What to Wear, What to Wear

As you venture back into the office after maternity leave, you may find yourself in a bit of a quandary in the wardrobe department. Even though you vow that you will lose every bit of that pregnancy weight by the time your baby is six months old (an ambitious goal, indeed), you still have to figure out what you are going to wear between now and then. You probably have at least four different sizes of clothing in your closet, chronicling your trip (or trips) up and down the pregnancy ladder. Tackling this problem is not easy.


Many of the moms I have talked to fit into one of the following three categories (although some do fit into more than one):

·     The Stubbornly: Those who firmly refuse to purchase any new clothing, thinking this will motivate them to lose weight faster. Therefore, they simply decide to wear all the maternity and larger sized clothes they already have in their closet and hope that accessories will disguise their somewhat ill-fitting apparel;

·     The Clean Slaters: Moms who burn every bit of maternity and larger sized clothes (or give them away) and buy a whole new wardrobe in the smallest size they can get away with; and

·     The Mercurial: These are the mommies who are vehemently against purchasing any new clothing until they instantly fall in love with the season’s latest trend and simply must add it to their wardrobe, regardless of their current size.


What I find similar about all three categories is how desperate new moms, or moms who have just had a second or subsequent child, are to revert back to their pre-pregnancy physical state. Many of us do not want to look like we have just had a baby when we return to work. We, even the veteran mommies, forget that it takes nine months to a year for our bodies to recover from the trauma caused by carrying around such a heavy load. During the pregnancy classes I took while I was pregnant with my first child, the instructor displayed a picture of what our insides look like when we are eight months pregnant. You cannot go from having all of your organs shoved up to one side of your body to fitting into your skinny jeans in just a few months. Even if you do lose all of your baby weight in record time, your bones, muscles, and organs have to catch up. No amount of exercise will make your internal organs return any faster to their previous position.


If you are returning to the same job you had before you went on leave, you have the benefit of not having to explain why you are carrying around this extra weight and wearing clothes that look suspiciously like maternity clothes. Most of your co-workers will be kind and give you compliments on the lovely necklace you are wearing, and neglect to mention that your blouse may have been washed one too many times (especially if you fit into the Stubbornly category). But, if you are starting fresh at a new company, you may feel compelled to quickly put up photos of your darling little baby, thus removing any doubt that the extra weight you are carrying is a result of “just” having a child.


 We are the harshest judges of our physical appearance. It is stressful enough to return to work or start a new job without worrying about how we are going to lose the baby weight, how we look to other people, how we should avoid the constant barrage of tasty treats people bring to the office, and how quickly can we return to wearing our beloved skinny jeans. Trust me, we care far more about this than our co-workers. If going out and buying some new clothes, shoes, or accessories makes you feel better, go for it. If you are happy with what you have, that is great too. When it comes down to it you are dressing for yourself, so wear whatever makes you happy.


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