Dressing My Postpartum Body (or Homage to Maternity Leggings)

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I have lived in fear of my post-baby body for as long as I have been aware that such a thing exists.  Even though I know tons of ladies who have made it through multiple babies looking amazing, I always had the idea that pregnancy and childbirth would destroy me irreparably.  If I got a compliment about my figure or briefly felt good about myself in a bathing suit, I would mentally remind myself: enjoy it now.  Just wait until after pregnancy.  Fast forward to 12 weeks postpartum, and, like most of my innumerable worries, it turns out that I wasted way too much of my youth thinking about this.  Granted, I still have a few pounds and inches to lose to get back to my pre-pregnancy self, but I truly do not hate my body!  I actually feel kind of proud, like I have put it to good use, and if it isn’t perfect (and it wasn’t perfect to begin with anyway), there is a good reason for it.

That said, I am now in this weird and frustrating limbo stage with clothing.  Even though I am ok with my body and am feeling ready to rejoin the land of the living by wearing normal clothes again, very little of my old wardrobe fits.  It is pretty disappointing to have been through all this – working my way up to having a giant belly, then pushing out a baby, and shrinking back again – to make it through relatively unscathed, and to get rewarded by having nothing to wear.  And of course by getting a beautiful baby.  You know what I mean.

This is basically the long way for me to justify the fact that I am still wearing maternity clothes.  This is normal, right??  It’s one of those things that I don’t feel comfortable casually asking people about (so of course I’m blogging about it – THAT makes sense), but it seems like I’m probably not the only one.  Really, who has the money to almost completely replace their wardrobe twice in the same year and have a baby?

I have to admit, I am not horribly upset about this because I actually think that maternity clothes are kind of awesome.  I’m not talking tent dresses or those shirts that tie in the back or maternity jeans (those are literally THE WORST, even fancy ones).  I am referring to clothes that are cute, comfortable, long enough to cover my butt, and also designed to fit a body that will vary somewhat in size.  And let’s be honest, even when I’m not pregnant, my body tends to vary a bit in size.  I had a few maternity dresses that I loved and ruched t-shirts that were staples of my wardrobe, but of all my maternity wear, I love my maternity leggings the most by far.

Leggings in themselves are a joyous gift from above.  When they first came back in style a few years ago, they completely pissed me off.  I remember the hideous floral pair I had as a child.  I wore them with giant sweatshirts, which covered up the fact that the crotch was down at my knees.  Today’s leggings are a vast improvement.  Many are actually flattering, they can make your favorite sweater dress suddenly work appropriate, and I find them super comfortable.  Maternity leggings are even better than this.  For those who have never had the pleasure of wearing them, they are basically just leggings that have no waistband but instead have this glorious stretchy panel that you pull up to your boobs.  There is no potential for a muffin top; on the contrary, they actually flatten your tummy.  Why oh why can’t regular leggings be like this??

In any case, the fact that I CAN at this point wear regular leggings is an indication that my maternity leggings are becoming a bit of a security blanket to me.  I am returning to work in six weeks, and I think it is time to start thinking about either getting myself back in shape and/or investing in some new clothing.  I would like to turn over a new leaf anyway and start to feel a tad more like myself, even if having my baby has left me a little different than before.

My question to all you mamas out there: For how long did you wear maternity after having your babies?  Were there any pieces that you were especially attached to?

7 comments on “Dressing My Postpartum Body (or Homage to Maternity Leggings)”

  1. My youngest just had her first birthday and I’m still rocking a maternity sweater – some of those clothes are cuter than my regular wardrobe and I still have no idea what size I really am, so I haven’t bothered to shop much.

  2. I’m almost ashamed to admit after seeing everyone else’s posts….. My son is going to be 1 year on Sunday and I still wear two pair of materity dress pants to work. When I went back to work I was super stubborn and refused to buy new clothes until I lost the weight. Besides, they’re SO COMFORTABLE!!! Well, a year later and a few of my old pants fit, but not enough for a full wardrobe. I’ve scheduled a shopping date for next weekend to finally bite the bullet and buy some new pants. Maybe I’ll fit into those old pants someday, but in the meantime, it’s time to get back to the land of the waistbands.

  3. I wore maternity jeans for the first couple weeks post kid (both times). When I wasn’t wearing those, I lived in my Lululemon Wonder Under crops. As far as maternity tops- tank tops, long sleeve tees, etc… pretty much anything without rouching in the side (that elastic sewn in at the sides of the shirts), I wore for a while- it was so much more comfortable, and I think I looked a lot better wearing those than trying to squeeze myself into my pre-kid stuff that early. For transitioning out of maternity, I can’t say enough about the Joe Fresh brand at JC Penny- you gotta check that out! I was shocked to find the awesome styles and very inexpensive prices for skinny jeans, tops, skirts, etc. As a J.Crew/Lilly Pulitzer/Gap addict, I found Joe Fresh to fit right into my wardrobe in this “in between” stage. And then, before I came back to work, I went back to add a few new fun pieces to my closet!

  4. I wore my maternity clothes for about a month after each of my babies. I found the long, fitted maternity shirts were hardest to give up because they were now just extra long tops. Buy some flowy tops to help with the transition!

  5. There were some shirts I wore for 3 years. They worked on my body even after the baby for quite some time. I was sad to see them go, but passed them on to a pregnant mommy-to-be that was my size so I was delighted.

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