No, I'm not announcing a fourth pregnancy - that isn't going to happen! Andrea, aka Mama in the City, wrote a great guide to being pregnant in Vancouver this past summer. (You can read about it here). That got me thinking about the differences between being pregnant in a city like Vancouver and being pregnant almost anywhere else in Canada where finding anything maternity can be few and far between. You see I moved to the big city of Toronto when I was 7 months pregnant. The thing that struck me the most (besides all the traffic) was all the maternity stuff! I mean we are talking the 'regular' maternity stores like Motherhood and Thyme being commonplace and then there are all sorts of local maternity boutiques! There were also second hand stores that carried just maternity clothing. I couldn't believe it. It was a little late for me (being that pregnant, and carrying my 3rd child, I wasn't into buying maternity at the time) but I was just delighted at the thought that I could.
I have been pregnant in a semi-decent sized Canadian city 3 times. That city is not big enough to carry any sort of maternity store, just a maternity department in Wal-Mart. (There was a Thyme at one time, but it closed down). A friend suggested checking out the second hand stores as she always had success there, I didn't. So what do you do to get through your pregnancy? Here's what I did:
1) I found the closest city that had Thyme and Motherhood in it. The drive there took over an hour so I took the time to shop. I tried on a lot, thought through what I would need (especially for work to look neat and professional) and bought most in one shot.
2) I was fortunate to have people that loved me that lived in a larger city send me things. I gave birth to my second about 6 months after my sister-in-law did. Once she delivered she sent me all her nice maternity stuff. My mom also went shopping and mailed me some things - a great treat!
3) I discovered that while our local Old Navy did not carry the maternity line, they did have a box behind the counter of maternity things. When people bought Old Navy Maternity from another store or online and wanted to return it, they could return it to any Old Navy Store. That store keeps it behind the counter. Go and ask, see if your store has a box. I found a great sweater that way.
4) Speaking of online...the internet is full of maternity wear. Most maternity stores have an online store. Motherhood has the best selection I've seen. You can also find cute maternity selections on Etsy. Make sure to check out their sizing guide to make your best guess at a good fit. Most sizes correspond to your pre-pregnancy size. Be prepared to buy a few things a little bit larger than that too, just in case.
5) Check out your own closet to see what may 'stretch' to help you through. My yoga pants that I use for working out I wore all the way through my pregnancies.
6) Some of you are fantastically talented with a needle and thread. Have a look through some maternity wear patterns and find some great fabric to make some things that you need. (I wish I was that talented!)
Being pregnant was one of my favorite times in my life (even though I was so sick for each and every one of my children). It doesn't have to mean hiding away, or wearing a big canopy like our mothers and grandmothers did. We can still be fashionable and feel great about ourselves, even when maternity clothes can be hard to find. I'm curious to hear how other women living away from a big city got through.