By now you know that we are expecting our next child in June. This meant that my wife needed to break out in her maternity clothes. Well this is her frustration after switching careers as written by her.
Whether you love or loathe to shop, at some point all pregnant women will need to buy or borrow new maternity clothes to accommodate their expanding waistline. I fall into the “love to shop” camp, but am fairly frugal out of necessity. I don’t have the dedication to extreme coupon—I’m more of the “thrift store shopping, make my own laundry soap, sew patches on my kid’s jeans to make them last longer” kind of frugal. I save random things in the off-chance they will come in handy someday, including my old maternity clothes. So when we found out we were expecting #2, I resurrected The Tub from the basement as soon as I starting having trouble buttoning my pants (which was embarrassingly early in my pregnancy).
Thus begins my frustration.
So 5 years ago, during my first pregnancy, I was a teacher at a school with a fairly relaxed dress code. Circle skirts or slacks with a tshirt and cardigan were de rigueur. I should also note that I was pregnant over the summer last time, with my son being born in early fall.
Following the birth of The Rookie, I decided to switch careers and become a lawyer (hashtag statistic, hashtag payteachersmore, hashtag ihaventfiguredouthowtohashtagcorrectly).
Switching careers also brought a switch in work dress code. Now I wear suits every day. Pencil skirts at or just below the knee, blouse tucked in, tailored blazers, closed-toe heels in my desk drawer á la Melanie Griffith in Working Girl because open-toed flats are SOOOO 1st year law student.
I should also remind you that it is currently winter. Between the mismatched seasons and the dress code 180, exactly zero of my old maternity clothes are new-job-appropriate.
Me: YAY! I get to go shopping!!!!!!!!!
Rookie Dad: [begins popping Tums while checking our bank account balance]
First, I skip over to our trusty thrift store. Slim pickings. I am not phased.
Next, I head to our local mega-mall and go to large nation-wide retailer that I KNOW has a decent maternity section. I know, because I worked at this particular store for three years in undergrad. Aah, many Saturdays spent tucking in jean butt flaps and re-folding tables of tshirts. Good times. I head directly to the maternity section and am greeted by…purses. Wait. They rearranged. I find an employee and ask where the Maternity section is?
“We no longer carry maternity, ma’am.”
Harumpf. Well, I was prepared to spend several tens of dollars in this store today, but I guess I’ll take my money elsewhere. Six stores later, I still hadn’t found a maternity section. This is nuts, all of these stores used to carry maternity. What is the deal?
I finally found a microscopic maternity section in another major national retailer, consisting of two racks of tent-like casual tops, a rack of jeans, and a rack of clearance shoved in the corner of a multi-level, 50,000+ sq ft. store.
Time to go online.
I am wary of shopping online, mostly because I fluctuate between a size 14 and 16 (I’ve got curves, nothing to be ashamed of) who can’t trust the amorphous L-XL-XXL sizing that many stores frustratingly use. The Girls can also be a bit temperamental, so fit and seam placement are important. Unless it’s yoga pants or accessories, I prefer to try on prior to purchasing.
I went to my favorite river in the rainforest—I mean, website. I clicked on the Maternity Clothing page and searched for “blazer.” Three results appeared. Three. Sizes offered? Two were small-medium only. One actually came in large, which the sizing chart estimated was about a 12. Let’s face it, folks…If I started around a size 16, I’m going to be a size 83 by the time I’m done cooking this turkey. Air quotes “Large” isn’t going to cut it.
It’s finally sinking in that I’m just going to have to make do with the blazers I already have and leave them unbuttoned (sloppy, but still within dress code). So I start looking for other work-appropriate clothes.
The frustration continues.
I love SAHMs—and Dads—don’t get me wrong. A parent’s right to choose and all that (if you’re lucky enough to be financially able to make that choice). I choose to work outside the home. Plus, my bank kinda dictates it. Apparently, maternity designers love SAHMs, too. The traditional SAHM’s laid-back clothing style is driving the maternity wear market. Where are the companies that design business attire for knocked up moguls? I can’t wear a maxi skirt or tunic and jeggings to work. Okay, sure, there is that one company with professional maternity clothes, but I don’t have $400 to drop on suiting separates that only go up to a size 10 thankyouverymuch. I’m a poor professionally-attired plus-sized preggo.
Is it really too much to ask to wear something besides a tent and cardi when I’m negotiating a settlement? I’m not hiding my bump in the boardroom—I can rock a body-con dress and blazer with the best of them. But it has got to be bigger than a size 2.
At least give me options.