Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Pregnancy Insights: Belly Bands are the best thing ever. Buy them.

So, you're pregnant. Or not, and reading this anyway, and therefore, you are awesome. Anyway, just as you learn more and get smarter with each child, you also get smarter with each pregnancy. One of the hundreds of things that I got smarter with throughout my pregnancies was the maternity wardrobe. 

In the beginning of my first pregnancy, I experienced the pregnancy bloat, the point where you’ve clearly expanded your waist but it’s not clear why. I went from having a perfectly flat stomach to having a spare tire. And as a side note, nobody looks at that and thinks, “oh, she’s about twelve weeks pregnant.” They think, “oh, she had about twelve too many beers every night for the last month”. I clearly recall one day walking into the gym with Nate, and upon looking down at my spare tire jelly roll, I said to him, “I just look fat, huh?”. He simply said, “Yep”. I appreciate his honesty. 

But I digress. Basically, I started out the pregnancy without a weight problem, and then I got the pregnancy bloat, and then I gained an extraordinary amount of weight - in spite of eating correctly and exercising. So because I didn't know any better, I purchased actual maternity clothes, which in this case ended up being a good thing since I went up about five sizes. But I learned a lot about maternity wear and most importantly, that most of it sucks.

The second pregnancy, I had not lost all of the weight from the first pregnancy, and I had saved all my maternity clothes since I was planning on having another baby. However, I for some reason lost some of the excess weight for the first half of the pregnancy, then barely gained anything the last half. And if you're thinking "bitch", remember that I just said that I blew up in my first pregnancy. Don't hate me. There's nothing to hate. Promise. So I basically ended up wearing my regular bottoms with some maternity shirts sprinkled in. 

And to my surprise, even if you do not gain an extraordinary amount of weight, if you are anything above four feet tall (as most people are), your belly will be hanging out of the bottom of your biggest maternity shirts by the last couple of months. IT WAS SO ANNOYING. I really wanted to write the maternity clothes designers and complain. Clearly, the ones making the clothes have never actually been pregnant. They make them wider, but not much longer. How does that escape them? But complain I did not, as I didn't have the energy to write a letter. Instead, I bitched and moaned and graduated to wearing Nate’s shirts and looking like a tent. And listened to him joke that I was going to stretch them out. Thanks, dude.

The third - and more wise - pregnancy, I refused to buy maternity pants (I had gotten rid of everything because we weren't planning on a third... surprise) and instead bought and was also given some belly bands, or tummy sleeves, or whatever else they are called. This is highly recommended by me, and hopefully you don’t blow up, so you are still capable of wearing your pre-pregnancy pants. Or, in my case, my " still chunky from the first pregnancy so my new two-sizes-bigger pants". 

This particular tummy sleeve is at Motherhood Maternity, linked here. Basically, you leave your pants unbuttoned and unzipped, and this band is tight enough to hold them up. And if you're worried about your pants slipping out of the bottom and falling down, they won't. I've never had that happen, or even heard of it happening.

The benefit of belly bands is four-fold:

1. They are cheaper than maternity bottoms, so instead of buying new pants, shorts, and skirts, you wear your existing ones. 

2. When your maternity shirts get too short and your belly starts hanging out of the bottom of them, the band hides all that. It's an incidental shirt-extender.

3. They are so great for postpartum use. They accommodate you throughout all your shrinking phases until viola, one day you just don’t need them anymore and that, my fellow mommies, is a day you celebrate with gusto! 

4. After you don't need them anymore, you can still use them to add that layered look under your regular t-shirts, which I do. 

So start out with a couple belly bands, and try to stretch that bottomwear as far as you can. Literally and figuratively! Or, if your ass gets too big for your regular clothes, just buy regular pants a size or two bigger and belly-band them. You'll appreciate having regular clothes that actually fit you after you have the baby. 

And since I had the babies in the summer, I also wore a lot of dresses. Like, the long, stretchy, flowy cotton type dresses. They are so comfy, your belly doesn't hang out of the bottom, and you don't have to worry about shit fitting - a dress will, provided that you buy them big enough in the first place. 

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