November 19, 2020
Series: Welcoming All Families: Clothing for Large Sized Pregnant Bodies
By: Sharon Muza, BS, LCCE, FACCE, CD/BDT(DONA), CLE | 0 Comments
Connecting the Dots has an occasional series on Welcoming All Families. The goal of this series is to help childbirth educators and other perinatal professionals create a physical and emotional environment and culture that is supportive of the wide variety of families and people who may be attending perinatal classes or receiving perinatal services.
Today’s post discusses a challenge that people of size have when finding clothes that properly fit their changing pregnant bodies. Just like with any other person, larger sized individual experiences the physical changes of their bodies during pregnancy differently. For some large sized pregnant people, their body size and shape does not change very much during pregnancy and for others, there is significant change. Both situations are normal and the challenge becomes finding maternity clothes that fit the plus sized pregnant body. Living in a larger body brings its own set of challenges when it comes to sourcing clothing in the larger sizes needed, and throw in a pregnancy and the challenge becomes even more difficult.
Fortunately, there are solutions that childbirth educators and others who serve pregnant people of size can be aware of and share with families when appropriate. Resale/consignment shops that maintain robust collections of plus sized clothing including maternity items that can be purchased in-person or through online shopping are a reliable and affordable source of pregnancy clothing for larger bodies.
There was a recent article published on My Founder Story - “11 Female-Founded Resale Shops Catering to Women Sizes 14 and Up” that highlighted several such businesses. There are no doubt many more in communities large and small throughout the world. These specialized businesses offer affordable clothing, shoes and other items geared for the bigger body. The resale component means that items are being recycled and repurposed rather than being disposed of in landfills. Pre-owned items also are more affordable, and pregnancy is a limited time period where the use of such items is finite.
I spoke with Lisa Michaud, owner of Two Big Blondes Plus Size Consignment in Seattle, WA about why she believes it is important to maintain a robust selection of plus sized maternity clothing in her store for her pregnant customers and online shoppers.
“People who wear plus-size clothing often have very limited choices in clothing, and that is even more true when it comes to maternity clothing. It's important that pregnant people who are plus size be able to access maternity clothes designed for their bodies to feel comfortable and ensure a proper fit while expressing their own style.”
Pregnant people in larger bodies already face a lot of bias and discrimination from both their health care providers and society at large. It can be hard to go through a pregnancy when you feel joy and excitement but the people around you are critical and judgmental of your ability to grow and birth a baby through a normal physiological process.
A very easy and non-humiliating way of providing resources to plus sized families would be to include information about the online and local to you plus sized consignment shops that maintain a maternity collection in a resource list that is distributed to all families. That way, anyone who is interested can explore further. And even if the families in class do not have a personal need, they may know someone else who does.
Childbirth educators can help larger sized pregnant people in their classes to celebrate their pregnancies by including evidence based information and size appropriate resources that these families can use. For more information about welcoming plus sized families to your classes, consider review these previous posts from Connecting the Dots:
TagsPlus Size Series: Welcoming All Families Welcoming All Families Sharon Muza Lisa Michaud