Friday, July 11, 2014

My Love/Hate Relationship with Pregnancy & Maternity Clothes

Being pregnant is truly a wonderful thing.  It's beautiful and it's a miracle.  However, there's a dark underside to this pregnancy gig, and everyone who's interested in being real does their own kind of expose into this area.  Even me.

Pregnancy symptoms are for the birds.  I haven't even had all of the possible symptoms, but the ones I have are making me miserable.  Swollen legs and feet, heartburn, headaches, hot flashes, discomfort while sleeping, lower back pain, widening hips, ligament pain in my abdomen, growing breasts, rounding belly, increased mucous/fluids... the list could go on and on. 

Aside from that, there are other changes going on that really stink.  They're mostly chain reactions of the above, and they serve as reminders of your temporary state of impairment and the fact that being pregnant as a plus sized woman is no picnic. 

Restaurants have become trickier.  You know that restaurant you love going to because it has all of those booths?  Well, those cozy booths aren't comfortable anymore and now you can only sit at a regular table.  This means longer wait times and eye-rolls from the host stand, who just think I'm being super picky and high maintenance before you've even ordered your first non-alcoholic beverage.  Telling the host that you're pregnant helps a smidge, but they still act put out and annoyed by a special request.  You'll also notice that some restaurants have VERY few tables, and most will be high-top tables in the bar.  This just isn't cool because even high-top bar chairs can be uncomfortable during pregnancy, and I don't really want to be sitting in the bar area watching everyone drink their 2-for-1 margaritas.  It's like rubbing salt in my wounds!  Also, chairs with arms are less comfortable for me right now since my body is getting wider without my say-so.  My docs say it's normal, but I say it's shit. 

Also, NOTHING fits right anymore.  No surprise, right?  Even shoes stop fitting.  Most of my shoes are too tight now due to my swollen feet, so my footwear options are now limited to one or two pairs of flip flops and ballet flats.  I seriously miss all of my other cute shoes!  Even the shoes that other pregnant ladies recommend don't fit my feet, since they're so chunky on  top right now.  Even my toes have little chub rolls.  I wish I was kidding.

My hands have even swelled up, causing me to ditch my wedding rings and now I also have the start of a lovely phenomenon called Pregnancy Carpal Tunnel.  While the wedding ring issue is fixed by my cheap, Target CZ ring, there's no easy fix for the temporary Carpal Tunnel problem.  There's nothing like trying to type something quickly while your hands and fingers are engulfed in that pins-and-needles feeling.

Finally, the latest bane of my existence is plus sized maternity clothing.  Do you realize that practically no one makes this segment of clothing??  It's super-specialty clothing that most retailers ignore.  I mean, most retailers like to pretend that plus size women don't exist anyway, and those that do sell plus sizes assume the women wearing the clothing are all over the age of 50.  It's completely insulting.  But plus size maternity clothes?  Forget about it.  There are SO few options.

Here's a newsflash to retailers:  PLUS SIZED WOMEN HAVE BABIES TOO!!  And we're not all dumpy, white-trash types who will just live in huge 4X men's t-shirts and sweatpants while we're with child.  Plus sized pregnant women want cute clothes, pajamas, swim suits and business clothes, too.  We want cute shoes that fit our big sausage feet.  We want CHOICES.  It shouldn't be such a hard thing for stores to grasp.

My problem is that friends often try to help by pointing out where they found cute maternity wear, but they're all smaller than I am or are just built differently.  99% of the time they suggest Old Navy and Target, but these stores only go up to an XXL in maternity wear.  Pre-pregnancy, this would not have been an issue for me, as XLs and XXLs were a regular staple of my wardrobe.  But now, my wider hips, bigger boobs and round tummy require me to wear a 2X or 3X in plus sized maternity.  NO JOKE.  Target's clothes simply don't fit right (most are too clingy for my liking) and Old Navy has given me only limited success.

Motherhood Maternity is a decent resource, but the clothes are less stylish and more expensive.  Most of my current work clothes have come from there, as well as some casual pants and t-shirts.  Casual pants in plus maternity are extremely limited unless you want leggings or cargo capris (neither of which are really my thing), and the selection of shorts is laughable.   I just don't love buying a super plain, borderline frumpy maxi dress or ill-fitting khaki pants for $50, but a girl needs to be clothed.  Decisions, decisions.

People have recommended Kohl's, but they've stopped selling plus sized maternity last year.  I've also heard about JC Penney, but their selection is also very limited and can only be purchased online.  Ugh.  No one besides Motherhood offers maternity that you can try on in the store, and even then, Motherhood's in-store selection is far smaller than their variety of online offerings.  JC Penney does not have any in-store plus maternity, so that's also out if you want to try things on.

My biggest hurdle has been finding something to wear to my baby shower.  I have two dresses I've bought online and I don't love either one.  One is passable but shows off my swollen legs, and the other is just frumpy, cheaply-made and dull.  I am probably going to try to dress up a work outfit for the occasion, which is less than ideal.  I never thought finding a cute maternity dress would be so hard!

Now on to the parts of maternity clothes that I love...

The best thing I can say about plus sized maternity is that when you find comfortable pieces, those are the only ones you want to wear.  They're a godsend as you get larger and more uncomfortable in anything else you own.  I love a full-coverage elastic waistband on pants these days (the vain part of me never thought I'd say it!), as well as tops and dresses with extra belly room.  Totally.  Glorious.

My favorite pants are these lightweight pants that roll into capris, which are keeping me cool this summer.  I have shorts too, but I like these better because they cover more of my swollen parts.


Motherhood Maternity
VERY Comfortable, but not particularly exciting


This t-shirt is also great due to the light fabric and sleeves that cover my squishy upper arms.  I own it in 4 colors, so you know it's a favorite. 
Motherhood Maternity
Nothing special, but lightweight and comfortable

I've been wearing maxi dresses from Motherhood and Old Navy, but unfortunately neither site still carries them.  They're long, they cover a lot and yet they're cool for the sweaty summer months.  They also work well for work or play, and can be dressed up or down depending on the occasion.  I highly recommend maxi dresses for summertime pregnancies!

Finally, ballet flats and flip flops are your friend when your feet get swollen and other shoes are no longer a comfortable option.  Since I don't work at a flip-flop friendly workplace, it's ballet flats for me every single day.  Even other sandals don't work for me right now because the tops of my feet are so swollen, and don't let anyone tell you that Tom's or Crocs will work better.  If you're feet are like mine, they won't cut it.  Invest in some reasonably comfortable ballet flats and you won't be sorry.  Even affordable shoe stores like Payless make some decent ballet flats, including those in wide-widths (if you need that sort of thing). 

Our Child Birth class teacher recently asked me what I liked about being pregnant.  And I answered honestly:  There aren't many things I like about being pregnant, other than feeling my baby move and kick and seeing her little face on our sonogram pictures.  I also like that no one expects me to lift anything heavy, do any manual labor, or be around chemicals (Hall Pass to get out of painting the nursery!).  Several other moms in the room felt the same way, so I wasn't alone.  I don't feel like a sexy, womanly being who has that pregnancy glow.  Being pregnant hasn't been comfortable for me physically, but I love knowing that it's temporary and will result in us meeting our newest, most exciting family member to date.  Woo-hoo to that!

So that's it.  It's a bit more of a rant than I initially planned, but you get the truth here.  Overall, despite the trials and tribulations of being pregnant, having our baby here will be AMAZING, and I know that.  It will all be worth it in the end!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Refocusing the Planner In Me

The life of a crazy-busy, 33-weeks pregnant lady is tough... At times turbulent.... But always an adventure. 

I recently experienced some severe abdominal cramping that really terrified and upset me.  Normally, my non-preggo self would say, "Damn, I won't eat at that sushi place again."  But my preggo self got nervous because I didn't know the cause of my pain. (I haven't had any sushi while pregnant, even though I've had some serious cravings!)  It lasted for a couple of days, and on the second day, it was so bad that it brought this tough girl to tears.  I stayed home from work to rest and rehydrate (the doctor thought I may be dehydrated), but the pain persisted, and by the end of that day, I couldn't sit down comfortably but I couldn't move much while standing either.  I was really worried about what that might mean for baby and I, and if that meant that I was having any problems with my pregnancy.  Thus far, my pregnancy has been very healthy and I've had no issues to speak of. 

I decided to go to the hospital for monitoring, which was a great decision, at least for my peace of mind.  I found out that our baby is doing wonderfully, and my pain and discomfort was likely due to a stomach bug and a non-serious infection.  I learned that I'm not experiencing any kind of pre-term labor, and she's not likely to arrive anytime in the next two weeks.

Relief set in.

Afterward, I reflected on the experience.  While the thought of having a baby born 7 weeks early was scary to me, I was really most worried about her arriving before I had everything ready for her.  I don't have a car seat, stroller, diapers, or other necessities.  My baby shower is this weekend, where I will probably get some essentials, but I need to buy the rest and darn it, I need time for that!  I also don't have her room organized and decorated, which I realize is minor in the grand scheme of things, but I was still upset about it.  I want everything to be just right for her and not done on the fly.

But that's the planner in me.  I was more upset that my prep-work wasn't done than I was knowing that she might arrive before her lungs are fully developed.  Silly, silly, silly.  But the planner reminds me that we have excellent doctors, a great hospital staff and a great support system to take care of her if she's born early, but the planning and preparations are all on me and my hubby.  And we aren't ready.   There's nothing like a swift kick in the butt to get you moving on your to-do list!

Nonetheless, I was reminded of what truly matters.  It's not about having cute d├ęcor hung on the walls of the nursery, having just the right Coming Home outfit, or saving up to buy the fancy stroller.  It's about making Baby C gets here in the safest, healthiest way possible.  I also have very little control around when baby decides to arrive, so I have to be prepared in case she makes her way into our family earlier than expected.  As long as I'm staying healthy AND preparing for her arrival simultaneously, things will be good.  I'm confident in that.

So from here on out, I am committed to being focused on preparations for baby without losing sight of how important she and her health are to me.  I need to pack our bags for the hospital, finish decorating the nursery, and stock up on baby essentials.  I also need to drink water like its my job, keep eating healthy and rest whenever possible.  Physically over-doing it in June didn't do me any favors!

Here's to a wonderful (and hopefully productive) next 7 weeks!

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Tampa, Florida, United States
I'm a wife, daughter and amazing twin sister. I'm a mom to my adorable dog, Bella. Loves: Shopping, cooking, baking, good grammar and Dave Matthews Band. I'm also a Bath and Body Works addict, a Michigan State Spartans fanatic, and an iPhone aficionado. I see beauty in simple things and little things make me ever-so-happy. Welcome to my world!


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