Even When You’re Preggers

By Reba from California

Pregnant with twins was not the most beautiful experience of my life. Not even in the top 100. Pretty much a complete nightmare. Don’t get me wrong, I love the end result, it’s the process that I despise. When I delivered at 36 weeks, I had gained 60 pounds. My husband referred to my belly as “the nose cone.” Toward the end, the only clothing I could fit into was an xxl maternity swim cover-up and that was stretching toward risqué. Currently, being pregnant with a singleton and not being nearly as large ranks one measly step above being pregnant with twins. The only consolation for me is that up until the 7th month I could work cute and pregnant. Barely. I have discovered when first pregnant and not showing but not exactly fitting into anything, more like being really bloated with a hefty dose of nausea, the best solution is tunics.

I also discovered the Solomon Frock. This little piece of joy saved me. I could wear a tight tube dress -something i wouldn’t do UNLESS pregnant, strangely the same goes for pigtails, but i digress – with the Solomon over top and totally work it. I could also still wear heels. We are talking first trimester here. The Solomon also worked well with leggings and a long tee shirt. Seeing how sucking it in wasn’t an option I could just relax and still look good. In the second trimester, the Camilla Skirt came in quite handy. Never one to admit to owning a long sleeve unitard UNLESS pregnant – you see how rules are tossed when one procreates – I have one (ok, two). I would never wear just the unitard, that would be not only absurd but obscene. However, the unitard with the Camilla Skirt looks amazing. The baby bump is obvious and cute without screaming “i need a epidural stat”, and I find that paring something having volume (the skirt) with something not having volume (tight unitard) helped me feel less frumpy. Frumpy is bad. Really bad in general, especially bad when pregnant.

It’s hard to dress with any structure when one waddles. It’s also hard when your belly becomes the repository for scone crumbs. Therefore, I find it uplifting to dress well, even on those days when all I wanted to do was eat saltines and watch my stories. After the 7th month, that all goes out the window and I would rather only leave the house for a dr. appointment or ice cream run while wearing some jokester’s idea of maternity sweats and sensible shoes.

As I lose the baby weight in the coming months and start to look normal, or as normal as one gets toting a newborn and chasing twins, I envision the Camilla over leggings with a sassy tank top. I also envision the Mercer set coming in quite handy. Comfortable without having to sacrifice individuality. I swear I won’t be going platinum, but I just might add a couple more tattoos… 2 weeks to go.

The end.

Right on schedule, Reba had a healthy baby boy. His name is Max.

Having Babies Changes Everything – but NEVER a Sense of Style

Until I met my husband, I never wanted kids. I never wanted a wedding in the grand sense. We compromised: Elvis walked me down the aisle in Vegas, and I said I would think about kids. I did think about it and decided that at 30 it was time. Apparently my body had other notions, and, like all good things that come to those who wait, I had twins at 33. God has a sense of humor. I wanted one child. What I got were two girls. I knew then that my husband was in deep trouble. Girls tend to shop like their mothers. I am pretty sure he will need to get another job once they get a wee bit older.

When the husband and I met, it was less than love at first sight. I shocked his east coast sensibilities with the profusion of black dresses and black hair, funky six inch platform boots and leather coats. To this day he wears garanimals for adults, or what is better known as (insert international mall chain label here). Takes all the guess work out of the morning. He got used to dating a girl who didn’t shop at the mall and I got used to dating a frat boy. Go figure.

Like I said before, I love a good costume and that’s what dressing was like before kids. The work costume of pencil skirts and jackets meshed with the cropped pants, tight tee shirts and funky long coats. Six inch heels were not a problem. I liked the edginess of walking into a meeting and being six feet tall. I also liked that my clothes had a structure all their own. There was nothing baggy or boxy, no soft cottons or linens, no dresses without slips. Weight fluctuation was not an option. My after hours costumes varied from fishnets and short dresses with ridiculously high boots to short skirts and concert tees with vintage leather jackets and heels. I am pretty sure there was little to no casual costume.

Then came kids, two at once. There was that six month period after they arrived that I don’t remember so I have no idea what I dressed like. There is one picture where I had apparently bleached my hair platinum. Big mistake. Once some semblance of sanity arrived I discovered that I had nothing to wear. Literally since I had gotten pregnant at a size 2 and woke up a size ten. I had to rethink and repurchase my wardrobe. I don’t get a lot of sympathy from people. My husband does.

I couldn’t very well go back to the the pre-kids style. I needed to move. To bend down, lay down, sit down… generally be down. I needed to walk a stroller, chase a toy, carry babies. I was getting spit up on fairly regularly so silk was out of the question. So I started collecting. Shoes came first so I turned to Cydwoq for my every day shoes. Comfortable and funky. Next I had to evaluate what I could wear on a daily basis and decided on cropped and wide leg pants in basic colors (Mercer Trousers are some). I have about 50 black t-shirts, which may sound like too many but when one can go through five in an afternoon with a spitty baby, 50 is almost too few. Button down tops became the enemy, just not worth it. I figured I would get some great sweaters, jackets, and coats to throw over the tees. I kept my eclectic side and just pared down the tailoring. I’ve bought lots of dresses and frocks once the girls quit spitting up. I was amassing my new wardrobe. I was on a roll. I had purchased heels and some going out on the town clothes, I was ready to go. I was the cool mom, the well dressed mom who didn’t own khakis or wear yoga pants in public. Then I got pregnant again, because God has a sense of humor. I have two weeks and six days to go.

From Youth to Pregnancy

When I was young…. no that’s wrong. When I was younger… that’s much better… I wore clothes to differentiate myself from the herd. Hard to do in catholic school with the unspoken rule of conformity. Only grandmothers in mourning wore black. I and a few fellow cohorts also wore black. Lots of black. We dyed things black. The more outlandish the better – buckle boots, black hats, vests over black poet shirts, leggings under skirts with petticoats. So very dramatic. It was a costume every day. I love a good costume. Naturally, we differentiated ourselves so much you couldn’t tell us apart. Irony comes to mind.

Spending my 20’s in San Francisco was liberating in so many ways. I found clothes. Lots of them. I also found that I knew nothing of the difference between wearing clothes and being dressed. I would much rather be dressed. The connotation of attending an impending event, one where thought and care would go into every stitch chosen, still appeals to me. Granted that event was often grabbing a guinness at a pub. It didn’t matter. (I don’t wear sweats to the market. Well, I do now, but that’s just until the latest baby arrives. I hate sweats.) People around me dressed too. Not always in what is defined as well-dressed, but with spirit, with gusto, with confidence, such confidence. No need to shock and awe through clothing, but more like elegant birds of different eras all crashing together in a thoroughly modern and individualistic way. I like that.

I started collecting. Many items of clothing I have now, 16 years later. I still wear them. I found local designers and had things made – skirts with trains, coats with bell sleeves, corsets trimmed with lace. I have to admit it’s been a couple of years since the corsets came out – I’ll save those for the twins.

Currently I sit and stare at my clothing. I have four weeks until the little one arrives to join his sisters. Most people would be lining the nest for the baby, picking out bumpers and footies with matching hats. Not I, oh no. I took care of nest lining months ago. Now I get to add some key items to the post pregnancy section of my closet. I have spent months wearing the equivalent of jersey jammies that are destined for some sort of bonfire. It is very difficult to consider oneself dressed when the primary concern is not letting ones belly hang out. It is also hard to feel well put together when it takes five minutes to put on socks. At four minutes 30 seconds I am winded and ready for a nap. Like a raven drawn to shiny objects, I am searching out that interesting pleat, the perfect silhouette, something transitional that I can still wear in six months… like the Luella Overlay in black cotton floral lace.

I’ll sneak it in the house somehow.