That feeling of discovering you’re pregnant is like nothing else (that is, if you’ve been trying to get pregnant!). You laugh, you cry, you call the doctor, you kiss your partner a lot. You feel so relieved to know why you’ve spent the last few weeks feeling like you’re on a cruise ship even though everyone else seems to be on solid ground—and vomiting occasionally, of course.
And if you’re me, you basically immediately go out and buy maternity clothes. After all, that’s part of the fun of pregnancy, right? A whole new wardrobe!
The thing is—and I learned this one the hard way—as soon as you start buying those clothes to grow into, you start growing into them. The idea that pregnant women can eat anything they want since they’re “eating for two” is a total fallacy, but one that I bought into way too much. I remember going to a doctor’s appointment around 15-weeks pregnant (when really, nothing is showing very much) in my maternity jeans and the doctor laughing at the fact that my jeans had that huge pregnancy panel and I had no belly to fill it with. She was right. I really think that the fact that I bought those clothes so early helped me to gain a little bit too much weight over the course of that pregnancy (like 10 pounds too much, which didn’t just melt off after the baby was born!).
So my advice to you, pregnant mamas of the world, is to wait. Instead of buying the maternity jeans that have the panel that go all the way up to your bra, buy the little pants extender things that will help you wear your regular jeans for a little while longer. (Here’s one option and here’s another choice.) I know, I know, the maternity jeans are super comfy and you love wearing them. But trust me, you will have plenty of time to enjoy that panel. After all, no one bounces back into their pre-pregnancy clothes immediately—not even Princess Kate—so you’ll have plenty of postpartum time to wear those comfy pregnancy panel jeans.
Once you’ve started to actually show (and not just when you’re staring at yourself in the mirror, hoping to see a teeny tiny pooch), that’s a good time to go out to the stores or go online and shop to your heart’s content.
If you’re planning to breastfeed, I’d also recommend that you invest a little more in nursing wear than in maternity wear. Or, even better, the clothes that can do both. That way when you’re wearing them postpartum they’re nice and loose but you can easily access your milk-makers for a screaming baby at any time. And yes, it will be at any time and at every time. The best thing I bought was a whole bunch of inexpensive nursing tank tops (something like this) that I wore underneath my clothes almost every day so that I kept my stomach stretch marks nice and covered.
Yes, I am making pregnancy and postpartum sound like a war zone. In a way, they are. You’re growing a whole new human, after all, which your body has to adjust and make space for. And then your body has to eject that human and try to contract itself back to normal. It can take a good year or so afterward to feel like yourself in your body again.
But that year—oh, what a year. There is nothing like having a baby in your life. And no matter how much weight you gain, how many stretch marks are indelibly tracked across your belly and breasts, or how much money you spend on maternity clothes—it is all worth it.