Alyssa Britson, totally relatable, somewhat crunchy mom; wife; writer; and voice of the relativeredhead blog
Mooresville, North Carolina
I call it: the closet crisis.
It’s that moment when you’re looking at endless outfits in horror…scanning through thousands of hangers holding styles that once were “so you,” but are now “so yesterday,” or worse, “so many years ago.”
For me, this happened a few months postpartum. I was standing in front of a sea of crop tops, slim fits, outdated patterns, and not-so-flattering necklines. I was still working on shedding all of my pregnancy pounds (a whole, whopping 60 of them), and I did not know if my post-baby body would ever return to my pre-baby body.
I had the mom-pouch. With all the weight I gained during my 42 weeks of pregnancy, I was left with a deflated bump and lots of excess skin to go with it. I’ll be the first to admit, I’ve been slacking on “correcting” it; I’m a stay-at-home mom, and I’m busy, really busy.
But the truth is: there’s more to it than that. The truth is: I haven’t made my body a priority because…
I’m proud of my mom-bod.
Sure, I’m still self-conscious sometimes, absolutely.
Sure, my skin is sagging underneath my clothes.
And yes, I find myself sucking in my postpartum pouch from time to time…
But this body is natural.
My body is an art of motherhood.
It is the beautiful aftermath of arguably the greatest miracle of life.
This body is the first home of my children.
Yet, as much as I feel proud of my body, I still have to be realistic; showing it off in an itty bitty crop top and short shorts is just not going to work. Period.
And just like that, I lost 1/4 of my closet. I thought maybe, eventually I could wear some of my outfits again, but even so, I needed a major wardrobe change, as both a mom and a woman.
I was looking for clothes that were:
- chic and modern but affordable,
- practical and versatile but still stylish and confident, and
- modest and comfortable but not boring.
Most of all, I didn’t want to lose that feeling, that thought of: I look good as me and as a mom.
With that in mind, I noticed that I kept reaching for my maternity outfits those first few months. My maternity dresses, tops, and jeans came primarily from one place: an online maternity store called PinkBlush. It was the only store that had pregnancy attire that had all these things I was looking for and still made me feel pretty and put together, even when I was feeling run-down and a little self-conscious about the “new me.”
Maternity shoot with Bennett in belly, a happy dad-to-be, and a 33-weeks-pregnant me, wearing a PinkBlush lace colorblock maternity maxi dress in blue. (Color pictured is no longer available.) Photos by Meredith-June Photography
So for several months, I continued to wear PinkBlush maternity. I loved that they were always introducing new styles, colors, and prints, so the possibilities were endless. I found their maternity dresses flattering, comfortable, unique, and versatile, working well both during pregnancy and post-baby. I especially recommend any of their maxi dresses: you cannot go wrong with a long dress when you’re hugely pregnant or anytime. I can honestly say their maxis got me through a 42-week pregnancy during the most brutally hot summer on record in North Carolina and carried me through to several months postpartum.
I also continued to wear several comfy and forgiving maternity tops from PinkBlush, such as this burgundy, airy top I wore for our newborn photoshoot. The shoot was just 6 days after an exhausting, 4-day-long labor, so having a flowy and flattering top that didn’t hug my postpartum belly too tightly was crucial. Their “flowy” tops in general are perfect for complimenting any and all body types, and they actually have a section dedicated to just flowy maternity tops. How fabulous is that?
But fast forward to today, and I have completely shed my baby weight (and then some).
My body has changed again, and though I do still have a bit of a mom-belly, I’ve set aside most of my maternity clothes until next time. But lucky for me (and all of you), my favorite online maternity shop also has women’s clothing!
PinkBlush’s women’s line makes me feel beautiful and comfortable as a mom, as a wife, and as a woman. It has become my go-to shop now that I’m approaching a very busy, fast-paced, adventurous, exciting, yet bittersweet chapter in motherhood:
My son is turning ONE.
In a few weeks, I’ll have a toddler.
He’s walking around our house.
He’s not a baby anymore.
It’s getting harder and harder to hold him, not only because he’s getting so big but because he wants to explore. His curiosity is overflowing, and here I am, trying to keep up. At this chapter of motherhood, I understand that it’s an adventure every day, and sometimes it’s easy to get lost, as a new mother, in the chaos. Sometimes, you lose yourself a bit.
Trust me, I’ve been there. I lost myself for awhile. It’s easy to lose yourself in the whirlwind of changing poopy diapers, drowning in piles of laundry, preventing disastrous playrooms, surviving nap strikes, or in my current situation, chasing a fumbly but fast almost-toddler.
I looked like a train wreck a lot of days, but I eventually realized just how important it is to become balanced: as yourself and as a mother.
Yes, you are both. Embrace both. Here’s what I mean…
You can still rock the red dress. Maybe its style has changed a bit from those of your past; maybe it’s not as revealing; maybe it’s not as form-fitting, but it’s still that red dress with a “wow” factor that’s subtle, modest, fun and even a little flirtatious.
I can’t tell you the last time I wore red, let alone a red dress. It’s such a bold, “look at me” color, but with this modest, high neckline (which is my absolute favorite neckline, by the way) and this flattering length, I feel honestly radiant. Red plus floral would typically scare me away, but just because I’m a mom now doesn’t mean I won’t take a risk on the red dress. This risk was a fun reward.
Going for a walk at a local farm in my PinkBlush short sleeve hi-low dress in fuchsia.
You can totally be comfortable and pretty in pink. It’s funny because I’ve always claimed pink is my least favorite color; yet, I wore a bright pink ballgown to my junior prom; my closet is full of pink in different shades; and my eye was drawn to it with this hi-low dress with sleeves. I guess it makes sense: there’s something special about a woman wearing pink. It definitely instills confidence and femininity.
This dress has become one of my go-tos on weekdays or weekends, and for good reasons. It kind of has it all. It has that comfy, t-shirt-like top with sleeves. It hugs just slightly in the chest area, so it’s not too tight but not too loose or baggy. But then its got a more sassy bottom, showing a little leg in the front but keeping you well covered in back.
It’s a little sassy and a little sweet.
The comfortability balanced with a bit of an edge makes it pair perfectly with casual stroller walks around the park or date nights with or without your kiddos in tow. An outfit’s versatility is crucial to a mother’s style, and no matter what I’m doing on any given day, this dress always makes me feel pretty.
Last but definitely not least:
You can be a mom and be sexy. There’s nothing better than a trusty, subtly sexy maxi dress. Long dresses win me over a lot these days because I just think they’re classy and the most comfortable. I feel most confident when I’m mostly covered up but I can still show off my figure, and this maxi does just that. Unfortunately, I snagged the last olive maxi dress in this exact style, but there are tons of similar maxi styles on the PinkBlush site. Don’t panic!
I’m obsessed with every Pinkblush maxi dress I own, and I have several. Shop for your favorite maxi style here.
I feel like I can throw this on and dress it up or dress it down, whatever the occasion may be. Really, that is the beauty of any of the PinkBlush maxi dresses: they’re very much made for casual, hair’s a mess, chasing-your-kids-around days, but if you throw on a necklace, get pretty, and slip on some wedges, it’s good-to-go for dates and nights out with friends.
It’s truly amazing how an outfit can change the mood of a woman. Even on days I feel like a wreck, I don’t have to look like one. Motherhood can be a crazy and chaotic journey that changes your body and your soul. You might have a fashion freakout. You might lose sight of the woman you “used to be.” But you can find your way back; you can find ways to become balanced; and you can be stylish before babies, during pregnancy, and after becoming a mom. You just can’t forget that motherhood is an exquisite blessing: wear it proudly.