Dear High Street; You suck.

Hello everyone!

Well, I’m a bit ashamed at how long it’s been since I wrote a post. However, I have been a little bit preoccupied with full time work, raising a mini hooligan and also growing a second, whose arrival should hopefully be sometime around the middle of next month. So now I’ve got my excuses in, hopefully you’ll be able to forgive my absence. The great thing about a second run of surging hormones is I’ve got a load of fresh rage and irritation to throw out there! So settle in, and let’s begin.

I remember buying maternity clothes the first time round was a stressful experience, but this time it has just plain pissed me off. I live in Devon, where contrary to popular belief the inhabitants AREN’T mainly livestock, and we do have most of the major high street chains. Only a few had maternity ranges actually physically in their stores when I was pregnant with Pickle, and these have diminished further to the point of there being 2 shops I can think of in our local city (yes 2 in a CITY) where this is the case, both of which are A) pretty expensive and B) seem to think most pregnant women are over 50 and happy to dress as such. So, I want to start my rant by asking all those retailers out there; Why, oh WHY at the time in a woman’s life when her body goes through more size and shape changes than that guy off ‘Quantum Leap’, you think it’s acceptable to only offer maternity clothes online. I literally have no idea what clothes size I am at the moment, let alone which part of my body has accrued the lions share of my 2.5 stone weight gain (and counting)- could be my left calf, could be my chins, I honestly don’t know. So, at this point, being offered the opportunity to, you know, try on a few things would be really helpful. I’ve lost count how many online orders I’ve waited for hopefully only to send it all back, half because it’s too small, and half because it’s colossally too big (including one particular bra where one of the cups fitted my actual head).

Also, when you’re designing maternity clothes, I would highly recommend you talk to at least one pregnant woman about their body’s new requirements. For example, when trying to find a dress for my father’s wedding, the majority of maternity evening wear I found on a particular website was strapless. I repeat; STRAPLESS. Now, I don’t know about the rest of you, but by a few weeks into this pregnancy my bosom had already acquired enough mass that it had developed it’s own gravitational pull (I worry the toddler may start orbiting me any day now). If I tried to wear anything strapless, there’s a high chance that loss of life would have been suffered by someone in my immediate vicinity. So here’s a thought: If when you photograph these items for your websites you actually used pregnant models instead of size 6 beauties with a strapped on bump, they’d actually be able to tell you how ridiculously impractical around 95% of your items are, or you’d be able to see their boobs going wayward for yourselves. 

Which leads me on to my real bug bear- maternity and nursing bras.

I have two main issues here;

1) the sheer cost of the bloody things. They are extortionate, and that’s not even for the pretty designer ones; even the seam free, 100% polyester, passion-killing monstrosities require a small bank loan and credit check.

2) how little effort the main high street stores go to in order to try and make them look pretty, or make you feel good wearing them. Nude, black and white tend to be your only option, and if you want lace or frills or anything beyond absolute necessity, think again sucker. That is, unless you go for some crazily expensive, model endorsed brand or you go online (where trying to guess your bra size is even more entertaining than trying to shave your legs in those final few weeks). Breast feeding in the early days can be confidence sapping, will-breaking and make you feel like an actual dairy cow- having to wear some Nora Batty inspired flesh coloured boob hammock only adds to the loss of identity and individuality.

Jokes aside, it can all combine to make you feel a little (or a lot) crappy about your changing body, fuelled by hormones that make you want to hug and then kill everyone around you simultaneously, and the sheer exhaustion of growing a human. But I’ve come to the conclusion that they probably don’t really care- it feels a bit like they’re crowing “Suck it up, sunshine. Take what you’re given.”

So, I hereby lay down a challenge to those high street shops- think of us a second coming of teenagers; unsure of our own bodies and how to dress them, scared we’re going to look ridiculous, and potentially lacking in the self-confidence department, and give us a little boost. Give us the opportunity to try stuff on, sell stuff that is pretty yet allows us to safely holster the fun bags, and then design us some nice bloody underwear for them too!!!

That would be utterly lovely, thanks.

x

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