If You’re Not A Skinny Pregnant Woman, You’re S.O.L. With Maternity Clothes
Hi there. I’m just a gal who is embarking upon her second trimester and therefore splooging out of her non-maternity clothes. I’m in that awkward phase where people are all “You don’t even look pregnant!”, the subtext of which is “Oh, I just thought you were eating a lot of Whoppers and guzzling more wine than usual.” Because for women whose pre-pregnancy pants size was a 10/12 (ahem) and NOT a 4/6, it’s probably difficult for people to discern whether you’re packing on the pounds or possibly growing a kiwi-sized human. It seems as though the maternity wear industry, or as I like to call it, ‘Matronly Mothers R Us’, also has difficulty catering to pregnant women who aren’t naturally thin.
I don’t know why this surprises me, since the regular clothes industry also suffers from this problem. But it does. Because man, the pickins are SLIM when it comes to cute and trendy maternity clothes. You either have to break the bank for nice basics ($88 for a t-shirt dress at storq.com? Go eff yourself.) or suffer through the grandma-esque tops for sale at your favorite moderately-priced retailers. I’m only 29 years old. I do not want to look like an SNL ‘mom jeans’ commercial just because I’m pregnant. If it looks like something a sensible, middle-aged, 7th grade science teacher would wear, I don’t want it.
I’ve got the kind of body that has taken me years to learn how to dress flatteringly. Many a What Not To Wear episode was spent on learning what lines, lengths, and cuts are right for my curvy body. I was a late bloomer. Always the skinny, scrawny, 10th percentile kid growing up, my body decided to fill out and flower up around my senior year of high school. I suddenly had an hourglass figure to contend with. Do you know how difficult it is to dress an hourglass (borderline pear-shaped when I stop exercising every winter) figure for any/every occasion? I will never have a washboard stomach, or long, gazelle-like legs. My hips and butt will always be wider than my shoulders. So in the back of my mind, I always kind of knew being pregnant would be…interesting….when it came to finding the right clothes. I also know that being in my early second trimester means I ain’t seen nothin’ yet. But I’m already having issues with finding comfortable, stylish clothes that don’t make me feel like a total frump. Maternity clothes are necessary because they’re the most flattering for your changing shape, so I know the simple solution here isn’t buying larger sizes in my normal clothes. All pregnant women–no matter your weight, size, or shape–need to let go and give into maternity wear as a necessity. Which is why a good selection of various options shouldn’t be difficult to find.
Case in point, can we all just agree that maternity bathing suits are THE WORST? For us curvy gals, I mean. Oh my God. I’m going to be pregnant this summer, and my mother-in-law has a kick-ass pool, so I’m gonna be spending a hefty amount of my time there. I don’t do regular bikini bottoms normally, so I’m especially not doing them now. I usually go for a nice, supportive bikini halter and a retro-ish bikini skirt. I’m more than fine saying goodbye to a two-piece this summer- that wasn’t even a question. But the tankinis and one-pieces I keep perusing look like something my 78-year-old grandmother would wear for her water aerobics class. Also pairing a tankini top and a skirt bottom makes me feel like a matronly whale as it is. They could at least have youthful, classic styles to choose from. But no. It’s black, black, and more black. Or awful prints that resemble what Mrs. Doubtfire wore to Pierce Brosnan’s country club pool:
Look, women are already punished for being pregnant (I consider an unpaid, cruelly brief maternity leave and offensively high daycare costs to be a punishment) as it is. Why torture us even further with a craptastic selection of swimwear and clothes? Especially those of us who don’t fall under the category of ‘I Only Gained Weight In My Belly.’ It sucks having to spend money on clothes you’re only going to wear for a short period of time. It sucks so hard to spend money on clothes you aren’t crazy about. I’d rather buy cute baby things, but unless I plan on only wearing a muumuu until October, I’ve got to spend money on both. Sigh.
After Googling and Pinteresting ‘cute maternity clothes’ about a thousand times, I came across Pink Blush Maternity and fell in love. Their clothes are fairly affordable, trendy, age-appropriate, and there’s lots to choose from. So I ordered a few different styles of large-sized shirts/tops and eagerly anticipated their arrival. They arrived. They were cute. One of them actually fit. The rest would barely fit me sans expanding belly, let alone right now. I should note that Pink Blush does offer plus-sized options for about 1/3 of their line, which is nice. But I’m not plus-sized (yet, anyway). So… yeah. The reason for my lamenting is because I feel like a lot of women and mothers-to-be can probably relate to this, as the average American woman is a size 14 – right smack in the middle of not-skinny-but-not-quite-plus-sized. Which falls into the exact category I’m talking about here. Women of all shapes and sizes get pregnant. Women will always be having babies. It’s not like sales will plummet if we’re offered a little more diversity!
If anyone reading this can relate, I raise a glass of shitty sparkling grape juice to you. We can only hope that someday, clothing retailers will raise their standards toward expecting mothers. Until then, you can find me in the maxi skirt aisle, buying one in every color and pattern available.