6 life-changing tips for dressing the bump and beyond
By the time I got pregnant I had been dressing amazing women for almost a decade. I've been told that one of my greatest assets is my empathy for others. It's easy for me to harness kindness and compassion as Iguide women down the path toward a new wardrobe and an authentic image. However, it wasn't until I got pregnant, and my body changed in ways I never thought possible, that I truly understood what it's like to be completely overwhelmed by not knowing how to dress my body. I had a great wardrobe for my non-pregnant body and the day my jeans stopped buttoning and my dresses stopped zipping I went into panic mode.
It's very easy for me to get consumed by stress. I have to be very diligent about making time for yoga, exercise, mediation, and journaling to keep myself balanced. Getting dressed is something that can really trigger my stress response. It sounds so ridiculous, but I know I'm not alone!
I eventually took my pregnancy wardrobe by the reigns and created something I loved.. I was also fortunate enough to put what I had learned in to practice as some clients and friends became pregnant.
I created a shoppable pregnancy capsule (complete with video of maternity wardrobe tips) to take the guesswork out of dressing your pregnant belly. Click here to view the capsule!
The truth is- once you figure out how to dress your bump before you know it your bump is gone, your holding a beautiful baby, and you're back to not knowing what to wear again.
The 'fourth trimester' was really difficult for me. Not only because my hormones were shifting like crazy and I was sleep deprived but because once again, I had no idea what to wear to make myself feel comfortable. I did NOT have the energy to figure it out. Every time Kohen spit up on me I would think, "great, what the heck am I going to put on this time?" I had just given birth to a beautiful and healthy baby and YES, I was still stressing about what to wear. I felt bad about this stress. I thoughtI should be so grateful for this new baby that these discomforts shouldn't have mattered as much as they did. During the 'brand new mom stage' it truthfully wasn't so much about what I looked like but it was just how uncomfortable I was in everything I put on. I still had a baby belly but my maternity clothing was not conducive for nursing, my bra size increased from a 32C to a 36DD, and felt completely overwhelmed in my own skin.
There were so many layers that made this stage so hard for me. It was August and we were in the middle of a heatwave, people were stopping by all day to see the baby, and I was nursing so it was challenging to easily access the milk machines in my maternity tanks. There's also a lot of healing going on during the fourth trimester which makes emotions run high and your patience for tight leggings run very thin.
Because of the time of year a cotton strapless maxi dress (that was sunscreen stained from using it as bathing suit cover-up) ended up being my favorite thing to wear. It was long so I could sit in my odd way to accommodate my fractured tailbone, I could nurse easily, and it helped with the heat. I would literally cry when it got spit up on because it was the only thing I wanted to wear during the first three weeks.
I went back to work when Kohen was about 4 weeks old so I needed to have clothing that fit my post-pregnancy body. I created a small capsule wardrobe in which everything matched so it was super easy to pick out what to wear everyday. Even now, at 5 months post baby, I'm at my pre-pregnancy weight but I'm still two sizes larger than I was before I gave birth. This may be my new size and you know what, I'm OK with that. I wouldn't be OK if I was holding out to buy clothes until I reached my 'ideal size'. My ideal size right now is the one that makes me feel strong, nourishes my baby, and feels comfortable in my clothing.
Click to get access my shoppable Fourth Trimester Capsule - I included everything from my favorite Target nursing tanks to Rag and Bone booties that are God's gift to moms.
Here a few tips to provide you with some guidance so getting dressed during these amazing stages is a little bit easier. Remember- we are moms. We are amazing. It doesn't matter what we are wearing but it DOES matter how we feel. We shouldn’t spend our energy stressing about what wear; our energy should be saved for family, fulfilling work, and an endless supply of cuddles :)
Pregnancy and motherhood is too beautiful to spend it stressing in the closet- These tips helped me and I know they will help you too:
TIP 1: Keep getting dressed. During the duration of a pregnancy a women may feel awesome at times and less than awesome at others. No matter how you feel keep taking care of yourself. Take a bath, throw on some blush and a cute outfit whether you're going to treat yourself to lunch or snuggle up on the couch with a cup of tea. Attending to how you look is scientifically proven to improve how you feel. Pick your outfit out the night before- ALWAYS. Morning are going to be rough for a while.
TIP 2: Sometime during your first trimester make a list of all the events you are going to have throughout your pregnancy. When you start shopping for maternity clothes start by buying specific outfits for these events and then utilize these pieces throughout your pregnancy. This will keep you from scrambling when the event draws close and also help you get the most out of your maternity pieces. There is one caveat to shopping early in your pregnancy- At the beginning it's hard to imagine just how huge your belly is going to get. It will get BIG so if you have an event that's in the latter part of your third trimester I suggest waiting until a little closer to that date to shop. Items that fit awesome in the second trimester make great postpartum 'event' outfits. The reason why I say fourth trimester 'event' outfits is because most maternity clothing is not great for nursing so many maternity tops and dresses have little use after baby comes.
TIP 3: Outerwear- capes and ponchos are super stylish and can still be perfectly warm. Earlier in the pregnancy you can belt it to define the belly and then lose the belt when your belly gets too big. Since capes don't have to be maternity sized to accommodate a bump you don't have to feel bad about investing in this piece as it will work after your pregnancy. The other thing I love to do is place a scarf around the neck (untied) and belt it. This way you can wear any coat from your current wardrobe (open) while showing off your bump and keeping it warm with the belted scarf. Depending on where you live sometimes the belted scarf will be enough!
TIP 4: Buy non-maternity items for different stages of your pregnancy. There are so many regular clothing items, especially tops and dresses, that will fit a baby bump. As your belly grows buy something non maternity that fits your bump but you will be excited to wear when you are no longer pregnant; especially in the postpartum stage . Use the rule- if you wouldn't wear the style not pregnant, don't buy it just because it's maternity.
TIP 5: Invest in quality pieces; especially if it's your first pregnancy. If you're going to do the work to build a cohesive wardrobe for your pregnancy do you yourself a favor and make sure it's going to be in good shape the next time you get pregnant. When I say quality I don’tmean that your items need to be desiner or super expensive. Some of the items in the capsules you have access to are from Target. We tend to destroy our wardrobes (pregnant or not) when we buy a new item and wear it over and over until it wears out or we grow tired of it. This is why I recommend building a capsule wardrobe for pregnancy and for life.
TIP 6: Cute workout clothing is a lifesaver. Like I mentioned yoga and exercise are my saving graces. I threw together some cute outfits that utilized workout clothing so I could hop on my mat with Kohen whenever the moment presented itself. Kohen started to love this as I would kiss his forward as I went from plank to downward dog. This was not about an intense workout for me it was about connecting with a piece of my pre-baby life made me feel at peace. I would do a couple cat/cows or sunsalutations Kohen thinks my legs dangling in the air is hilarious. When I'm done I throw on a sweater and cute pair of boots and I'm dressed for the day.
The next time you're standing in your closest trying to figure out what to wear, sensing the seconds tick by and the hearing the baby cry in the background I want you to think of me and here is what I would say to you "It's ok this is stressful. It’s not really about the clothes. It's more than that. You're tired and you're body doesn’t feel like you. Just pull out something that fits. Don't think to much about it. If it fits and makes you feel comfortable you will look great. You will look great because when you're comfortable you are yourself. You are perfect and it's OK that you are struggling with this" I'm here for you if you need me, Maegan@mydearwatson.co
Don't miss out on my pregnancy and fourth trimester wardrobe capsules; click here and I'll send them right over!