Let’s be very, very honest about this — pregnancy and childbirth change your body. Regardless of what tabloid headlines about celebrities’ post-baby bodies and Instagram #fitspo posts might tell you, the reality is that your body’s going to look and feel a little different after having kids — which means your clothes will probably look and feel different, too. Luckily, you don’t have to wear your maternity jeans and your partner’s ratty old college sweatshirts forever (unless you want to!). Mom Jeans is Romper’s guide to helping you figure out your postpartum wardrobe during the first few months postpartum and beyond.
Accepting my post-pregnancy body is hands-down one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done. It’s something that I still work on every single day. During my first pregnancy, I was 20 years old, so I managed to bounce back quickly. In fact, I dropped about ten extra pounds and somehow managed to be thinner than even during my high school years. Postpartum looked good on me.
But with my second pregnancy, I’m 8 months postpartum, and I'm still struggling to get rid of my extra weight. I was expecting the weight loss to happen quicker than it, so every day it gets a little harder to look in the mirror. One day, however, I found some magical skinny jeans that put everything into perspective.
After giving birth to my daughter in August, I tried to be kinder to myself and more accepting of how my body had changed. But that didn't make it any easier to get used to my extra weight. My usually skinny legs were carrying extra weight in the thighs, and my butt looked like it was out of control. I couldn’t squeeze into my pre-baby jeans, so I'd stand in front of my bedroom mirror and jump and twist until it felt like I had made some progress, only to not be able to button them when I got them pulled up to my waist.
“Just buy new jeans," my husband would say to me, over and over again. He loved the extra curves that pregnancy had given me, so he was more than happy for me to just give up and keep everything where it was at.
As I buttoned them up and zipped them on, I felt an instant boost of confidence. I even found myself making excuses to run errands or pick up our son from the bus stop in the afternoon when it was my husband’s turn, just because I wanted to put them on and show them off.
“No, I am going to lose this weight," I told him. "And then we’re going to have a closet filled with jeans that are too big. I’ll just keep working at it.” In the meantime, I'd just reach for my mom leggings.
It was hard for me to accept that I couldn't wear jeans yet, especially considering how much of a style staple they had been in my pre-baby wardrobe. I’m on the shorter side and I've always carried my extra weight in my stomach, so in my attempt to balance myself out, I always opted for skinny jeans to lengthen my legs, with a waistband thick enough to make my waist look thin. It was my signature style item.
A few months later, I found myself enjoying a lovely Tuesday afternoon. My husband was off work, and he encouraged me to get out and do something for myself. So I went to barre class, stopped for a green juice, and got a pedicure. Just as I was walking back to the subway, I passed by American Eagle Outfitters. They were advertising a “buy one get one 50% off" denim sale, and all I could think about was my husband saying, “Just buy new jeans." So I finally decided that I would.
Yes, I did have to go up one pant size. But looking and feeling so great in jeans for the first time in my entire life made me realize just how stupid it was to care about the size tag.
After what seemed like hours, I finally decided on a fit that I liked: the classic American Eagle jeggings (see below). I bought them in both colors that they carried in store: a lighter wash, and a darker one. They were, to borrow a phrase from LulaRoe lovers, buttery soft and stretchy, and every single part of my body felt wonderful in them.
I began wearing my skinny jeans everywhere I went. As I buttoned them up and zipped them on, I felt an instant boost of confidence. I even found myself making excuses to run errands or pick up our son from the bus stop in the afternoon when it was my husband’s turn, just because I wanted to put them on and show them off. They fit so well that I didn’t even need to layer on my SPANX camisoles underneath to hide my love handles.
Having these skinny jeans in my closet reignited my desire to dress stylish again, instead of just sticking to my mom leggings and tunics. I really began to love mixing and layering prints and solids, the way I did before my pregnancy. Yes, I did have to go up one pant size. But looking and feeling so great in jeans for the first time in my entire life made me realize just how stupid it was to care about the size tag. It made me realize how I'd put way too much pressure on myself all these years to live my life according to these numbers, when it was more important for me to find something that actually made me feel comfortable.
There are many obstacles that we have to overcome as new moms, and yes, finding the perfect pair of skinny jeans is definitely one of them. But sometimes the stars align and you can find a pair of skinny jeans that not only make you feel like a million bucks, but saves you during a time in your life when you need them the most.