Our due date is tomorrow, but most babies (at least first babies) are late. Kai’s not coming out today, that’s for sure. Maybe he’ll be number 7,000,000,000?
My friend Diane shared this short post via Google Reader a couple weeks ago. If you don’t feel like clicking through, the gist of it is that ladies who take their husbands’ names are not viewed (professionally) as favorably as as those who keep their given last names.
Over the summer, a friend asked me why I hadn’t taken Ben’s last name when we got married. I said the first thing that came to mind (rather carelessly, as another married friend who HAD taken her husband’s name was with us), which was “he doesn’t own me.” I had other reasons, too, of course. I’ve done some extremely valuable networking under my own name for the past four years; there’s a chance that in a couple years I will have to make another attempt at freelancing (due to Ben’s perpetually traveling gig) so I absolutely want to make sure that no one in my industry forgets who I am. I also felt uncomfortable with the idea of upholding the status quo. Seriously, am I my father’s property until I get married and thus transfer my identity to another dude? Hell no, I’m an autonomous human.
But then again…. Ben definitely didn’t care two licks if I took his name or not (which is not the case for many men, sadly). My industry is also quite small, and I don’t think anyone would experience any confusion if I changed my last name. We’re giving Kai his dad’s last name, and I do feel a little…weird…about not sharing a name with my own son. And one more: I actually really like Ben’s last name and I like how it sounds with my name.
So why not change it, right?
It’s the history of the status quo that bothers me enough to really hesitate. For YEARS, women had no choice but to transfer virtual ownership from that of their fathers’ to that of their husbands’ upon marriage. By giving up my identity (as defined by nomenclature at least) I feel like I’d be letting down all the generations of ladies of the future (by not continuing to make it even more socially acceptable and easy for them) AND the past (by declining my newly and pretty widely socially-acceptable choice).
I don’t have plans to change it at this time, but I do recognize that Kai’s arrival might make me feel a little differently. What do you all think? Hetero friends, if you’re a gal, why did or didn’t you change your name (or why would or wouldn’t you)? If you’re a guy, would you want your wife to change (or not change) her name? Curious to hear your thoughts.
I’m writing this with three weeks to go until Kai’s due date, so I haven’t quite finished my what-the-fuck-do-I-wear-today journey. I think it’s fair to say that I likely will not get much bigger or much more uncomfortable (I hope), so I’m writing this for all my lovely girlfriends who might be interested in maternity fashion (or lack thereof!).
First of all, HUGE thanks to sister-in-law Sarah, friend Laura, and my mom for generously outfitting me with new and pre-worn maternity clothing during the past 6 months or so.
Now, on to how I figured out what to wear during my pregnancy…
Blouses…..I found that wearing body-skimming tops (i.e. NOT loose) made me feel much better about growing larger. If I couldn’t easily see a definition between belly and boobs, I felt terribly huge and NOT in the pregnant way (and believe me, that’s the last thing a non-tiny girl wants to feel when she’s pregnant). I have a small ribcage and it expanded from a 32-inch bra band to a 36-inch bra band between months 4 and 6. You can imagine this hurt like a mofo (still does), so I didn’t want to bother with wearing belts to define the ribcage. I simply wore non-maternity jersey-knit tunics or dresses (as tunics); they were plenty long enough to cover my long torso and growing bump, and they also hugged my body just enough to indicate I was growing a human and not just…..fat. Now that I’m nearly done, I’m finding that the maternity T-shirts I eschewed for something more fitted are almost to my liking but are sadly now too short to cover my entire belly. Bummer. I say: unless you absolutely need something professional-looking or fancy, don’t even bother with maternity shirts. Go to the thrift store or to the H&M sale rack and find yourself some regular-gal tunics. Commandeer your existing dress wardrobe and start pairing them with pants as you grow.
Speaking of pants….I had great luck with the elastic belly band things. My only body parts that grew for the first six months were boobs and belly, so I was able to wear just almost every pair of pants I owned until late summer. The bands allow you to keep the fly unzipped by holding your pants up (in lieu of the waistband). If you have jeans with a bit of stretch and a low rise, you could probably get away with wearing them well into your second trimester (I have a pair that I was able to wear with just the top button undone until early September). I also picked up a couple pairs of simple linen non-maternity pants with a drawstring waist, and I was able to wear them until mid-September. At this point, I am exclusively in full-paneled maternity pants. I found that most under-the-belly pants I tried out were prone to falling down (except for a really fantastic thrifted pair of linen shorts from Old Navy). You really can’t beat full-paneled pants for comfort and confidence that you don’t need to hike up your pants all damn day…and by that I mean that the panel goes all the way around your belly, like this. You can likely wear all your non-maternity yoga and workout pants; just fold the waistband under your bulge if you’re concerned about stretching your waistband out.
Skirts and dresses….I didn’t wear much of either of them, honestly. It was summertime. Chafing is bad.
Underthings….some lucky girls don’t experience boob growth or only a bit of boob growth. I….experienced a LOT of growth. I’m guessing that by having a tiny rib cage and a giant rack I’m in the pretty vast minority, so you probably won’t have to be like me and go to a fancy bra store and try on eight bras until you find one that actually fits (and then pay 80CDN for said bra). The gals at my fancy neighborhood bra store told me that pregnant and breastfeeding mothers should really avoid underwires if at all possible. Reasons being: many pregnant girls keep on growing (yep), and not having an underwire allows for some more flexibility in cup size. For breastfeeding moms, underwires can cause a milk duct to get clogged (by pressing on it all day) and that is bad news. So, if you can do all that by spending $25 per unit at Target, F you, and enjoy your lucky lot in life. I have been wearing the same three fancy-neighborhood-bra-store bras for the past eight months and I do wish I had at least one more (not enough to spend the bucks on it though). Don’t let anyone talk you into buying maternity knickers. Unnecessary.
In general…..just do try to keep in mind that there is a giant, giant industry that is counting on you to purchase another whole wardrobe as soon as you pee on that stick. You really don’t need it. Visit every thrift store that’s convenient to you and try EVERYTHING on before you buy, if possible. Plan on visting your thrift stores at least once a month because they WILL have new stuff every time you come by. I bet you’ll be able to find the maternity jeans of your dreams at the thrift store. Don’t even think of going to the mall or online and paying full price for new stuff until you’ve at least checked out the thrift circuit. And don’t forget to check out the non-maternity wear, too! You’ll definitely at least find belly-covering casual and business-casual tops. Don’t skimp on the bras, though. Your comfort is too important.
I’ll post again on how my attitude towards clothes in general has changed, and how I feel like my style has changed. I’ll also post about clothes for breastfeeding (once I get to that point).
I love writing. And I love having conversations. I (maybe foolishly) thought that blogging would satisfy both of those loves. Posting started a bit over a year ago when I thought that perhaps my blog might be simply a cache of stupid haikus.
Right now, a little over a year into this blog’s creation, I’m struggling with the decision to continue with this mish-mosh format of crappy phone pictures and deeper and personal musings. Some readers want astringent & refreshing to be a fluff blog full of cute pictures of the cats, of the container garden, of the baby (when he arrives). That’s easy content to create, and I do like sharing that, but I’m a thinking human with a need to intellectualize.
I complicated things right off the bat by linking my Facebook account with this blog. I did so because I wanted to share my thoughts with faraway friends upon my move to Orlando, but linking to Facebook also meant that I necessarily shared thoughts with folks who found them perhaps inappropriate, or who actively judged and misunderstood things I tried to say. The internet is a lovely open forum, and if my content resonates (or doesn’t!) with a kindred stranger across the continent or an ocean, well that’s swell…..but I increasingly suspect that some readers who know me in real life cringe to hear about my opinions or lifestyle. At least strangers who disagree with you will do you the courtesy of unsubscribing from your blog instead of making backhanded disparaging comments in real life; I’d almost prefer a comment troll.
To mitigate this awkward awareness, I’ve oscillated between posting “fluff” regularly and posting content with substance only sometimes, which is not satisfying. I’m tired of censoring myself, but I’m unsure of the next best step. Do I create a whole new “fluff” blog for pictures of the baby, of the cats, of pretty flowers and ask astringent readers to go there for the lighter fare? Do I create a new blog for “real” content and turn astringent & refreshing into the “fluff” blog? Should I not give a rat’s ass about who may be readingand simply be myself even if it offends people? I think I know what the answer is…and I don’t like it, but I think that for my own mental peace AND to enjoy unfettered freedom in writing, I need to move the thought-provoking content elsewhere.
As a Jack-of-all-trades/generalist/non-expert on any topic, I’d like to write about topics as disparate as parenting philosophy and my approach to motherhood, how I enjoy menswear (and seeing other girls in menswear), about atheism (and, naturally, religion, too), the fact that my husband is the hottest man on earth, about education philosophy, about consumer minimalism and lifestyle minimalism, the spatial relationships between people and their environs, etc. etc. etc. Oh, and I occasionally like to swear when I write. Sometimes nothing else gets the fucking point across.
If that would be interesting to you, tell me. And if any of that would be offensive or disinteresting to you, that’s ok, too. Keep coming back here for updates on Kai; this particular blog isn’t going away, just changing format.