Tuesday, July 23, 2013

retail therapy, 18 weeks, 4 days

I really wanted to wear a muumuu for the next twenty weeks. I swear. Interspersed with a few clutch academic robes, beach towels and assorted capes. I really did. But here’s the thing – I got this new lawyer job where I have to like, be “professional” and act in a “supervisory role” and “model good behavior for students”[1] and “appear in a court of law”, etc.

Which can mean only one thing, dear readers: we have reached the grim maternity milestone of <dun dun dun> maternity clothes shopping! Thankfully, my parents were in town and my mother was happy to oblige (and C and my dad were happy to get all gendered about it and go to a baseball game).

The next few hours are something of a dizzying frenzy.  Like many of these new frontiers in the land of baby-making-conceiving-and-all-things-utero, it was quite the ethnographic experience[2].

For starters: did you know that maternity stores have bathrooms? BATHROOMS! Private. Bathrooms. For. Pregnant. Ladies (andtheirmothers). Toilet paper and everything. It’s a low bar in the fast world of retail, people.

After that order of business was taken care of because havetopeeallthetime, we moved on to more important matters. Specifically: FAUX BUMP[3]!

"What's that? You want me to put you on?"

Admittedly, I’m probably a little behind the bump[4] curve on this. But you guys – maternity stores have faux bumps that you velcro around your burgeoning gut to simulate the experience, fit and general ridiculousness of being 9 months pregnant.

You walk into the dressing room and it’s just like, you know, hanging there on the back of the door, real innocent like. And then, like a dutiful shopper without a mind of her own and under the tutelage of the scrawny 21 year old saleswoman who is INCREDIBLY PERKY and wants to know if-you’re-having-a-boy!-and-do-you-have-a-name!-and-is-this-the-first-grandchild!-and-we’re-all-snorting-Adderal-in-the-employee-lounge!, you promptly put that padded-everloving-bump on and proceed to wistfully ponder the following:

(1) It is really, really hard to reach my shoes. Thank goodness they’re flip flops <relief>. (And then, moments later) Well, I guess I’ll be wearing some version of slip-on-flip-flop-flat until December. <deep sigh>.
(2) What’s that? Am I waddling? You think my gait has changed dramatically with the simple addition of this enormous foam padding?
(3) I have swallowed a beach ball.
(4) Many other women have worn this against their bare skin. <Trying not to think about how many other women have worn this against their bare skin...calling mother’s name in terror, begging her to procure tank top>

So where were we. The bump. Which I guess, more than anything, left me feeling like a 15 year old in an at risk youth after school program – like next I’d get my lifelike doll to take home for the night, and see how you like a crying infant now! And then I would always make my boyfriend wear a condom cause shit just got real, we’re too young!, etc. Or maybe that’s just a Lifetime movie I saw once.[5]

The point is, the bump worked it’s magic and my patient and generous mother made me try on LITERALLY EVERYTHING at Pea in the Pod. And I am now the proud of owner of six mildly professional[6], properly fitting, maternity getups, which will be in heavy rotation for the next twenty weeks[7]. Of course, since there are only six outfits, I will reserve Sunday as muumuu day[8]. Naturally.[9]

[1] Crap. This sounds an awful lot like “parenting”… <backs out of room slowly>.
[2] And I’m sure that my anthropologist readers can chime in and quibble with my use of ethnographic, reference the Trobriander of Papua New Guinea and so forth. Seriously though, I have no idea what I’m talking about.
[3] In related news, this is an ENTIRE INDUSTRY. Because, umm, yes?
[4] Too easy.
[5] Speaking of which, how come the nervous teenager in the Lifetime movie never subsequently finds out that 10 years of birth control were a colossal waste of money and anxiety and that her best hope of getting pregnant will be in a petri dish? I mean seriously. That’s a missed opportunity if I ever saw one. On a related note, I see a future in filmmaking.
[6] Dark skinny jeans are “mildly professional”, right? RIGHT!  (For the record – which I’m sure one of you/”the man” is keeping: AG maternity jeans are basically glorified sweatpants and I will never ever take them off, ever again. Mostly because I have to justify just how expensive they were.)
[7] Strike that. Let’s get real and go with 30. I have a feeling I may be slow to lose this, ahem, “maternity weight.”
[8] During which time I will eat bon bons and use my muumuu as an oversized napkin. It will be divine.
[9] And (most) joking aside, I found Pea in the Pod to actually, kind of, have decent stuff. (And no, no one paid me for that mediocre endorsement - the CEO of Pea in the Pod is probably having a conniption now that her store has been mentioned in the likes of this riff-raff blog). Along with Gap maternity and ASOS. And that wraps up my official where-to-shop-when-pregnant user manual. <curtsy>.


  1. Oh gosh you make me laugh (my partner too when i read him bits and pieces). I didn't know that this bump was a thing. Just one of those crazy maternity secrets i guess.
    Very much looking forward to seeing which muumuu you buy!

  2. Haha, I remember my first go-round of shopping (I do a lot more online shopping these days) and I saw the bump hanging there and I thought the same thing: how many women wore this gross thing? And is it just me or is that thing kind of oddly shaped? I put it on and it did not look so much like a bump, but more like some gross stomach tumor. I love Gap maternity, I just wish there was more of a selection!

  3. hahaha I never heard of the bump padding before! Quite hilarious. Also, very cool that they were smart enough to add a bathroom in a maternity store.

    Glad to hear you got some nice outfits :)

  4. Oh. Wow. Prosthetic bellies. That's…something.

    Hooray new clothes though! Comfort! Style! Elastic waists!!

  5. The strange world of pregnancy! I wondered how I was going to shop for clothes that will fit the next several months when I have no idea how big my bump will be. I guess that answers that!

    Now, where are pics of your new maternity clothes, please??

  6. Agree with above: we want pictures!

  7. Omg I totally saw one of those strap-on bellies at a store here in Toronto! Except it was nude coloured, which I think is kind of worse. And is it weird that my instinct was to affix it to my ass because I've secretly always wanted a J.Lo butt?

    And yes, dark denim is totes work-appropriate... my mom bought me a pair of Paige maternity skinny jeans and they are amazing.

  8. That weirdie pseudo bump thing is hilarious. And a little gross. I hope they clean that sucker at least once a week, but something tells me it's probably never seen the inside of a washing machine. But I have always wondered how you shopped for maternity clothes before actually needing them rightthisminute. And now I know. I am totally overwhelmed by perky sales people who pay too much attention to me, so this sounds really quite overwhelming.

    Also, I third the photo requests from above. ;) Because, ya know. We love ya and we want to see that thing you worked so hard to achieve.

  9. Ok, I know you don't do pictures...but I really want to see what you bought. Totally curious. I haven't actually bought anything from Pea in the Pod because I feel guilty spending the money on such temporary clothes. But then again, I don't need to look as professional as you do (I'm guessing!) and if I did, I'd surely splurge because Gap "work pants" definitely didn't cut it.

    Instead, I stick to the Pea in the Pod's less-attractive step-sister, Motherhood Maternity. I just tagged you in my last post with pics of a sample of my work outfits.


  10. flattered and humbled by your interest in what will surely be my disappointingly-dull-and-not-as-exciting-as-promised "profeshunul" clothing. *working up the courage to post pictures*

    Also, yeahscience, nude colored is definitely worse - feels more like a prosthetic limb. Rather than the black bump which appears to be part of spider halloween costume.

  11. Laughing with you! and hoping you enjoy Sundays in the muumuu.

  12. I distinctly remember having an existential crisis when I strapped on the old misshapen fake baby pouch.

    If you are feeling slightly fancier than a mumu, but still mumu-ish, Old Navy makes pretty boss maternity leggings. I may or may not still wear them sometimes, but only in my house. I swear.