There comes a point in every woman’s pregnancy when hiding her ever growing baby bump becomes virtually impossible. While some women happily display their growing bellies with the latest in cute maternity fashion, other women, like myself, choose to minimize our baby bumps for as long as possible. It wasn’t that I was hiding my pregnancy – I was extremely happy to be pregnant. But when it comes to maternity clothes for the professional, working woman the choices are limited and often expensive. When I went to my office, I wanted it to be business as usual without the distraction of my coworkers staring awkwardly at my expanding stomach.
For the longest time, perhaps a bit too long, I squeezed myself into my regular wardrobe. While that worked for a while, it certainly wasn’t a lasting or comfortable solution. Before long, the pants got too tight, my much-larger-breasts were busting out of my shirts, and it seemed like my belly was getting bigger and bigger by the day. I had decent success with using a hair rubber band to keep my slacks “buttoned”. I had less luck with the commercial belly bands, which I found awkward and uncomfortable. Looking back, I wish one of my coworkers would have quietly pulled me aside and gently told me how ridiculous I looked. Still, with minor adjustments and slightly larger sizes, I made it over six months into my pregnancy wearing my regular work clothes.
Then it happened… The morning of an important meeting I went to my closet and pulled out my go-to, always-fabulous, favorite black dress suit. While it had been getting tighter and tighter over the last couple weeks, I only needed it to fit one more time for this one very important meeting.
It didn’t fit… I sucked in, I shimmied, I shifted, but I still couldn’t get the zipper up. Maybe I could leave it half zipped and just button the suit jacket. But I couldn’t get the jacket buttoned either. Desperate, I called my husband into the bedroom and begged him to zip up the dress for me. He couldn’t… Frantically, I rummaged through every item in my closet looking for something, anything that was semiprofessional and actually fit. I tried on countless tops and dresses. Either they didn’t fit or they looked wildly inappropriate given my changing shape. I officially had nothing to wear.
Then I burst into tears.
Maybe it was the hormones. Maybe it was the loss of my beautiful wardrobe. Maybe it was the realization that from this day on everyone in my professional life would know I was pregnant. Whatever it was, it had me sitting on the floor sobbing for the next 15 minutes. “Why don’t you just wear one of your maternity tops?” my husband logically asked. “Because then everyone will see I’m pregnant!” I sobbed back. “But you ARE pregnant.”
Pregnancy can be a confusing time, especially for first time moms who are struggling with finding the right balance between their professional and personal lives. One of my biggest fears about my pregnancy was that it would negatively impact the way I was perceived at work. On the other hand, I had officially reached the point where there was no minimizing or hiding the fact that I was, in fact, pregnant.
So I declared it “Take Your Baby Bump to Work Day”. Dressed in a much more flattering maternity top, I pulled myself together and showed up at my office officially sporting my baby bump for everyone to see. Unless I called in sick for the next three months, this was the only option I had left. The response was incredibly positive. Many people, aside from my immediate coworkers, had no idea I was even pregnant, let alone that far along. Everyone was very excited and supportive and happy for me. I even let a few people rub my belly.
Later that week, I finally broke down and invested in some actual maternity clothes. While I didn’t go all out and purchase an entire new wardrobe, I did buy some key pieces that would make the next few months a whole lot easier for me. If I had known that maternity pants were so comfortable, I would have bought some months earlier!
About This Blogger: Jen Gehring
When she’s not managing political campaigns or teaching law classes, Jen Gehring enjoys spending time with her family, including her two young children. A fashionista and recovering-perfectionist, this busy working mom uses her precious seconds of free time to run, sip wine, and escape into reality television. She’s been a freelance writer for the last five years.