Pregnancy Style: How to Stay a “Me” While Becoming a “We”
Upfront, I am not pregnant nor have I ever been. This is an attempt at more of a commentary on those near to me. In other words what I have observed over my (short) lifetime from pregnant couples. Should I ever be a parent I’ll have to revisit this and laugh at my naivety.
Someone very near and dear to me is coming down the homestretch of her pregnancy. She is a mere couple, few – who really knows – weeks away from delivering her first child. Because she is so close to our immediate little group it is especially top of mind. That is likely compounded by her sharing a home with me for the past little while. You get to see more when they are under your roof than if they have the privacy of their own home. My – perhaps creepy - observation was on high alert.
I understand if this all sounds a bit clinical to you, fashion friends. My response to that apt observation is that I don’t really know how else to be. The only insight that I can share to try to add some context is that I struggle with the idea of being pregnant. I struggle with the process, the inevitable body change, delivery of said child, and your post partum everything. Part of me knows I might delight in “leaning in” to my biological makeup, while the other part wants to flip a table while singing Run to The Hills. I may not have what it takes to say the least.
Aside from the horrifying biological realities of creating, carrying, and delivering life, my mind, perhaps vainly (of course I’m vain), steers me straight to the existential crisis I would have while going through the process. While I admire the female form’s ability to do the nine-month-crazy-as-hell-damn thing, my mind immediately goes to trying to reconcile still trying to be a stylish “me” while a women is so obviously nurturing a “we.” Inside her. Cue the mind explosion.
I thought with age and experience I would be better at accepting the realities of reproductive science. Truth is, I am not coping as well as the majority. All I can think about is the total mindfuck of trying to sustain or evolve one’s personal style as they are growing another life in that very same body. The child is not even chipping into the shopping budget.
Over the years I have heard loved ones say that they dance back of forth with total awe of what a female body can do and as a result are gentle with themselves. They purchase garments such as soft clothing and celebrate design feats (hello pregnancy jeans). While at the same time, I know that you can be “fine” one minute then be thrown into shock with their ever-changing pregnancy bodies the next.
I must admit that my binary thinking on self-love and self confidence might be totally irrelevant when you are bringing a new life into this world. I usually say, "Do you, boo boo." But it's a "we" situation. Perspective is obviously shifted. Stretch clothing is no longer a leisurely pursuit; it can be the difference between a good or terribly day for a mom.
I’ve had pregnant people share the inner brawl of trying to be kind to oneself – knowing that they’re body will change - while hating the fact that their body is doing whatever the F it wants for the child. It was communicated to me that there is a feeling of no control.
Of course we know in this misogynistic society that her body often commoditizes a women. Yet the pressure to produce a child may alter or – at the very least – interrupt that norm can be baffling.
All is can hear in my head is something yoyo like, “Oh you have to be thin all the time. Unless you’re pregnant. If so, take 9 months to do whatever you want, because you’re pregnant and YOLO. Finally a female reprieve from the drudgery of a gaze outside her own! But if you’re not thin again 2 weeks after delivery, then you are a failure.”
WTF. It’s so gross, humiliating, and unrealistic. So much so, those mothers may start to actually believe it.
What’s my take? Please know that I believe that it often takes one to know one. So don’t listen to me. Seriously. But… should you still want to I would recommend 3 things that I feel are consistent with any life-changing "what's my style now?" phase:
- Dress for yourself. That may or may not include dressing with other people in mind. Do this no matter what that looks like or why. Listen to no one but yourself on how you should feel/think/act.
- Allow yourself to evolve or adjust. I would image bringing a new person into this world is a bit of a pivot. Run with that keeping an honest expression at the centre of your style MO.
- Be kind to yourself as much as you can knowing this is a total body image trip. There will be good, bad, and dreadful days. You'll learn so much about yourself as you navigate it.
To all the moms out there, holy shit I can’t even. But I am so thankful that you do. How lucky is a child to have you as their mom. If anyone comments on your outfit, good to bad, you tell them where to go. Or call me and I will.