Courtesy of Allison Cooper

The Maxi Dress That Saved Me Postpartum

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I still remember how excited I was when it came in the mail. I pulled the package apart, eager to try it on. I was pregnant at the time, and I knew that as my bump grew and grew, it would make me look great and feel great. After I gave birth and brought the baby home from the hospital, I visited it in my closet. It felt just like catching up with an old friend.

During the postpartum period, I turned to it, time and time again. It made me feel wonderful at a time when that word wasn’t a part of my vocabulary. It hugged me in all the right places, and it worked for pretty much every occasion. If I hadn't bought it during my pregnancy, I guarantee that I would have had a much harder time adjusting to my postpartum body. That's why I credit this chevron maxi dress from the maternity clothing brand PinkBlush with saving my sanity.

Courtesy of Allson Cooper

I’m a full-time writer and blogger, and for the past few years, I've done weekly posts showcasing my mom style. When I announced my pregnancy, I started sharing my favorite maternity style, so I tried on an awful lot of maternity clothes and only showcased pieces that I knew would take me through pregnancy and beyond (hello, fourth trimester). Because I work with so many brands, I see lots of different pieces of clothing on a weekly basis, so I try to separate the good from the bad.

From the moment that I saw it online, I could tell this specific dress would become a wardrobe staple for me. I was at the very beginning of my second trimester and I knew that the summer months were ahead, so I decided to check out some maxi dresses.

I was a little bit nervous about the process of losing the baby weight and having the energy to exercise and eat well. But the dress made me feel confident and beautiful.

At this point in my life, I’m pretty much able to look at a piece of clothing and determine from 10 feet away if it’s going to work on my body or not. I can tell if a garment will show off my best features (my legs) and diminish my problem areas (my short waist and stomach). Maxi dresses were always tough for me because I’m only 5’2, so if the dress is too long, it looks like it's consuming my body.

But this maxi dress was different. It had thick straps, so I didn’t have to worry about what kind of bra I wore underneath. It was made of a soft jersey material that was comfortable and stretched to show off my cute baby bump, which meant that it would be forgiving after I gave birth. The bottom of the dress redirected the eye to the chevron pattern,thus hiding my extra weight in my stomach, thighs and butt. Plus it was just the right length for my petite height.

Two weeks after I gave birth, I wore the dress when my family came to visit from Pittsburgh. It was a sunny September day, a.k.a. perfect maxi dress weather. I pulled the dress on and stood in front of my full-length mirror. I was 8 years older than I was during my last pregnancy, and I was a little bit nervous about the process of losing the baby weight and having the energy to exercise and eat well. But the dress made me feel confident and beautiful.

Courtesy of Allison Cooper

When my dad saw me at the door, he immediately told me how awesome I looked. My mom and my sisters echoed that sentiment. “Wow! You look like you’ve already lost all the baby weight!," they said, pretty much in unison.

During the first few months after I gave birth, I wore the dress constantly. I didn’t give two sh*ts if people had already seen me in this dress a million times: it made me feel good, and I knew that every mama in the entire world could relate to that feeling. Because the pattern and style were so forgiving, I didn’t need to worry about layering tank tops underneath to suck my stomach in. I could just slip the dress on and go.

The dress took away the daily challenge of finding something to wear so I could focus on my kids. It gave me a confidence boost that carried me through until I felt more like myself again.

As the months passed by, I wore the dress less and less, mostly because my pre-pregnancy clothes were starting to fit again. I worked it into my wardrobe through the fall by adding a denim jacket overtop and even paired it with boots a few times, but as soon as winter came I packed it away in our storage unit.

I’m now 8 months postpartum and back to wearing all my pre-pregnancy clothes. I still have some weight to lose in places where I never carried extra weight before, like in my legs and butt, but I probably wouldn’t have been able to accept that my body has changed if I didn’t have this dress as a sort of security blanket right from the start.

Let’s face it — the postpartum months are a tough time for a new mom. The dress took away the daily challenge of finding something to wear so I could focus on my kids. It gave me a confidence boost that carried me through until I felt more like myself again. It was truly a lifesaver.