I remember the exact moment I realised my regular jeans had become uncomfortable. In late November, I was around 8 weeks pregnant and out for dinner with friends. During the meal I kept undoing notches of my belt. In retrospect, along with the lack of wine drinking, it must have been pretty obvious what my problem was! In the taxi on the way home, I completely unzipped and the relief was immense. This meant on the thankfully short walk from the cab to our front door I had to clutch my coat in front of me while my jeans were gradually sagging further and further down… embarrassing, but there was no way I could have done them up by that point! I should add at this point as well that the jeans in question were by no means my tightest – they were straight ones from Uniqlo and I’d originally gone for an extra inch in the waistband than I really needed. After this incident I didn’t even look at my skinny jeans any more!
8 weeks is quite early for your stomach to expand that much, so at that point I suspected I might be having twins. When it became clear a few weeks later that this was not the case, I realised it was probably more to do with my own version of morning sickness. This involved a mild nausea around weeks 7-9, that could only be suppressed by eating pretty much constantly – all the Jacob’s crackers and toast no doubt caused some serious bloating.
Only 34 calories per cracker but I guess when you eat 12 it adds up…
I refused to buy maternity wear at only 8 weeks. For a start, we hadn’t had a scan yet and I still had an irrational fear that I wasn’t really pregnant. I decided that at a minimum I would wait for the January sales. In the meantime, the only solution seemed to be to wear leggings… every single day. My handful of tunic style dresses and long tops became my staple outfits, to the point where I nearly cried with frustration when packing for the Christmas holidays!
In January, I had somewhat of a splurge on maternity clothes. The first thing that concerned me was jeans. I could still comfortably fit into my regular tops but had nothing to wear them with apart from a couple of stretchy skirts that didn’t go with many things. As with everything surrounding having a baby, there were a million decisions to be made. What type of cut should I go for? Should the waistband lie under or over the bump? How many pairs does one need?
In terms of cut, I haven’t ventured into skinny jeans territory, and am not sure whether I will. I have a few “pre-pregnancy” pairs which I wore regularly and liked a lot but I just can’t figure out how they could look good on me with a bigger belly. Perhaps if you’re a petite person with a neat bump then skinny jeans might look ok, but for me personally and my body shape I feel like I need the balance of at least a little flare at the bottom.
The under/over the bump dilemma was trickier. I have a fear of constricting my tummy and things like “bump bands” trouble me. However, the Gap jeans I bought (see below) have a tummy panel that needs to be pulled up and it’s not uncomfortable. And some hand-me-down maternity trousers have a stretchy cotton band over the tummy. It’s actually quite a pleasant, secure feeling. So the jury is still out on this one and I am definitely open to either!
I ended up buying two pairs of full length jeans. My favourites are straight cut dark wash jeans with an under the bump waistband from Mothercare (£24). Being a size 10-12 before pregnancy I went for the 12. They were one of the only non-sale items I bought but I’m glad I did as they are brilliant. The others are a bootcut lighter wash from Mamas & Papas (also under the bump) and I got the size 10 as that was what was available – they were only £10 in the sale. Oh and I also invested in some three-quarter-length jeans and a denim skirt from Gap (£10 each in the sale) which I thought might be useful in the spring/summer.
I am generally happy with my maternity denim but the main issue I have had is with sizing. The two pairs of long jeans I have seem to fit the same, which implies that Mothercare perhaps sizes a little small* (or Mamas & Papas sizes large). The Mamas & Papas ones are snug around the thigh area but seem to sag around my waist and I think I need to wear a belt to stop them revealing the wrong kind of cleavage. However, as mentioned, I’m worried about squeezing my tummy! Also, although called “regular” length, they are not the longest, and I’m planning to wait until I can wear completely flat shoes such as flip flops or sandals with them to avoid them becoming ankle swingers. The Gap denim also has a size disparity. I purchased both jeans and skirt in a size 10 (US size 6). The jeans fit well but the skirt is rather large and feels like a couple of sizes too big. Walking along, I have noticed in shop windows that it has sagged down in the back and ridden up in the front. And not in a trendy fishtail way! Hopefully as my bump expands the clothes will all start to fit better; for now, the skirt has been relegated to the back of the wardrobe.
I had read advice along the lines of “don’t wear maternity clothes too early as you will get fed up with them”. I can’t imagine ever getting fed up of my maternity jeans and plan to wear them beyond pregnancy and for as long as I can until they get a hole in the crotch, which I will probably then attempt to mend. When arriving home I usually change into tracksuit bottoms. I don’t understand (but secretly admire) people who can elegantly relax on the sofa in skinny jeans or tights. These jeans are just as comfortable as my trackie b’s and look a million times better. I can go out in them… stay home in them… and occasionally, I suppose, had better wash them. Unless I show people the magic waistband, no-one even knows they aren’t “real” jeans!
*Further to this comment, my sister in law gave me a box of maternity clothes. I was worried nothing would fit as she is really petite, but to my amazement I managed to squeeze into some black Mothercare trousers which are size 8! So both the size 12 and the size 8 from the same shop fit me. Beware – always try on if possible!