I'm feeling like I'm at a little bit of an uncute stage in my pregnancy, where I definitely do have a discernible tummy, but it's not quite "oh hey, there's absolutely, positively, unequivocally a baby in there," the way I think I thought it would be at this point. Instead, I just seem to have grown a bit everywhere, which makes me look less like I swallowed a basketball and more like I am the basketball, particularly since I'm still mostly squeezing into my regular clothes. As the baby gets bigger—he's now at 20 weeks and the length of a banana!—I'm starting to wonder how much longer those clothes can constrain me, and I don't think it's particularly long. Today after work, for example, I came home and took off my uncomfortably tight dress before I did anything else, and by anything, I mean up to and including "turning on the heat," "feeding the cat," and even "walking up the stairs to my bedroom." I think I remembered to shut the front door before I unzipped.
But maternity shopping is just so......ugh, imagine me rolling my eyes really hard right here instead of bothering to find an actual word to describe it. I've bought a proper top at Target and one at H&M—and of course I'm making ample use of my bella band, which I'm hoping to use on my regular pants for as long as possible because if there's one thing that sounds even more nightmarish to me than jeans shopping, it's maternity jeans shopping—but for the most part I don't really know where to start with outfitting my burgeoning body, particularly at this weird in-between stage. As a result, I spend every day feeling a little frumpy and dowdy, instead of beaming and glowing and radiating like the beatific earth mother goddess every single baby blog and parenting app seems to think I should be.
(Yesterday, I ate a packet of strawberry Pop Rocks in the middle of the afternoon, for no other reason than that I saw them and immediately couldn't stop thinking about what they'd taste like. I don't think beatific earth mother goddesses consider strawberry Pop Rocks a part of their pregnancy diet, do you? Perhaps this is actually my problem.)
Whoops, sorry baby. How did that explosion taste?
The other day, I walked into Motherhood Maternity—which, if you haven't been in there, is exactly like you're probably picturing it right now—in search of a basic black maternity top. I walked out feeling totally fleeced, in a weird way I can't quite put my finger on, except to say that I somehow ended up giving out my phone number, my email address, and my home address at the cash register, and I only caught myself when a copy of Parenting magazine was thrust into my hands with the promise that I'd be billed for the second year of my subscription once the first year's free subscription ran out. "Wait, wait, no, I don't want that," I managed to stutter—as if I'd suddenly awoken from some sort of sleepwalking daze wherein I readily gave out all my personal information to the nice lady who'd hung 17 identical black maternity tops in the dressing room for me—and tried to hand it back. "Hmmm," she bristled. "Really? You know, it's very useful." And then she forced me to take a plastic bag filled with samples of formula and coupons for Babies R Us.
Has it always been like this, the weird commodification of pregnant women? The whole thing made me feel vaguely sleazy, and not just because I ended up paying $25 for a black t-shirt that would have been half the price anywhere else.
I don't know, it was one of these eight million, I think.
The one thing I did quite enjoy about Motherhood Maternity was the hilarious little pillow-on-a-belt they leave for you in the dressing room, so that you can stuff it under your shirt when you try things on and imagine what you'll look like in about three months time. Also—and I'm just guessing here—so you can take a picture, text it to your mother and say "hey, do you think I'm showing yet?"
Nah, you're fine, you can't even tell.
I know I'm probably going to really regret saying this in about, ooh, late May, but I kind of can't wait to have a big old belly like that one, so that my outside actually matches up to how I feel in my head. Until then, I'll just wait, I guess. And stay as far away as I can from the Pop Rocks.