This is an important message for retailers that sell maternity products.
WHAT THE EFF IS WRONG WITH YOU?!?
Here’s the thing. Pregnancy is a temporary condition, okay? I know you’re selling “specialty products” which means you should be able to ask more. And if what you sold was worth the price you charged, I would be on board 100%. But quite frankly, a majority of your crap is not worth the price and you are all severely lacking in products that I considered no-brainers despite this being my first rodeo.
If you look on Pinterest, you will find an incredible collection of useful blogs built upon DIY pregnancy projects. Why? Because no one wants to spend $40 on an infinity scarf/nursing cover when literally 5 min on a sewing machine with scrap jersey knit gives you the same results. And is there anything worse than shelling out a ton of money (more than $20) on jeans that you KNOW will only be worn while pregnant? I won’t deny that my maternity jeans were the most comfortable to wear the last 2 months and made me feel the most normal. A giant jersey band holding your pants up will do that for you. However, if they hadn’t been a gift from my most generous and considerate MIL, I would not have bothered getting a pair. One pair, on sale, cost $20. And at the thrift store, I bought 4 pairs of jeans for $5 a pop in larger sizes that were easily adapted to maternity use via elastic hair bands at the buttons and a belly band ($9 at Target) to cover my sins. No, it wasn’t ideal. Yes, I did have to spend an inordinate amount of time pulling up my pants and adjusting the belly band to cover up the fact that I hadn’t done up a zipper in 4 months. But with the looming costs of actually having a baby resting firmly in the back of my head, 4 pairs of jeans for the price of 1 was easy Math. Also, those thrift store jeans had pockets. The maternity jeans, for reasons I can’t begin to fathom, had NO FRONT POCKETS.
I have seen jeans with false back pockets. Even the cutest pair, regardless of how well it fits, will hit the reject pile for false back pockets. False front pockets are simply an insult.
I don’t know if retailers actually look at social media or if they just dump their ads and run, but if they did they might notice that the entirety of the female population WANTS POCKETS. In pants, in dresses, in leggings, in bras. EVERYWHERE. Now, I know what you’re thinking, retailers. “If we give them pockets, they won’t buy purses!” WRONG, MOFO. We love our purses. We will never stop buying purses. You never know when you’re going to need a book, a back-up book, three skeins of yarn, 4 tampons, an inflatable pillow, and a screwdriver. YOU JUST DON’T KNOW. Unless cargo pants come back into style, your purse revenues are safe. You know what I do know for sure? There is no place for keys in a purse. Outside pockets, inside pockets, hanging off a bejeweled hook, they always end up in a black hole somewhere just out of reach, especially if it is dark, cold, and I’m alone in parking lot trying to get into my car. Also, purses are not affixed to our persons. I have work keys. When I don’t have pockets, I have to put those keys in my purse. And every time I had to open a cabinet at work, I would drag myself up, waddle over to the cabinet, remember that my keys were in my purse on the ground, waddle back, *deep breath* BEND OVER *groan, retrieve purse, retrieve keys, forget what I was going to the cabinet for, realize it didn’t matter since I had to pee and the bathroom is at the other end of the store, speed waddle to the bathroom, and sit on the toilet for five minutes reassessing my life choices. Why would you add extra stress to someone already struggling under emotional, psychological, hormonal, and physical distress? HOW COULD YOU BE SO RECKLESS?!?
My point is, all it takes to be a hero is pockets.
Here are some things I was baffled by in the maternity departments/stores.
Maternity Skinny Jeans. I get skinny jeans, in theory. They don’t really work for me, but clearly lots of people dig them and I’m not here to judge. Skinny jeans when I am feeling like a manatee already, I don’t know.
Maternity Holey Jeans. This is actually just a pet peeve of mine with all jeans. I do not want jeans that have been artificially worn thin. If my jeans have holes in them, I want them to be made by years of wear and tear, not for aesthetics. And considering how much some retailers charge for this particular fashion choice, I feel like I’m being charged twice as much for denim that will only last half as long.
Body-Shaping Hosiery. Because Gawd FORBID I walk around growing a human being and have any sign of jiggly thighs. Now, some of that hosiery claims to have built-in belly support, which is admittedly very important for most kinds of pregnancy. I carried high, so the I didn’t need the support belts or anything similar to protect my lower back. It was my ribs that suffered and strangely enough, none of the “support” apparel focus on controlling the boobs (more on this later).
Lacey Nursing Bras. Again, I don’t get lacey bras to begin with. Adding lingerie touches to a bra and charging $40 for it without also offering ANY kind of economic alternative for the person who can’t afford to drop 3 bills to replace at least a week’s worth of normal bras with nipple accessible bras, well that’s just a bit cruel. And I guarantee that my little guys couldn’t give two figs about how cute/sexy my bra is as long as it gives him access to the almighty boob.
Here are some things I think should be sold in maternity departments/stores.
Compression Socks. Poor circulation is a common problem in the 3rd trimester: ankles and feet swollen and sore so that walking around feels like strolling on bruises. You look down at your feet and despite having them elevated for hours they still look like someone attached a bicycle pump to your heel and didn’t turn off the air. It is uncomfortable and worrying to look at. So why is it in a store dedicated to pregnancy apparel, with it’s plethora of cute dresses and lacy nursing bras I couldn’t find a single pair of compression socks? I had to get mine from Walgreens. They are functional, but ugly and make me wary of getting too close to any of the many retirement communities around here just in case someone tries to pick me up. Would cute compression socks be weird? Weirder than skinny maternity jeans?
Bra/Underwear Subscriptions. Within the first month of pregnancy, I had out-grown my bras. So I bought some larger conventional bras that seemed supportive enough and didn’t have under wires, as I was already dealing with rib discomfort. Then I grew out of those. And the next set. I eventually switched to sports bras, first mediums, then larges. The same thing happened with underwear, by the way. I stocked up on one size larger and then barely a week later had to stock the next size up. And I don’t know about everyone else, but I can’t just buy 2 bras. I’m proud that I limited myself to a dozen sports bras (6 med, 6 lg) since I normally prefer at least enough undergarments for 2 weeks. And that’s just the regular bras. You can’t buy nursing bras before your milk comes in. That would be stupid. Not to mention how much of a jinx that would feel. There is no stage of pregnancy wherein you are “in the clear.” Bad stuff happens and I certainly didn’t want to tempt fate by stocking up on nursing bras, even if I could predict how big the boobs would get. What I didn’t see in any maternity store was 10-packs of sleeping bras, sports bras, extra elastic underwear, or any kind of economic option so that I didn’t feel like I was stealing from my unborn child just to relieve chronic pain and the inevitable expansion of my booty. If we can’t offer mega packs of underwear that can be guiltlessly bought and discarded during pregnancy, how about a subscription so I can exchange bras as the mams grow?
Breast Support. And if we’re going to offer “shapewear” for my thighs and belly, how about something for breasts that isn’t focused on making them look sexier. I don’t care if your product makes them look perkier or pushes them into unnatural shapes. I wanted a product that was supportive enough that I could sleep on my side (as is medically recommended) without feeling like I was detaching a rib from my spine. I did try sleeping with sports bras and the elastic band around my rib cage actually exacerbated the problem. This product, if it existed, would ideally be tank-top-shaped with support bands running around the sides of the breasts, along the sides of the ribs and under the belly. Or something. I’m not an expert.
So to recap, how about instead of only offering cute products, we look at the practical side of pregnancy. Because I guarantee I’m not the only woman who saw the impending costs of a newborn and started looking immediately on how she could curtail her spending by hitting thrift stores and making her own “maternity” clothing. I actually swore I wouldn’t be wasting any money on “maternity” clothes and the only exception was the bulk purchases of cheap maternity tanks from Target that are longer than my normal camis and will be used until they fall completely apart, pregger or not. I mean, it’s great that you all want to gouge customers for impractical vanity products, but could you maybe consider that you could make a killing selling products specifically created to alleviate the discomfort of pregnancy? You know, besides the $60 body pillows and serious looking belly support braces?
Any other practical suggestions from my pregger peeps?