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“When do you think I should get some actual maternity clothes?” I casually insert into a slow, lazy weekend day. Jason often defers decisions like this to me, even though I feel just as unqualified to decide as he. I thought I would try anyway.

“I’ll go whenever you want, Babe,” he responds just as expected. Having nothing better to do, I figure I might as well get this over with today.

Shopping is suppose to be fun. Buying maternity clothes is not. It’s like a person with no gardening capabilities staring down a greenhouse. Maybe if I understand how this worked, I would relish the excuse to buy new things. When else will I get a chance to change out my entire wardrobe? Pesky questions ruin everything: When do I start wearing them? What size do I get? Don’t women who are pregnant wear maternity clothes all the time, the whole 9 months? I realize now that can’t be true. At 15 weeks, I’m still fitting in my regular jeans and tops just fine. And by “just fine” I mean they’re starting to feel a bit tight, but still no problems getting things zipped and buttoned (with a bit of sucking in). While I would love to delight in maintaining my figure, worried thoughts of  why am I not getting bigger yet? entangle with all the other questions buzzing around. Despite this new nagging fear, my realization about buying huge, tent-like clothes is slowly encroaching on my denial. Fighting it as I may, I know it is a losing fight. When the day comes that I suddenly realize I can’t adequately close any pants around my belly, I don’t want to be caught completely off guard.

The sliding doors of the discount store greet us, like an old friend we visit at least once a week. Walking amongst the seemingly endless, and chaotic-placed, metal clothes racks half-looking as clothes swing back and forth on hangers, I finally mumble, “I don’t see anything I like. I can’t even tell what’s maternity and what is plus-size!” It is unfortunate they put those two categories next to each other.

Locating the proper clothes, I peak at a price tag. This doesn’t help me get excited about shopping.

“Jason, these jeans cost $30! I don’t pay $30 for normal jeans that I can wear for years! I’ll only use these for a couple months! What a waste!”

The selection is poor at best. Which is disappointing at best. I can’t blame the store for my bad attitude about this. I realize I am extremely cheap and frugal. The guilt about this “shopping spree” lingers in such a way that we leave empty handed.

Jason convinces me that we should try another store, but that is no better. Like a bad omen, we can’t even find the maternity section. We try to be logical about this. Women’s, misses, plus-sizes. No luck. Jason finally asks a young, somewhat perplexed employee, who also does not know where it would be. Looking up out of exasperation, Jason notices the sign for maternity. It’s small, but it’s staring us in the face (or the top of our heads). The size of the sign is of excellent proportion for the two-rack section. I settle for a sweater and one pair of jeans. I leave, feeling doomed to dress like a frumpy elderly lady for the next several months.

Jason talks with a friend at work, and she recommends checking out some online outlets for maternity clothes. After the failure of stores “maternity” sections, I am totally willing to try online clothes shopping. Normally I worry about sizes not fitting right, and the clothes not looking the way they are pictured online, but in this case, it is a welcome thing. The selection is amazing compared to the stores, and I spend probably an hour online choosing a few select items. $80 later, I have several sweaters, yoga pants, and several long sleeve shirts on the way.

***

Shortly after my new clothes arrive, we visit my parents’ house. I find my Mom has started pulling out old baby things that she hung onto. I think back to a warm summer day, 20 years earlier,  remembering a rummage sale at my old childhood home. This sale was the last we had seen of much of our baby clothes, toys, and furniture. To my surprise, I find that she has been hanging onto a suitcase full of clothes just too cute to part with. Pulling out a quilt, I look at the yellow squares, each lined with a soft blue fabric, containing a small animal inside, realizing I don’t even remember it. Even so, a warmness fills me knowing it was made with love, just for me. We go through more of the suitcase and I immediately understand why these gems were so carefully hidden away in here, with no particular plans of ever being used again. The petite outfits are adorable. I picture my little one (if she is a she) wearing the very same dresses, jumpers, and bloomers a young Laura wore many years ago. Digging deeper, we find some of my Mom’s maternity clothes.

“If you are interested, you can take some of these clothes home with you to use. I know some may be a bit dated, but they are all in good condition.” The almost 30-year-old clothes have been released, and given new life.

I feel satisfied going home with several pairs of second-hand dress pants and shirts. Sporting a clear 1980’s fashion, sure, but it’s hard to beat free clothes after seeing those outrageous store prices. Once home with my new items, I smile slightly as I fold them and put them into a neat pile in the closet with the other items that are waiting for me.

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