The pregnancy blogs and online articles don't warn you about the way pregnancy affects your marriage.
Sure, people say things will change and you'll grow closer. Others say that your husband will gain sympathy weight. But they don't tell you about the fears and insecurities you'll wrestle with, or the impact ever-changing hormones might have on your rationality as a pregnant woman.
In our pregnancy journey with our firstborn, our biggest argument was the cost and purchase of maternity clothes. Yep, you read that right. Maternity clothes.
What a #FirstWorldProblem, right? But seriously, there was nothing else in the 10 months I was baking our baby boy that got us as fired up and at each other's throats more than the cost of maternity clothes and the desire to have them.
Here's the deal-- we never saw this coming.
When we decided we would try to start a family, we looked to our budget and prepared a monthly allowance of savings for our potential, future little one. This budget was intended for the cost of baby supplies, hospital bills, doctor's visits, and unexpected expenses.
We figured some of the cash would go toward maternity clothes but neither of us knew what the cost of those clothes would be. Nor did we understand the potential emotional impact maternity clothes would have on me as a pregnant woman. I was of the mindset that I shouldn't look at those things until the time was here so I never did any research into the cost of quality maternity clothes and I certainly didn't take any time to think about what it might feel like to grow, and grow, AND GROW.
Let me just clue you in right now-- it's not cheap and it's not easy.
Shopping for maternity clothes can be an emotionally exhausting journey. Not only do you have to purchase clothes that fit you appropriately for work (or church, date night, or whatever you spend your time doing...), but your body is changing in size and breadth every (single!) day. The brand of jeans you always relied on is no longer a guarantee.
Add in the frustration of cost and you've got a recipe for tender feelings and a lot of stress. After all, who wants to spend the money they're saving for their kid on clothes that can or are only worn when you're pregnant? Sure, you'll re-wear the clothes if you have more kids, but the lifespan of a dress or shirt for a pregnant woman is really only counted when she's pregnant so the cost analysis gets tricky.
Here's how we got through this mess of hormonal emotions and financial stress:
1. Make a wishlist and talk about it.
What a woman wants and what she needs truly depends on where she spends her time. A wishlist full of flowy tops and yoga pants might not be a practical starting point for an expecting mom that works from home. But that doesn't mean that this has to be no fun and all work.
Make a wishlist of the clothes you've dreamed of wearing while pregnant and work with your spouse or partner to determine what is realistic and what you can afford to splurge on.
2. Do your research.
Understand what 'normal' stores offer maternity options. Learn what brands or styles of clothes can bend the rules and offer you a maternity fit without buying a 'maternity' option (i.e. Can you buy a regular tunic one size up and wear it as a 'maternity' blouse?)
3. Be a smart shopper.
Make sure you're well rested, hydrated, and fed before you go shopping. And make sure you know where the nearest restroom is.
I'm not kidding here. Shopping when you're physically limited by your bladder, growling stomach, or dry mouth are NOT a good way to make it through shopping while pregnant.
4. Have real limits.
This is the hardest tip but the most worth your effort. Make an agreement with your other half to set a weekly, monthly, or trimester limit to the amount of clothes or cost of clothes you can spend.
Last tip? When in doubt, remember that the best clothing you can ever wear is a smile on your face and confidence in your new you!