Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Two Ton Mama

I held out on buying maternity clothes for quite a while. It just seemed like asking for trouble. Just begging the Fates to zap this pregnancy and make me take the stuff back to the store unworn, weeping all the while.

But my body has a mind of its own, and frankly, the one pair of jeans and one pair of shorts I own which I still fit into are rapidly shrinking. I seem to have the Amazing Growing Belly. When I first got pregnant, I shot up about ten pounds almost instantly. (Which was a little startling at the time, since I already had a BMI of 25, which put me squarely in the "overweight" category.) But since September 1, I have only gained one more pound. And yet my body is definitely reconfiguring itself. My waistline expands more and more, and when I look at myself sans clothes these days, I definitely have Preggo Belly. I have no idea where it's coming from, since I'm not gaining weight. I have a theory that my body is sucking fat out of my ass and using it to nurture the fetuses, but it's only a theory. (Like all theories, it's hard to prove. Nice idea though, huh?)

So a couple of weeks ago, after I had to use a rubber band to fasten my jeans (over the button, through the buttonhole and then back over the button), I caved. I went to Target to see what they had in the way of maternity clothes. They had some decent stuff, though I had my usual complaint about clothes-shopping at Target: They never have my size. I am an Average Fat American and therefore everything in my size has already been snapped up by other Average Fat Americans. I don't know why the buyers don't realize they should buy three times as much stock in the Average Fat American sizes.

After going to two different Targets, I finally wound up with three pairs of casual pants in three different maternity belly styles. (One under the belly, one traditional full panel, and one expandable panel that pulls up almost to my armpits but feels great, as though my Fat American belly is being cradled in a sling.) Of course, since I am also the average height for an American woman, at 5'4", and these pants are apparently all cut for pregnant Amazonian warriors, I will need to hem them all before I can actually wear them.

But I have yet to buy a single maternity top. Not for lack of trying, mind you. Today I went to the mall, and went into five different stores looking for a maternity top or something that could pass as one, and found nothing. Everything fell into two categories: Cutesy-poo Empire-style blouses that cradle the tits and then bell out over the tummy, all of which made me look as if I were either an aging Summer of Love refugee or else expecting Jane Austen to tea at any moment; or enormous tent-like dashiki things that were huge on my shoulders and added another fifty pounds visually. (I hardly need tell you I don't need another fifty pounds added, even if only visually! It's well within the realm of possibility that I'll get there for real in this pregnancy, but I'm content to wait until then.)

The best possibilities I've found for tops so far are in the J.C. Penney maternity catalog, which has some simple tee shirts cut for preggos like me. That's all I want, really -- something to cover up my belly and my pants' belly panel, that doesn't make me look like I'm trying to be cutesy and pass for 22. I hate ordering things from catalogs since I inevitably buy the wrong size and have to return it, but I don't see that I have a lot of choice here.

But I have to thank the Penney's catalog for my most entertaining moment in this search. There is a type of top known as a "surplice," which simply means that the top does a criss-cross thing. Penney's had a couple of blouses in this style, and had, in their infinite wisdom, labeled them both "surplus blouses."

Heh. Heh. They said "surplus." Heh.


Blogger casey said...

When I got to feeling confident in my first (and successful) pregnancy, I took a friend's advice and tried gap.com. Normally, I am not a gapgirl, but the maternity clothes were pretty good. AND...if you order now for when you are really going to need stuff (7 months or so), they might even be on clearance, because they're currently out of season. I only tried the online store, never the brick and mortar.

(In a related side note, I remember eagerly ripping open the shipping box for the clothes and pulling out a denim skirt that resembled a...spinnaker. So, I returned it to a local gap store, secure in the knowledge that I would never get THAT big. I ended up really wishing I had kept that skirt. After all, even sailboats need to look cute.)

Good luck with the shopping.

12:03 PM  
Blogger casey said...

Hey...just wanted to say I'm thinking about you as you head to San Fran (is that right) on Monday. I hope all goes as smoothly as possible.

6:16 PM  
Blogger chris said...

It's awful, isn't it. I went into Mimi Maternity the other day and after looking at the clothing complained to the salesgirl (yes, she was a girl, damn it) and she said "well, you could try Motherhood; they're a bit cheaper." It wasn't the price (and it's the same company anyway), it was the fact that everything looks like it's made for pregnant teenagers. I like nice clothing, well-made and simple. All of this was crap. And don't even try Old Navy. Crap, I tell you.

I'm just going to buy a tent.

2:57 AM  

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