Every year for Christmas, my mum takes me clothes shopping. It’s always one of my best Christmas presents, since I almost never buy clothes for myself. This year it was particularly exciting. I bought maternity bras in first trimester (correctly guessing that my cup size couldn’t possibly grow any more), but since then my internal organs have been pushed upwards to make room for Louisette, so those bras have become painfully tight.
The other unusual thing about this year’s shopping spree was that we hired a wheelchair. It has become clear lately that if I walk more than about fifty metres at what I now call “medium pace” but most people would call “zombie speed”, my hips give me trouble for 2-4 days afterwards. So a wheelchair was a cunning plan – one that also had the benefit of being both luxurious and novel. It was heavenly (and privately amusing to see young shop assistants fall over themselves to help me, and older assistants not care a bit). I even ran into a wheelchair-bound friend from college, who enjoyed being at the same level as me for once.
Mum and I successfully found a better maternity bra almost immediately. I’d planned to buy masseur sandals and a bikini top (in case I spend some of my labour in the bath for pain relief), but it became rapidly clear that masseur sandals are harder to find than they used to be. So much for that.
The swimsuit experience was epic. I have absolutely no idea how larger women find swimsuits – I suppose they all buy one-piece styles – but it was virtually impossible to find anything above a size 16, which was instantly and alarmingly inadequate (even bikini tops are meant to cover at least 50% of the breast area). It was kind of flattering, until mum and I tried the strapless styles in a desperate attempt to find something that worked. In the end, we did find one that technically fit: a hot pink frilly number that accentuated my broad shoulders and made me look exactly like a footballer in drag.
So we didn’t buy swimmers or shoes, but my mum (who is always trying to get me to buy new clothes rather than make my own or wear second-hand items) managed to get me to try on a few dresses. I ended up with two new maternity dresses and a crop top (one of them has a rather low neck, so this was my solution), which was excellent since I had exactly one wearable dress left, and it’s stretching out of shape in an alarmingly saggy manner.
So, altogether, after several hours being wheeled around the mall, I ended up with two full outfits which mum gave me immediately, and which I’ve been wearing ever since. A good haul, and a timely one.
This dress is actually a proper maternity dress, designed to be adjustable: