Finding Maternity Clothes
An Unpleasant Experience
It has been quite some time since I was last pregnant. In truth, it has been several years. My daughter is almost nine. A lot has changed in that amount of time, as one would assume. The one thing that I did not expect a huge change in, is the ability to find maternity clothes. I had no trouble finding maternity clothes when I was pregnant with my daughter. Now, however, I am finding it rather difficult. People are still having babies, right? Why is it so hard to find maternity clothes? I really have no idea. I was disappointed with the limited choices that are out there now. I felt the need to write about my recent experience in hopes of sharing my stresses with others who may be dealing with the same thing, and maybe provide some help for those that are currently pregnant, and looking for maternity clothes.
Just a Few Short Years Ago
OK, so maybe it wasn't just a few years ago. I guess nine years is a lot longer than it seems. It really doesn't seem like all that long ago that I was pregnant with my daughter. Then I think about it, and realize how much time has gone by, and how much has changed over the years. My life is far different than it was back then. The world is far different than it was back then. So, why am I surprised? It just doesn't feel like that long ago. I guess that happens to all of us.
When I was pregnant the last time, I was working at a retail store while my husband, now my ex-husband, was at boot camp. I had access to a lot of great maternity clothes at the store that I worked at. It was very convenient. There were also several other retail, and discount stores that carried a decent amount of maternity clothes. I was able to get everything that I needed, and saved a good amount of money, as well. I had a decent maternity wardrobe, with clothes for a variety of occasions. Kohl's and Walmart both carried a decent selection of clothes in their maternity sections. Things have changed. A LOT! I was not really prepared for this. I guess I should have held onto all those clothes. I just didn't think I would need them again.
A Frustrating Search
A recent trip to Walmart was a complete failure. I checked where I thought the maternity clothes would be, where I remembered them being years ago, and I didn't find anything. I checked by the baby clothes, and again, I found nothing. I asked an “ever-so-helpful” employee, and was told, simply, “We don't carry that sort of thing.” It was as if I was asking where the section of pornographic movies, or something equally offensive, was located, instead of clothes for my pregnant self. Do they have something against pregnant women? They sell baby stuff, so why not maternity clothes? You need one before you need the other. A further search online told me that there were no stores in a fifty mile radius that even carried maternity clothes, but I could order some online, and pay to have it shipped to me. That doesn't really help. I like to be able to try things on. It helps if the stuff fits, and it is harder to return things that you have bought online.
Kohl's wasn't much better. What was once a rather decent selection of maternity clothes had been reduced down to one tiny corner of a wall and one rack near the baby clothes, and the prices were rather high for something that I would only be wearing for a few short months. I hate to say this, because I used to love Kohl's, so it is hard for me to talk so poorly of them. In this case, they seem to be failing. Their selection of clothes for various types of women is extensive, and for them to reduce the size of their maternity department to such a minute selection seems pointless, and it upset me a lot.
The very worst experience I had trying to find maternity clothes had nothing to do with any particular store, instead it was a particular item that was the trouble. I had to find a formal dress for a black tie event. Maternity formal wear is very hard to find outside of the internet. I searched and searched. The internet did have some options, but again, that doesn't really give you the option of trying things on, and I didn't have a lot of time to be able to send things back if they didn't fit right. I ended up finding a nice formal dress that was not a maternity dress, but due to the fact that I was only around five and a half months along, and the cut of the dress worked with the belly, I was able to pull it off. I put in a picture of me and my husband on the night of the event.
Finally, I Find Something!
Where did I have luck finding maternity clothes? There were a few places where I did manage to find some decent maternity clothes, and a good selection of them, to boot. Target has a wonderful maternity department! I don't often shop there because it is a bit of a drive from my house, but I think I might venture there more often in the future. Target also has a great selection of maternity clothes online, if you don't find what you are looking for in the store. If you are pregnant, and in need of some cute maternity clothes, I recommend Target! The prices were decent, and the selection was much better than anywhere else I had been. Well, aside from the specialty stores, like Motherhood Maternity.
Motherhood Maternity is a wonderful store, though they are a little more pricy than Target. You can also find a Motherhood Maternity department inside of some Macy's stores, though the selection is not always that great. The one near me was a little better than Kohl's, but not nearly as extensive as Target. The prices were decent, though. I found a lot of wonderful clothes there, and even a bathing suit, which is much needed in Florida in the summer. As an added bonus, if you shop at the Motherhood Maternity store, you often get free gifts, and coupons for all those much needed supplies and baby items you will have to buy a little ways down the road. Saving money on baby stuff is always important, as any parent knows.
Maternity Bathing Suit
So What Are Your Options?
So, if you are having trouble finding maternity clothes in the area that you live in, what are your options? Sometimes it will involve driving a little out of your way to get to the stores that you need to get to. Otherwise, there is always the internet. The internet has been a saving grace for a variety of strange needs over the years (a leg lamp is harder to find than one would think). And shopping for maternity clothes is no exception. There are several stores that offer maternity clothes online, including Walmart, Target and Motherhood Maternity. There are also many boutique-type stores online with some truly unique maternity clothes for the fashion forward mom-to-be. Zulilly is a personal favorite, and also have a great selection of unique baby and children's clothes. Even websites like Amazon and ebay can be useful resources for finding maternity clothes. Especially if you are looking for something specific.
It's all a matter of what you need. The only issue with shopping for clothes online is the obvious; you can't try them on. Of course, maternity clothes are a little easier to buy. The sizing is often a choice between small, medium, etc. and they tell you to base your maternity size on your regular size. Of course, if you are gaining a little more weight than you should be, a size up would leave you a little extra room.
I don't really know the reason for the lack of readily available maternity clothes in today's retail market. I can make guesses. Are less people having babies? Maybe, but if the maternity ward at the hospital I used to work at is any indication, that is hardly true. That place was always busy. So, if people are still having babies, why is it so hard to find maternity clothes? We kind of need something to wear. I would like to be able to leave the house once in a while, and I would really rather not venture out of the house naked. Though I have noticed a trend lately, of expectant mothers wearing their normal clothes. My sister did this. I even did this in the first few months of my pregnancy, when my tummy was still small. There are numerous pictures of her with her belly exposed, and while I may do this in the privacy of my own home, once in a while, I would never venture out in public like that. Maybe she just had as much trouble finding maternity clothes as I did.
One Last Thing
I have one recommendation for all the expectant mothers out there. I was given a gift that turned out to be the most useful thing I have ever had in my entire pregnancy! It is a maternity belly band. It is basically a band of stretchy material that covers your belly. It doesn't sound like much, and at first, I was sceptical. Then I used it! I have used it throughout my pregnancy, and expect to use it a few months after, as well.
In the early months, I was just starting to put on weight. My pants were starting to get a little tight, and it became hard to button them. I did the trick with the pony-tail holder through the button hole and around the button of the jeans. That works pretty well, but you add the belly band over it, and it keeps your pants in place better. As my belly got bigger, I started wearing maternity clothes, but they were still a little big. The belly band added support and kept the pants in place. It is also great for pants with a drawstring, like the scrubs that I love to wear. I can still wear scrubs, even now, thanks to the belly band. It holds the pants up over my ever expanding tummy.
It will even serve its purpose after the baby is born. It will add support to my clothes as my tummy goes back to its normal size and shape. It will also add a little support to my tummy following my c-section. Anyone who has had one, knows that any extra support to those damaged muscles is a wonderful thing.
© 2012 Anna Marie Bowman