Ah, pregnancy; that wonderful time in a woman’s life where a sweet little human takes residence in your uterus, growing from the size of a pinprick to a pineapple and beyond, stretching you to what feels like the 9,000th degree.
Throughout this process, as amazing and beautiful as it may be, there comes a time when momma needs some new clothes because Play-Doh belly eventually kicks in. With it comes a completely new meaning to “muffin top” and, real talk here: that belly is just going to continue to grow; crop tops over a torpedo belly aren’t exactly acceptable in the work place or, well, society (to hell with society!).
If we are all being honest, we know that buying maternity clothes is an awesome perk to pregnancy, especially with all of the adorable options available nowadays (and everyone likes an excuse to shop). It’s quite the exciting day when you finally purchase your first empire-waist top or a pair of pants that don’t button or zip. You want to exclaim, “I JUST WANT A FABRIC PANEL, GUYS!”
Unfortunately, not all of the clothes for all of those pregnant bellies suit all of the bellies all of the time. Dressing a pregnant body can bring on its own set of frustrations and challenges, from beginning to end of the pregnancy.
Whether you want to hide your bump, flaunt your bump, secure your bump or simply keep that thing under control, as your body changes accommodate a growing baby (or babies), your style, too, must evolve to suit it. Here are the seven ways in which a woman’s style changes through pregnancy:
1. Brand-new pregnant
I just peed on a stick and saw my first positive and, yet, I already feel pregnant. Am I already glowing? I think so. Eh, maybe that is sweat. I am a little nervous here if I am being honest. I better take a selfie to post to Instagram when I am ready to share the news with the world. Hashtag baby belly.
I'm feeling all those first feelings:
- Woohoo! I've got a baby in there!
- Oh my god! I've got a baby in there!
- I suddenly feel like eating ice cream.
Even if I stare at my stomach in the mirror, I look zero percent pregnant right now. My body looks totally normal and I can wear all my regular clothes. I want to buy maternity clothes! When will I have a cute bump?! Ugh, maybe if I just stick my stomach out a little, I will have a bump. Or, I know, I should go to a maternity clothes store and steal one of the fake bellies they have there.
Then I can look like I have a sweet little nugget growing inside of me. I am not ashamed to admit that I have actually been walking around my house with a pillow under my shirt as a preview. My rectangular baby belly is something to be envied.
I am going to be a cute pregnant lady; I have to be. I am just going to start ordering things online now since I can’t be seen in the stores shopping in the maternity section yet, and because I am impatient and ready to have all the cute, stretchy things. Plus, hello, sales. Now is totally the time to make this oh-so-important purchase. I can order in my current size; I mean I am just going to gain weight in my belly. I work out and eat healthy food. Why would I need to worry about my butt or thighs?
My good friend’s, cousin’s, coworker said she just used all of her regular, real life clothes throughout her whole pregnancy. How is that even possible? Maybe I can do that. I guess that could be a nice way to save some money. Do I even want to do that? NO. Get it together. You want to buy all the new things.
5 The boobs, bloat and stretchy band
Pregnancy boobs are no joke. I’m spilling out of the tops of my bras already. Hashtag porn star? Time to find some new bras, but there’s no way I am spending $50 on a bra I know I am not going to need forever. Unless my boobs stay like this – a blessing and a curse, I say.
There are a few things I could in this situation:
- take boob selfies
- Just continue to squeeze into the bras I already have
- Or, give in and buy the stupid $50 bra
I am finally starting to show, but I’m convinced that if I gave birth today, it would be a water baby. Or a food baby. It’s hard to tell these days. We know there is a baby in there somewhere, but I am damn near positive that the way my stomach looks now is not a result of my grape-sized offspring.
I’m so bloated and I look like I ate too many doughnuts. And pizza. And bagels. All the carbs are key, my friends. All. The. Carbs. They keep me from throwing up all over myself, at least.
My pants are officially too tight and I can’t sit without unbuttoning them. Perhaps all of the carbs I have been ingesting are literally turning my midsection into a muffin top. That term must have originated from a woman looking at herself while at this stage in her pregnancy. Blueberry or chocolate chip? Or, I’ve got it, white chocolate raspberry. Oh, sweet, delicious food friends.
I’m not ready to tell everyone I am pregnant, so maybe I should just wear this stretchy band over the top of my pants so I can just sit comfortably. Except it rolls down and exaggerates the aforementioned muffin belly when I sit, and rides up every time I walk around.
No, I do not need a tube top! Need I remind you of the porn star boobs? Oh, I know, I will use a rubber band to loop through the button on my pants for a little wiggle room. Except. Crap. My fly is down.
I will just throw on some loose tops. No one will know why I suddenly brought these out to play and no longer dress like I normally do. Style changes happen. Maybe I am like Lady Gaga or Madonna. I am ever evolving. The peasant look is in, right?
4 The newly rounded belly
Phew, I am finally able to share my news with the world. I am having a baby! Let’s all do a happy dance. Frankly, getting it out there is a good thing, because being pregnant was getting hard to hide. What was once a jiggly bloat-party in my tummy is now a nicely rounded baby belly. There’s no way in hell I am fitting into my normal pants these days, though. No. Way. Fat chance (no pun intended).
It is time to buy some new pants! MATERNITY PANTS. At long last, I can peruse the maternity section, confidently caressing my bump, searching for adorable (inexpensive) ways to dress it up. However, I cannot wear the large panel kind of maternity pants. No sir, no ma’am. Those can practically touch my boobs and they give me floppy crotch.
I would only wear these pats if I were:
- a professional fisherman
- a pregnant dog catcher
- a pregnant model for "I Gave Up On Style" magazine
I had better buy the pants with the short panel. Those will probably be comfortable forever, right? Why would anyone even need the full-paneled pants, anyway?
These short paneled pants are comfort city. I’ll get jeans, and corduroys and some fancy black pants for work, too. Why don't they market these to non-pregnant women? These companies are missing a huge demographic: women who like to look nice but feel comfortable all the damn day. I’d whip these out on my period days, without a doubt. Hell, I would wear them on regular days.
I’m going to get some of those adorable maternity shirts that hug my belly. I’ll buy one in every color, so they last me through my pregnancy. I don’t understand the need for those enormous maternity shirts, though. The ruching on the side is bizarre and, hold on, is this really shirt or a dress?
Dresses (real ones, not shirts with an identity crisis) are feeling pretty fabulous lately, too. But, these tights, they’re not working for me. They’re borderline suffocating me and my unborn child. Either that, or they ride down and the whole saggy-kneed look just is not something I am fond of. I guess I could wait until it is warmer out, but I want to wear it NOW. Do they make maternity tights? THEY DO. These people are total geniuses.
3 Large-paneled pants are life
Dear pants with the large, stretchy panel: please accept this note offering you my sincerest apologies. I am so very sorry I doubted your abilities. I may have once believed you were useless, floppy crotch and droopy-butt-inducing articles of clothing, but now, now, I can’t live without you.
If I can make a confession, your cousins, short-paneled maternity pants, now tend to sit horizontally beneath my belly like a shelf, and are actually the ones causing me to have floppy crotch and droopy butt.
This panel hugs my belly so well. Like a stocking for my stomach, I love you, sweet fabric panel. Where have you been all my life, er, pregnancy? Thank you for fitting over my baby belly and for hiding my belly button, which has recently decided to emerge from my stomach, making me look as if I have a third nipple.
Speaking of nipples, I’m beginning to think I need to refer to them as Thing 1 and Thing 2, because they’re standing at attention 24/7 and certainly are no longer recognizable or cute. God forbid I wear a bra that isn’t padded nowadays.
Sure, some folks are into that kind of thing, but I prefer to keep the ladies under wraps, at least while I am trying to have a civilized conversation with my boss, or father-in-law, or anyone with functioning eyeballs.
photo by khunaspix
I would also like to offer my most heartfelt apologies to the shirts with the ruched sides. For you, you sweet beauties, fit ever-so-nicely over the belly that can now hold those large-paneled pants up. You hide the fact that there is not a zipper, nor a button, on these pants. You make them appear normal. I do not feel normal. Anything utilizing the word “normal” these days gets an A+ in my book.
Luckily, my shoes still fit. Shoe companies should really focus on pregnant ladies. What’s up with these people missing out on all of these potential business opportunities? Being pregnant doesn’t mean we want frumpy anything! I can still wear my heels and walk around just fine, thank you very much.
2 Tunics and leggings, for the win
I have had an epiphany. This is why you always see moms in yoga pants. I do not blame them. Combining the stretchiness and larger panel of maternity leggings with the long, tunic-style shirt is nothing short of sweet, comfortable heaven. Also, they do not cut into my growing baby’s spine, so that helps.
Why did I ever want to wear anything other than this fabulous, stretchy material? Like a modern-day mullet for my body, leggings, you are great for business and partying and, oh so relaxing. Lots and lots of relaxing.
The time is coming where I think I may need more shirts. What happened? I thought the 10 cute, tighter shirts would work for me. This is so perplexing because my belly is supposed to be cute, but I find that lately, they have a tendency to ride up. I may have actually ruined one or two of them by forcing them over my belly dozens of time throughout the day.
Oh how I try to discreetly hide the fact that my shirts keep riding up my torso:
- I hide behind the water machine while I pull my shirt down
- I try the age old art of distraction while I pull down my shirt
- I turn my back while I pull my shirt down, because that's really classy
Photo from the blog: A Spoonful of Style
Beating the system is something I am good at, and I have found that non-maternity dresses can have an alternative personality: maternity top. With leggings. I’ve been complimented a few times on these “shirts” and, instead of keeping my mouth shut, I have to announce proudly, “Oh, this is actually a dress I would wear when I wasn’t pregnant!”
Am I some kind of an idiot? Do I not realize that just informs the world how much my body has changed since I started incubating a human? granny panty time. Yup. I said it. Don’t look at me like that. First off, fitting my behind into sweet, delicate undies is not happening. Literally. Like, it will not fit in them.
Same thing goes for those cute little boy shorts that say “ sexy back” that I scored at Justin Timberlake’s last concert. No like likes to have four butt cheeks, am I right? That is not a sexy back. The pun is gone. I will, however, laugh in your face if you even mention a thong. Have you ever heard of hemorrhoids? The struggle is realer than you think. VERY REAL.
1 F--- pants
It has come to my attention that any pants I wear make me feel like my legs are in sausage casings. Plus, that full panel is beginning to make my belly itch. And it digs into my stomach when I sit, so when I take the pants off, hi, I have an equator drawn across my mid-section.
Actually, all parts of me itch all the time. The answer: maxi dresses. All day, every day. WHO THOUGHT PANTS WERE A GOOD IDEA?! I can’t even balance well enough to get my legs through the holes without looking like I am auditioning for Cirque du Soleil.
Some days I question whether underwear is even necessary. I just want to feel free! At least, with the maxi, I can sit with my legs spread across the room and not give everyone a sneak peak of the jungle-fever-like birth canal. Come on, now. If I can’t see it, I am not putting a sharp blade near it.
Since I cannot wear the same three dresses every three days ( or can I?), there are MAXI SKIRTS out there, too. The ones that fold over and can be used pre-pregnancy actually can work during super-huge-pregnant-belly time, too. They do make maternity maxi skirts and, yeah, those probably make more sense to invest in, but I am talking long-term investment here, my friends.
The only problem with the fold-over maxis is that there can be a fair amount of belly skin that could show if you are not wearing the right top. We know tunics have proven to be helpful and, remember those dresses doubling as shirts? It’s definitely high time to utilize them on the regular.
photo by imagerymajestic
I have been pretty damn tired lately and my priorities have shifted. Sleep happens to be at the top of that priority list. This is rather unfortunate for my hair, because it longs to be washed, blow-dried and straightened or curled but, realistically, I am all about the messy bun, messy ponytail, messy braid, and so on.
Basically, anything that looks remotely “decent” that requires the least amount of time and effort.I know my pregnancy style is starting to fail, but I just can't seem to make excuses for making an effort anymore:
- They'll forgive me for looking frumpy because it's just this one time
- It's okay because I'm huge and pregnant
7. F--- clothes
Put a fork in me because, friend, I am done. By the power vested in me, I now pronounce myself a beached whale. I am officially at the point where I look like I need a backpack full of bricks to keep my body weight even with the huge load of baby and boobs I have hanging out in the front. Honestly, I don’t know how I can manage to walk without toppling over.
Actually, yes I do, I waddle. Maybe I will start a new dance phenomenon. The Wobble? Come on, that is so three years ago. This year it is all about The Waddle.
I am starting to wonder why I need to wear anything at all. Nothing fits me. Shirts are now crop-tops or ride up my belly and provide minimal coverage. Pants? HA. See point 6. Even my beloved maxis have betrayed me.
What once fit my shapely body (let’s be positive about this, okay?) now clings to every last curve, showing off every bump and dimple. The loose maxis make me look like I am a walking tent. Want to go camping? Come on over! There’s plenty of room here!
Fluid retention is the devil in liquid form. Costume jewelry has replaced my wedding rings. Flip-flops are my savior thanks to swollen feet. Trying to put on my cute shoes makes me feel like an ugly stepsister from Cinderella. I have a little more sympathy for them now. Maybe they were just bloated. Did anyone in the kingdom ever consider hormonal fluctuation?
I hate everyone. I hate everything. I hate pregnancy. WHO TURNED THE HEAT ON? I’m moving to a nudist colony. Who am I kidding? No, I’m not. I don’t need to see all the lady and man bits hanging out (literally. Hanging).
Well, crap. I have to wear something. My boobs are leaking this awesome, sticky substance and I every time I laugh or sneeze I pee, just a little, but just enough to need some extra protection down under. No clothes would likely cause all of those around me to have nightmares for weeks.
It’s hopeless. When is this kid coming, anyway?
You see, being pregnant in and of itself is a lot to handle. It’s an emotional time where life is flipped around, changing practically everything in your life. Let’s face it, a lot of the above is fueled by raging hormones and we as women most definitely know and understand that.
Do yourself a favor, though, if you are reading this and are not a pregnant woman (especially if you are a significant other), be sure to keep any thoughts on hormones to yourself and do us ladies a solid: pay us a compliment. Even on the days when we look like a Weeble with a curtain draped over us.