One Dress, Nine Months of Pregnancy
I don’t believe in magic, except when it comes to babies and this dress.
When I started working at M.M.LaFleur in April 2019, I hoped that at some point soon, I’d be pregnant. I knew better than to expect it to happen quickly, but at the same time, when you want something as badly as I wanted a baby, it can be hard to stay patient.
So, when I had my first styling appointment at our Bryant Park showroom, I had the possibility in the back of my head. I tried on some of our roomier and stretchier pieces—the Zhou culottes, the Giulia top, and the Doris dress—a dress that I loved at the time, but had no idea how much it would serve me over the next year. Because two months after trying on that dress for the first time, bam—I was pregnant. And that dress—let me tell you about that dress. I got it in my pre-pregnancy size small, and it must be magic, because I wore it throughout the entire nine months.
The Early Days
Yes, I was lucky it happened so fast, but I also found myself facing down a sweltering hot summer during the peak months of morning sickness, fatigue, and importantly, the “hiding it” months. As my body slowly began to change, I needed clothes that were easy to slip on, machine-washable, and could be styled for different occasions. This was the beginning of my love affair with the Doris dress. It was the perfect weight for the heat, and it had pockets in which I could discreetly keep Tums and tiny packages of Saltines. I wore the Doris with nice shoes to the office. I wore it with Birkenstocks on the weekend. I wore it over swimsuits at the pool, and out to dinner with my in-laws, with a light layer, like the Lauren shirt, tied around my waist. A few weeks ago, my husband whipped out his phone to show me a photo, saying, “Look, this was exactly a year ago.” The photo was a picture of me, sitting on the table in our OB/GYN’s office, holding a strip of ultrasound photos. It was the first time we had heard our daughter’s heartbeat. Guess what I was wearing? The Doris dress.
The Tedious Middle
They say your second trimester is the easiest, and I say sometimes they are wrong. For me, the second trimester presented a few challenges—sciatica, frequent trips to the bathroom, insomnia, and insatiable hunger. I know I am lucky that those were my biggest complaints, but still, oof. I was also having wardrobe problems. I could no longer use the old hair-elastic trick to keep my pants buttoned, and as the hot summer faded into a chilly fall, my sweaters from the previous year no longer fit. But my trusty Doris dress still worked every damn time. In October, I’d grab a cropped jacket on my way out the door, and by November, I was topping it with the Nancy sweater (in my normal size, so it showed off my growing belly—key to scoring a seat on the subway), a pair of flats, and classic jewelry. And in December, I wore it over tights and a comfy pair of ankle boots. That is, except for the time I was down in Florida over the Christmas holiday, and wore it with a pair of espadrilles out to lunch and a movie (we saw Little Women. Simpler times!).
9 Months & So Done
My due date was March 5, but by January 15, I was ready. I wanted to meet my daughter more than anything. On top of that, I was having a hard time walking more than a block and had racked up an embarrassingly large Uber bill. I was also at the point in my pregnancy where buying new maternity clothes just didn’t make sense, and thus, my wearable wardrobe had now shrunk to a miniscule size. But the Doris dress was still there for me. Even though I had worn it at least once a week for the last seven-and-a-half months, it still looked brand new. It didn’t seem to matter how many times I threw it in the washing machine; it didn’t lose its shape or shrink even slightly (yes, the size small still fit over my big belly!). In the last six weeks of my pregnancy, I often reached for the combo of the Doris, the Dougherty duster, and a crisp pair of white sneakers (because oh my god, my feet). On the occasional days when I was into showing off just how gloriously pregnant I was, I’d wear a belt just under my boobs and above my stomach. On the days when I wanted all eyes off my belly, I’d wear a bold pair of earrings to draw the gaze up.
Postpartum in Quarantine
Like I said, my daughter’s due date was March 5, and just like her mama, she likes to be on time. Simone is one of just five percent of babies that are born on their due dates! We were elated. Blissed out. The sun was shining, birds were chirping, and then…Covid-19. New York began to shut down about a week after my husband and I brought Simone home. In those early months, there were no family visits or maternity-leave lunches at our favorite restaurants. It was just the three of us, sheltered in place, navigating first-time parenthood during a pandemic. The postpartum experience is hard enough; doing it while disinfecting your groceries takes it to a whole new level. So I was seeking something, anything, that made me feel somewhat normal—something that could remind me of my life before all this. And there it was in my closet, beckoning to me like a gentle hug. The Doris dress—the dress that had been there all along—would be there for me now, too. It could brave spit up. I could keep pacifiers in the pockets. I could even fall asleep in it if I needed to (and you know I did). Best of all, I knew it was still going to fit. I slipped it on over my nursing bra and glamorous postpartum underpants and stepped in front of the mirror. “This is such a great dress,” I thought. “Such a great dress.” Lucky for me (well, for all of us, really), the Doris dress now comes in Baltic blue, so I’ll be switching between the two colors until Simone is a teenager.