I’d rather shop for a bathing suit…

…than shop for maternity clothes.

I do have some maternity clothes, but they all look so BIG. I’ve been avoiding them. One by one, my regular clothes had either become too small or just looked plain ridiculous on me. So, I would dig into my big purple bin where I store a variety of clothes for every season in sizes ranging from 6 to 16 (because after gaining 45 pounds with every pregnancy, I do wear a size 16, even if it’s only for a month or so) and would pull out another, bigger size (but still not maternity), and would manage for a little bit longer.

But last week, my choices were diminishing in the summer fashions. Even Bill’s clothes were too tight in the waist (why did I fall in love with a skinny man?) or too big in the shoulder making me look like…I was wearing my husband’s clothes. If it were fall, I think I could go another month or so, but with lightweight clothing, I was left with a stack of maternity clothes that I just couldn’t bear to wear yet.

Besides being too big, they are old, too. I don’t think any of them were bought new by me. And I’ve had most of them with every pregnancy, so I estimated that they are mostly at least ten years old. I’m not big into following the latest fashions and hottest trends, but…I do like to look decent. I really do want to avoid looking dowdy.

Bill came home at a reasonable hour on Friday, and I took advantage of this to head to the mall alone. I think I tried on every outfit in the store. First, I put on a pair of khaki capri pants and a maroon, empire waist knit top (the kind even non-pregnant women seem to be wearing nowadays). I looked in the mirror and with a depressed and exasperated internal voice remarked that I just.looked.so.pregnant.

To which the intelligent, practical, common-sense woman buried deep within that prideful, vain, emotional basket case staring at the mirror responded, “Duh! You are pregnant!”

And then I laughed at myself and stopped focusing on not looking pregnant and instead on looking attractive.

You know, like a well-dressed hippo.

Most ludicrous is the bald-faced lie these stores tell pregnant women: buy your pre-pregnancy size. Yeah, right. Most first-time moms probably go shopping when they are barely showing. They put that tiny pillow under the clothes and think they look so cute. They go home with a nice collection of things that will work for that season. By the time the weather changes, those clothes are getting really tight and uncomfortable, but it doesn’t matter because they need new things for the new season anyway.

I bought size mediums, which is basically what I would be wearing if I weren’t pregnant. But I know that by August, they will be stretched to the max. That’s OK. I’ve got those BIG clothes just waiting for me. I’m set.

And as if to prove that new clothing “makes” a woman, an old friend drove down on Saturday morning from Pennsylvania to spend the weekend. Her kids came into the house, but she was loitering at the car collecting a few necessities. I walked out to greet her, and when she turned around, she looked surprised. “Oh, you look so skinny! I thought you’d be bigger by now!”

Dear, dear friend, I can’t wait to see you again next month!

8 thoughts on “I’d rather shop for a bathing suit…

  1. “You know, like a well-dressed hippo.”Heh Heh HehI remember those days VERY well!Thanks for the chuckle….🙂

  2. Buy your pre-pregnancy size indeed!During my first pregnancy, I followed this same rule – I bought the mediums that I normally wear. So imagine my surprise (actually shock!) when at 6 months I needed the extra large! I cried and cried over that one. I realize that they may think they are sparing you by telling this little white lie, but quite the contrary, I would rather know the truth all up front!

  3. Ha! I hate maternity clothes, too. Loved the low rise jeans, though!

  4. Bwahahaahahahhaaha, well dressed hippo! I am somehow blessed to have an extended dumpy stage each pregnancy where I am too small for actual maternity clothes, but too large for anything but sweats.

  5. My last pregnancy I resorted to making a lot of things…stetch fabric is the bomb! I’m also a big fan of the underbelly pants…sooo much more comfy for me…so what if I have a muffin top, rather be spilling over some then feeling squished and compresses, lol. Glad you got to have a little shopping time sans kids.

  6. Oh man Michelle… I just packed all of my maternity clothes up and handed them over to my brother-in-law in Norfolk so he could transport maternity clothes via aircraft carrier back to Jacksonville for my sister-in-law. If I had thought for a second I would have saved you the really really pretty floral dresses with butterflies and bumble bees on them! 🙂

  7. I’ve found that “underbelly” means falling off of my flat/wide bottom. Not comfy. I keep wanting to invent “preggo-spenders” suspenders for all of those cute, underbelly pants that look good until you realize you are hitching up to cover the old crack every five seconds. I have yet to invent a design that could come off easily for those quicky-emergency-all-too-frequent trips to the ladies room. I agree that everyone looks pregnant with the shirts that are out there now. I am having a mixed feeling about this because I try so hard NOT to look pregnant when I really am. It’s a weird phenomenon, isn’t it?

  8. Aw, shucks, floral dresses with bumblebees????? That had nuthin’ that sweet at the maternity shop. I did nearly pick up some cami tanks with “One in the Oven” splashed across the belly, but couldn’t decide between the fuscia or the chartreuse, so I just let it go.

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