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Letting It Show

I always thought it was a funny, overblown exaggeration when I’d hear women say that the moment they got a positive pregnancy test with their second, third, or subsequent child they were back into their maternity pants. I’d have a little chuckle and think, “Nah, they just need an excuse to be sloppy.” Well, if sloppy is a pair of ill-fitting maternity pants, I’d like to sign up to be the spokesmodel (with special preference to those with drawstrings).

Before I got pregnant with my first child, I was in great shape: flat abs, nice waist, non-jiggly rear. I took pilates classes a couple of times each week and did cardio at home. I was well into my fourth month and it wasn’t completely obvious that I was pregnant. In fact, when I was five months pregnant my boss at the time asked if I had any children and I responded “No, but I’m going to have one this November.” Other people (women) noticed that I seemed a bit round in the middle, so he was probably just Captain Oblivious, but my shapeless clothing had shielded the condition from a good deal of people who I preferred not to discuss it with.

Now I’m seven weeks into my second pregnancy and by the end of each day, I bloat up so much that I wonder if there’s just one in there. I suppose the combination of a pretty severe diastasis recti last time around that hadn’t sufficiently mended and my current repulsion towards core strengthening has caused things to go south much, much sooner. Add to that the bloating that builds up over the course of three meals and a bunch of snacks and you can really poof from morning to night.

I keep reading that a woman may start to show four weeks earlier in pregnancies after her first. It’s true. I throw my hands up to concede—my belly-button has popped out to resemble a third nipple and is impossible to hide without taking drastic measures such as pressing a plastic disposable bandage over it like some sort of wound. (Yeah. I did that during pregnancy number one when layering shirt on top of shirt wasn’t sufficient.)

I was so apprehensive of receiving unwanted attention and unsolicited advice that I walked around slouched over with my gut tucked in. This go-round I’m not concerned with hiding my pregnancy even now in the very early months. In fact, I find buying maternity tops early during the first trimester to be quite therapeutic. I already know that I’ll be wearing them sooner than later because of my ever-blossoming bosom that causes my shirt bottoms to ride up.

Last time, I dressed myself in regular clothing a couple of sizes larger than my true size. Rather than looking pregnant I appeared to be fat, and generally looked like I was wearing ill-fitting hand-me-downs. I’m dressing for my form now and celebrating my curvy waistline while I still have one. If people can see my bellybutton protruding through my stretchy shirts, I don’t care.

While I can still wear my regular jeans, I have to do so in moderation because after a couple of hours they become sausage casings. I went to the grocery store over the weekend and after wearing my blue jeans for just two hours, I found that I had to inhale and hold my breath to take them off. (I swear they fit fine on the way up.) I’ll be thrilled when my belly is round enough to hold up a pair of maternity pants.

I’m letting it all hang out. I already have one kid, so it’s not like I’m ruining my mystique or anything.

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