Frocks or Fashion?
So, I’m nearly 32 weeks and counting.
Last week, when I went to my pre-natal, I failed to paint a picture of what I looked like:
I was wearing Guo Jian’s baggiest jeans and I could only do them up to the second button. They’re also too long for me and so they were rolled up twice at the bottom and twist strangely at my calves because they’re not hanging right.
On top, I wore a big oversized t-shirt that falls erratically across my neckline and shoulders but clings obnoxiously to my belly and breasts. Overtop of that, I wore my black hoodie that stretches across my bump but is rather tight when I force it to do that. It’s also too short now, so my t-shirt hangs below it like a bed’s fringe. If I let it hang open and unzipped, the excess fabric of the t-shirt billows slightly above my breasts and around the neckline, a bit like drapery caught in the breeze of an open window.
Oh, and let’s not forget the footwear. I can only wear my Chinese slippers right now or my imitation UGG boots (that say “UGC” on the backs of them because I bought them in China!). There is no possibility of doing up laces any longer. Trust me, I’ve tried. I found it to be a huffing and puffing ten-minute commitment only to learn that my feet are now too big for my sneakers (read: swollen) to make walking in them comfortable anyway.
Finally, I have taken out my braided extensions (in a fit of needing change) and so my hair is stringy and fine and tucks up nicely in a hat, topping off the queer pregnant girl image nicely. I most certainly look like a tomboy that got herself knocked up and still isn’t sure what’s going on.
The doctor took one look at my get-up and suggested I invest in some 孕妇装 or maternity clothing.
I think I was slightly whining when I explained that my only pair of maternity jeans are now too tight for my expanded body. I’ve already put on 40lbs here! I have no idea who this Humpty Dumpty is when I look in the mirror. Top that off with having bought a few cute maternity shirts from Value Village (Canadian used clothing chain) that are now too tight for the bump and… I have myself the perfect recipe for fashion depression.
So, she suggested I go out and get some clothing here? Have you seen the maternity fashion options in China?
I know I’ve touched on this topic already in this blog already, but today I’m going to really lay it out with visual aides.
There are two main options here for pregnancy attire:
1) THE FROCK:
The frock is a brushed cotton top generally designed with a square collar, wide shoulder straps and (usually) pleated fabric gathered at the chest that flows outwards to accommodate the growing bump. (See photos).
They are usually available in various shades of pink (mostly dusty rose) or a powder blue colour, although I have seen a few pale greens and greys. They are generally worn overtop of t-shirts and remind me of a preschooler’s painting frock. In fact, if it was made of the same plastic that reusable grocery bags are made of, I wouldn’t be surprised. They’d wipe up cleaner that way!
2) THE OVERALLS:
The overalls are also pleated either at the chest or just below the bust-line and generally come in corduroy (and many different colours), but all seem to have large and gaudy decals of teddy bears or other child-like imagery that are appliquéd onto the front panel. I know I’m about to give birth to a child, but I’m not a child myself and don’t need to dress like one!
When you’re gaining weight and your body is changing, the last thing a pregnantwoman wants is to feel even more unattractive. These clothes are the opposite of fashionable, not to mention the opposite of sexy. And, feeling sexy is not about attracting a mate; it’s about feeling good in one’s body and feeling confident. It’s a personal feeling that has nothing to do with anyone else. I believe strongly that it’s okay to feel sexy, even when we’re pregnant, and it’s good for us to want to look our best, especially when we’re growing and changing so rapidly and dealing with such an unfamiliar feeling throughout our bodies. The least we can do for ourselves is to wear clothing that makes us feel good in these stressful times!
But, all that is easy to write, but wow… the more pregnant I get, the less sexy I feel! In fact, what is that feeling again? I don’t even remember it! It’s been way too long…
Recently, my Mom (whom I love dearly) revealed a bit of a conservative side when she suggested that it was time that I stop revealing my belly to the world. She said that perhaps now is a good time to cease posting pictures of my pregnant belly and just to reserve this sight for within the intimacy of my partnership. “After all,” she wrote, “it’s going to get scary big!”
When I received this advice from my Mom, I was initially offended. I simply responded that I didn’t fully agree with her but thanked her for sharing how she felt. Quietly, though, I found myself surging with a feminist roar. “Pregnant women are beautiful!,” I thought, and “We have to celebrate our fertility!” and “I am not ashamed of my pregnant belly! I want to show it to the world!”
What has followed, however, has been a strange hesitation to take my weekly picture. Guo Jian, being a scattered Sagittarius, generally needs reminding about these things, but I just haven’t been reminding him. The truth is, I’m getting over this belly that knocks things off the table, itches constantly, won’t let me sleep, and weighs a tonne. It’s not that exciting anymore! It’s just an enormous baby belly, after all! And the puffy face and weird bags under my eyes aren’t creating the “glow” that people once spoke about in relation to my appearance earlier during this gestational period. In fact, I’d wager the glow is wearing off and now I just look exhausted and strained.
And I am.
I’m sleeping so poorly and have so little energy that I’ve had to create a schedule chart for myself to force my body to stretch, do some yoga at home, and go out for a walk at least three times a week. Otherwise, I’ll just spend all my hours writing and strumming my guitar in the same chair, my only movement being the frequent trips to the bathroom.
And really, who needs fashion when you’re barely leaving the house?
Okay Little Spark, get out here on time, will ya? This is your Mother talking!!