A very private and personal story …

Hello Readers!

Today I want to share with you a very private and very personal story that I will never forget. The topic? The first time I went maternity shopping! It’s amazing to me (as I’m on my second pregnancy) that I have quickly forgotten the pain of child birth and the agony of a pregnancy (such is biology!) yet after 2.5 years, I have still not forgotten this experience:

Let me help you set the stage – The time? May 2011. Me? 2 months pregnant. I can tell you now that I didn’t even know what being pregnant was at only 2 months during my first time around but I remember, I was very excited. My husband and I were walking around a mall in NJ and we happened to stroll past a Motherhood Maternity. My eyes kind of twinkled. My hubs saw the spark. “We can go in sweetie if you want to look around,” he offered. (Afterall, he was excited too – we were having a baby!!) I wanted to go in but the truth was I didn’t know if it was appropriate for me to go look around. “I don’t even look pregnant, ” I thought. “What exactly should I be buying?” I wondered. But I did want to go inside and see what this next stage of my life – and my body – offered.

Now, to be honest, I just went in to look around. But what happened? I spent 3 hours in the store. I was so excited and so overwhelmed by the possibility of what I would look like as the months progressed that I tried on everything I liked, everything that I thought would be a good deal and more. After 20 minutes my hubs left to go get a coffee; he could see that I already had the saleswoman start a dressing room of over 20 articles of clothing. With a supportive kiss on the cheek he said, “I would like to go get some coffee. Would you be okay if I left for a moment? Do you want anything?” Aw – so sweet, right? But all I could think was, “I’M PREGNANT!!!! Sure.” Looking back on the day, I kind of feel bad for the fellow. I mean, here he was trying to be all cute and supportive but it wind up consuming – unexpectedly – our entire day.

So what happened after he left? I went bonkers in the dressing room. First I found the fake belly that you can use to see how you will look when pregnant and I spent 5 minutes figuring out how to put it on. Then I spent the next 20 minutes trying on tops and realizing, “Um. This doesn’t look good.” Then I tried on pants (I always hate trying on pants … you have to take your shoes off, your socks go up and down repeatedly, etc.). But the pants were a pleasant surprise: for the first time in a few weeks, my hips were comfortable. So I set aside 2 pairs of pants at what I thought was a good price. Then I used those pants as the base for the rest of the tops, pajamas, bras and other maternity items that were bursting through the dressing room seams. My husband came back 30 minutes later – I think he thought I’d be at the register by now – but instead it turned into this:

Man holding clothes by a changing room “Can you see if this comes in a different size?”, “Do you like this?”, “Does this make me look fat?” Yup – the poor guy got stuck; helpful and supportive busy-bee in a woman’s world. I couldn’t see any eye-rolling but I know it was not what he expected for his day. (By the way – when I asked him if something made me look fat, for any male readers, here was the good answer: “It makes you look pregnant.”)

Eventually I was exhausted. I think I was about an 90 minutes into the whole experience when I realized I needed to sit down and I almost cried. Why? I can’t even tell you. That’s just the fun of being pregnant. Sometimes you cry for no reason. I wasn’t sad. But I wasn’t happy. I was overwhelmed. And alone. My husband was great but let’s be real: he’s a man. He didn’t get it. I was internally struggling: Should I buy these clothes now? What if I’m buying the wrong thing? What if I’m getting too excited about clothes and something happens to the baby?” My train of thoughts ran on. With the lack of activity, my husband opened the curtain, “You okay in there?” I shed a tear. We talked. He gave me a hug and got me some water and then I went on my way trying on the final batch of clothes – trying on each item with and without the belly. Moving the belly up in some shirts. Then down. Then to the side (just in case); making sure I was happy with all the items I had ‘finalized.’ My end thought? I’d keep the tags on until I needed the clothes and worst case scenario, I’d return anything I didn’t need. Then my hubs helped me proceed to the check-out counter with gobs and gobs of I don’t even know what. By the time we paid and had bags in hand, it was three hours later.

Would you say that was a successful experience? I don’t know. I think I used almost all the clothes. Now I’m on my second pregnancy and I’m barely using any of them. But the one thing I learned is this: trying on maternity clothes is a big deal. And it’s special! Especially the first time around. THIS is why I sell maternity clothes. Because I think all pregnant women should look and feel special and I think the road to that ability should be as smooth as possible. Pregnancy – even the best ones – are difficult. Your hormones are beyond your control. Your body is beyond your control. Only fellow women can understand the emotions and thoughts, etc. God bless to each of the baby daddies who have held a hand, fetched nursing tops and more but if you’re pregnant in Pittsburgh, do yourself a favor: CALL ME! (Or email) I can help you figure out what you need, what you don’t need and how we can spread your maternity wardrobe into all aspects of your life including additional pregnancies, your professional career and more.

COMING SOON TO THE BLOG: What a maternity concierge appointment looks like and the premise behind Maternity Girl inventory. Until then dear readers: HAPPY THANKSGIVING! Now don’t you ALL wish you had maternity pants for Thursday (Men – maybe your ladies will let you borrow some. Your secrets will be safe with me.) Gobble gobble!

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The Maternity Band

To Bellaband or not to Bellaband? That is the question of newly pregnant women everywhere.  In a short (possibly made up) history, I believe maternity bands have only been in existence for approximately 6 years. The first year it sounds like it was around was in 2007, when the “Baby Be Mine” Maternity Belly Band won a “Parenting Media Award” for favorite maternity accessory.

Since then, maternity bands have been considered a staple (if not the solution) of/to maternity wardrobes across the US.

Here’s the thing about belly bands: You either love them or your hate them. You either think it’s the best (approximately) $25 you ever spent or a waste of money (particularly at a time when you might be concerned about money going out the door).  My two cents?  If you’re a small to medium or petite woman and the thought of packing away your beautiful clothes stresses you out, then indulge yourself and spring for the elastic.  The band I hear about the most from friends (particularly because it comes in a variety of colors and styles) is theBella Band by Ingrid and Isabel.  It will carry you through your entire first trimester (particularly when your waist is expanding even if your belly is not) through possibly the end of your second trimester.  It might even just provide you with a little extra comfort beyond holding up your pants because just when everything starts hanging out, a little “support” goes a long way.

As for the rest of pregnant women world-wide, I would suggest skipping the band and instead, springing for a pair of actual, full-blown maternity pants. Particularly if you’re not pregnant during the summer, you could spend your money on a pair of versatilecomfortable, basic-color, maternity pants that will not only carry you through your first and second trimester, but possibly your entire pregnancy.

Personally, at the onset of my first pregnancy, I purchased some Bellabands (in three colors actually: white, black, brown). But I decided to return them almost as soon as I purchased a pair of maternity pants.  I had heard from some friends that depending on the way your belly grows (some bellies go outward and round, while others can go down and out, aka “torpedo belly”) – the maternity band can be uncomfortable (either flip down or roll).  Pregnancy’s uncomfortable enough as it is and the maternity pants I picked up were really comfortable so the one thought I had was, “I know I will need pants and use these them a lot, particularly towards the end of my pregnancy, so I’d rather spend my money on a pair of pants that I can wear for an entire maternity trip than a small piece of elastic that may or may not be comfortable for only a few months.”

So, all that being said, it all circles back to you Mama – to belly band or not to belly band? (Please take my poll!)

Fun Ways to Reveal the Sex of your Baby!

There are very few things out there today – that are good – that are also a surprise; Hence why so many people decide not to find out the sex of their baby even though it’s an option that I’m sure our ancestors would have enjoyed. For those families out there who just can’t wait, here’s some fun ways to find out the sex of your baby and/or tell others:

1. Have the doc put the information in an envelope for the two of you to open AFTER you’ve left the doctor’s office (go out to dinner, go home, etc.)

2. Take that envelope and wait a little longer – by giving to a cake maker and asking for a “reveal cake” – I first heard about this when someone saw an article in Food Network magazine. When my hubs and I decided we wanted to share the news with our family in such a way, after calling several bakers and describing what we were looking for, one woman responded, “Oh. You want a reveal cake? That’s what we call them in our industry.” Oh my. Anyway, here’s what the Reveal Cake looked like in the Food Network magazine:

cake

Cute, right? Of course, that kind of cake can cost you (depending on where you live and how big you want it) anywhere from $50-$150. You can do it yourself by adding some food coloring to white cake mix – just make sure you frost the rest of the cake really well  :)

3. Partner abroad? Have the doctor put the information in 2 envelopes – send to the other person – and open together while on the phone.

4. Going out to dinner with the family? Have Momma put a pink or blue ribbon around her belly under her shirt. And when it’s time for the reveal, lift away! (a little scandalous, but kind of cute nonetheless … just make sure you don’t lift too high!)

5. Make a Youtube video! Check out what these people did, it’s kind of cute and a fun way to tell the fam:

 

6. Have a party with a pinata – fill with pink or blue candies and let everyone whack away!

7. If you’re going with the party theme, it’s also cute to ask your guests to dress in either blue or pink depending on what they think the sex of the baby will be!

Have fun!