One of the scariest parts of coming to the realization that I am actually “with-child” … is how my once ballet-physique is beginning to dramatically change. Okay, so the truth is, it has been quite some time since I sported a ballet costume and wore my toe-shoes … but I do like to think of those days as when my physical appearance was at its peak. Now, as I slowly approach 30 (coming up in June), and I am finally in my third month of pregnancy … the reality of having to acquire some maternity clothes is becoming a necessity. With the exception of a quick 10 minutes run into Old Navy a few weeks ago, when I bought my first official pair of maternity jeans (which I later found out were way too big for me) and a pretty floral colored blouse that I can picture wearing in the hot summer months of being pregnant – I was truly putting off going shopping for maternity clothes as long as I could. And to be honest, I only went into Old Navy that night, because I was in a bit of a panic if you will – that I could no longer find any pants in my closet that would contain my little bump. The true moment of the Old Navy run, as I like to call it – was when I was at the check-out counter upon realizing that I had left my wallet out in the car. I wish to think of this moment as one of my first truly absent-minded pregnancy moves, which just left the lady behind the counter laughing at me with an understanding grin. Call it denial, or being stubborn – two characteristics of being with-child that will both be defeated as I watch in person how God designed a mommy-to-be’s body to shelter another human being … I thought I would be able to wear my pre-pregnancy clothes much longer into my pregnancy. Confronting the truth about the matter, led me to search out a destination for some new threads that would be able to contain my tummy while not breaking the bank. Fortunately, I had the blessing of one of my good friends who actually was the one that found the Motherhood Maternity store in the mall, while I had my back turned to it, while I was devouring a quick craving for some Auntie Anne’s pretzels! So, thankfully, my friend Rebekah was the one to lead us into the store. I immediately felt this surreal sense of unbelief as we entered the store … almost as if it was a dream. And then, out of the corner of my eye … I saw them for the first time, as I walked by the dressing rooms. It was almost as if my dream had turned into a nightmare, when I saw these black pillows hanging on the walls of each dressing room – with a black Velcro strap dangling from the pillow. I later found out by the polite store attendant, that the strap-on black pillows serve the purpose of allowing women trying on clothing now to estimate how the clothes will look in the future. The attendant explained that the pillows are meant to add about 3 months to any current tummy size. I guess that made sense, when I realized that whatever clothing you might buy today, will have to be able to stretch and withstand the expansion of your tummy in the coming months. I just never knew that these maternity stores had such creative gadgets – that are practically kept secret from the rest of the naive world. In a way, I wish I could have been prepared for what I was about to experience – but alas, then I would not have experienced the horror of strapping on that black pillow with one of my new maternity shirts and seeing the shock of my friend’s face when I came out of the dressing room. As I kept finding some very reasonable prices for some nicely designed shirts … one by one I would strap on the black pillow, to make sure they would still work for me in the coming months. It almost became kind of a contest, to see which clothes were really made to stretch, and which ones would not allow for the future expansion. While I checked out my purchases at the end of the shopping spree … I heard this little voice in the back of my head. It was almost as if I had the peace of mind of knowing that all of my new maternity threads have been strap-on black pillow tested … and mother approved! (as I hear the echo of a Kix cereal commercial in my head) It was also a fun outing for my friend Becky and I to experience together, because it saved John from having to wait through me trying clothes on – which he claims I do painfully slow. John did make an appearance in the store, however, right before I purchased my items. I did spare him the experience of watching me strap on the black pillow. My rationale was, I think it will be much easier for him to watch my body slowly change on a daily basis – instead of blowing up like a balloon in 1 minute with the help of a pillow, which would be sure to cause a panic attack for John. If there it one thing that I hope to prevent for John during this whole experience that we are having together, it is to limit as much panic as possible. I think that is a very reasonable goal to have, and I know in the end, he will hopefully appreciate my thoughtfulness. ;o)
Tonight was my first experience accompanying my wife… maternity clothes shopping! What’s kind of funny to note is, I was supposed to be her sole accompaniment for this task. Luckily for both of us, another couple was able to join us, so the ladies went off on a quest to find the appropriate clothing for a budding mother-to-be. The guys, of course, went their own way… to do… much less feminine things… and when it came time to join up with the girls, we found them in a maternity-specific clothing store (which was a bit of a change from their original intended destination of… Old Navy).
Amy and our friend were the only customers in the store (after all, we did arrive to the mall late… and it was already closing time), and upon seeing the lady assisting my wife in finding a new maternity… errr… “upper frontal support” *wink* I had this sudden feeling of — “It’s all HIS fault that she’s this way and is shopping here! VILLAIN!” And of course, this wasn’t the situation at all (and I quickly dismissed the non-existent accusation). Amy was happy to see us, and the store clerk, I think, quickly pegged me as merely the husband and father-to-be in this given situation.
I felt sort of like Gulliver… sticking out like a sore thumb in a sea of tiny people. Except, in this case, it was a womens’ clothing store for those of the gender who are working on expanding their family. I was very tempted to say, “Hi, yeah… I’m the guilty one…” upon joining up with the female cluster, but I swiftly abandoned the goofy remark as unnecessary and anti-witty if anything.
The store was a bit overwhelming. Even more so than those doctor’s visits for ultrasounds (You fellas know what I mean), where you’re clearly one of the few males permitted to enter the female’s safe haven… and some onlookers may still wonder what is your business in their place of zen. And, for the wife in those cases, it’s much more focused on “Yay! We’re having a baby!” and much less on “Dangit, I need bigger clothes… BECAUSE OF YOU!!” Needless to say, we couldn’t get out of the store fast enough for me. But despite pictures of pregnant women of various sizes sprinkled around the store, or even the sight of my wife trying on a maternity shirt, …or even hearing the clerk’s voice AND my wife’s coming from the same dressing room (for… uhhh… “upper frontal support” advice), the things that really started to overwhelm this guy was the additional sights of onesies hanging up in front of the register… and discovering what the “PeePee TeePee: For the Sprinkling Wee-Wee” was for. Yeah.