'The best thing I did for my body image while pregnant was invest in a maternity wardrobe. Here's why.'

Pregnancy is a time of incredible change. To start with - no big deal - your whole life is about to completely flip on its head. When you bring a new life into the world, nothing remains untouched: not your work, not your relationship, not your friendships, not your sense of self, and certainly not the number of loads of laundry you think is reasonable to do in a single week.

Among all that change is another big change - big being the operative word. Because no matter how much or little pregnancy affects your body shape, there's one constant across the board: you're getting bigger.

And it's not just bigger around your belly. Unbelievably, the "tucked a basketball under my shirt" look we were taught to expect in pregnancy from movies isn't exactly... accurate. You don't just carry weight where you're carrying the baby (unless I'm currently carrying quite a lot of my baby in my arse, in which case, cool, I guess)!

Watch: The most common questions about childbirth, answered by mums and non-mums. Post continues after video.

Video via Mamamia.

Of course, the reason your body is growing and changing is to accommodate your growing and changing baby. That's good! Great! A miracle, even! But it's the kind of miracle that can also be... kind of disheartening. Kind of frustrating. Kind of terrifying. Kind of hard to process.


Rightly or wrongly (and for the record: wrongly), most women have been conditioned from birth to believe that there's value in smaller bodies, and that "bigger" is not better. So when your own body starts changing as dramatically as it does in pregnancy, it's completely normal to have mixed feelings. On the one hand, you're a giver of life! On the other hand, you don't fit into any pants!

For many expectant mothers, the temptation is to pretend like the changes aren't happening at all. To take the path of least resistance: wearing clothes you already own until they physically don't zip up. Stretching your bras beyond the limits of what any bra should have to endure. Ignoring the fact that you've had a visible panty line for nine months because underwear that used to accommodate your bottom half simply... doesn't anymore. 

In my experience, though, this couldn't be a worse approach. 

Because while it's true that there's no quick fix to the rollercoaster of emotions about your own body that pregnancy can bring up, there is one thing you can do to help yourself with the transition significantly.

And that's buying some gosh-darn clothes that fit. 

Before you ask, no, I'm not a paid ambassador for a maternity brand. There's no ulterior motive here, except my strong conviction that pregnancy is hard enough without finishing every day with an angry red line around your stomach. Aside from being wildly uncomfortable, it's nothing but a recipe for body-image disaster. 


As in so many other parts of life, comparison is the thief of joy when it comes to accepting your body through your pregnancy. While I was still wearing my pre-pregnancy clothes, I simply couldn't help comparing I looked and felt in my jeans now to how I looked and felt in them yesterday, or three weeks ago, or last year. Unsurprisingly, the comparison was never a flattering one, because those jeans were not maternity jeans, and they certainly weren't designed to accommodate a growing baby bump. With every passing day, I felt like I looked "worse" – worse in my pants, which would barely do up, worse in my shirts, which bulged around boobs I'd never had before, and worse in my dresses, which might once have shown off a waistline and now clearly flagged that I no longer possessed a waist.

Listen to What Are You Wearing? where Tamara Davis is back to take us through her wardrobe now, post-baby. Post continues below.

Strangely enough, there's a reason there's a whole market for maternity clothes, and it isn't because evil corporations are scamming your hard-earned cash by making you buy things twice. (Well, it isn't just because evil corporations are scamming your hard-earned cash by making you buy things twice). It's because maternity clothing is legitimately different to normal womenswear. It's designed around bumps and boobs, and in lots of cases, breastfeeding too. It anticipates bodies that grow quickly in a short amount of time, so it priorities stretch, and disregards silly notions like a "waistline".


As soon as I took the plunge and started buying a maternity wardrobe, I felt so much better about myself, my body, and oddly enough, my babyI felt like I could show off my bump in clothing actually designed to do so, rather than squashing or squeezing it into submission. I no longer wore the imprint of my jeans' button on my stomach for hours after I'd take them off. And – thank the good lord – I suddenly had two breasts again, rather than the four I'd been rocking (two that fit inside the cups of my pre-pregnancy bras, two that spilled out over the top). 

Buying maternity clothing doesn't have to be pricy - there are loads of great budget options, and there's a booming second hand market. But whatever you decide to spend, I promise you, it’s worth it, because the alternative - whittling down the clothes you already own to the baggiest, saggiest, saddest options that somehow fit a 40-week pregnant body even though they were never designed to do so - is simply too depressing to fathom. 

Put it this way. If you're prepared to purchase clothes for the baby you're expecting, then you should also be investing in a maternity wardrobe for yourself. You are, after all, just as important.

And unlike a baby, you really need a bra that fits. Trust me.

Did you know we have a whole family focussed community you can join on Facebook for more discussions like this? Join the Mamamia Family Facebook group and follow Mamamia Family on Instagram and tell us what #parentinglookslike for you!

Feature Image: Supplied.

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