Maternity Chic

Buying maternity clothes is one of the more unjust experiences in life, at least for those who don't live in a third world dictatorship. You are forced to pay good money for clothing that you are 100% guaranteed to despise and look hideous in. A pregnant friend of mine complained this week that she had basically squandered her child's college tuition in a desperate attempt to look "fashionable" and "professional" for an upcoming work trip, only to look like a upper crust whale. When I look in the mirror, which is increasingly rare, after all I'm not allowed to take antidepressants right now, it is definitely my first instinct to sprint to my computer and begin a frenzy of online shopping. But, honey, a cow is a cow is a cow, whether you dress it in Target or Gucci or whether you own 1 pair of elastic waist pants or 20.

If there were truth in advertising, the slogans of maternity stores would be a take off of the Men's Wearhouse one: You're gonna hate the way you look, I guarantee it (but you're gonna pay top dollar for these dog ugly clothes anyway, because there are indecency laws on the books). Instead, they pathetically try to sell you the idea that if you buy their clothes, you will look not just OK, not simply comfortable, not somewhat cute, but sexy and stylish. I remember when I was pregnant with Charlotte, one of the big maternity chains had a poster in its window of a pregnant lady (well, more like a watermelon-toting super model) wearing one of their dresses while walking by a couple, the man gawking at her and the woman scolding him. I was like, do you really think I am that stupid? If I am basically at the point of having to pay my husband to touch me, your "little" dress is definitely not going to make me irresistible to some random man on the street, unless he has some kind of sick fetish, in which case he is probably a serial killer planning to murder me and sell my baby on the black market, and I'm not paying for that either. As for the woman with the gawking man, honey, if your man is lusting over a pregnant lady, well, I think suicide is the only thing left for you, not to be mean or anything. Call a hotline first, maybe they can help, cuz I got nothing.

Skinny Jeans: Delusional under the best, non-pregnant of circumstances. Under pregnant ones, morally on par with child abuse (and perhaps a direct cause--that baby is begging for air, people).

Just as a random sidenote, if you have cankles like I do, you are doubly screwed while pregnant, because legs are pretty much all you have to work with, other than massive boobs, which I just find frightening anyway. Plus pregnant ankles tend to swell, turning cankles into thankles. This is not a good look.

No, my strategy this time around is to buy as little grotesque clothing as possible. I have some from last time, although it is off season as as repugnant as I remembered. But, see, I own a washing machine, and I even own a dryer. And I can wash and dry this T shirt and these cargo pants I am wearing while I sleep naked (it's not like anyone's going to bother me) and be off to the races again tomorrow. As it turns out, Americans buy way too many clothes, which is fun and fine as long as they look good. In the absence of that, give your money to Darfuri refugees. Now if I could find a pair of pants I don't have to hike up every 5 seconds, I might shell out for that. But I've tried them all--real waist, low waist, full panel, demi panel (next I'm considering death panel)--but unless you are willing to wear them with suspenders, your crotch is going to be half way down your legs before you can say postpartum (maybe they are trying to prepare you psychologically for what's to come, I don't know).

In fact, my entire approach to personal appearance has changed. Whereas I once was somewhat vain, I am now focused merely on survival. I put on as few clothes to prevent roasting but enough to avoid arrest or the frightening of small children. I diligently apply make up to somewhat cover my acne (only about 2 bottles of foundation/day) also to prevent children shrieking in horror or my recruitment by the circus. With Halloween coming up, however, I may go without on occasion, that might be festive. And like I said, I do not look in the mirror unless absolutely necessary, to spare my own feelings, not to mention those of my mirror. And just to be consistent with the overall look, I hardly ever wash or comb my hair. That's really a waste of time and energy anyway.

I'm also thinking of letting my husband look at the Victoria's Secret catalog for his birthday. I'm sweet like that.


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