Here is a secret about me: I HATE BABY SHOWERS.
Or I dislike them very strongly.
They just seem WRONG. Rather than expecting the “45+ things you MUST have on your baby registry” as an invaluable human right, manage your own mischief. And you probably don’t need a lot of it anyway.
I really didn’t want a baby shower when I was pregnant with OJ. Really. Did. Not.
With a second child, the circumstances are obviously different. I do have some wishes (the things I know I want this time, the things you might need for two kids, and the girly girl things) to supplement what I’ve fished out of the closet (crib, car seat, boppy) but there is no registry, no shower, not even a sprinkle. Besides, I’ve basically killed Nesting 2.0 and (think) I have everything sorted.
So, please, in no way read this post as a cry for help–that would make me terribly uncomfortable. This is me, exposing the INJUSTICE of preparing for a baby, the maternity shopping dilemma.
1. Maternity clothes
I did pull out my old maternity clothes that were stored in the closet, but that was a fruitless activity. My daily life, the climate, and body size are totally different from my first pregnancy. Therefore, most of my maternity clothes went to swap.com to be sold. I had nice maternity work clothes that I didn’t think would sell well here, so I thought an online retailer like swap might have a wider appeal. I’ve sold everything but one item.
What I did not anticipate was the difficulty in finding new clothes for me to wear. For a long time I was wearing clothes that were not meant for pregnant bodies. Part of this is my own fault–I refused to go into a store like MOTHERHOOD MATERNITY. That place makes me want to vomit everywhere.
But it’s also the retailers that made it impossible and here’s where I am talking truth to power.
- GAP: I relied on you so heavily my first pregnancy. Now you have moved all of your maternity sales to online only. That is pretty inconvenient because 1) I strongly dislike your website and 2) shopping for maternity stuff isn’t easy and as a result, the likelihood that I am going to have to return is HIGH. But to makes matters WORSE, you restrict the return of some (or most) items to “by mail only” which means I am paying for the return shipment. In the (sanitized) words of Cee-Lo, FORGET YOU.
- ATLOFT: You started maternity about the time I was pregnant the first time, so I was keen (for a hot minute) to shop the second time around. Your stuff is banana republic expensive. You have the same website designer as GAP. And share the same shitty return policy (NOT a problem because I am not buying your stuff).
- TARGET: You confused me by moving your maternity section to the baby section and it took me a long time to figure it out, but it’s a small selection with white pants (not pregnancy practical or seasonally appropriate), denim shorts (the last thing I want) and crocheted necklines (showing my super-fashionable bra). I ordered some swimsuits from target.com but they went straight back to the store because my boobs would never fit into the halter top cut.
- H&M: I was not rewarded for driving to the big H&M which carries the MAMA stuff. There’s hardly anything in store and it was not seasonally appropriate. Your online options are wider and price point is pretty awesome, and at least I can return for free in store. Which I did. Because everything looked terrible on me.
See above: shopping for maternity stuff isn’t easy. And I’m not even getting into underwear.
Buying the large and expensive items used is much more wallet-friendly than buying new. However it also means that EBAY or other “by mail” options are out of the question. So what are the used, large item, local buying options? CRAP.
- Craigslist: we used it a lot in DC, but we lived in a building with a lobby and a doorman where buyers were not coming to our front door. Also, on average, the quality of items on craigslist here is pretty sub-par.
- Facebook marketplace: jury is still out. I keep my Facebook Profile 2.0 pretty low key so I’m not really inclined to buy/sell with strangers via social media (yeah it doesn’t make me feel any more secure).
- Facebook trading groups: this one really gets under my skin and gives you a snapshot of this community. My request for the AH Trading-Children’s Boutique has been “pending” for months on end now. Really? Really. I have things that I would both sell and like to buy. I’ve messaged the administrators. Still pending. That is a big, fat, super fail the Spiderman (“with great power comes great responsibility”) test.
3. It’s not all Debbie Downer Dilemma–how I FINALLY found success
The struggles are annoying and overwhelming when there is a ticking time bomb in your belly, but at least I’ve managed it myself. Here’s how I have come out on the other side.
After a lot of run around, I took my anti-nausea medicine and finally went in to Motherhood Maternity. After three visits, I’m happy with the three shirts and two pairs of shorts I now own and basically wear everyday. I bought a swimsuit from amazon. It covers EVERYTHING. It feels like a low point, but it also feels like my clothes fit my body, which is a nice change.
Gear: the things I know I want this time, like a new nursery chair
Last time we bought a recliner from IKEA. It fit our needs then, but what I didn’t realize is the seat is so deep it’s difficult to get out of with a baby in your arms.
So I’ve been on a quest for a new chair. It’s been endless. Rocker? Glider? Chair and a half? To ottoman or not to ottoman? But dropping $1,000 on a Pottery Barn chair–out of the question. And buying used from AH Trading-Children’s Boutique not an option. GRRR.
So having exhausted myself and all options, I’ve made a target.com purchase, using my Target Red Card which gets me free shipping and 5% back and I had a gift card from my Listen to Your Mother friends, which was a big help. So this is on the way.
There are no reviews to go with it, so who knows what I’m getting myself into. One way to find out. And then YOU KNOW there will be a review posted.
Gear: the things you might need for two kids, like a double stroller
Purchasing a double stroller is a real triumph about which I would like to brag here for a moment. First time around, we got the Bumbleride Indie. I love this stroller. But buying a new Bumbleride Indie Twin seems pretty insane.
So to the USED listings we stroll.
Bumbleride strollers are not as ubiquitous as other strollers so there are very few listings for used, Bumbleride, double strollers. We had seen one here in here–but it sold. We were also looking in all of the other major metropolitan areas–willing to make a long car ride to collect our purchase. Also, maybe it is more likely to be in other metropolitan areas than here. We saw another listing in the DFW–but they never responded.
Feeling like this was a fruitless search after a couple of days, DURING NAPTIME (I always find trouble during naptime), I found a craigslist posting for a Bumbleride Indie Twin stroller outside of Houston. It posted the day before. And it was my color choice–even BETTER (the new colors are kinda ugly).
I contacted the seller to find out if the stroller was still available and if so, here is my offer (you HAVE to negotiate, people). She said yes it’s available and yes she accepts my offer. WHAT. LUCK!!!
So I started making arrangements to drive to Houston ASAP to collect the stroller, but B next door intervened and encouraged me to think of a different plan. DIFFERENT PLAN! I AM GOING TO LOSE OUT ON GETTING THIS STROLLER AND MOMMA NEEDS A STROLLER.
But maybe she had a point–32 weeks pregnant and driving three hours there and three hours back, during evening rush hour and late into the night, to say nothing of trying to figure out what to do with OJ, might not be the smartest plan.
After mulling it over for a while, I thought to ask my other neighbor P.C. if her family in Houston is in “said city”. She said 100% chance. WHAT. LUCK!!!
Over the course of that afternoon, we orchestrated a plan where I would pay the seller by paypal, the seller would drop the stroller at P.C.’s in-laws house that VERY evening (only 10 minutes away from her!) and then P.C. & Co would bring the stroller back after visiting “said city” that VERY weekend. WHAT. LUCK!!!
P.C.’s 80-year-old MIL texted me that night after it was delivered to say the stroller was clean and in great condition (as I suspected from the photos) and the seller’s daughters were precious in their dresses and hair-bows. I’ll never meet the seller because of the six degrees of Kevin Bacon situation going on, but I am so lucky that we connected and that she was willing to work with me and my crazy plan. In the midst of many emails, I told her we wanted to upgrade to the Indie Twin because we have the single rider stroller and love it–she said her older daughter has outgrown the Indie Twin and they are downsizing to just the single stroller. It’s like the universe of proud Bumbleride owners in harmony.
OJ LOVES our new double stroller–he has picked his side and tells us the other side is for “little baby sister”. He loves to climb in and just sit. So that was A BIG WIN.
Side note: I know now that in 2014 I should have insisted on the car seat adapter that allows you to clip the car seat into the stroller but I didn’t foresee that need back then, and maybe it wasn’t a need because of our city lifestyle. But I digress. Now that we are here, and there is another baby in the picture, I was dead certain on getting the car seat adapter. After our Indie Twin arrived, I ordered the car seat adapter (at a $40 price tag with $10 shipping you jack wagons!). It arrived and I clipped it onto our stroller. Then I popped the car seat on. And couldn’t get it off. Well maybe what you pay for in shipping you get back in amazing customer service. I emailed, they called, we talked, I sent them a video, they sent me back another video and VOILA! the car seat came off (THANK GOD–T would have had a FIELD DAY with that). I am fully complete.
Gear: and the girly girl things
I’ve let myself have fun here without much reservation–new changing pad cover, new burp cloths, a new blanket or two, but I am just going to leave this here…
She may not have a name yet, but she will be outfitted in the sweetest prints. SWOON.