As my torso continues to contort into new shapes and sizes, I’ve retired all my regular clothes and upgraded to full-fledged maternity wear. It was bound to happen. It’s a rite of passage for each of us. But properly clothing our bulging bellies can also wreak havoc on our budget if we aren’t savvy during these nine months.
One of the beautiful things that happens when you announce you are pregnant is other women reach out to you, offering their support. Now I know they also offer you their pregnancy and birth horror stories of hemorrhoids the size of grapes, 47 hour labors, C-section scars that look like a chevron pattern, and all the aches and pains of recovery from more hemorrhoids to hair loss to painful breastfeeding anecdotes. But after you take the time to listen to the recaps of their own experiences, which clearly they could benefit from some further processing about, perhaps with a trained counselor, they often start offering words of encouragement and support. While some of this advice is unsolicited, I have completely embraced my mom friends’ offers of maternity gear.
Case in point: right now I am wearing a cute lime green and white shirt from Katie topped with a purple cardigan from Anjie, and a jean skirt from Cheryl. Finish that off with some leggings and my camel colored boots, and I’ve got myself a great outfit! Even though all three ladies were pregnant during the blazing summer months, with a little creative layering, I’m able to use their maternity basics into the mild winter we have here in New Orleans.
Sure, I’ve had to buy a few basics. I’m a 5’2” pear shaped, wide hipped, girl, who needs petite pants on the large or extra large scale. That description doesn’t fit any of my recently pregnant friends, so I was on my own for finding work-appropriate pants. On the bright side, my friend Katie offered me all kinds of cute maternity tops and blazers to pair with my bottoms. Even before I was pregnant, she was offering to let me borrow her maternity clothes whenever I was ready since she knows how pricey each piece can get. She too, borrowed a bunch and filled out her wardrobe where she needed it. Her motto about maternity clothes is “Pay it forward.” It takes an entire sisterhood to outfit a pregnant chick through these belly-expanding 40 weeks.
Cheryl, of the abovementioned denim skirt, was the only friend who explicitly told me she didn’t want any of these clothes back. Miles, Cheryl’s baby, is her fourth child, and as she thrust the trunk full of all her maternity clothes at me, I could see a weight being lifted from her tired, mommy shoulders. She knew he would be her last, and she was both relieved and happy to get these clothes out of her life—forever.
I also had some good shopping karma at a maternity and baby consignment sale. I found a pair of jeans, a couple of sweaters and a cute tunic that I wear with leggings. Who says you have to break the bank when outfitting your growing belly?
So between the cozy sweaters, yoga pants and a really cute dress from Anjie; the work appropriate attire, including some great options for holiday parties, from both Danielle and Katie; the winter staples like long sleeved blouses, sweaters, and t-shirts from Tasha; and the trunk full of everything-under-the-sun from Cheryl, my closet is complete. I’ve been told that some items that fit me right now, in my second trimester, may not work in the last few weeks, but at the moment, I feel well outfitted for the long haul.
I am so appreciative of these generous friends, who opened their closets and shared their treasures with me. I’m also thankful that they’ve kept the horror stories to a minimum. They know I hear enough of those unhelpful, anxiety-inducing accounts from other people at work, church, the grocery store, via email…
How are you outfitting yourself this pregnancy? Do you have a “sisterhood” to borrow from? Found any great deals online? Have a go-to shop for all your maternity wardrobe staples? Are you simply buying two sizes up in regular clothes? I’d love to hear how you have creatively accessorized and adorned your growing midsection during your pregnancy. Pay it forward, sisters.