Not everyone's journey to a baby is a straight line. I think it's important to talk about it, especially when it's not. Because since I'm 27, a lot of my friends and coworkers have assumed that our pregnancy was a surprise & at this point -- we just had to "keep it."
How we got here
This baby is something Eli and I have been dreaming about for years. And I couldn't feel more grateful & whole that our dreams have finally come true!
Eli & I got together in 2014 after meeting at a bar on St. Patrick's Day. I was quite intoxicated and singing about french fries & for some reason, he was really into it. And after that day, we pretty much never left each other's sides. Not to say everything has been perfect, or we didn't have our downs, but we've always loved each other deeply. We celebrate our anniversary every St. Patrick's Day!
And it wasn't long after meeting that we shared our individual desires to have a family. And a few years into our relationship we started keeping a list of names for our future children. Finally, in 2016, I officially stopped taking my birth control and we started getting serious about it. We tried for a year before I had an average, annual check-up with my general practitioner and she asked me why I wasn't taking birth control. She asked how long we'd been "actively trying to conceive," and when I said it'd been a year she referred me to a local fertility center to get some tests done. After a year of squinting at dozens of negative pregnancy tests, willing there to be a second line. After taking my temperature every morning for months to help understand more precisely when I was ovulating. After keeping track of my cervical mucus and breast tenderness and cutting down on alcohol and caffeine and trying to internally prepare myself for motherhood. After all that, we finally were going to bring a professional into the mix -- it felt a little defeating and worrisome and confusing, but most of all, it felt like a relief. Now this would be someone else's responsibility, aside from my own.
Those tests were no fun, and the process was spread out over another year while we checked to make sure I had enough eggs, that they were healthy, that my fallopian tubes weren't blocked. Eli "produced" into a cup.
We got results back that led our doctor to recommend we try Intrauterine Insemination. That's when they inject your cervix with your partner's sperm to help increase the chances they find each other and become a baby. Without it, she said, we had something like a less than 3 percent chance of conceiving naturally. While that was disappointing to me, I thought that if this was how our family was going to grow, I would accept that and we would try the treatment.
We watched countless training videos about how Eli would inject my belly & syringes were shipped to our house just in time for the process to begin. We had to wait for my period to start & then we would see our doctor on Day 1 of Making a Baby. I got my period, but I think we had a party coming up at the end of the month, and when you seemingly have control over when you get pregnant, it feels like you can probably just wait another month. Truthfully, I was also kind of apprehensive about the fact I could "just be pregnant" in a two weeks.
Then my period was late.
And after Eli had left for work, I took a pregnancy tests, half assuming it would be negative like all the rest. But that second line popped up so fast I thought I was holding the test upside down! I raced to Target and took a digital test in the bathroom. Clear as day -- I was going to be a mom.
Nineteen weeks later (I'm almost at the half way point!) I've fumbled my way through how to clothe my changing body while having the least amount of impact on the planet.
So if you're looking for ways to do so (and have managed this far into this blog post) here you go:
1. Clothes I already owned:
Elastic waistbands, drawstrings, stretchy tops, baggy sweaters anything that will be forgiving when your belly starts to round. These are really awesome because you can continue to wear them post-partum & maybe you'd even been wearing them before you got pregnant, like me. Truly, everyone needs a pair of drawstring pants -- Thanksgiving pants as some would say.
I have a few pairs: some 100% cotton ones from Matchstick (my favorite), a tencel pair that I bought the week I took that pregnancy test, and an elastic pair of floral harem pants that add thr most dainty, feminine touch to any look. All secondhand and all less than $5 each.
2. Belly band my SIL picked up for me at a clothing swap
This is a pretty new-ish "invention" that may make your mother scoff. "We just put a hair tie around our buttons and kept wearing them until they popped," right? Or if you're like my mom, you hand-sewed a pair of stretchies (leggings) to your favorite jeans and then watched as QVC ripped off your idea soon after.
Anyway, you wear this band over your unbuttoned jeans (when they don't close on their own or feel so uncomfortable you can't bear it) to help keep your pants from falling down. It definitely takes some getting used to, the whole walking around with your fly undid is definitely a bit nagging at first, but it does the job and I get some additional life out of my pre-pregnancy high-waisted jeans!
3. Secondhand maternity pants from thrift shops like Goodwill, Salvation Army & thredUP
The fortunate-for-you-unfortunate-for-the-planet part about maternity wear, is you are very likely not going to get your 30 wears out of every piece (unless you save them for a second pregnancy). The fortunate part is, often times people are eager to donate these pants soon after they give birth (though, I'm already like, umm... is it OK if I wear these for the rest of my life...?!) I weeded through racks of jeans at Goodwill to find a pair that fit (Indigo Blue by Motherhood). Salvation Army had a whole maternity section, but nothing really came of it for me.
Luckiky, thredUP was the jackpot. I bought five pairs -- black skinny jeans, black flared cords, white cropped distressed jeans, a pale pink pair of cropped pants and a cropped flared pair of kahkis -- for $47. Brands like A Pea in the Pod (which retail for over a hundred) were less than $7. All of the pairs I bought were size "small."
4. Sustainable clothing options like Hatch
When I found out I was pregnant, I started researching sustainable, ethical, American clothing companies where I could buy some basics. I stumbled on Hatch & boy, am I glad.
They graciously gifted me these three pieces, which I've been wearing in over the past 19 weeks. Their philosophy, which closely aligns with my own!, is that you should be able to wear their pieces not just from the time you find out you're pregnant until you give birth. That's how most maternity clothes is made. Instead, their pieces are made to fit and look cute even when you're not pregnant! (And I can attest to this as I wistfully pretended I had a belly when I got these pieces during my first trimester 😂)
Hatch's pieces are made in Texas from natural materials that will decompose organically: tencel, rayon, cotton, linen, etc. They're soft & fashionable and I always get compliments when I wear them!
5. Wear a dress (sustainable tights)
Or if pants aren't for you, you can wear a flowy wrap, tent or A-line dress! That helped me during the warmer months. And truthfully, I even thrifted some body-con dresses I would have never picked up before, because I was so excited to show off my growing bump.
In the cooler months, you can shop sustainable tights (the world's only, as they claim) from Sweden Stockings. They make all of their hosiery out of recycled yarn & they're such good quality. They gifted me a pair of their maternity tights which have lots of room for your belly!
They also have a program where you can return any of your tights with runs to be disposed of properly!
If you're pregnant, or have been pregnant, or want to be pregnant, do you have any additional tips for wearing clothes during pregnancy? Leave a comment below or join the conversation on Instagram!