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Mooning over Maternity Clothes

I was putting away our Christmas decorations earlier – yes, I know, but that’s the subject of a different confessional blog – when I came across my box of maternity clothes, and wave of fond nostalgia swept over me.  Am I the only one who misses my maternity clothes?  I know, it’s a bit sick, but they’re so cute and, let’s face it, comfy. 
I freely admit that one of my concerns with getting pregnant was the misconception I had of maternity clothes; I was convinced I’d be wearing smocks with polka-dots and bows for nine months, which are definitely not me.
On the other hand, what a great excuse to go shopping.

We were trying to keep pregnancy costs down, though Brian knew how apprehensive I was about gaining so much weight and had given me pretty much a blank check for buying maternity clothes; whatever it took to keep me from crying copiously over my no-longer-flat tummy.  And there were a few hard days for me, especially in the very beginning.  I gained five pounds almost before the pregnancy test stick dried, which freaked me out as an auger of things to come.  I vividly remember walking to the subway one morning when I was maybe nine weeks pregnant, with my favorite pair of black cords on (though the waist was a bit snug!).  I couldn’t figure out what the strange noise was that I heard the whole walk, until I realized it was accompanied by a slight burning sensation on my thighs and a faint smell of smoke.  Yes, my thighs were rubbing together. 
It freaked me out.  In the middle of the street, I called Abby on my cell phone, half coherent and babbling about thighs and friction.
“Mmm, corduroy,” Abby said pensively.  “Yeah, you’re going to have to stop wearing corduroy for the rest of the pregnancy.  I should’ve warned you.  Corduroy not good.  Corduroy bad.”
But once I started showing and could justify actual maternity clothes, I found I really enjoyed the physicality of being pregnant.  It was strangely liberating, like my body was living up to its full potential for the first time.  And as I started to shop for pregnancy clothes, I discovered it ain’t as bad as it’s cracked up to be.
First off, of course, I hit the basics – Gap Maternity and Old Navy Maternity.  Throughout the pregnancy I went to them for staples like khakis and sweaters, and was grateful for the large-chain-ness about them; becoming pregnant was tantamount to hanging a “NOT FOR YOU” sign across all my favorite stores, and it was comforting to be able to walk into a “regular” store like Gap, even if I did have to waddle up to the second floor or way back of the store.
I also got a lot of basics like t-shirts and workout tops at Maternity Works, the outlet for the whole Mimi Maternity – Motherhood Maternity – Pea In The Pod franchise.  Shopping and bargain-hunting at the same time; a dream come true for preggie Jennifer.
Then my girlfriend Bev turned me on to Liz Lange; great because the clothes are totally cool, bad because they’re totally pricey.  I ended up buying a pregnancy version of my favorite jeans from them, babbling incoherently in my happiness to not have to give them up for the later months.  The rest of the store was out of my price range, but Bev came to the rescue again, advising me to sign up for Urban Baby Daily; they periodically send out emails about big sales, and Liz Lange has a sample sale at least twice a year.  Sure enough, a sale came round and I snatched up a couple dresses and tops for a song.
On the other end of the cost spectrum, Liz Lange also designs a Target line, and I bought a couple pieces from them that really fit the old pocketbook and were totally cute.  At the same time, I discovered the Internet, where I found several great sites that offered totally chic (and reasonably-priced, for the most part) maternity wear:
Euphoria Maternity  Great selection, a lot of good brands and  decent prices
Due Maternity  Clothes  Similar to Euphoria, with the popular brands and a well-laid out site
Hip and Little  Ok, this is a kids’ site, but they carry one maternity t-shirt that I adore – it says, “I am not Buddha.  Please do not rub.”  How many times I wish I had owned that shirt . . .
Belly Dance  Definitely higher-priced, but a great place to look for the dressy pieces you need, or for an important occasion.  Totally hip clothing.
Unbuttoned Maternity  Extremely cute, urban chic maternity clothing
Babystyle  Higher-end price-wise again, but a great mix of cool styles that are well-made without being too trendy.  She’s got a small but well-chosen selection.
Finally, too, my girlfriends all chipped in, lending me their maternity clothes and helping keep costs down even more.  If I ever get pregnant again, I know I’ll be back and begging them to loan out once more since some of my favorite pieces were borrowed.  And it works both ways; an as-yet childless friend of mine at church who wears the same size eyed me speculatively one Sunday and said, “If I get pregnant I get to use all your clothes, right?”  It makes me happy they’ll be used for more than a few brief months.
For now, though, they sit in a box in our basement and I’m oddly sentimental about them.  I don’t know what it is precisely; maybe it’s that I wore them for such a short period that I didn’t get bored with them.  Maybe it’s because the time that I wore those clothes I felt really comfortable in my body and loved the way I looked.  Maybe it’s that I really enjoyed being pregnant and have fond memories of that time.
Maybe it’s because those clothes remind me of the last time I got a good night’s sleep.


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