Pregnancy, Uncategorized

Second Trimester: Maternity Fashion and Body Image

September 4, 2014

photoThe first evidence of a growing bump! (above)

Hello again! I feel like it’s been forever since I checked in with you all. California wine country was absolutely wonderful and I plan to put a full travel post together soon, but travel posts always take me such a long time. In the meantime, let’s sit down and have some good old fashioned girl talk about babies, body image and maternity fashion, shall we?

I’ve always been so excited to be pregnant and have a family of my own, especially given the rocky road we’ve journeyed to have this baby, but, given my body image struggles of the past, I was more than a little nervous about seeing my body grow and change over the 9+ months of pregnancy.

I don’t want this to come across as complaining in any way, because as I mentioned we are so very thankful,  but I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that seeing your body grow and change and having it be out of your control can be extremely unsettling at times, especially when you have a rocky body-image past.  I’ve been careful to watch what I say and monitor my thought processes about my growing body, appreciating what my body is doing (growing a human!) rather than what scares me, like the extra pounds and squishy bits that weren’t there before.

One of the things that’s been helpful is to buy and wear clothing that fits my body in its current state, rather than trying to fit into items that used to fit a certain way and now fit quite different. Since I’m on the tall side, I’m just barely showing shy of 15 weeks, meaning most maternity clothes don’t seem necessary but some of my old favorites (especially the waist-defining dresses I love) don’t fit, either.

Last week I went shopping and picked up a handful of dresses from Banana Republic and Gap Outlet that are looser and stretchy, meaning my bump will have some room to grow. I also picked up a shift dress from Anthropologie that I should be able to wear for months to come.

As far as maternity clothes go, I would love your suggestions! I recently splurged on a dress from Hatch Collection (the Afternoon Dress in black if you’re interested) which felt like a total indulgence. Since wearing Hatch exclusively isn’t in the budget, I would love to hear where you found the best fun, trendy and affordable maternity pieces. Anywhere I should be looking ?


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  • Reply Ellen R. September 4, 2014 at 1:46 pm

    You look amazing! Love that teensy bump!

  • Reply Katie Hall September 4, 2014 at 2:45 pm

    Aww, you look so great! The 2nd trimester can be so awkward with the growing bump that doesn’t quite scream pregnant yet. I did exactly what you’re doing, I wore loose/comfy but stylish clothes. I did wear maternity pants even though I didn’t need them yet- they were more comfortable and that made me feel better about my body. I found some really comfy and cute stuff from the Jennifer Love Hewitt maternity line that does not look at all like maternity wear. I’d be happy to loan you some pieces if they fit you! Honestly though, your body will amaze you. I was afraid that my poor body image from the past would return to haunt me, and at times it did, but mostly I was so surprised at how my body handled it all. I know you already eat really healthy, so you probably know this already- but I ate super healthy meals (with the occasional splurge) but let myself basically have whatever I wanted for a snack. Sometimes that was fruit, and a lot of times that was dairy queen. Honestly, I think the best thing I did was to decide not to obsess over my weight/size but to just take pregnancy as a time to be even more healthy- which can totally include potato chips and dessert if balanced with healthy meals!

  • Reply Kayla September 4, 2014 at 2:46 pm

    So sweet! And so real, because does kind of throw a girl off to have “squishy” spots that weren’t there before. I had a pair of black stretch skinnies from Gap maternity that were my go-to from beginning to end. They were magic, I think,

  • Reply Kristin September 4, 2014 at 2:48 pm

    You look amazing, but mostly joyous! And that makes you gorgeous!!!! As you said, sometimes true “maternity” clothing isn’t necessary. And that is the thought that I would stick with for several more months. They do tend to charge more, it seems, for clothes labeled “maternity” – so if you can keep doing what you are doing with looser shifts for a while, you’ve got the budget thing in check. I will ask my sister where she got all of her cute work clothes for her last trimester and send you a message later. It was some awesome store in MOA that I cannot remember the name of……

  • Reply Melissa {Persnickety Plates} September 4, 2014 at 3:51 pm

    I wore my first maternity top at 18 weeks & was so excited 🙂 Most of my maternity stuff came from Target (Liz Lange Maternity) & Old Navy/Gap. I tried to order from ASOS maternity but none of it ended up fitting right. Oh & Kohl’s had some decent pieces. Their Oh Baby long sleeved tees were my favorite.

  • Reply Lauren at Keep It Sweet September 4, 2014 at 3:58 pm

    You look so fantastic! I definitely struggled with my body image, especially before I was able to tell people I was pregnant.

    As far as maternity clothes go, I had a lot of success with basic tops and some cotton dresses at Gap, Old Navy (great prices) and even Target online. If you have a Destination Maternity near you check it out because they have a range of prices and brands so that you can pick and choose what to splurge on. Also, Nordstrom has a nice online maternity department. The only thing I ordered there, though, was a dress I needed for weddings.

  • Reply Devin September 4, 2014 at 4:04 pm

    I am a bit of a minimalist when it comes to maternity clothes. I knew that I’d only be wearing them for a short time and that subsequent pregnancies may not coordinate season-wise (being the most pregnant in the summer versus the winter). I loved GAP maternity jeans and pants and wore them through both of my pregnancies. I found that I prefer the under the belly style best since they stay up better and didn’t add another layer of cloth across my stomach. I also purchased a couple of jersey maternity dresses from GAP that I could dress up for church or showers or down for work. Other than that, I found that Target has a good selection of maternity staples – t-shirts, long tanks – that I could mix in with my regular clothes – cardigans and blazers and then add on a scarf or statement necklace to mix it up a bit. One thing that I will suggest is getting a bra fitting when you notice you need to size up and buying yourself a new bra that will last through your pregnancy. I made it through my first pregnancy by just wearing soft sleep bras once I sized out of my normal size, but when I was pregnant for the second time I got a bra fitting done and it was nice to have a normal, well fitting bra to wear, even if I won’t ever be that size again.

  • Reply Danielle Butler September 4, 2014 at 4:08 pm

    I am right there with you. I am just over 16 weeks with twins, so my bump has been showing for the last two weeks. More so in the evening than the morning. I haven’t really bought much maternity clothes yet because most of my clothes still fit. I did buy a pair of Victoria Secret Ultimate Yoga Pant (all black) to wear all Fall and Winter long. A suggestion from others as they aren’t see through, stay up and hold their color. I love them so much. And I bought one maternity gap body shirt from their maternity line. I am following this post as I need some suggestions too. Your bump is too cute and I am excited that we are so close in our pregnancies.

  • Reply hooleywithaz September 4, 2014 at 4:27 pm

    I hear ya sister. Hatch was not in my budget but I found some great stuff at old navy and gap

    • Reply hooleywithaz September 4, 2014 at 4:28 pm

      Also, destination maternity has some great basics and splurge pieces!

  • Reply Snegen September 4, 2014 at 4:49 pm

    Congratulations! I purchased quite a few items from Pink Blush Maternity (an online store). It’s kinda like the forever 21 of maternity clothes!

    Definitely get some lounge-y clothes because you’ll need comfy clothes that fit when you get home from the hospital.


  • Reply Sara September 4, 2014 at 5:14 pm

    I loved my maternity jeans and dress pants from GAP. Old Navy has a lot of fun (and cheap!) pieces (I had better luck online than I did in store). Ann Taylor Loft has a maternity line too (online only) – many of my friends didn’t know that. And for sure get some maternity “comfy clothes” to wear in the hospital/when you first get home. I almost didn’t purchase any (thought I could wear my regular yoga pants, etc.) but I’m so glad I did! There is no way I would have been comfortable in my regular clothes and I ended up wearing that stuff everyday on maternity leave.

  • Reply Rachel September 4, 2014 at 5:30 pm

    Awwww you look SO CUTE! Love that the bump is just starting to show!

  • Reply Sarah Vetter September 4, 2014 at 5:39 pm

    You look adorable! I’m currently 37.5 weeks with my first and found that I should have bought more pieces as needed. I stocked up early on maternity clothes and found that my little bump didn’t fill out some tops until 7 or 8 months! You’re slim and built somewhat similar so you might find some maternity shirts in your size will still be big up til the end! Some of my favorite tops and dresses are from gap and old navy, and i am still wearing some maxi dresses that aren’t maternity at all, especially empire waists. A lot of stores told me they got rid of their maternity section and moved everything online, which was frustrating, but if it’s a store you generally shop at anyway, you can generally count on being the same size in maternity. Enjoy each stage!!

  • Reply Sarah Vetter September 4, 2014 at 5:40 pm

    Also, Bellies to Babies in St Paul is a great second hand store of all maternity and newborn clothes! You can find nice items there at great prices!

  • Reply Candace September 4, 2014 at 7:09 pm

    You look beautiful, sweet mama! Almost 15 weeks?!? So awesome!
    My pregnancy was along the same time of year/timeline as this sweet baby of yours! I lived in leggings, dresses, and comfy warm sweaters for the most part. I was able to wear most of my normal tops well into the mid-20s. Most dresses and tops weren’t maternity, but just a size up. It wasn’t until 3rd trimester that I really needed maternity tops, which I mainly purchased Target and Gap. I found maternity jeans to be the hardest thing to shop for and feel good in… hints living in leggings and dresses instead. Wherever you decide to shop, you will look adorable with your growing baby bump! =)

  • Reply Stephanie @ Girl Versus Dough September 5, 2014 at 1:10 am

    Goodness, I could have written this exact post myself when I was pregnant. I know it’s so, so hard to see the numbers on the scale keep creeping up even when you feel like you’ve been eating really healthy; I remember crying when I couldn’t zip up my skinny jeans anymore and when my underwear started to not fit (because why do my hips/behind have to get bigger when it should just be my belly, right? ;)); I wondered what people saw when they told me how great or cute I looked while pregnant when I just felt so large and uncomfortable.

    But, having gone through the whole journey now, I can tell you that every change to your body is 100% worth it — even the ones that end up not going away. I wish I had loved myself and my changing pregnant body more when I was, enjoying that glow (and fantastic hair! ;)) and reminding myself more often how amazing it is that my body can grow a healthy, happy child within it. I know it’s hard, but just know that 1) most of those changes to your body are temporary, and 2) the ones that are not will not matter. It will pale in comparison to the love that you have for your little one, and you will care more about being healthy for him/her than about the fact that pregnancy and childbirth left your hips a little wider (in my case, anyway ;)).

    Ummmm lest I write you a novel, I’ll stop there. 🙂 All of this to say, you look STUNNING. Believe it. As for maternity clothes, I really liked Old Navy, actually — I know it’s nothing fancy, but they have some really cute stuff for the price. Gap was great for basics, too, like leggings (which I still wear and love)!

  • Reply Urban Wife September 5, 2014 at 1:22 am

    Your teeny bump is so adorable! I totally can relate to having all those thoughts when I was going through pregnancy. The most important thing as you already know is that you are growing a human being and it will so be worth it.

    For cheap (and honestly, not-so-great quality in my experience), I got most of my stuff at Old Navy maternity. I think next time around I’m going to splurge on a few key items that I can easily mix & match with other non-maternity clothes I already own. Good luck! And that gray dress is perfect. 🙂

  • Reply Lindsay September 5, 2014 at 2:44 am! lots of great stuff at reasonable prices…buy from a few brands at first and see what you like and then go back and buy more of that brand. I like mamalicious

  • Reply Emily Jensen September 6, 2014 at 3:07 pm

    I spent most of my first pregnancy resisting maternity pants. I thought that as long as I could still fit into my jeans (with a belly band or hair tie), then I wasn’t ‘gaining too much’. But in the end, I was just super uncomfortable. The first day I finally gave in and put on maternity pants I thought they were heavenly and awesome and I was a much happier pregnant lady (plus, I felt better about the way I looked because they hugged my body the right way). So my un-solicited advice would be to invest in a really good pair of maternity jeans, slacks, and yoga pants that make you feel great. Wear them a ton, and don’t feel bad if you need to start with them before 20 weeks! You look awesome!

  • Reply ali grace September 6, 2014 at 3:18 pm

    Your tiny bump is adorable!! Thanks so much for being real about your changing body. Body image is still an almost day-to-day struggle for me, so I can only imagine that I will feel the same way when I get pregnant one day (hopefully!). I so appreciate your honesty. And you’re right Your body is growing a baby and that is something to celebrate!

  • Reply {av} September 8, 2014 at 1:53 am

    Madison — you are NOT alone! the first few months of my pregnancy (before and after our news was public), I felt pretty strange in my own skin. I miscarried last fall and wasn’t back down to my pre-pregnancy weight due to a few complications. All I can say is that it exaggerated the negativity I felt toward my body in the first trimester. I’ve been mostly consistent in weight my whole life, so this was the first time I didn’t have much control. It took me until week 20 or so to feel like I actually had some semblance of a “real” bump and I was ecstatic. It will come! It doesn’t make this stage any easier, but I feel like God gives us these in-between weeks to appreciate the real change in our bodies.

    Here’s a post I wrote about building a maternity wardrobe — maybe you’ll find a few things that people didn’t cover below 😉 You’ve got this — and if you have any questions, I’m your girl. Hang in there! xoxo {av}

  • Reply In Due Time September 8, 2014 at 2:45 pm

    Congrats on your pregnancy!!!!

  • Reply NSU September 9, 2014 at 4:28 pm

    Hi Madison,
    Longtime reader, first time commenter (I think).
    I had similar issues when I got pregnant last year (Now I have an 8 month old!). You want to embrace the transition and everything your body is preparing for, but it’s hard to say goodbye (albeit temporarily) to your old form just as you’re saying goodbye to your old (childless) life; all while being thankful for the gift-to-be!
    What helped me the most was staying as active as possible: I ran (slowly!) until the third trimester and then took up strength training–crossfit, actually–sounds crazy but safety was my priority, and it went well; I still go on occasion, and I am so much better prepared for all the baby-lifting:). Listening to my body was the key to keeping everything “safe” since, especially as you get bigger and are breathing for two, your limitations are very obvious. All of this made a HUGE difference in having an ok labor (strength to push!) and my recovery/ability to be active post-partum.
    I also only weighed myself at the Dr.s office because managing my weight would not have been healthy as a pregnant person (as I was well within the “normal” weight gain parameters and gained maybe 25 lbs total). I think that’s key: putting your own overall health front-of-mind and acknowledging that means changing shape/size, that it’s a healthy, beautiful thing that enables you to bring a fully formed human into the world. Especially when I felt huge and awkward, I just kept reminding myself how it’s temporary. Having a loving and supportive husband (which I know you do too) with whom I could air these insecurities and be reassured was another helpful element.
    Post baby: I also focused heavily on healthy eating even in the awful sleep deprived first months in addition to BF’ing, but you have a lot of time to think about that stuff. I ended up losing the weight very quickly (like in the first 4 weeks) and got back to running (again– SLOWLY) by 6 weeks, which just helped me feel a little more sane after such a big life change and get a little time to myself, which totally goes out the window when you’re a new mom.
    Anyways, there’s so many layers of changes that happen when you’re expecting your first, probably more than any other time in your life– marriage pales in comparison! Thanks for bringing attention to this topic.
    Oh and on maternity wear– I couldn’t deal with spending a lot on what I would be wearing (in the scheme of things) so little and applied some “capsule wardrobe” (minimalist) principles here, spending the most on the key basics. I loved the dresses at and the Belly Band let me wear all my old pants until I really “popped”. I also found lots of mom’s selling their maternity wardrobes on my neighborhood parenting listserv–if there’s one of these near you, it’s worth getting on while pregnant to take advantage since people who are done having kids are usually dying to get rid of things. I had to hold out to find dressier items (I work in a corporate environment and the comfy jersey yoga pants I would see everywhere didn’t really cut it) and in my size (I stayed a S when pregnant and I saw mostly M’s), but when I found someone selling good stuff, it was like winning the lottery! Now I am paying it forward, letting my pregnant friend borrow dresses from me (not ready to sell since we’ll probably have another).
    Anyways (phew! long comment! thanks for making it to the end), I’m so happy for you and after all the challenges you’ve faced its so admirable that youre able to be so open with your readers. Many thanks for your blog.

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