Don’t Expose The Bump
Being a first time pregnant back in 2014, I was following an entirely different crowd on the ol’ Instagram. Maybe the odd mum I knew in real life; nothing geared around other women still maintaining style while looking after a child, no school run outfit suggestions, no surprising M&S finds and certainly no-one who I could use as inspiration for maternity fashion. Not because there wasn’t anyone, but because I simply didn’t know where to look. For this reason, I spent most of my first pregnancy visiting and re-visiting Topshop and being deeply disappointed each time, hoping one of their buyers had the overnight revelation of realising pregnant women don’t suddenly vomit their fashion sense out along with everything they eat in the first trimester.
It appeared you had the option of black, black leggings, badly fitting jeans, vests, nautical stripes, ghastly florals and anything baggy. That was it. On circulation. And I genuinely couldn’t wait to be done with pregnancy and back to my ‘normal’ self once I had my old body back. At 26 I felt like my style had shot forward thirty years, comfort reigned even when I didn’t want it to and I was struggling to find anything which I’d buy when NOT smuggling another human in my gut.
This time around I was determined not to let the same thing happen. Even if it meant hunting absolutely everywhere for clothes I wanted to wear, I wouldn’t settle for outfits which weren’t reflective of my style. A vast quantity of maternity garms are still utterly dismal but thankfully there’s enough on offer for you to be able to push them to the side and use them as tents/birthday presents for your grandma. And this time, I’ve actually found myself feeling feminine and not too dissimilar to my usual self in indeed the way other women mentioned I should. And then I read something which tugged right on my goat.
The Daily Mail (let’s not pretend any of us are surprised The DM’s where I stumbled across this clusterpuddle of sh*te), decided to run a feature a few days ago berating women choosing to wear tight clothing while up the duff. This wasn’t written by a bloke by the way, so no sexist spewing from a chauvinist here, but evidently some journo named Libby who isn’t keen on bumps making friends with clingy fabric. ‘It’s as if that sense of triumph and completion is no longer enough’ and ‘even in the last trimester of pregnancy, it is a woman’s duty to be foxy and alluring. Not just for the man who loves her and looks forward to the birth of their baby – but for every goggling lecher who likes to look at women’s bodies’.
So, first up; amongst the cataclysmic wind, bleeding gums, stretch marks, swollen box and a portion of piles, women now have to make sure they don’t try to perk themselves up with a preen, just in case a raging pervert sees them and likes it. Heaven forbid just concentrating on being lardy and uncomfortable, trying to dress an alien body and stay cool even though for some reason every ounce of your being is sweating, you now need to purchase a loudhailer & give a shout out to anyone who might fancy tugging on their chap to the sight of a swollen tummy & dress accordingly. WE ARE RESPONSIBLE HERE LADIES.
Libby, who from now on we can fondly nickname ‘Knobber’ if you fancy, also goes on to say ‘footballer’s wife Rebecca Vardy may have lately endeared herself to the sisterhood by revealing the saggy – normal- truth about her ‘mum tum’, she was just as guilty of sexy-pregnancy bragging before the littlest Vardy arrived earlier this year’. Her ‘bragging’, she goes on to bleat, is based around the fact she attended BBC Sports Personality Of The Year in a floor length dress which fitted her. It fitted her! Like some sort of disgustingly arrogant flaunter, she rocked up to an awards show in a dress that wasn’t badly fitted and whooshy around the gusset. Libby/Knobber’s argument is that ‘ordinary’ women would be at home with Gaviscon, wearing scrambled egg smeared trakkies and tops which smell a bit armpitty but sorry Knobber, that’s the fun which comes with dating someone in the spotlight. It means wearing heels when you’re really waddly, yanking yourself in to a dress when you’re exhausted and about to drop a human from your clunk. It doesn’t make her braggy, it makes her a mum who paid a few people to come make her look human so the newspapers wouldn’t tear her apart for being an absolute mess. Could you imagine if she’d rocked up on the red carpet streaming Netflix on her phone and wearing a stretched to the limit onesie? That wouldn’t have been decent either. Also, ‘ordinary’ women DO still dress up. There’s plenty of mums to be who attend weddings, nights out, their own baby showers and still want to look like they always did, just with a bump. It’s not braggy, it’s just not changing your entire wardrobe to ‘hide’ the fact you’re growing life.
(Rebecca Vardy supposedly ‘bragging’ here)
When we announced my pregnancy, I didn’t really give the fact I was wearing a CK crop top another thought. Then (of course) the comments flooded in via various media outlets that as a mum and mum to be, I should be wearing more clothes. It’s like the Friends episode where Rachel’s trying to cope with summer in NYC by wearing a vest exposing her bellybutton and Ross asks her to dress more ‘appropriately’. It’s still a big ol’ deal if you put up a snap of yourself on holiday in a bikini wielding a bump and while tweens are quick to attend every festival going in next to nothing (and why the heck shouldn’t they), it’s still taboo to go out bump naked, flesh on show.
You’re nearly pregnant for a whole year and it certainly feels like bloody longer. For a lot of us that means going through hot weather and if you’re even being shamed for wearing a tight vest or clingy dress these days, what are you meant to do? Just canoe around in the boob-sweat river you’ve created while clad in an anorak? I can safely say, as a pregnant woman, you just want an outfit that fits comfortably and which stays true to your style. You’re not trying to catch the eye of sex pests, show off or make other pregnants feel inadequate, you are literally just wearing something which fits. It’s little wonder a huge complaint from mums is identity loss; it’s because we’ve just spent nine months not only feeling different to how we ordinarily do, but looking it too. Brands, Libby, anyone who finds a bump icky should be embarrassed; no-one sees it as something to hide but you.