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Women are buying designer dresses just to give birth in.

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My mother-in-law has a birthing story that will make your hair curl. Fifty years ago, she was a very pregnant woman at home in the outer suburbs on a cold night. She had a toddler asleep in bed, and the urgent knowledge that she was about to give birth.

There was only one telephone in the street (it was 50 years ago – and New Zealand) and she managed to get as far as a neighbour to alert them to her situation. “THE BABY IS COMING.” is all she could manage, before she stumbled back to her house.

The neighbour ran to the home with the phone. The man of the house’s wife was away (so fancy, these phone owners) and he had got drunk and passed out, dead to the world, as the neighbour banged and banged on the door.

My mother-in-law delivered her baby alone, on a hard single bed. And the only thing she had to hand to cover herself and her baby until the cavalry finally turned up was her best, red coat.

That coat,” she says, whenever she retells this story, visibly shuddering. “I had to BURN it.”

Happily, the coat was the only casualty of this dramatic birth story, but it illustrates a point any woman who has ever had a baby is already familiar with: Birth is a messy, slimy, bloody, (possibly) shitty business.

So why, oh why would you choose to buy a delightful and expensive dress just to do it in?

Plenty do, it seems:

Hear Holly Wainwright and Andrew Daddo discuss designer labour dresses. (Post continues after audio.)

Women don’t want to wear boring hospital gowns, it seems, when you could BYO flourish:

“Designer Mamas birthing gowns come in a range of bright and bold prints, offering a stylish alternative to drab hospital gowns but with the same practicalities. The sleeves unsnap for easy breastfeeding and medical access, but the back also snap locks so there’s no accidental flashing!”

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Or…

Pretty Pusher Delivery Gowns… Designed just for labour, the gown features an easy slip-on halter neck, openings for medical access, can be worn in and out of a labour bath or shower and is stretchy to allow for the all-important first feed. And because it’s made for a one off occasion, they’re designed to be thrown out afterwards.

Listen, I get it, when it comes to birth, it’s whatever makes you happy, whatever makes you feel confident. That’s why a lot of first-time mums, in particular, book a blow-dry, a wax and a pedi before the big day. (Post continues after gallery.)

But most of us, once we’ve been through this once or twice, realise that all that stuff is just rearranging deck-chairs on the Titanic – completely pointless.

Birth is a big deal. It’s transformative, it’s tough, it’s painful, it’s joyful. What you are wearing will not make any difference to whether it goes well or terribly.

And believe me, it won’t even make the post-birth pictures look better. Somewhere in the process of bringing our little person into the world you will have screamed the words, ‘Get this f***ing thing OFF ME’ and ripped the thing to shreds.

Do yourself a favour and don’t waste your money. Spend it on a frock, pedicure or blow-dry AFTER the baby’s born. Then, your tired self is going to need all the self-esteem boosting you can get. And someone might actually see it.

Listen to the full episode of This Glorious Mess, where Holly Wainwright and Andrew Daddo talk about everything from fertility treatment in Australia, to what “love language” is your child speaking? And why banning TV in the mornings is a great parenting rule….until you want to break it.

For more episodes of This Glorious Mess, download the show in iTunes, via the Mamamia Podcast App (iOS only) or via your preferred podcast app. 

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