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Pregnancy Week 20: RIP My Favourite Dress

So I’m pregnant. It’s my first time. And I’m definitely not the type of person who ever pictured themselves pregnant (with the exception maybe of looking at my unbuttoned jeans after an excessive portion of pasta). I’ve decided to share some of my observations and experiences with others who, like me, might have kept themselves in the dark about what actually goes on when you’ve got the world’s most beloved parasite growing inside of you.

Here's a thing that happens when you're pregnant: a familiar article of clothing becomes your worst enemy over the course of a five minute walk down the street.

“Your body is changing” is the charming way it's described on pregnancy apps and in books, but the reality is more like you're the victim of one of those insect 'zombie parasite takeovers' you've seen on nature documentaries whereby your body's sole purpose is now to play host to this strange and demanding little creature within you. Food becomes fuel for baby. Every decision that's made is made with baby controlling your thoughts: where to live, what kind of car to drive... and every penny of your money is now spoken for by someone you've never met.

But, above all else, it's the physical stuff that's the real mind-fuck here. According to my handy app, baby is now 10 inches long and weighs around 10 ounces. So can someone PLEASE EXPLAIN WHY I'VE GAINED AN ADDITIONAL 350 OUNCES on top of that?

So back to my favourite dress. In my experience, it's always when I'm running late or just a bit too far from my house to turn back and change that a one-time sartorial ally turns on me and begins to wage war on my unpredictably lumpy body.

Here's the fun part: this could be something I wore as recently as last week, and in those seven short days, my physical landscape has shifted so dramatically that this garment that was once a source of comfort becomes my tormentor. Because this happens so fast, there is a phase of denial when I'm getting dressed in the morning where I think that there is no possible way that I have gained so much weight in a week that it's dramatically altering my physique. Maybe it's the humidity! Maybe it shrunk a little in the wash! Maybe it will “stretch out” after a few minutes of wear!

Well, let me tell you something from experience: it ain't gonna stretch out. If it feels bad in your bedroom mirror, it ain't gonna feel any better going up the stairs in a crowded tube station.

I started the day today in a simple cotton A-line dress that I purchased at a fabulous shop in Tokyo and have worn for the better part of 10 years. I have worn it in the winter with a jumper on top, I have worn it in the summer barefoot on the beach. It looks great even when I'm bloated or bulging after a particularly prolific spell of sloth and gluttony. It's survived five flats, countless holidays, and thousands of wash cycles. It's a thing I wear to feel good. A wardrobe staple, if you will. But today was the day everything changed.

Suddenly the back of the dress was way too short, constantly threatening to expose my thighs and ass to the parade of people walking behind me on the street.

After trying on a few more ambitious outfit options that were absolutely out of the question, I was running late and decided to throw on the “old faithful” dress, but immediately I could tell something wasn't right. It seemed an inch shorter. Maybe even an inch tighter. Dismissing this sinking feeling, I grabbed my bag and ran out of the house. Over the course of my morning commute, my old friend began to mock my new body as if to expose its feelings of betrayal.
Suddenly the back of the dress was way too short, constantly threatening to expose my thighs and ass to the parade of people walking behind me on the street. I was forced to forgo my morning Instagram scroll and stow my phone in my bag in order to have two free hands to constantly tug my suddenly rebellious dress down. A feeble attempt to reshape it back to the generous A-line I know and love.

If you've never had the misfortune of this sensation, the best way to explain it is this: it's like that inexplicably nauseating feeling you get when your sock slides down inside your shoe, and you stop and fix it and then five steps later it starts sliding down again and you want to kill everyone. Yeah, it's like that.

Actually all of pregnancy is sort of like that. You're pretty much constantly uncomfortable and agitated. Everything is weird and strange. The smallest things that have become familiar over your lifetime are suddenly different or forbidden, like a favourite comfort food (brie) or a reliably well-fitting pair of underwear (APPARENTLY I'm not a MEDIUM in American Apparel anymore.) Often throughout the day I'll make an involuntary sound of frustration, kind of like "Argghughhhhhh!" and my husband is like "What? What happened?" and I just don't know what to say except "Everything is ANNOYING!"

A common misconception is to put these feelings down to hormones but as a pregnant woman I can tell you for certain that everything really IS annoying, and where can you turn to for comfort when you can't even rely on your favourite dress anymore?

So now, on top of all of the other changes, I have to set my beloved and obsessively curated wardrobe aside, at least for now. I've gone from someone who wore six inch high heels that verged on masochistic because I only cared about how they look, to someone who chooses garments based only on how “comfy” they are. Because this isn't my body anymore, it belongs to this baby. And somehow, despite the fact that we've never met and she's ruthlessly rearranging every single aspect of my life, she's pretty damn charming.

Read Aimee's piece about what it's like wearing a Baby On Board badge on London public transport here.