Step 1: Avoid buying maternity clothes for as long as possible. Shift to wearing your “fat pants,” jersey skirts, dresses with empire waists, and any blouses that will still button over your suddenly gigantic boobs. (Beware of unexpected cleavage in shirts that were once work-appropriate.)
Step 2: When Step 1 no longer does the trick, buy a few items in a size larger than you usually wear. Feel smug for not investing too much money in maternity clothes.
Step 3: Discover that larger sizes no longer solve your problem–your belly cannot be contained. Order lots of maternity clothes with the intention of returning most of them.* Surely something will look cute!
Step 4: Try on maternity clothes. Discover that nothing fits because maternity size charts are bullshit.** Return everything except for two blouses and an unflattering pair of casual shorts that you have to keep yanking up over your hips, because you’re going hiking this weekend and you’re desperate.
Step 5: See an unflattering photo of yourself in said shorts and a pre-maternity t-shirt. Realize your “baby bump” is in fact a two-tier lump of belly flab; Google this phenomenon and learn that it’s called a “B belly” and is “common in obese women.” Also, realize your boobs look like udders. Shove t-shirt into bottom of laundry basket, then cry. A lot.
Step 6: Halfheartedly place a few more orders for maternity clothes in different sizes. Then google “cow costume” because obviously you are now a cow and might as well dress like one.
See, this is what happens when people who are bad at shopping are allowed to become pregnant. Memo to self: next time just go right for the muumuu.
* Most maternity lines seem to be online-only affairs, presumably because pregnant women should be kept from human eyes and do not belong in shopping malls with normal people.
** OK, I do have one real tip. Most maternity clothes tell you to just order your pre-pregnancy size — e.g., “4 Maternity” if you used to wear a 4. HOWEVER, this advice doesn’t take much account of different body types. If, like me, you carry most of your weight in your hips and thighs and usually buy the “curvy” fit pants, size up when you buy maternity pants or shorts.
Any other real tips to pass on?