Mind on Maternity (wear)!

Close your eyes….now imagine the sound of newly born bleating lambs, see the carpets of bluebells and smell the invigorating dewy grass…got it? Good!

Although recently Spring has felt like a foreign concept, it is a time of birth and renewal.

As I write I am 4 weeks from welcoming our 2nd child into the world! 

As many of us know, no 2 pregnancies are the same, and I am no exception. First time around my bump was very small and compact, people did not realise I was pregnant until 6 months! I also did not need specific maternity wear, just a few larger sized items.

However, fast forward 3 ½ yrs and I have a large bump, swollen ankles and have been trying to navigate the Maternity Wear market with mixed results.

Here are my observations and reactions to the mysterious land of ‘Maternity Wear’ followed by my tips for surviving this time of your life…

Black – It is everywhere! And whilst darker colours can be practical as some of us may continue to wear these items for a time after the birth, a sea of black may not do much for our mood or our appearance. It is an easy colour to hide behind, reveals little of our personality and it’s associations with formality and even negativity can affect our emotions. 

Tip – Consider other neutrals such as shades of grey, blue or brown to vary your palette and experiment with colour pairing to see what suits you.

Length – Maternity wear seems to have extremes when it comes to length. No thought seems to go into the fact that we all still vary in height and proportion, we just have an altered body shape. It can therefore be easy to be swamped by swathes of longer lengths in tops and dresses, when these may not suit or flatter your proportions.

Tip - Don’t be tempted to wear excessively long items unless you are tall, try to keep lengths similar to those in your pre-pregnancy wardrobe. Also, look at layering items to ensure that your silhouette reflects your true proportions and not the dreaded ‘tent effect’.

Shoes – For many women, your feet and ankles will swell…fact! We all know that wearing high heels can be both dangerous as your centre of gravity has altered and you may not be as stable, as well as the extra pressure on your joints may cause discomfort.

But also be aware that flats can also be tricky, as they provide no support for your ankles or back, and no stability.

Tip – Look out for low wedges in shoes and boots which offer a manageable and sensible height, whilst offering stability and a wide fit option to allow room to accommodate any swelling.

Shapes – Maternity skinny jeans?! Why?! For those of us who do not wear this style anyway, it can be staggering to find that many jeans in these ranges are ‘skinny’. Comfort is of optimum importance when pregnant, as is allowing your body the room it needs to grow and move effectively. Is wearing tight fitting trousers really a good option?

Tip – Don’t bow down to trends or assume that you will be able to wear the exact shapes that you could before, and that is fine! Your body is just as fabulous, it is just different now and needs to be looked after.

Slogans – each to their own but personally the flurry of ‘baby on board’ type slogan items make me roll my eyes. Motherhood is an exciting journey, but we do not need to be defined by our temporary condition, and are quite unlikely to want EVERY conversation to be about pregnancy, which these kinds of tops invite from people.

Tip – Novelty items have their place, but you are still you! Once the baby arrives we will then forever be known as someone’s Mum…so using your wardrobe to maintain your personality during pregnancy can help to hold on to your identity.

Other things to consider...

Breathable fabrics – Your temperature rises in pregnancy by around 1 degree, making it difficult to manage when we are busy. Try to select natural fabrics such as cotton where possible to allow your skin to breathe and feel more comfortable. You may even want to carry a mini deodorant in case you need to freshen up.

Layering – In addition to the above, to help to manage your core temperature, wear a number of thin layers that are easy to remove or change such as thin knits, cardigans, cover ups, kimono / wrap tops which offer more control.

Also, think about the temperature of your regular environments such as work and houses etc so that you can prepare what to wear for each day, and adapt easily.

The ideal coat – A medium weight coat such as a mac is a flexible option which allows you to add a jumper / scarf in Winter or to wear open with thin layers in Spring/Summer.

Treat your feet – A pedicure is a great investment to give you a boost, especially when you can’t see your feet anymore! And it doesn’t need to cost a fortune….ask a girlfriend to oblige or look up your local College Salon or local Salon business.

Support – Get measured for your maternity bras! This cannot be estimated and many High Street stores offer this service. Remember – if you are planning to breastfeed then you need to quit wearing underwired bras early on. By wearing the right size you will feel more secure, confident and your clothes will hang better as the right bra shows your actual body shape.

Accessorize – Many of us do not want to invest tons of money in larger or specialized clothes for a short period of time, yet you still want to feel and look like yourself. This is where accessories can make an outfit. Think a scarf in your favourite colour or print, a bling necklace or some fun hair clips can lift your spirits, while reflecting your personality.

Wishing all of you embarking on the amazing journey of pregnancy well, and remember to be yourself. You are amazing just as you are!

Love Angie 

The Image Angel x