The Trying to Dress Like I'm Not Pregnant Handbook

**Updated with winner, below!**

I don't do sweatpants. Not that there is anything wrong with sweatpants, I just made a decision long ago that becoming a mom wouldn't strip me of style. Shallow?  I prefer to call it "old fashioned" because back in the days of yore, people dressed well. Better than the whole lot of us. Even the poorest of the poor wore petty coats and linen dresses with bonnets to match. People took pride in their appearance. Men and women of all ages looked "respectable" and therefor demanded respect. Clothes have always had a huge effect on the person wearing them and an equally potent effect over passer-bys

Just look at one of the many makeover shows on television. My husband, who has made his living working in (reality) TV for the past four years, perfectly exemplifies WHY dressing well changes lives. Not only for the women who get made over but for the families whose bills these makeover shows pay. Whether they realize it or not, "going from drab to fab" is what puts food on our table (and cute-ture on our soon to be daughter, who will probably grow up to hate fashion, clothes and me for dressing her up like a doll every day of her infancy and childhood). 

See??? Dressing well changes LIVES! 

My last pregnancy I wore heels right up to the day my doctor told me I was to be bed-ridden for the remainder of my pregnancy. And this pregnancy, although I have opted for flats (and the occasional wedge), I have been choosy with my footwear, wearing flip-flops only at the end of the day when my feet are too swollen to fit into my "cute shoes." Fashion over function? Indeed. Looks over comfort? Absolutely. Although, comfort is entirely relative. (I feel much more comfortable in ankle boots than I do in sneakers.) 

I decided long ago that motherhood would never stop me from overdressing. Which I totally do, but only because everyone else is underdressed. Obviously. 

This pregnancy I have managed to wear 90% non-maternity clothes, thanks to some of the styles at stores like Anthropologie. Two good pairs of maternity jeans are all I've really needed to complete a look I would normally wear sans bump. Throw on a long flowy top from A-Po,  a simple black wife-beater from the dude's section at Target, some kooky accessories and BAM! Instant materni-chic. 

I even bought a pair of trendy gladiator sandals this summer (with cankle camo in mind) which I've been happily rocking on a daily basis. That is, until Tuesday when I came home after an afternoon of walking the Elay streets only to find that removing my shoes was a total no go. 

My feet had somehow managed to grow around my shoe straps. I had to pull apart the folds of foot flesh to get the damn things off. 

Don't believe me? 

Oh, believe this mofos. Believe this!

I posted the above photo on flickr as soon as I snapped it, hoping to lend some much needed comic relief to a friend because there is nothing more hilarious than a pair of sad, ugly, deformed feet. Am I right? Then I realized that this particular photo needed to be seen by the masses. Because sometimes a girl needs to be laughed with. And then laughed at for her silly need to dress unpractically , knowing quite well that her body does NOT care about trends, no matter the occasion. And especially not at 36 weeks pregnant. 

My body said sweatpants and flip-flops. My brain said "No fucking way would I be caught dead..." and here I am paying for my wicked (and inescapable) inner fashion-witch

Oooh la la!

And now I have no choice but to point out the obvious: my lack of pedicure. 

Please note that the last time I had myself a mani-pedi was over a month ago which means that contrary to the tone of this post, I'm not completely high-maintenance.  I may put way too much time in outfit-planning but my feet look like that of a High School point guard with athlete's foot so there you go! I absolutely will not write the "Pedicure Addict's Handbook" ... And I'm okay with that. I really am. 

I'm also okay with the handbook I write daily in my head: Trying to Dress Like I'm Not Pregnant by: Rebecca Woolf; a practical look at a woman's unpractical obsession with maintaining a somewhat impressive wardrobe, regardless of how much fetus she's packing. 

Because charming as it might not be, this is who I am. 

The title might not be as catchy as Michelle Lamar's refreshingly comedic The White Trash Mom Handbook (St. Martins, August 2008) but it'll suffice for now. 


Want to win a signed copy of Michelle Lamar's hilarious, no-nonsense, every-mother-needs-to-read-this book, "The White Trash Mom Handbook"? Just tell me what you would name YOUR handbook and why by Monday, September 15th either in a blog-post (send me the link and I will link your post, below) or in the comments. One winner will be picked at random. 

Good luck! And please, for the love of what's hilarious, go pick up Michelle's book. It's a breath of fresh air, laugh out loud funny -- a delightful read and reminder for mothers everywhere to embrace our inner white trash. 

And while you're waiting for your copy? You can checka checka Michelle's blog, here


Congratulations to Stacy! Her handbook? "How to Catch Frogs and Make Mudpies (without ruining your manicure): The Girly-Girl's Guide to Raising a Son." Please email me to claim your prize and thanks to all of you who participated!" 



Mirinda | 6:15 PM

Now that? Is freaking hilarious. Girl, so been there-done that! Gotta love that pregnancy swelling and the desire for style!

Anonymous | 6:21 PM

Awww, your poor feet. It reminds me of my cankles immediately after giving birth, which were so swollen that even in my pajama pants they would swell around the fabric, so that when I took them off my feet/ankles would be like a quarter inch fatter than the rest of my leg! They were so swollen I almost couldn't walk anymore--good times!

Dianna | 6:32 PM

Oh my gosh, I am so sorry! That looks miserable, but good for you for not being the typical sweatpant-wearer!

Anonymous | 6:50 PM

All I could think when I saw those pictures was OWWW! My feet too were so swollen, all I could wear were flip flops. Unless I wanted to go out and spend money on shoes that wouldn't fit ever again.
I never realized that our feet can get that much bigger. (something no one told me when I got pregnant). Also, no one bothered to tell me it can take a full 3-4 weeks after delivery for your swelling to go down.


Yeah, I mean besides looking horror-movie scary, its SO PAINFUL! Every now and then I spot a very pregnant woman with nary a cankle in sight and I just shake my head because HOW!!! HOWWWW!!???????


Your poor feet!

Foot massages, yo. Foot massages.

MamaMay | 7:22 PM

Wow! my feet never swelled that badly, of course I tied my feet up in converse shoes and laced them up so tight my feet wouldn't have swelled even if they wanted to!

MamaMay | 7:23 PM

Oh and I forgot I blogged about what I would name my own book:

EG | 7:35 PM

Get a pedicure! I got a pedicure a few days before Little Man was born because I decided I might as well have ONE attractive part of me.

BTW, I'm not pregnant and I wear flip-flops almost every day. Hooray for not living in LA.

Suzanne | 7:36 PM

The older I get, the more I realize how true the saying is, "Man (or woman) plans, God laughs". So my handbook would have to be titled something along the lines of, "Re-Directed: Reflections on why it doesn't pay to plan ANYTHING too carefully."

Cate | 7:45 PM

oooohh I hated pregnant feet. I would call my book "The art of elegant pajamafication" Thanks for the walk or is that hobble down memory lane.

Anonymous | 7:56 PM

Thank you. Thank you SO much for injecting such a ridiculous amount of laughter into my otherwise horrific day. Kudos on the no-sweats, but damn girl! Give IN to the flip flops!!! :)

Stimey | 8:00 PM

First: Ouch.

Second: My book would be called "Laugh or Cry. Or Both"

Stephanie Wilson she/her @babysteph | 8:04 PM

Oh my goodness. I am so sorry to laugh at that, but my goodness!! And I can relate...


chantalart | 8:08 PM

The same thing happened to me....but far worse, after the baby was born. No one told me about this- all the fluids you have been retaining can rush to your legs and feet after childbirth. My doctor mentioned it in passing a few hours postpartum and I didn't take her seriously- until it happened. My legs and feet looked like those of an 80 year old. It was terrifying and lasted for a week- I hobbled out of the hospital barely fitting my poor feet into my jcrew rubber flip flops. Be prepared! The shoes I walked into the hospital in didn't have a prayer of fitting. Did this happen to anyone else?

foodiemama | 8:09 PM

there is something wrong with flip flops? poor me.
while i was pregnant with my boy i had no funds for fashion so wearing shorts and tank tops and thongs were all this mama could afford. it sucked but my ego had to take a back seat to my 200 lb ass... sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do.

and your poor feetsies! did the swelling go down much? lifting mine up on a pillow always helped me. | 9:14 PM

Oh my WORD!!! Owie, owie, owieeeee!!!

Put those poor feet up and give 'em a break from fashion for a bit, would ya?

Where's the picture of the shoes so gorgeous they caused you to ignore the pain???


DUDE! Nothing wrong with flip flops at all. Are you kidding? I rock those things DAILY but sweats AND flip-flops? That's just too much frump for any woman, pregnant or not... It's kind of like the whole "wear clean underwear in case you get in a car accident and die..." Except I never really got that because when you die you shit your pants anyway. Anyway, you know what I mean.


Oh and Tracey, you can *kinda* make them out in the first photo of the below post. They're just Sam Edelman glads, nothing too fancy. If I would have known they were to cause me such strife, I would NOT have put them on Tuesday morning that's for sure.

foodiemama | 9:53 PM

ahhh, yeah no sweat pants. i get ya, haha! i reel when i see little boys in sweats. it is a major faux pas imo, ha!

Stacy | 11:46 PM

First: Wow. Those pics are

Second: I admire your commitment to fashion. I have to remind myself almost daily that having a toddler is no excuse for looking like I'm homeless.

Third: My handbook would be titled "How to Catch Frogs and Make Mudpies (without ruining your manicure): the Girly-Girl's Guide to Raising a Son".

I never pictured myself having a BOY (in fact, I argued with the ultrasound tech until he finally pointed to the penis and said "Honey, little girls don't have those!"), but now that mine's a toddler I want more just like him.

This Must be the Place . . . | 12:48 AM

Uh, maybe "How not to get all butt-hurt when your family reminds you that you're apparel is doing jack-shit in the way of hiding your fat ass",

or, "Creative ways to rest on your laurels when your vagina's too swollen to sit/lie/stand" or,

"Got Milk, Much? 101 things to do with the soppy, leaky fluid you're sporting 24/7".

1. Wet down your compost pile so it's not a fire-hazard!
2. Feel free to use as substitute for cream in evil partner's coffee
3. Need to tame those frizzies on a muggy day? You know what to do!

Ahh, pregnancy.

L | 1:13 AM

I'm 31 weeks and I sit here in the office squeezed into my pre-pregnancy skinny jeans... Strangely it's not that uncomfortable since the zipper is only about 2 inches long :) We have lots of sweat pants in the house though - they all belong to our 3-year old... he's not good with buttons and zippers yet and prefers comfy. Somehow I'm not fussed over dressing him 'properly'... maybe if I had a girl it'd be a different story...

CaraBee | 5:02 AM

Sweat pants should be worn no where but the gym. They're called sweat pants for a reason. My feet were so swollen when I was pregnant that I had to buy a couple of pairs of shoes a size too big just so that I could go to work in something other than flip flops.

Marie-Ève | 6:50 AM

I'm totally, totally with you. While pregnant I tried to go without maternity clothes as much as possible, choosing empire-waist stuff, fabrics that had give, larger sizes of pieces that were not too tight, etc. And I wore heels until I physically couldn't anymore.
At the end though, I had gotten so huge that I had no choice but to swallow my pride a bit, and practically lived the last month in some large non-maternity yoga pants from Old Navy. They had a stretchable waist band, and looked somewhat fancier than sweats. It was the winter in Montreal, though, so flip-flops were out of the question, but I went and bought myself pretty Nine West flats with studs, so I could pretend that there was still something a little edgy about me.
I never felt so relieved than about two months after giving birth, when my body started to have a somewhat normal shape again and I could ditch the bands and the tent-like tops...
Good luck, and don't forget it's only a few more weeks... You're already the most fabulous mamma-to-be I've ever seen, and you'll reach new heights of rockin' style in no time at all.

Anonymous | 7:45 AM

Hey be careful - that could be edema, and you should call your doc - late stage edema in pregnancy can be dangerous - but treatable. Seriously - just to be safe.


Anonymous | 8:14 AM

Oh I wear the FFs, lady. But they are a bronzish color. Does that make them as bad?

Ali | 8:33 AM

that's punishment for wearing gladiator sandals.

i kid.

it looks so ouch. i think this calls for flip flops. tout suite.

Anonymous | 10:07 AM

I'm with Chantalart - AFTER my last beebee my feet/ankles/legs swelled up horribly. And that crap about "drinking and drinking and drinking will combat the swelling" was so much bullshit. I felt like Violet freaking Beauregarde a la blueberry, and probably looked like her, too. I could barely even walk. Thank goodness for my Jordan slides? Or I would have walked out of the hospital barefoot.

Lesha | 10:17 AM

My book:
Knocked Up Former Cheerleader: When the Spirit Sprinkles Fall Short.

Anonymous | 12:04 PM

What cute pics of your baby! I can't believe someone who has a baby could back Obama. He and other pro-abortionists want to kill precious babies. What's the difference between your baby and ones that aren't wanted? Poor babies being ripped or scalded by chemicals. Let's help educate about abstinence and adoption. Let's help mothers find help to give their unwanted babies to loving parents... not the garbage disposal at abortion mills.

hoppytoddle | 12:46 PM

I went to the office to get a file & do a conference call when I was supposed to on bedrest. I was on my way to a doc appointment. I completely snapped the strap on my snadals. I had to hobble into dillard's with my sandal STAPLED to buy new ones.

Try eating some watermelon. I hate it, so I made this stuff called watermelon granita, where you put it in the blender, add simple ssyrup & freeze it until it's slushy. That was palletteable. Google a recipe.

My title: DOES Your Chewing Gum Lose It's Flavor On the Bedpost Overnight?

hoppytoddle | 12:48 PM

Buse my fingers can't keep up with the brain today... the watermelon helps with the swelling. It's a natural diuretic.

Anonymous | 2:58 PM

My feet look like that every day. And I don't have a 36-week-old fetus to take the blame. I gotta get me one of those . . .


Sarah Palin (anon 12:04) is that you?

Renee | 3:17 PM

Ouch. My feet hurt just looking at that picture.

My book would be: What's That Mommy? How to Fudge Your Way Through Those Annoying Questions.

Anonymous | 8:41 PM

Oh my.
You're freaking me out.
I mad the mistake at week 33 to go to a move and eat popcorn (yeah, with "butter", salt and god knows what else)
when my girlfriend and I got home both our husbands were aghast at the fact my ankles actually rolled OVER the tops of my flats.
Good times.
Trust me, the swelling goes down.
But, ugh., ugh. ugh.

Windy | 8:49 PM

I can't believe Anon at 12:04.........have issues much? Anyway, I remember when my feet looked like that but with flip flop marks in stead of gladiator straps. As long as you can get those bitches it girl!

Anonymous | 9:13 PM

I would name my handbook: Shakin' It: Freckles and Motherhood.

Unknown | 10:12 PM

no sweat pants to be found in this house! a stylish pregnancy can be had. i opted for awesomely stylish jandals from south america.

your poor poor tootsies!

Anonymous | 8:32 AM

Here's my post about my handbook!

How to Party with an Infant | 10:46 AM

holy feet!

ZDub | 11:35 AM

Oh my, that looks like it hurts. My feet were swollen like that with my son. I would peel off my socks after work and they would be imbedded in my skin. Ow.

Hang in there!

Anonymous | 6:46 PM

What Home Ec. Didn't Teach Me I Learned On Dora and Diego!

Anonymous | 7:20 AM

I rocked flip flops and flowy gaucho-style yoga pants virtually every day at the end of my pregnancies. Luckily my feet didn't swell nearly as much as yours did - you poor thing!

I def preferred to spend my dough on pedicures and waxing while preggers than on clothes. Otherwise I would have never been able to reach either of those areas for appropriate grooming...

The swelling AFTER delivery came as a huge surprise though - WOW after my first delivery I literally had trouble bending my knees for the first week cause my legs were swollen that far up...

My title would be:

"Thank God for DVR and the Web! How a modern-day SAHM can save some sanity, time and brain cells with the push of a button."

Seriously I would not be able to survive a single day without either one of these devices...

Anonymous | 9:28 AM

I have long dreamed of penning the Negligent Mother handbook, with tips on letting the neighbors feed your kids (Save food dollars! Send the kids to the neighbor's house!) and ideas for a child-fee weekend (Let DYFS babysit! One call to the toll-free hotline and you're off for fun and frolic without the kids!) Of course there would be a chapter on how to move leaving no forwarding address while the kids are at camp.
I actually knew someone who raised her kids this way. She sent them to my house when they were hungry (My oven is broken. Do you mind?) and when they begged and pleaded to go to Disney World, she took them to the Disney store in the mall and insisted it was Disney World.

Anonymous | 2:58 PM

I completely agree with you about the clothes part (and I laugh with you about the swollen feet part). I never wear sweatpants or t-shirts. Okay, I wear them once in a while but only if I'm inside the house or in bed. I would never dare go out in them, and I do take pride in taking pride in my appearance.

I remember in college so many people would show up to class in PJ's, and I thought there was nothing tackier than that. I would be the crazy one who would show up to take final exams in nice clothes, done hair and makeup. People would look at me like I was mad.

Call me crazy but I like looking put-together when I step outside everyday. (Let's hope that, like you, I can keep that up when I get pregnant.)

kittenpie | 10:49 PM

I managed to keep my feet within reason while pregnant, but then I got busy postpartum (duh), looked the other way, and the other day my feet swelled like crazy swollen things! WTF?

But now I'm all about trying to figure out how to dress postpartum, which I'm actaully finding way tougher. I mean, you don't have that whole firm, round, can't-deny-I'm-pregnant belly thing going for you, but it takes a little bit for the belly to shrink back down, and meanwhile, what do you wear? Especailly because the cute maternity dresses don't cut it when you need boob access and can't just hike the dress up to your earlobes. Everything seems to look just... dumpy. Ugh.

Anonymous | 12:13 PM

My Handbook:

How to Manage Your Cankles (For Women Who Have Them Even When Not Pregnant)

But first, I need to figure this shit out. 9 weeks in to the first pregnancy, with swollen cankledom looming, and I am fucking clueless. I hate flip-flops but they might be the only answer...


Stella | 7:44 AM

wow - thats quite remarkable!

dare i say impressive...

and holy crap - I am now newly obsessed with those brilliant childrens clothes you've posted about. they remind me of all the 'little people' in the french country. they all look like that. YUMMY!

thanks ;-)