In addition to the big issues that pregnant women have to manage, like caring for yourself, preparing for your unborn child, and trying to remember which fruit properly represents your baby’s size that week, you also have to keep your head in the game and properly dress yourself. And as it turns out, only some of these struggles go away when the baby arrives. There’s a whole new set of physical problems that arise once you give birth, including but not limited to: healing after your body has pretty much turned itself inside out, getting the hang of this whole breastfeeding thing, and figuring out what to wear after having a baby. Good thing life with a newborn is conducive to getting lots of time to rest and reflect, right? *cough*
Luckily, there are some ways to manage these problems. I mean, think back to pregnancy (or think about it now, if it’s your current state). On top of the waves of excitement (and nausea) and the fact that eating has never been more enjoyable, it’s also one of the first and perhaps, one of the only times in a woman’s life where she can prioritize her own comfort above most other things. Like, no one blinks if a woman in her third trimester announces that she needs a nap, or a snack, or if she’s wearing flats instead of heels. Really, shoes are the tip of the iceberg when it comes to deciding on what to wear and how to wear it when you’re growing a child.
I found that switching out my wardrobe both during (shout-out to my friends who shared their maternity gear) and after pregnancy gave me a chance to really think about the masses of clothes I’ve collected over the years. And perhaps it’s because we had a ton of baby gear also taking up space in nearly every room of our house that was making me critical of the volume of shirts I had, but all of a sudden, I found myself wondering why I had so many clothes that I didn’t enjoy, or that weren’t comfortable, or that I wore because I thought I was supposed to wear them.
Say what you will about our culture and the pressure for women to look a certain way, or the simple fact that some jobs just require us to dress ~professionally~. Those pressure exist, but somehow, we’re able to manage them alongside the need for comfort and function during pregnancy. Why does that have to stop when your baby arrives?
And for everyone who feels best when they are dressed to the nines and looking way better than I ever will, you are my heroes. You know who you are. I love that feeling too, but I have, like, maybe five outfits that I would consider stylish, and anyone I’ve hung out with that many times has probably seen them all. I don’t consider myself to be anything close to a fashion maven (as illustrated by the fact that I say things like "fashion maven"), and there is a reason that I’ve never started a fashion blog. I want to talk about clothes today because of the fact that talking about/thinking about/worrying about clothes is really not a huge part of my life. But the sad truth about pants-wearing society is that we’re all required to wear them on a regular basis, so why not figure out how to do it in a way that looks and feels right to us?
We’re able to manage ... the need for comfort and function during pregnancy. Why does that have to stop when your baby arrives?
Full disclosure: I’m coming to you today as a lady wearing her husband’s sweatpants, so I’m in no way qualified to give style advice. But perhaps I am qualified to give comfort advice. I mean, these pants have a drawstring and they’re fleece, and they’re about three sizes too big, so they’re basically one step below a snuggie. My point is this: Why does pregnancy have to be the only time we prioritize our own comfort? That doesn’t have to stop after you deliver.
And so, if you’re anywhere close to that stage of pulling out your pre-pregnancy clothes, or of buying yourself some fresh post-baby gear, may I offer you both a hug (hey, congrats, you had a baby!) and these humble words:
There’s no shame in wearing sweatpants, or hoodies, or yoga pants or whatever else makes you feel good.
If we can take one lesson from our relationship with clothing during pregnancy and carry it with us into the rest of our lives, let's hope that can be it.