One of the more comforting aspects of pregnancy is that you can finally just relax and not worry about what anyone thinks about how you look. Psych! Everyone constantly looks at you so that they can evaluate your skin, hair, outfits, posture, boobs, ass, and choice of footwear. Hey, which is worse? Being given suggestions of how to look sexy while knocked up, or being constantly told exactly how "pregnant cute" you look? Careful, I think it's a trick question!
When I was with child, I didn't want to wear some adorbs little floral number that made me look like a beach umbrella; I just wanted to feel like the most un-hassled version of a gently ballooning me. Also, I wanted to find a maximum-coverage pair of shoes to address a problem I hadn't exactly planned on: swelling feet that morphed into elephant paws. Or, as a coworker often asked, "'Sup, Moore, how those dough loaves risin'?"
Apparently, there is no maternity wear store for People Who Don't Give a Shit About Looking Right, and so my dream of disposable pregnancy uniform sold in triplicate would have to wait. Also, apparently, my lack of concern for my aesthetic transformation was a tragedy for everyone else — innocent bystanders were being robbed in broad daylight of their God-given right to review my revolving pregnant outfits like some kind of street-fashion slideshow of impending motherhood.
Doesn't anyone realize that if you actually buy clothes for all pregnant logistics including post-birth and The New You (trademark pending), that you'd be buying no less than THREE entirely different wardrobes including underwear? Don't forget the emergency clothes at the bitter end when you become a zeppelin, and also any "special occasion" outfits for the jackals who invite you to formal events during this time in your life and actually expect you to show up.
A few pitfalls:
The Bella Band
You're only three months pregnant, and already you busted through your regular jeans, you old sly dog, you. Someone is going tell you to buy this stretchy contraption of a problem-solver, ostensibly 'cause you can just unbutton your same jeans, slip it on and it holds the zippered part together and no one can tell and this will get you through the first two trimesters probably. Slap this person. This person is only talking about one woman for whom this thing once worked and she did not gain more than 16 pounds and she was super petite and active and was never going to lie down once the whole time she was pregnant, even when she was having the baby or while sleeping.
Maternity clothes are now identical to the normal season's offerings at places like Target and Old Navy, which I guess is supposed to be better than the Olden Days when there were only rows of burlap sacks for pregnant women. Except a burlap sack would actually be far more durable, something you will discover the second you try on another flimsy shirt from the above offenders and try to tie the thing that ties in the back, which is supposed to re-frame your new heaving bosom, and it rips off immediately. Of course, if you're willing to drop a few dimes, you can hit up the Mimi Maternities and the like, where you can actually buy "black skinny maternity jeans" (I know, SO confusing) designed by Nicole Richie or something and other dream items for a hundred bucks a pop. Verdict: totally worth every penny if you're me. Irony alert: No baby changing table in the bathroom, I guess because they realize that after you have the first kid you'll know better than to ever spend that kind of money on maternity clothes and anti-stretch creams again.
People will also give you clothes during this time, which is great, but sometimes these well-meaning polyester gifts will come with knowing advice such as, "Wear this when you want to feel sexy," and inside you will laugh uproariously and also later out loud with your husband because all you've been doing is peeing yourself, sweating profusely, and getting huge throbbing ear zits for the past six months.
Post-Partum Carnival of Mirrors
Congratulations, you had the baby! Time to do the most depressing shopping of your ENTIRE LIFE, where you have to look at your post-baby self which is oh-so-very-fucking-tired and hormonally crashed-out and you're possibly sobbing every 8 minutes and try to put together some version of a transitional wardrobe that will get you through another six months. People will say, "Oh you'll just be grateful to just wear something with a regular waist again." You'll think: What if I stabbed you in the face with this gently used Bella Band?
The New You
Hooray, you lost the baby weight! This could be happening in as little as two weeks after your pregnancy if you are a celebrity or possibly only in a daydream if you are anyone else. Now you can buy even more clothes to prove that you are a still-sexified, happenin' broad, but not like in the old way, but in the new way that telegraphs the new maturity that comes with the wisdom of motherhood. Your old clothes certainly don't say that! Remember that old hoodie you thought you'd wear again? You wore that the night you threw up that scotch martini some guy bought you, the guy that actually acted like he thought he might still get a beej out of you at the end of the night. (Ok, maybe that guy was your husband.)
Speaking of happy endings, if you're lucky, perhaps the person who got you into this predicament — your dear partner — will help you get out of it. Perhaps they'll even track down the maternity holy grail, the one item that will turn all your discomforts into contented sighs.
For some women that grail is a body pillow or a pillow made of marshmallows, but for me, it was a $16 pair of silver sparkly moon boots from Old Navy. They were funny things: fake Uggs, basically, and with their tacky spray-paint job effect, they looked as trashy and cheap as any knockoff ought to. My husband had scrapped with bargain shoppers over the last pair on the shelf that winter, and brought them home victoriously like a modern-day bearskin.
Of course, I was mocked relentlessly for wearing them by friends and coworkers, who usually assumed that they were some kind of joke. They'd take one look at them and bust out laughing, like it was some kind of piece of performance art or a result of "giving up" in my advanced pregnant state to don this ridiculous footwear. But they couldn't have been more wrong. For one, I'd never so much as given two Texas-sized shits in the first place, and two, those boots were the only home those old bread loaves had ever known.
Tracy Moore is a writer living in Los Angeles. If you'd like to send her more moon boots, she's a size 8.
Image by Steve Dressler.