. No, these are the clothes that aren’t particularly stylish or suitable for wearing to work, but they are the only comfortable clothes you have. They include the XL t-shirts from your partner and the maternity sundresses you wish you could wear every day.
If you’re having multiples, you’ll get to the point where you nee the “please-I’ll-take-whatever-you-have” maternity clothes. These are the clothes you beg, borrow and steal from anyone, anywhere when you discover at 6 months you’ve outgrown all your maternity pants. When your size small maternity clothes don’t fit so you borrow some size large pants from a friend in hopes they’ll fit you a few more months.
As the seasons change, you realize you need some “I’ve-been-avoiding-buying-these” maternity clothes like a winter coat when it snows in October and you can’t avoid going outside for the next three months. You try to get by with wearing the “I-just-want-to-be-comfortable” maternity sweater, but it just isn’t warm enough. You also get stubborn about the “I-refuse-to-buy-these” maternity clothes, which include new winter boots that will fit your swollen feet. You can make do with the “improvised” maternity clothes by unlacing your hiking boots, and wearing them if you absolutely have to leave the house.
Then your babies are born, and you need a whole new wardrobe. To start with, you wear the “yes-these-are-still-maternity” outfits. They seem a little baggy right now, and after 4 or 5 months, you’re really tired of wearing them, but you don’t have the time or energy to go shopping with your newborn babies. You also wear the “easy-access” nursing tops so you can discreetly breastfeed those hungry babies anywhere. After a while, you give up on worrying about discretion because, face it, you’re breastfeeding nearly all the time.
After a while, you realize the maternity clothes are too big but you’re still a long way from fitting in your regular clothes. You treat yourself to a shopping trip, but you only buy “causal-mom” clothes like active wear (i.e. sweat pants), jeans and t-shirts because you rarely leave the house, and they’ll just get spit up on them anyway.
Eventually, you decide you need some nice clothes or else you’ll go crazy. So, you head out to a sale or a consignment store and buy a couple of nice outfits. You wear them whenever you get the chance, but every time you put them on, they feel a little bigger. After a few times, you realize they are starting to get too big, too.
When you go back to work, you realize you have to abandon the jeans, sweats and t-shirts and wear “real” clothes again. So, you pull out your early pregnancy clothes almost fit again. By now, it has been over a year since you’ve seen these clothes, so it is like having new clothes, sort of. But, you’re also really used to wearing comfy loungewear, and dressing up takes way more time in the morning.
Hooray! Finally, you realize you can squeeze in to your “normal” clothes again. Your pre-pregnancy clothes don’t quite fit the same way. Your hips are a little wider, your chest is a little bigger, your feet are a little wider… You start to get dressed every morning in an assortment of clothes that are a little too big and a little too small.
Then you finally take on the task of sorting through all these clothes and figuring out what can stay, what has to go (sell, donate, give away, throw away), and what you’ll store in case you need it again some day. You have to give up the sweater that lost most of the buttons when you stretched it over your giant belly. You have say good bye to the sweat pants that fit you through your whole pregnancy when you undid the drawstring all the way. You get to say good riddance to the nursing tops and the pregnancy underwear. And you can probably justify spending your birthday money on a few pieces to update your “I’m-a-busy-mom” wardrobe.
Any fashion advice for a pregnant mom of multiples? Or a new mom with multiples who’s heard it is “9 months on and 9 months off”?