I knew I had to dig in and actually buy some maternity pants when I could no longer hike my yoga pants up any higher. With my old pants, I either gave myself significant camel toe (not attractive), or I ended up with a thick elastic imprint around my waist (not comfortable), or both.
More often, it was both.
Since my belly was going to continue to expand, and this wasn’t a case of “if I sleep 12 hours tonight, drink a lot of water and take a good morning poop, I’ll fit back into my jeans,” I realized it was probably time to buy some maternity clothes.
In retrospect, I don’t know why I was so reluctant — maternity jeans are THE BEST! Having clothes that fit, and are comfy, stretchy, and yet supportive is a wonderful feeling. When your body changes, find, borrow, or buy new clothes that make you feel great. It’s really challenging to feel good about yourself when you feel like crap in what you’re wearing.
(My friends who are not pregnant yet keep asking me to write everything down and record it for them, so these posts are for you!)
Here’s what I’ve found so far that I adore.
Maternity pants are actually not that fussy! They’re actually wonderful. Lots of pants nowadays look like regular jeans, but they have more stretch in them and come with an elastic waistband. I’m not a regular J.Crew shopper, but was surprised to find that they carry maternity clothes that come in tall sizes (win!). These jeans in dark denim in tall are perfect for people 5’10” and fit like skinny leggings. But look like jeans.
The Belly Fit Jacket Extender
My mother sourced this brilliant creation. Instead of buying new jackets to cover up your bump in the freezing winter, buy a jacket extender! It takes some finagling to find all the right zipper information (what’s a coil?), but your existing jacket should have zipper identity numbers on it and you can buy a jacket extender that’ll take your favorite winter coat and make it fit your belly — and your baby, once it arrives!
There are a number of options for $10-$15, but I found the reviews for the Bellaband to be the best and spent $28 on this Belly Band. It’s long enough to go over the top of your belly and tuck in below pants for a little extra comfort and smoothing out, and you can fold it down over your jeans if you’re just shifting sizes. I have some hip and pelvis separation happening, and having an extra band wrapped around my hips has been a relief throughout the day.
Maternity Shirts and Tanks Tops
These extra-long tanks and these short-sleeve shirred tops by Liz Lange for Target Maternity have been the perfect $10 top. Super soft, comfortable, easy to wear. (Hat tip to Kate Northrup, who shared these with me!)
Stay with me here. I got a great recommendation to buy underwear two sizes too big, and it has been one of the best things ever. Buy those low-rise hipster panties (I love Hanes cotton underwear for about a dollar each on Amazon), and buy them two (or three!) sizes too big. They will look absolutely gigantic on your bed when you take them out of the package and you will giggle and wonder how they will fit without falling off. Somehow they will fit like a dream, and your booty, belly, and expanding thighs will sigh with glorious thanks.
While the clothing is a little expensive for me (socks and underwear at $34 a pop each? I’ll spring for the dollar kind), I splurged on the dress and leggings and they are divine. I appreciate their philosophy that simpler is better, and you only need one dress and one pair of pants to make it through your pregnancy stylish and comfortable. They are biased towards tall, athletic or more slender body types, however, and I find the pants to be a little thin (in between leggings and tights) — if you’re looking for structural support or you have a sturdier, shorter body, these could be annoying. (As a tall lady, I’m grateful for long pants!)
A Body Pillow
It takes up a lot of space in the bed, but it is also a divine luxury. As sleep becomes harder to come by, and your body harder to lug around (or lie down at all), having support all around you is wonderful. I’m using a borrowed pillow from a friend (somewhat like this), because you only need it for the later months of pregnancy, and I believe we’re passing the pillow around from friend to friend as one lady after another gets pregnant. In New York, space is very hard to come by, and storing a giant pillow is not something many people want to do.
Earplugs and a Great Eye Mask
They say that snoring is a side effect of pregnancy, and by month 4, I was not only snoring, but I actually snore myself awake now. Hence the earplugs — I get up enough to pee as it is, no need to keep waking up just to hear myself snore.
An Empty Plastic Bucket That Is Super Easy To Clean
I had some bad bouts of morning (and night) sickness, and would often be sick by the end of the day. Many of my dinners didn’t stay very long in my body. Sometimes I’d wake up in the middle of the night and continue the sickness. (It sucks.) One thing that helped us was keeping a small plastic bucket by the bed.
We learned quickly that not making it to the bathroom or the kitchen sink was messy to clean up, and short bucket made it easy to clean.* (I’ll probably write a lot more on morning sickness and how I dealt with it in another post.) For now, an easy-to-clean bucket. And a husband or partner that will help you clean it out. I am so grateful to Alex, who said that if I could handle the vomiting part and growing a human, he’d do the duty of cleaning up after me. When I told him how much I appreciated it, he shrugged and said, “it’s gonna be this and then poopy diapers, right?”
*Alex, upon reading this post, said it might be worth mentioning that he got these aforementioned skills while in college, learning the value of an easy-to-clean bucket after a little too much of the boozy beverages. College, preparing you for parenting in more ways than you know…
A White Noise Maker That’s Also A Humifier
We use The Wirecutter and The Sweet Home for recommendations and they’ve consistently recommended this humidifier. We got it and it’s easy to use and clean, just need to replace the filter ($12) every now and again. Because of all the dryness of winter air and the fact that pregnancy hormones can clog up your nose and dry out your sinuses, humidity is very useful.
With regards to birthing and parenting advice:
The best advice I’ve received so far about planning ahead for birthing, parenting and setting up a nursery is this:
First, don’t buy that much stuff for the baby in advance
You don’t need a ton of things, and every baby will be different. In some cultures, it’s considered bad luck to buy things before the baby is born. (In American culture, we custom-design fancy nursery rooms for each new baby.) We’re of a more minimalist sensibility, and want to buy just enough, but not a million things. Almost everyone I’ve spoken with says it’s easy to drown in stuff, buy too much, and go crazy. The baby doesn’t need as much as we buy for it.
You won’t know how big your baby is going to be either, so if you can, don’t go crazy on clothes. My mom told me that none of us fit in the infant-sized clothes, so if we did get things, start with 3-6 months sizing and go up.
That said, a few shopping trips here and there really woke us up to the reality of what we’re doing, and opened up conversations about who we want to be and what we want in our family.
Try not to turn the pregnancy into (too big of) a research project
My friend Lindsay offered one piece of advice that I loved: “The birth will last you ten, twenty hours or so. Parenting will last forever. Right now you have time to read and explore. Read more about parenting than birthing!” I LOVE this advice and reminder.
Lastly: have people around for moral support
I still think our hyper-connected world still misses out on deeper connections, and my energy in New York is focused on developing closer, more meaningful relationships with people I love.
There is no substitute for having good conversations with pregnant ladies a few months ahead of you for timeline logistics of when to do stuff. Ditto for having conversations with ladies several years ahead of you for moral support and cute pictures and reminders of why we’re doing this and that it’s worth it.—
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