There are many advantages of being pregnant in New Zealand, rather than in my ‘old’ life in England: I don’t have to commute for two hours a day, for starters, and I have friends and family members handy for on-going support and advice. And I don’t have to work all day at a formal law firm, dressed smartly and being forced to keep my wits about me.
However, the big downside of a Kiwi pregnancy is the difficulty in finding decent maternity clothes. In the UK, many of the high street fashion shops stock a maternity range, making it easy to find things to wear as your bump develops. In New Zealand, the options seem to be restricted to a few junky-looking tops at The Warehouse, a small range at children’s clothing store Pumpkin Patch (the website offers far more maternity options than most of the Pumpkin Patch shops – I’ve visited two branches recently and found no more than a few garments), and a few online shops. And I’m not hugely keen on buying clothes online, unless I know the brand well and can be confident that what I order will actually fit me.
However, my bump is growing at a rapid rate and I have started to struggle for things to wear, so I had to go shopping. I went online at Pumpkin Patch and bought two pairs of jeans - a boot cut ‘vintage’ washed pair, and a skinny black pair – and a pair of leggings. The leggings fit very well (and I’ve since bought two more pairs of leggings from Farmers – they seem to only stock leggings and tights for pregnant customers), but the jeans are quite large. I chose size ‘medium’, which – given that I’m 5’10″ and usually NZ size 10 – 12 – seemed appropriate. However, Pumpkin Patch’s medium is a lot bigger than me. The boot cut jeans are OK, albeit slightly loose, but the skinny jeans are enormous (although I know that they’re likely to be too tight before long, given how quickly I’m expanding).
Although the boot cut jeans are wearable, they’re also hideous – they’re that kind of bright navy colour that you automatically associate with really geeky mothers. I’m going to buy some black fabric dye today and see if I can sort them out.
I realised that I didn’t have much to wear over all those pairs of maternity leggings, so I visited Max and picked up some merino stuff in their end-of-season sale: a blue dress (which will also work with tights), a red tunic, and a green top that I bought in a large enough size to enable me to wear it as a tunic.
I also cleared out my wardrobe yesterday, packing away into plastic crates all of the things that I have no hope of wearing in the next twelve months. This has left me with a fairly tiny capsule wardrobe – I think I’ve probably packed away 95% of what I had in there. I’ve got a few dresses that I can also fit at the moment, so that’s handy. I’m all about the clingy dresses (there’s no hiding a baby bump, so you might as well flaunt it), or empire line dresses.
My main issue is that I don’t like my pregnant shape very much – I’m not one of those women who revel in the ‘goddess’ nature of it: instead, I really miss having a small(ish) waist. However, I know that I’m going to be enormous before my twins arrive, and I’ve made my peace with that, even if I don’t love the thought of it. It won’t be forever, and eventually I should be able to unpack all of my lovely normal-sized clothes again.
Of course, celebrities swan through their pregnancies looking far more stylish that mere mortals like me. I’ve been perusing lots of celebrity pregnancy photos while writing this post, and it’s interesting to see that they almost all follow the ‘clingy or empire line’ rule for dresses as well – really, there isn’t much else you can do. Here’s Sarah Jessica Parker rocking the empire line:
And here’s Kourtney Kardashian in something more body-con (she’s actually more stylish when pregnant than she is normally, in my opinion – it must be because she’s got less scope to dress like a complete idiot):
It’s also funny that the celebrity press are often obsessed with pregnant women ‘confirming’ their pregnancy, as if they have an obligation to do so. For example, Glamour magazine ran this photo of Angelina Jolie:
and captioned it:
Looking back it’s hard to believe it, but Angelina Jolie still hadn’t confirmed her pregnancy (with twins Knox and Vivienne) when she set out on the promo trail for Kung Fu Panda at the Cannes Film Festival in 2008. But there was no hiding her bump in this apple green empire line gown – a classically flattering shape for mums-to-be – by Max Azria Atelier.
Perhaps Angelina Jolie assumed that, given her massive pregnant stomach, ‘confirming’ the pregnancy was somewhat unnecessary?