They are intended for use over the 6 odd months that you don’t fit into your normal clothes, thanks to the bun in the oven. Say you have 3 kids, then it’s fair to say you’ll probably end up wearing your maternity clothes for a total of 18 months. Plus perhaps a couple of months after each pregnancy, while your body shrinks back to its pre-child glory (enormous snort here on behalf of my own body).
So Ive got 3 kids, from 2 pregnancies, therefore you would estimate I’ve worn my maternity clothes for around 12-18 months in total, including post babies shrinkage time (choking snort this time).
I added it up, and I reckon I've been wearing my maternity clothes for approximately 71 months. That is, from the time I convinced myself I was “showing” with my first pregnancy (around 2 ½ months...what can I say, I was desperate to look pregnant, so started wearing maternity clothes as soon as I started telling people I was up the duff).
And I continued wearing them....until now. That's not to say I've stopped wearing them recently, more that I am currently still wearing them - even as I type this post.
The twins are 2 and 3 months.
And no I’m not pregnant again (I've learnt my lesson on that front).
I went out on my first date the other week, which I prepared for by throwing my wardrobe around the room, hoping a colour co-ordinated and chic outfit that made me look slim would materialize on the bed while the rest fell to the floor.
It didn't. Instead, I found that my entire wardrobe consists of elasticized waistbands. And what’s more, I was relieved. I am addicted to the elastic waistband, the ability to simply pull on any item of clothing. I may actually require retraining, should I purchase anything with a button and/or zipper in the future.
The comfort factor of an elasticized, adjustable, flexible waistband far outweighs my desire to look trendy, cool, young….dare I say….sexy (choking and snorting so huge I may require the Heimlich manoeuvre at this point).
This refusal to leave my maternity-self behind has extended to other areas of my wardrobe too.
My shoe collection, once my most prized possession, filled with high heels, wedge heels, the odd stiletto – no longer. The only survivors of the pre-baby era are those that I think I can still get away with wearing, without anyone calling the Fashion Police on me. But I shouldn't worry about that too much, as I literally had to wipe the DUST off those bad boys when I was assessing my collection for this very post. That’s how often I wear them these days.
Every single item of footwear I've purchased since Miss5 started growing in my belly, is like an item of Resort Wear appropriate to Gilligan's Island or Bali – flat soles, very much thong-like, some sandals to ‘class it up’ with a few extra straps (but still with the elasticized back so I can simply PULL THEM ON like the rest of my wardrobe).
I went swimming with Miss5 the other week. When pulling out my bathers (with total and utter fear and dread), I noticed the label. I WAS happy to have found these bathers (pre Xmas in Bali), and I DID like the way they looked. I WAS especially happy with the way the top part didn't stop short around the bottom of my rib cage. It didn't even drop so low at the cleavage that bystanders would be able to determine if my belly button was an ‘inny’ or an ‘outy’. It actually had brilliant support and coverage in the boob region.
This was all great and of huge comfort to me in Bali, as I dropped my towel as close to the edge of the water as possible, and dove in before anyone could see my lycra clad self.
But when I pulled the exact same bathers out the other week, I actually read the label for the first time.
Son of a…..
I didn't even realise I’d been in the maternity wear section, let alone tried on, liked, and found the perfect pair of bathers that FITTED LIKE A GLOVE.
Maternity bathers are made with a certain amount of extra material in certain places, and I've made no secret of my ever present (and no doubt, bloody ETERNAL) Mummy Tummy. So naturally, my next thought is “oh dear God, did everyone think I was pregnant and negligently drinking my way through the cocktail list at the swim up bar over Christmas?” ( It's not like dumping my kids on a Nanny every day would've had them viewing my parental skills in a less-than-perfect light in the first place or anything).
So, in conclusion, here's how I see it.
I’m no fashion guru – as you've probably gleaned from this post. But can I just say, I am happy in my Mummy clothes, worn proudly like a sign that says “I carried a watermelon on the inside and then birthed the thing, therefore I don’t need to wear low rise, low waisted, sprayed on anything anymore thank you very much."
Better that, than sporting a killer muffin top in tight jeans / pants / skirt / shorts that most likely fit pre-baby - but now the muffin top dam is about to break at any moment. And it can’t be held back because it is joined only by an inappropriately short and/or tight top. *cough* teenage Mums, I’m talking to you.
So next time I see a poor woman wobbling on impossibly high heels, her feet all gnarly and bent out of shape from years of heel-abuse, her skin tight hipsters so far up her arse she could cough to undress - I will smile, snap the elastic on my Maternity Jeans, and clip-clop off in my comfortable flat sandals.