With all these fun Instagram pictures that I’ve been posing for and posting as of late, I figured it was time to talk about the one thing you don’t see behind the pictures… behind mine or any other new mom’s pictures…the postpartum wardrobe crises.
When you first become pregnant, the initial signs of a baby bump bring so much joy into your life! But after having the baby, the leftover bump is not as joyful. Especially when people keep bringing it to your attention.
My favorite is – “When are you due?”
As I stand there with a stroller with a newborn baby in it.
When there in fact IS a baby in your uterus, this questions makes your face beam and your heart get all warm and fuzzy. Six months postpartum, it’s a bit of a different story. It wears on your already exhausted nerves to have to yet again say, “Umm actually, I already had her, here she is – all plump and cute, while I still look like a partially deflated birthday balloon.” Woo hoo.
And right here begins the downward spiral. Moms, especially moms of littles, are the most emotionally, mentally and physically worn out human beings you are going to come across in your life. Moms sacrifice or put on hold so many of the things they love and need to be their best self. Their time, their energy, their health, their sleep, their desires, their hobbies, their careers, their social life, and last, but not least…their BODIES! Dull skin, tired eyes, thinning hair, slouchy achey backs, disgusting leftover baby pooch. And guess what, most of these supermoms get no appreciation for, acknowledgement of or understanding for what they’ve given up. Body image is a HUGE thing in our society – so how can people not understand how devastating it is for a woman for her body to be completely out of whack?
Motherhood doesn’t make us saints.
So when a pair of pants doesn’t fit, on a rare night where you really wanna dress up (and can) and have fun like you used to – it’s the straw that breaks the tired mama camel’s back. It’s not superficial or materialistic to be upset about 90% of your wardrobe not fitting you anymore…or even the fact that new larger things you buy STILL look bad. This is just one more thing that reminds you of how much of you you’ve lost and how hard it is to find time to bring yourself back.
As hard as it is, just remember, you are BEAUTIFUL, even if you don’t feel it at this moment. If there are any doubts – ask your child – they could not find anyone more beautiful inside and out in the entire world than you: the mommy who makes everything in their world happier, cozier, easier, and better. If you still have any doubts, do yourself a favor and DON’T open any social media. Perfect images of others do not help the cause!
Anyway, a few days ago was our anniversary. Seven years, mashaAllah (Praise be to Allah), and three beautiful daughters later – we don’t exactly get the time to hang out and do things on our own anymore, so I was excited that my mom was in town and offered to watch all three kiddos so we could go out sans rugrats. I was also super excited to be able to wear nice clothes that won’t get ruined from dirty little hands, not worry about nursing friendly tops, and actually carry a clutch that won’t have to be stuffed into the diaper bag halfway through the night. But guess what. When I put on what I wanted to wear, I ended up looking like a giant marshmallow in a corset. Stuff was oozing out of the sides and it was just extremely unflattering from pretty much every angle. Because we were running late by this point, I had to rush to throw on something else that would fit – ie: LOOSER – and that just killed my mood. I didn’t feel like I looked good and who doesn’t want to look their best for a special occasion?
My husband, God bless him, laughed if off and said “You look fine, this is such a first-world problem.”
Yes, it is a first-world problem that I can’t fit into my original nice dress so I’m having to wear a back up nice dress. But it’s still a problem. And a problem that actually has deeper roots than what it seems. People should never be dismissed for their feelings. It made me feel like the worst mom in the world because I was getting upset over something trivial like my clothing not fitting. It shouldn’t make me any less of a mother just because I have days when my body sacrifice feels hard. I am soooo grateful for being given the honor of motherhood. And I love my kids with every ounce of my being. But sometimes, I miss how I used to look. I miss how fit and strong I used to be. Casting aside these feelings is not as easy as moms have historically made it out to be.
And I’m not saying dads don’t sacrifice for their children and that their lives don’t change. They most definitely do. But not like a mom’s. Nowhere near like a mom’s. So that makes them incapable of understanding what a mom goes through.
So, instead of allowing post-partum wardrobe crises to lead you into a depression… (or yet another argument with the hubs), check out some of my style tips below that are tried and true for your new mom bod and stick with it until you can get back to your old self again!
***Side note: I’m not anti-gym time. I love how I feel after going to the gym! Fitness and eating right will not only emotionally help you feel good; but you’ll be so so pleased with the physical results too – more energy, losing weight, gaining muscle strength etc. But I also know that making it out to the gym can feel overwhelming or often is difficult to make happen with little ones, so that’s a whole different topic. It takes 10 months to get your body where it is, so give it plenty of time to get back to where it was. When you’re sleep-deprived, battling postpartum hormones, everything takes twice as long to accomplish because of the kids, and you can barely remember to brush your teeth, having mom-bod friendly clothing pieces can go a long way in improving your body image and consequently your day!***
So, I may not be a style expert, but some of the current fashion trends are SO perfect for us postpartum mommies! And as a third-time expert on majorly leftover baby belly, you better believe I’ve got some solid tips for you! I’m sharing the top four trends that made me start feeling good about dressing up again!
1. High-waisted Jeans
The best thing to have happened to me post Zahra’s birth last year, is the discovery of and rising trend of high waisted jeans. I was seriously struggling with all my mid rise jeans – even if I went up a size – because they just enhance the baby pooch even more! High rise effectively tucks it all in and ends up looking so much more flattering! I am especially a fan of Free People, Missguided and American Eagle for their selection in this arena. Check them out!
2. Vertical Ruffle Blouses
We all know, thanks to Stacy and Clinton and various other style bloggers, that vertical stripes are extremely flattering and slimming on the body. AND SO ARE VERTICAL RUFFLES. I adore ruffles and frills and lace and all these cutesy trends in blouses right now. So imagine my joy when I realized that anytime I wear vertical ruffles, the attention is drawn to the downward/inward ruffle movement and not the bouncing flubber underneath it! This trend is all over the place, so I honestly have no specific retail recommendations. I’ll post IG pics soon of me modeling such pieces. 🙂
3. Mid-belly Peplum Tops
Peplums can either be your worst enemy or your best friend, depending on where the flare part begins. I’ve discovered that if the flare starts at roughly around your belly button (or where you protrude most), that it doesn’t drape over and enhance the leftover bump, but just sits around it as if you just have a broad waist. Maybe it’s not the most attractive solution, but broad waist looks better than looking pregs when you’re not. And I just adore peplum anything, so it’s kinda a win win for me. You’ll probably see me wearing such tops in my IG often.
Now, I wear hijab already, so I often just let the side panels hang in the front and cover up belly. But I often accessorize outfits with scarves too – and they’re great for adding flair to an outfit AND hiding what’s going on underneath. Haha. Pretty basic trick right here.
I’m not listing shape wear in all this, because often wearing shape wear too long can hurt new moms backs and what not. With nursing, running after kids all day, digging for toys underneath the sofas… you kinda need to be able to breathe and sit in peace whenever possible. Shape wear is good for maybe formal occasions – but on a day to day, the above style tricks will help you get through! If you look good, you’ll feel good as a result!