Wednesday Advice Smackdown
June 01, 2005
SPECIAL ALL-PREGNANCY EDITION, BECAUSE I DON'T THINK WE'VE HEARD ENOUGH ABOUT THAT LATELY
Hot damn, this stupid advice thing is really popular all of a sudden. Why do you people think I know so much? Because I really don't know very much.
An example of things I don't know about: Today I need to send someone a fax. I hate sending faxes because I always do it wrong. There are about a dozen different fax machines in my office and they all work differently. I have yet to master ONE. Do I hit 9 first? Enter my long-distance code? Hit "pause" once and then enter my long-distance code? Or do I hit "pause" twice? Also, what is "pause?" There is no "pause" button on the fax machine. Do they mean the pound sign? Asterisk? What's a physical memory dump? And why is the machine taking a physical memory dump all over my fax? Stop dumping! Pause! Asterisk!
Anyway, you are clearly seeking advice from a moron, but let's have at it anyway.
Hi Amy - I'm a longtime reader, almost no-commenter...but I bet you have the cutest maternity clothes - want to share your sources?
I'm about to be outed at 9 weeks because nothing fits anymore, dammit (was seriously trying for 12 weeks [bad history, twice]). I went to Target today, but apparently all the pregnant women that don't wear XL or XXL already bought everything.
Suggestions? I waited and suffered to get to BE 9 weeks, I'm going to look good, dammit!
(I'm not sure I have any secret sources that people aren't already familiar with, but I can provide a rundown of my experiences with the major names in maternity clothes.)
(And my experience at Target was the same as yours, except that even after I found a size small in a shirt I sort-of liked, it was still so ginormously huge on me I swear it had to have been mismarked. Although Target is wonderful for bras, as you will go through several boob-related growth spurts and will hopefully not be stupid like me, as I went to Victoria's Secret at the first sign of B-cup boobs, only to outgrow my new expensive bras two weeks later.)
(And don't even talk to me about the pregnancy-slash-nursing bras they sell at maternity stores. Seriously. They frighten and confuse me.)
The first place I went (at a mere eight weeks along, in total desperation and in search of a pair of pants with a waistline that wouldn't dig four inches into my flesh when sitting down) was Old Navy Maternity. This stuff is cheap. Which is nice, but it's also cheeeeap. Quite a few things I purchased there fell apart after one or two washings. On the other hand, it's a great place for underwear and basics -- like t-shirts and tanks. (Just stick with white or black, as the colored dyes all bled in the wash and left bleach-like discolorations on everything.)
Then there's the Maternity Mall Trinity: Motherhood, Mimi and A Pea in the Pod. They're all the same. Same company, same suppliers...but different price points.
Motherhood is another decent place for basics like underwear and t-shirts. A t-shirt costs $9.99. The prices are ridiculously cheap and the sizes are generous -- I needed an extra-small in everything and am still swimming in a couple of "fitted" dresses I picked up for $19.99 each. The quality is a little better than Old Navy, but nothing great (I've had problems with fading and ripping), and much of the stuff is boring and tent-like and mostly polyester.
Although I bought a couple pairs of black stretch pants at Motherhood that I could not live without. And don't laugh, but black stretch pants are your FRIENDS. You will come to love the black stretch pants. On days you do not wear the black stretch pants you will daydream about getting home to the black stretch pants. The black stretch pants are slimming, deliciously comfortable and they go with everything.
Mimi is a step up from Motherhood, meaning a t-shirt there costs $19.99. The stuff is a little trendier and fit me a lot better. (Which is to say, clothes from Mimi will vaguely suggest that you are pregnant and that it is okay to look pregnant, while Motherhood clothes scream, "Conceal! Conceal!") I bought some really cute stuff for Aruba at Mimi, including this dress, which is currently Jason's absolute favorite outfit of mine, EVER.
At A Pea in the Pod, a t-shirt costs $75. If you gain weight like me (all in the belly), this stuff is really nice. It's closely fitted and will look most like your non-maternity wardrobe. They've got fun designer stuff and excellent tailored shirts for work that allow room for the belly without looking caftan-ish. But it's maddeningly and unjustifiably expensive -- especially since most of it is just a vaguely high-end take on the stuff at Mimi or Motherhood. My advice? Go to a Motherhood outlet store and dig around -- they get a lot of Mimi and Pea in the Pod stuff there too.
My favorite place, by far, is Gap Maternity. I love every single thing I've purchased here. The only drawback, at least in the D.C. area, is that no local stores actually stock the maternity line. So you have to buy everything online. This deterred me at first, and it was stupid, because I paid $70 at Mimi for a pair of way-too-baggy jeans instead of just buying the absolute perfect jeans that I eventually ordered from the Gap in the first place. There's almost always a free shipping offer or sale going on and you can return maternity clothes to any local non-maternity store. And if you know your pre-pregnancy size at the regular Gap, you know your size at Gap Maternity. (And it is SO NICE to still be pulling on size 4 jeans and an XS top even as you watch yourself balloon up to Pillsbury Doughboy proportions.)
For my well-heeled local readers, I also recommend 9 Maternity in Rockville, MD. It's expensive (oh God, is it ever expensive), but the stuff is gorgeous. I bought my diaper bag there, along with the sundress in yesterday's picture and a super cute crinkled tank top. The cashier told me a number of dollars that could not possibly have been correct for three measly items, but I just kind of smiled and handed over the credit card like I spend that kind of money all the time, even though I was wearing maternity hand-me-downs at the time.
And oh! The hand-me-downs. Try to get some. Seriously. I lucked out, as one of my friends gave birth to her second baby last August, and she'd amassed QUITE a collection of clothing during her pregnancies, and most of it fit me. Ka-ching!
Also, don't completely give up on regular styles. I'm always on the lookout for non-maternity styles that I can still wear. Those little cropped cardigans and shrugs are great for wearing over maternity tanks and dresses. I also bought a Juicy Couture babydoll that works really well as a mini-dress or over jeans.
And finally, for the love of God, invest in a Bella Band. I retired mine after building up a substantial maternity wardrobe, but then brought it out again this weekend when it hit like, 120 degrees outside and I was re-organizing attic crawlspaces and realized that I do not own any maternity shorts. (I figured capris and skirts would get me through the summer, and honestly, who wants to see a pregnant woman's thighs?) But GODDAMN, I was hot and uncomfortable, so out came the regular shorts and the Bella Band. And the world is just going to have to endure the sight of my pregnant thighs.
Greetings from another, whiny, achy pregnant woman. I am expecting a little boy in July. Recently while my husband and I were adding to our baby registry at the fabulous Target he explains to me how our son will not be allowed to have any dolls, ever. All I was doing was looking at Cabbage Patch Kids to see if they had boy ones and he flips out. Apparently my "But it's a boy doll!" argument wasn't good enough. It's not like I wanted to get the kid a Bob Mackie Barbie or something, just something soft to cuddle with. But he is convinced that if his son gets his hands on anything that resembles a little person that he will become a sissy. As another first time mom who is having a boy, have you thought about this issue or discussed it with your husband at all? Am I completely overreacting? I want my son to grow up and be whatever he wants and if he wants a pretty doll to play with I think that's fine. Any advice or arguments I could use on my husband would be helpful. Thank you.
And also, holy crap I can't believe that in 2 months I'm going to have to figure out how to take care of a baby and all his boy parts.
Let me get this straight: Your husband thinks giving a newborn baby a toy that vaguely resembles another newborn baby will automatically turn him into a "sissy," and you want to know if YOU are overreacting?
Let's just cut to the chase and follow that logic a step further. Dolls = sissy boys = homosexuality. Which is stupid and more than a little insulting.
Ban Barbie and Cabbage Patch Kids! It's the only way to cure our children of the gay!
Squishy will have dolls. Squishy actually already has a doll. Jason's parents bought it for him, just like they bought baby dolls for Jason when he was wee. And Jason carried them around for comfort and cuddling until his full-blown non-sissy boy personality kicked in and the dolls were abandoned for monster trucks or whatever.
I grew up with four older brothers. I played with Transformers and He-Man and Matchbox cars. And baby dolls and Barbie and tea sets. And I refused to wear pants, ever, because I preferred this one pink flouncy party dress that had a jingle bell sewn into the layers of ruffles. I was also known to wear a tiara while beating the shit out of the little boy next door. Who also had dolls, which were used as "patients" when we played doctor's office, because I never agreed to be the patient again after he tried to examine me under my ruffly party dress, for which I beat the shit out of him.
(I recently heard that little boy actually is a doctor now, but oddly, not a gynecologist.)
Basically, kids are kids, and they are who they are, regardless of the toys we give them. But by denying a type of toy because it's "sissy" (translation: feminine), you could be doing your son a biiiig disservice.
Sorry to get all serious and harpy about this, but you need to talk to your husband about gender stereotyping. It's sexist. It's outdated. And it's BENEFICIAL for boys to play with dolls and girls to play with blocks and trucks. Studies show that, far from becoming sissies, little boys who play with dolls and other stereotypical "girl" toys are more imaginative, nurturing and develop better fine motor coordination. (Ever wonder why girls "traditionally" have better handwriting than boys?) Little girls who play with blocks and other "boy" activities gain confidence in their math and science abilities. (Remember Barbie's first words? "Math is hard! I love shopping!" GAH.)
A cursory Google search for plain-English arguments about gender stereotyping (and how to avoid it) turned up a few well-written articles. Click here, here, and here. Pass them on to your husband and let him know you're serious about this. He probably hasn't thought it all through or realized what he was doing...and maybe just thought he was being funny about the doll thing.
And your son may very well turn away from the doll someday or spend hours running it over with his dump trucks. But it'll be HIS CHOICE, and not because his parents unconsciously taught him that playing house and caring for a baby doll is "unacceptable," "sissy" behavior. Do you see the dangerous attitudes towards women that can easily go along with that line of thinking?
And on the other hand, IT'S JUST A FUCKING CABBAGE PATCH KID. It's like a teddy bear without fur. Seriously. A doll is not a one-way street to some drag queen revue in Miami, mm'kay?
You and your husband appear to be a trendy young couple that enjoys going out for nice dinners and going on adventures. I think most women have an internal clock that drives them to want children, but what about men? How did your husband "know" he was ready to have children? Was he worried about not being able to go out for nice dinner and get-togethers with friends? Was he worried about your sex life going down the drain? Was he worried (or you for that matter) about your body not returning to its pre-pregnancy shape?
My husband and I have talked about children but I know he is mainly worried that we won't have fun anymore. What advice can you offer from your situation that might help me prepare my husband for fatherhood one day?
Alfred's mom (mom to dogs not humans)
My husband knew he was ready when I done tole him he was ready. Heh.
No, not really. But also yes. I wanted a baby well before Jason was ready. (And probably before I was really ready too.) And I probably didn't handle things very well. There was probably a good deal of whining.
But anyway. I'm a brat, and that's well established, and none of us know why Jason puts up with me. Moving on.
I sent Jason your question and asked for a few thoughts. Here's what he wrote back.
"First of all, you can't "prepare" someone for having a child. I didn't know for sure that I wanted to have a child and anyone who says that they are absolutely sure they want to have children and they're ready for the responsibility is kidding themselves or just plain loony.
I try not to worry too much about what we'll do once the baby is here and how much it will "restrict" us. I like to think that it won't mean that we'll never be able to go out again...and maybe I'm just lying to myself or haven't woken up to reality, but seriously, that's what babysitters and grandparents are for. It will be important to have time for us anyway. And we won't always have to get a babysitter. I mean, I'm looking forward to taking our baby boy out and showing him off to our friends.
Beside that, what most people tell me is that your perspective on life changes and the things that were once important to you, like going out and "partying", eating out, etc., suddenly aren't important anymore. Suddenly you have this little bundle of joy and he is all that matters. I know it is hard to picture, but I started feeling it as I saw the sonograms and especially the other day when I saw a bulge move across Amy's stomach.
As far as sex life goes, no comment.
Pre-pregnancy shape? Hell, we'll both have to get back into pre-pregnancy shape.
Hope this helps."
Got a question? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org, and if you're lucky, it might get answered by my much, much smarter husband.