It is official. The first maternity clothes of the pregnancy have been purchased and worn. No going back now.
Jay asked me what happened to all the maternity clothes I had from Ezra. Well, ladies, we all know, now don’t we? I did what we all do: gave those things away to the first pregnant woman I came across so I could (as quickly as possible) forget how huge my ass had gotten in a ridiculously short amount of time.
I did save some, though. I have a pair of cropped linen pants, which I will admit I have worn more than once since Ezra was born and when I was decidedly not pregnant – they have the combo elastic and draw string waist. Having succumbed to the fact that I have am a white girl with red hair and getting up in years (so I can no longer bask in the sun and get a wonderful tan that will make me look healthy, sexy and do serious damage that will show up in 15 years when it – along with all the other damage I have done to my skin over the years – will make my mirror shatter), I sport the white leg. And by “white” I mean a pallid white that would only have been considered appropriate and sexy for a lady of means in the 1850s. As a courtesy to others, I don’t wear shorts anymore, so the linen capris have come in handy over the last four years.
I have a couple of maternity t-shirts that I love and are, of course, so threadbare by now that they are no longer appropriate to wear even on short grocery store runs on a Saturday. Not that I have not done that, mind you, but even I try to dress a little better than that when I got to Publix. I will sleep in them, however, because they are too comfortable for words (which is a perfect example of the fact that women are too often more concerned with looking better around strangers at the grocery store than around the men who are supposed to be unerringly attracted to us and make us feel all sexy and desirable…and never look at women who don’t wear old threadbare maternity clothes to bed. Asking a lot, aren’t we? But I digress – that is for another post). However, I did keep a shirt or two that I can wear to work.
I also kept one dress that I absolutely love. It is the perfect dress. It is tan with a brown leafy pattern. It has ¾ length sleeves, a nice plunging neck line and an empire waist with a tie in the back. I can wear it from March to November in Atlanta and I have worn that sucker as much as humanly possible since the day I bought it. It was $96 in a boutique maternity store. I know, I know…way too expensive for maternity clothes, but I got it to wear to a wedding and it has been one of the best wardrobe investments of all time. I have worn it constantly since I had Ezra. It is perfectly made and fits whether I am a size 4 or an 8. I have received compliments from friends, co-workers and strangers every time I have worn it. I don’t mention it is a maternity dress, of course. It is one of those that I will take extra care of and I will wear it 15 years from now if it holds up.
Other than that, the only things I have kept are the nursing tanks I lived in for the first 3 months of Ezra’s life – AKA that period of time when I was a glorified milking cow. I expect to use them just as much this time around, although I will be weaning this child from day nursing before I go back to work. I will nurse in the evenings and the middle of the night indefinitely, but I will not be pumping milk during the day. Hats off to those of you who can do it – I cannot. I am quite sure that had the technology existed, the Spanish Inquisitors would have used breast pumps on accused heretics to obtain confessions.
I came to the conclusion last week that I had reached the limits of my pre-pregnancy wardrobe. That doesn’t mean I cannot button the pants still, but we all know there is a difference between being able to button something and it fitting well. To button my favorite Ann Taylor Loft pants pulls them so tight across my butt that they look two sizes too small – at least two sizes. Some of the shirts were getting a bit too short, too. I could wear them, but I spent the entire day tugging and pulling at them in order to keep them down over my growing belly. As long as I stood perfectly still, they looked great. This was impacting my wardrobe a great deal and, since I am a girl, my mood. It was one of those times when I the complaint that, “I have nothing to wear!” was actually valid. I work at a major corporation downtown Atlanta – one that has a substantial stake in the apparel industry – so dressing appropriately does matter. I am not a fashionista by any means. I try to be practical and fashionable, not always easy, but I do my best. At the very least, what I wear has to fit. So, I had to buy clothes.
I remember that there once was a time when I loved to shop. I bought stuff because it was “cute.” My best friend and I could hit a mall broadside and leave the thing sore when we left. I had credit cards to places like Express and Victoria’s Secret. I once got into a wreck and, as a pick me up, went to VS and replaced my entire lingerie drawer to the tune of about $300. Those were the days when it was a “lingerie drawer” instead of the current “underwear drawer.” Those were also the days of my mid 20s before I ruined my credit with said credit cards and I was a natural size 2 so could wear anything I wanted as long as they made it small and short enough. [No, not slutty short – I am 5’1″ so nothing is ever short enough. ok, I was in my 20s, so maybe a bit risque, but not slutty – I have taste]
Flash forward almost 15 years. I HATE shopping. There is nothing about it that is in any way fun or rewarding. The lighting! The mirrors! The sizes! The money! The headaches! The heartburn! The amount of wine needed to recover from such torture!
I don’t use credit (I learned that lesson well) so I do not have a MasterCard, Visa, AMX or a store credit card of any kind. And let me tell you, shopping when all you have is the cash in your wallet is not near as much fun as turning into Wilma and Betty and screaming, “CHARGE IT!” Cash your paycheck, pay a few bills and then run by the mall needing to replace something in your closet and you are into the grocery money before you can say, “I need this in the next size up.” Do this and I promise you that you will look at those trips to Ann Taylor Loft, Old Navy or Gap a bit differently. And you have to use CASH. Using a debit card is cheating. It is too easy to swipe and go without thinking about the impact to your balance – and you may have overdraft protection, which is really cheating. You have to see those hundred dollar bills be reduced to singles in front of your very eyes. It is horrible. Because of this, I have come to love and appreciate Plato’s Closet. At the very least, I can find those $49.50 Gap jeans at the much more appropriate price of $12. While the size in the waistband may not always make me smile, the price tag usually does.
Anyway. What was interesting about the shopping trip was not that I bought some new clothes or even that they were maternity clothes. I will not bore or scare you with details of all the things I tried on that did not fit for various reasons – which was most everything I tried on. What was interesting was that Jay bought them for me. Outside of an occasional purchase for someone from Victoria’s Secret (which I am not fond of thinking about, quite honestly), he has never bought any girl clothing. I don’t think he’d ever sat outside a dressing room waiting on someone to try on clothes, and definitely not maternity clothes. There is something inherently interesting about watching him go through such firsts. Like the look on his face when he saw the total cost of 2 pairs of pants, 4 shirts and a layering tank – all of it on sale and with an additional 40% of the total price. I think he would have passed out if it had been at full price. But then, I am not sure I have bought hardly anything that wasn’t on sale in years. I would pass out myself if I paid full price for anything.
Jay is getting quite an education. We moved in together a year ago this past weekend. Before that he was a 35 year old bachelor – and I think at times he’d pretty much decided that was how it was going to stay. Fast forward one year. He is the husband in a household of 4. The amount of trash produced and groceries consumed in a week has been astounding to him. Last night he took the trash out for the second time and made some comment about how much of it there was. I told him to wait until there was a diaper pail in addition to the kitchen garbage. From the look on his face, maybe I ought to have kept that little factoid to myself. I don’t want to scare him to death before the baby is even born. There will be plenty of time for that. I think of it like the frog analogy. He is in the water already – I just won’t alert him to the fact that the temperature is rising. He will never notice. Right? [I am just kidding. I would never boil Jay alive, I promise.]
So today I am happy and comfortable in my new maternity clothes that fit (not to mention the fact that the sizes stayed out of the double digits – whew). It is a good thing I told my boss about the baby last week. Staying in my regular clothes, and with a cunning use of pashminas, I have managed to keep my belly under wraps – literally. No more. I am hitting the pregnant glow stage full force. And it feels nice to wear things that look good on my ever-changing shape. There are a few things I still need. I will be picking up a few expansion pieces at Old Navy Maternity and then hitting the second hand maternity shops for all the weekend wear and other stuff I may need to round out the ole wardrobe for the next few months.
Jay said he thought of this little shopping trip as an investment in my emotional well being. Since it was also Mother’s Day weekend, I took it as a very sweet and practical gift. He also took me out to lunch, so it was a nice outing for just the two of us. And, as he pointed out on Sunday, it was the first time he’d ever told anyone besides his own mother “Happy Mother’s Day.” I was touched.
On Sunday, I got to sleep in until 10a when Ezra’s dad brought him home early from their weekend. He had Ezra make me a hand painted card and brought me a hanging plant. I was very thoughtful of him. Ezra himself was full of charm, mischief and affection. Greta was home, too, and was as sweet as she could possibly be. As always, my mother had gotten with Greta to make sure my Mother’s Day was complete with a gift and cards. We didn’t do anything special. All four of us were sufficiently lazy and happy all day long together – and I would rather us just all be together than anything else. It was a wonderful day. And I got to go to Publix in a new pair of cool maternity jeans and a new shirt. It truly is the little things. 🙂