Barefoot and Pregnant

IMG_1830-1I was seven months pregnant with our first child when Fairlight posed a question: “I’ve always wanted to ask, do pregnant women feel as cute as they look?”

I laughed.

I was beyond exhausted, more than glowing from the humidity I was unused to, and not feeling in the least bit cute.

“No,” I had to answer Fairlight honestly.  Sometimes, if you caught me at just the right moment, with just the perfect cute maternity top on, I explained, I might feel cute.  But more often than not, I was tired, hot, and feeling as though my clothes did not fit right (but when it’s the third outfit of the morning, if it at least goes on, one finally has to give up).

I’m seven months pregnant with our second little one now.  In between pregnancies I spent all my time looking at those cute pregnant ladies and feeling those maternal longings to have a little one growing there beneath my heart again.  Nowadays I again look at those pregnant ladies and feel an instant bond—the waddle, the exhausted but glowing look we all share.

But when my sister-in-law Megan asked, “Do you still like being pregnant?” my answer was a resounding yes.  As precious as it is to hold a nursing babe in your arms, there’s nothing quite like the constant tapping of baby feet inside your belly.  Ruth Ann wasn’t very many months old before I was already missing having my baby always with me, right there inside me.  My answer to Megan was easy: I love being pregnant.  Even if I don’t often feel like a cute pregnant lady.

The problem is, I don’t think being pregnant is any excuse for being more frumpy than usual.  Even if comfy is a valid necessity.  It seems to me a husband will soon be less inclined to want more children if he considers the fact that he will once again have to look at a fat, frumpy wife for nine months or more!  There may not be much I can do about the fat part (though I can do my best to keep the fat in all the right “pregnant” places!), but I can work on dressing as cute as possible just for him (and the other people like Fairlight and my non-pregnant self who think pregnant ladies look cuter than they feel!).  Not to mention getting as much rest as I can so I don’t always look as exhausted as I feel!

This second time around, my maternity wardrobe has continued to slowly expand (no pun intended!).  There seems to be slightly more selection out there this time around.  But even Wal-mart seems to have bought into the notion that fewer women are having babies these days and thus only about half a rack of maternity clothes is necessary.  Not that I’ve bought maternity clothes at Wal-mart.  But I’ve been close to that desperate.  J.C. Penney has seemed to have the nicest selection, quality, and the best sales on new maternity clothes.  But I did just finally find a few shirts at Motherhood Maternity with a style and price I liked (and why did it take me so long to discover their “tummy sleeve”?—it keeps my pants up and makes sure everything “meets in the middle”!).

Truth be told, as usual, GoodWill has been my favorite maternity store of choice.  It’s just taken an awfully long time to gather maternity clothes that fit me—and that I like to wear!  There seemed to be a trend there for a while of making maternity shirts as short as regular shirts, just wider.  Now they are longer, but just as tight as every other teen girl’s shirt—showing off every extra curve that pregnancy gives one!  But it’s finally dawned on me that it would be the rare store I could walk into, even with unlimited resources, and find an entire regular wardrobe in one day.  So how did I expect to collect a “specialty” wardrobe of maternity clothes so quickly?  It’s only taken 18 months (and those few shirts I bought in between pregnancies—shh, don’t tell!) to collect the repertoire I have now.  Especially since, not being very pregnant in the summertime with Ruth, I’ve discovered this time around that some of those maternity shirts I found at GoodWill that first summer were not long enough to cover a seven month baby belly!

So take heart, first-time expectant moms.  You will spend most of the next nine months trying on at least three outfits each day and complaining that nothing fits like it did last week. You most likely won’t feel like you have any selection in your maternity wardrobe until you’ve shopped through at least the second or third pregnancy.  But being a happily expectant mom—who everyone else thinks is so cute—more than makes up for the lack of outfits to choose from.  And never forget that it doesn’t matter what we look like to the rest of the world—our husband’s eyes, our husband’s taste in maternity clothes is all that matters.  After all, I am his beauty—the woman he chose to be the mother of his children.  And I never want to make him regret that for a single moment.

Oh, and that part about being barefoot and pregnant?  Not recommended.  All that extra tummy weighs heavy on the feet.  It’s a much happier thing to be pregnant with Birkenstocks on your feet!

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  1. Thank you for sharing a beautiful post – and a beautiful picture! 馃檪 May God continue to bless you and your family!

  2. Congratulations, Gretchen, Merritt and Ruth! I am so blessed for you. I am hoping that my husband and I will soon share the joy of being pregnant for the first time. Children are truly a gift from God, though they do come with a few difficulties getting them here 馃檪 I had been wondering recently exactly how women go about buying maternity clothes, and it’s great to have some tips from those who have experience….

    Adorable picture, by the way—you may not feel cute, but you certainly are 馃檪 And of course little Ruth is very cute, too.

    I haven’t mentioned yet, only having commented a few times, but I have red hair very similar in color to yours… I have read your red-head pages, and greatly enjoyed them!

    May God bless you and your family, as He know He has.

    In Him,

  3. Gretchen,
    I am glad you linked to some of your earlier posts on beauty. As an unmarried young lady, they are a little more applicable to my life than this post 馃檪 . It was good to be reminded of how modest does not mean unattractive. I’m approaching my senior year in college and wondering why none of the guys ever seem to like me. Maybe I should use some of my summer vacation to evaluate and overhaul my wardrobe, because it is on the frumpy side.

  4. Congratulations to your family and extended families! =)
    I did catch the hint earlier but am very happy to read the update and the photo is very cute!
    That would be neat if she/he ended up sharing a birthday with one of her parents. I know it can’t be a whole lot of fun to be pregnant in the summer…just ask my mom who carried twins to the end of July. =P

  5. Hi, Gretchen,
    I definitely relate! It took me four pregnancies to finally make some maternity clothes I really liked, though I bought the material during my first and second pregnancies! My mom’s problem during her fifth pregnnacy was not being able to find maternity clothes that were nursing clothes too. Dad said, “You can sew, make some!” so she did. I still browse the maternity rack at the thrift shop, too; and no, I’m not pregnant!
    And I agree, carrying my babies has been one of the most wonderful experiences of my life.
    The question my little sister asked was a little different than Fairlights, though. Our dog was expecting, and very fat and hot and waddling, and Abby asked me, “Did you ever feel like that when you were pregnant?” 馃檪
    Blessings on your new one—your due date is my Dad’s birthday.
    Ruth Wiechmann

  6. Congratulations! I am so excited for y’all! And I love the picture at the beginning of this post, too. Ruth looks so happy!! 馃槈

  7. I am so happy for you and your family! What wonderful news.

    I think Wal-mart only has half a rack of maternity because most people choose to not where maternity clothes. They wear their own clothes for as long as possible and then just buy a larger size. They don’t care if every curve shows or if their shirts are too short. Personally I am in favor of more modest, more classy maternity clothes. The kind like my mother wore. All this tight short stuff makes me want to look the other way when I see a pegenant woman coming. It is a shame too, because I enjoy watching pregenant women, for as you mentioned, they glow.

  8. Great picture Gretchen, you do look lovely.=) Have you chosen to find out if your bundle of joy is a boy or girl? Congratulations on the upcoming new addition.

    1. Thank you! Actually, no, we’re old-fashioned and like to be surprised about whether it’s a boy or girl. 馃槈

      1. Dear Gretchen! I am so happy for you and your family! I pray all God’s blessings on you at this wonderful time.

        Your picture is absoultely beautiful, by the way. Definitely ‘cute’ and very lovely.

        Love in Jesus and will pray for you.

  9. *awww* LOVE that photo of the 3 of you! 馃檪
    This little one is due around your birthday, isn’t he/she?

    1. Yes, the official due date is September 11th…Merritt’s birthday is the 16th, and mine is the 22nd. Of course, Ruth’s due date was Pearl Harbor Day, and she came the day before Thanksgiving…so I’d gladly go for the day before Labor Day with this little person! 馃槈

  10. Gretchen… congratulations! What lovely pic of you and your daughter, and the baby on the way. God bless you, Merritt, Ruth, and the newest member of your family!

  11. Congratulations! 馃檪 What a precious picture! My first little one is approaching 5 months, and we are definitely looking forward to any more children the Lord sees fit to give us. God bless the rest of your pregnancy!

  12. Oh, how wonderful, Gretchen…that’s so exciting that you’re expecting another little one! And I agree with the others…what an adorable picture!

    And thanks for the encouragement and recommendations for maternity clothes shopping. I’m due in January and just in the last couple weeks have I started to have enough of a bump to justify (and make somewhat of a necessity) finally starting to shop for maternity clothes…so this post was very well timed! 馃檪 And it was good to get the perspective that I probably WON’T find my entire maternity wardrobe in one or two shopping trips…I’ll have to remember to that!

  13. What a wonderful post! What a beautiful picture. I pray that someday I will be a “cute pregnant lady,” and I’ll be able to use all the advice you’ve given. I am so happy for you. 馃檪

  14. that last sentence made me literally lol! 馃檪 Thank you for sharing. And that is a very cute picture!

  15. I’m glad I’m not the only one who’s bought clothes in-between pregnancies! Not that I’m pregnant now, I just find myself browsing through the Salvation Army maternity rack thinking…”Now, THAT would have been cute to have when I was pregnant.” 馃槈

  16. I loved this post, Gretchen! I was pregnant 2 times within 2 years, so I totally understand the clothing situation. 馃檪 I regret to say that the majority of my first pregnancy was spent in rather frumpy clothes–partly because I didn’t have much time or inclination to shop. But in the months between pregnancies (yes, I bought maternity clothes when not pregnant!) and in my second pregnancy (during which I felt awesome, which helped oh so much) I was able to shop around and find a lot more cute, classy, and comfortable clothes. My favorite resource was also Goodwill, as well as the baby/maternity re-sale store, and yard sales. I loved Bella Bands, too. My favorite, best-fitting jeans have been the Motherhood Maternity brand, which I found at yard sales! I also discovered some great maternity clothes on Ebay, though it was so late in my pregnancy that I didn’t purchase much.

    Anyway, thanks for sharing! I love being pregnant, too….much more than the newborn stage, I must admit. But baby #2 has just reached 5 months and is getting to be such fun and show his personality, which makes all the challenging newborn days worth it. 馃檪

    I love the picture, too!