In college, I had a friend who worked in a maternity store at the local mall. So, technically, the very first time I tried on maternity clothes was in college and when I was not, in fact, pregnant. My friend talked me into trying on a pair of maternity jeans by insisting they were cute even for non-pregnant ladies. Then she gave me a little cushion to put inside the panel so I could see what my future — distant future, mind you — pregnant belly looked like. As you can probably imagine, I was totally weirded out. My college student self was in no way ready for the visual of my pregnant self. Some people surely are at that age and at that life stage, but I was not one of them.
However, the second time I tried on maternity clothes, it was a much more intentional experience, and one that I enjoyed with my own mom. This is the occasion I vividly remember when I think about shopping for maternity clothes, and what I think most pregnant women and moms can relate to. I was newly pregnant, browsing with a purpose, and actually in need of what I was shopping for. (And there was no need for a friend to give me a little cushion so I could picture what I would look like pregnant.)
Still, that’s not to say that trying on maternity clothes when I was pregnant was all kittens and rainbows, since I still had plenty of feelings about the whole thing. It was one of the many times that the reality of pregnancy again sinks in, and that can inspire all kinds of responses. At least, it did for me: