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Dressing a Postpartum Body / When Nothing Fits

dressing a postpartum body / when nothing fits via thelovelylauralife.com dressing a postpartum body / when nothing fits via thelovelylauralife.com

Last week I decided to start a series about dressing a postpartum body.  I’ve been battling a funk the past month and if there’s one thing I’ve learned from all this blogging stuff, it’s that there is always at least one other person out there going through what you are — so I thought I’d share in the process of how I’m trying to overcome this funk in the hopes that someone else might benefit too.

Part of me feels that my current dressing problems are a result of making the switch from a seasonal capsule wardrobe to a year round capsule during one of the biggest seasons of changes ever. [#oops] Haha!  One’s body will never change as much as it does in the first 6 weeks of postpartum, and of course this is the time frame in which I decided to pursue a more long term minimal closet… *Smacks self on forehead*  I lost 20 pounds in the first 3 days and went from wearing my maternity pants to my non-maternity pants over the course of two weeks.  [Have I ever mentioned how amazing the female body is?] These kinds of changes are nearly impossible to accommodate with many ‘long term’ pieces — no matter how versatile they are.

SUGGESTIONS:

1.  Give the capsule wardrobe thing a try. If you’ve never looked into a seasonal capsule wardrobe before now, I would recommend doing so. I had great success with my maternity capsules.

2. Consider creating a series of mini capsules.  Even planning three months at a time with a seasonal capsule can seem daunting when your body continues to change daily postpartum.  Hello nursing boobs…  I’m considering doing this for the next several months.  10-15 pieces for a month (4 weeks) at a time, pulling from your entire wardrobe.  I haven’t fully fleshed this one out yet, so I’m not sure [again] it will work well, but I’ve seen people doing this in addition to creating a full capsule wardrobe to cover them during season transitions too.

3. Work with versatile silhouettes. Shift dresses (not nursing friendly I know), swing dresses, shirt dresses, jeggings (bah! I hate that word), leggings, jersey pencil skirts, oversized tees, unstructured blazers + blouses, looser fitting button-downs: I have found all of these silhouettes to carry me through my 6 months of postpartum thus far.  They have the ability to fit well across significant changes in body size. Take for instance my chambray button-down.  It fit immediately postpartum when my boobs were exploding with milk and it still fits now that my supply has regulated itself and I’ve lost a pound or two.  Sure it was a little tighter then and a little looser now, but as far as the ‘fit’ rule goes? It worked.  And I can honestly say I wish I’d bought a shirtdress sooner than I did! It would have solved my I hate shorts woes for most of the summer. ;)

4. Don’t forget the alteration option.  When I set upon the grand notion of creating a long term year round wardrobe immediately following a pregnancy I did so with one thing in particular in mind:  anything that I might add to my closet that fit me now but wouldn’t necessarily later, I would simply have it altered.  I bring this up because this meant that I didn’t have to cast aside my desire to buy quality over quantity (which I admittedly still goofed on…).  In fact buying quality over quantity means that the alteration option is all that more realistic.  This will also hold true for higher quality pieces you have in your closet already — namely dresses.  Instead of buying a new dress for that wedding you have to go to, consider having one you already own let out for the time being. Usually they can do this up to two dress sizes.

*Note: I typically wear my non-maternity + non-postpartum (aka my regular ‘ol clothes) clothing looser. So if you normally wear yours trim + tailored it is not as likely to fit the same way I have described above.

REMEMBER:

1. Not to fixate on how much weight you have or have not lost. Even women who lose all of their baby weight within the first six months still can’t fit back into many of their pre-pregnancy clothes right away.  This is because weight really is just a number and doesn’t account for hips moving, organs shifting, blood volume and [potential] nursing.

I seem to remember having lost a little more weight by now with my first baby, so of course my human nature wants to say that I’m not doing as well. But things were very different then: I had gained more weight during my actual pregnancy, I was still working full time, I was mama to one not two.  I think I have still yet to release this sense of total control I think I have over my body this postpartum season — and that is ultimately what is holding me back from finding my new rhythm with food.  I find this ironic considering I’ve done this before and because being pregnant is the biggest test ever of releasing feelings of total control — but all the same I think it’s likely these emotions are adding undue stress in my life.

2. To reject false ideals. Don’t aspire to be that woman that fits back into her pre-pregnancy clothes on her trip home from the hospital. Have you ever met that woman? I’ve never met that woman.

Instead, aspire to be the woman that rejoices at a healthy, nourished body.  One that fully expects it to take a lot of time for her body to resume it’s pre-pregnant state — or more accurately settle into a healthy new post-baby state.  One that identifies that some of the weight gained during pregnancy was to help nourish the little body that she’s been blessed to be mother to. That some more of it will help tide her over when she’s burning the midnight oil or alas doesn’t get to eat three square meals a day.  One that is excited by the chance to reinvent who and what, her body + mind are and will be.

3. When you’re standing in front of the mirror: to build yourself up.  Talk nice to yourself.  That’s your baby’s mama you’re talking about!  Soon enough, they will learn how to talk about themselves that way too. Let’s set a positive example.  Besides, the world’s full of too many body-shamers anyway. The least we can do is be original ;)

4. To nourish yourself.  Eat good, wholesome, raw and real foods.  Ever wonder why they call it comfort food? It’s because food not only fuels your body, but it feeds your soul too.

Next week I’m shooting to cover my favorite postpartum pieces along with some nursing friendly pieces as well.  Any thoughts?

Hat: Urban Outfitters (old), similar 

Top: Madewell (sold out), similar

Jacket: Madewell (old), simlar

Bottoms: American Eagle

Shoes: Gap (old), similar

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13 Comments

  • Reply
    Anne-Michelle Frances
    October 13, 2015 at 4:18 pm

    “When you’re standing in front of the mirror: to build yourself up.” Amen, sista! I am seven weeks postpartum, started a 30-day food cleanse at week four, started working out immediately six days a week at week six, and I am so bummed that I still have a belly and have not snapped back into shape as quickly as I hoped. After all, I worked out up to 41 weeks, 3 days (my baby was 17 days late)! It took almost 11 months for my body to get that way, and I need to be loving toward the same body as it slowly finds its way back to normal; not to mentioned this is baby number four. Your words — your postpartum words — are so helpful. Thank you!!!! I look forward to every one of your “dressing a postpartum body” posts!! xoxo

    • Reply
      Laura
      October 14, 2015 at 8:08 am

      Oh my gosh thank you so much for sharing! Anne, your words mean the world to me. Yes! TIME. Mama, you are doing great! And sound like you’re giving that baby one heck of a good start :) God bless you guys!

  • Reply
    Julia
    October 13, 2015 at 4:47 pm

    I love this: ” Talk nice to yourself. That’s your baby’s mama you’re talking about! ”

    It was a revelation to me when my husband said something similar toward the beginning of the relationship. I was putting down my looks (I’ve always had a tough time letting go of flaws) and he just said “Hey, lay off. That’s my girlfriend you’re talking about.” It really reminded me that I don’t see myself the way he sees me, and that maybe, just maybe, the way I see myself isn’t totally accurate.

    I’ll give birth in three weeks and I’m still struggling with the idea that I won’t magically look just like I did before. I even had a dream that I gave birth and as soon as the baby was out I pushed my own stomach down and it was flat and hard again. I know it won’t be so! But I also know that I probably won’t care, because that baby will be there, and I will be focused on her, not on my stupid stomach, haha. Thank you for writing this series, you look strong and lovely in these photos and I adore the outfit your son is wearing!

    • Reply
      Laura
      October 14, 2015 at 8:05 am

      Aw thanks Julia! Such a kind and meaningful compliment to receive. :) Thanks, whoever came up with the saying boys aren’t as fun to dress as girls was lying through their teeth! ;) And I LOVE the perspective your husband has — ah! And yours too, focus on that baby. Glorious, glorious times await you! Sending positive birthing vibes your way — you’ve got this mama. :)

  • Reply
    Jessica
    October 13, 2015 at 10:01 pm

    I’m at the start of my third trimester (second baby) and I’m doing a 30 day capsule at a time. Helps as everything seems to grow every day. Love your posts! Thanks :)

    • Reply
      Laura
      October 14, 2015 at 8:01 am

      So good to hear Jessica! I will have to give this method some more thought for sure then. It just makes too much sense right? ;)

  • Reply
    Meg
    October 14, 2015 at 6:24 am

    I just want to say thank you for addressing this issue, and not handling it like so many other resources do– “how to get skinny again” “how to cover up that baby belly” “how to get back in shape fast” etc. I have 4 children, and my youngest is 3.5, so I’m way out from the postpartum phase! But, I’m still working through the acceptance process of what my changed body looks like. I just ran a half-marathon and am in probably my best health ever, and guess what? My body still looks like I gave birth to children! Our bodies are remarkable and have carried and sustained life. And now they are equipped to meet the needs of our families and and care for those children. Those are the important things– not what size my jeans are or the number on the scale.

    I commend you for addressing this issue and encourage you to continue writing about it. You’re speaking to so many women who need to hear your words. Thank you!

    • Reply
      Laura
      October 14, 2015 at 8:00 am

      Ah! Your words make my heart soar. :) Thank you Meg. I truly feel compelled to challenge so many of the messages that we are bombarded with as women — people even — every single day, and it feels uplifting to know that you want to hear what I have to say :) xoxo

  • Reply
    Brooke
    October 14, 2015 at 11:36 pm

    I recently got the Chalice inner clip jersey dress! If you can find a stockist near you go and try it! Perfect for pregnancy, nursing a and postpartum! I am so tempted to call them to let them know how versatile it is! I cannot really explain but you will understand stand when you try it.

  • Reply
    Lara
    October 19, 2015 at 11:49 pm

    I stumbled upon your blog after reading un-fancy.com. I was telling my husband how much I wanted to do to a wardrobe capsule, but am so frustrated how none of my clothes fit right after baby #2 which is more like a toddler now…And although my oldest is 4 now, I still longingly look back to my old body shape and think about how the “sands have since sifted,” as my sister says. Thank you for your kind and realistic words of advice! The female body is amazing and we should be more gentle on ourselves.

  • Reply
    Soraya
    December 24, 2015 at 7:33 pm

    I found your little corner of the internet by searching for capsule wardrobe ideas. Why? Postpartum dressing is a drag. Imagine my glee to see you’ve written about this very thing – there is indeed SOMEONE out there going through the same thing. I enjoy your blog, keep it up!

    • Reply
      Laura
      December 28, 2015 at 1:51 pm

      Thank you so much Soraya! Your words are most definitely encouraging and honestly come at the perfect time. Thank you again and I hope you’ll stick around :)

  • Reply
    Jen
    January 21, 2016 at 2:09 pm

    Ahhh are you me? I too hate the word “jeggings”! ( just typing that made me wince…). As a new mama ( 7 months yesterday), your words really resonated with me…especially chosing kind words to say to my “baby’s mama”!! I Im in the process of redoing my wardrobe post baby, and stumbled across the words “capsule wardrobe” and that led me to you! Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this very personal topic!

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