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In Search Of: Plus-Sized Maternity Clothes

Mar16

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Hi Amy,

I’ve started this email several times and have decided that it’s a topic worth bringing up after reading through your Advice Smackdown archives. I love your column and advice (and have been devouring your pregnancy calendar each week – thank you so MUCH for doing it in WEEKS and not months). You seem to be a fashionable and practical person who knows what it’s like to be pregnant.

Last week I found a maternity store that, when I called, said “Yes, we have a plus section” but when I went there the “section” was one rack, a few bras and nothing REMOTELY practical for regular folks. (Lacy tank tops with ruffles? Really? Do I WANT to look like a wedding cake? I left the store and cried around the corner for about a half hour before I trudged home with nothing to show for it but a two hour bus ride and puffy eyes.

See, I’m a big girl. I struggle with anxiety and depression and due to that my weight fluctuates wildly. I was working on “slimming down” when my husband and I were pleasantly surprised to find that I was pregnant again (after losing one boy at 19 weeks this past May) so I stopped the dieting and upped my calorie intake because gosh darnit I need to eat for this baby right? I was about an XL before pregnant and now am around a 1xl – 2xl. My breast size is also a huge issue – I was a DD before the first pregnancy (I’ve never been smaller than a D, even at my skinniest), my breasts didn’t go down, and now I’m painfully aware of my growing H cup breasts. Enter back problems and sciatica and ouch. I’m 25 weeks right now with a baby boy I want to meet soon.

I know I’m fat. I know it’s an issue normally – let alone pregnant. I also know that I am developing a hatred for skinny moms to be who walk around maternity stores with armfuls of clothing lamenting how FAT they are while looking fabulous and put together whilst I quietly sob in a corner and debate getting either the black tank or the white tank. I hate that when I walk into stores people judge me on my size and don’t even realize I’m pregnant. I had a lady comment to me as I tried to find a bra that if I was that upset maybe I should go on a diet. I just started crying and my hubby pointed to my belly and asked if I should go on one then or AFTER I gave birth. She mumbled an apology and wandered away. (not that he thinks I should diet anyways – he was just really mad cause he knows how hard it is for me)

I’ve tried every store I can think of. The store I mentioned above says it has a “great” plus size section but in store it’s really not that great. I’m panicking about the bra thing especially – the bras I have are too small and hurting me every day I wear them. What do I do about nursing? Do I forget ever leaving the house again until I’m done breastfeeding or do I give birth and go on a crazy diet to fit into normal clothes?

I hate my body. I can’t stand to look into a mirror or take pictures. Pics of my belly? Forget it! This isn’t helping the depression or anxiety either – please, can you help point me in the right direction? You know a lot about fashion and are so stylish in all your pics!

I’m hoping for comfortable clothes I can wear to work that don’t make me either a) look like I should be out clubbing with friends or b) work on wallstreet. Is there any hope for me and other bigger mamas out there? I hope this isn’t coming off as too selfish a request.

(I live in Canada, BTW)

Sincerely,
Chubby and Pregnant

Oh, my goodness, we are HERE TO HELP YOU. Even if it’s just to give you giant Internetty hugs. In all my many years writing this column, I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a letter that started out about one thing and so quickly…turned out to be another.

On the one hand, we have a pregnant lady who needs her some nice clothing options and some bras. Okay, I think between myself and the comments section, we’ll be able to point you in the right direction.

On the other hand, we have some serious pregnancy-and-body-related anxiety and depression going on. Which is…normal, but still not something you should have to live with, to this extent. Many pregnant women of all sizes develop a degree of body discomfort/hatred, even up to dysmorphic levels, becoming overly preoccupied with it and believing that a big phantom “everyone” is staring and judging at them. Many pregnant women struggle with guilt over fears that the feelings they have toward their bodies will somehow carry over to feelings toward their babies, and beat themselves up for not being able to “celebrate” their pregnant body the way the whole bump-watch-obsession-belly-pics-plaster-casts-nekkid-photos crowd tells them they should.

I really, really want you to talk to your OB or midwife about this. You are crying an awful lot and describing some really, really acute feelings of anxiety and depression and worthlessness. And I don’t think finding well-fitting pants and bras is necessarily going to magically change all that. Not to mention the DEVASTATING 19-week loss you just casually dropped in there. That was a bit of a *record scratch* moment for me, because this is all an awful lot for one person to handle, emotionally.

Talk to someone besides me, please.  And don’t let them wave you off as “ahhh, hormones, whatever” like some uppity salesperson in a store.

(And while I know you left the store names and the worst of your snotty treatment in a PS just for me, I’m feeling residual Internet-rage this week. So: Motherhood Maternity and Thyme? Shame on you for treating a pregnant customer like that. Those salesladies have no business working in maternity stores if they can’t better accommodate someone bigger. Hello, direct her to the website? Check for larger sizes or more selection there yourselves? ARGH. DON’T MAKE ME COME DO YOUR JOB FOR YOU.)

Now. Back to the practical, shoppy stuff. First, I want you to promise me to embrace the wide, wonderful world of online shopping from now on. I know you probably think that no! Maternity clothing is something you must try on! And yes, it is. But you can absolutely try stuff on in the safety and comfort of your own home. If it doesn’t fit, you send it back. Usually with free shipping! It’s a slightly bigger price tag up front, ordering multiple things in multiple sizes, knowing you won’t keep all of it, but it will completely remove your anxieties about long bus rides and bad selection (stores with limited floor space will ALWAYS mostly stock the best-selling sizes, then put everything else online) and horrid salespeople and crying in public. Please don’t feel like you have to put yourself through that again.

I’m going to be counting on the comment section to offer first-hand recommendations for plus-size maternity wear (available for reasonable shipping to Canada) — you are NOT EVEN CLOSE to being the first or only or biggest big girl out there who has gotten pregnant and struggled to find nice stuff that fits. I was going to suggest Old Navy — I know they go up to at least an XXL in most items, and the sizes are already a bit bigger than the non-maternity equivalent — but I’m not seeing that as an option on their Canadian site. Bah!

While I know you were unhappy with your in-store experience at Motherhood, they really do have a nice selection of XL – XXXL stuff…it’s just all online. (Though I question all the horizontal stripes. I personally adore them and don’t think they aren’t really “widening” the way some people claim, but I can understand why a bigger girl would balk at them.) But! I love this and this and this and this!  They also have all the basics: black pants, jeans, capris/cargos. Seriously, aside from a small handful of questionable tops, that stuff is really, really cute and pretty darn stylish, as maternity goes.

As for bras, ditch shopping in non-maternity/nursing sections now, and you’ll be FINE. We covered maternity/nursing bras here before, complete with a ton of great links and commenter testimonials about where to find those difficult, bigger sizes. You can ABSOLUTELY find bras in an H cup…but again, online. Stores sadly just don’t devote a lot of floor real estate to those sizes, no matter how NOT REALLY THAT UNCOMMON they are — especially for pregnancy and nursing women!

There’s also the option of…well, skipping maternity clothes. If you’re just getting generally “bigger” (i.e. not the basketball-under-the-shirt shape that the maternity clothing makers all favor), by all means keep shopping at your favorite go-to places! Where they have stuff you like in up to 3X and the salespeople won’t treat you like a leper. Look for slightly longer shirts and order this, which lets you keep regular pants unbuttoned to accommodate the belly. Belly bands/sleeves/whatever you want to call them are the BEST THINGS EVER, no matter what your size, I swear. If shopping for maternity clothing is upsetting or stressful, see what you can find elsewhere. You may be pleasantly surprised. There’s absolutely no law saying that pregnant women HAVE to buy specially under-designed caftans and crap with polka dots and bows just because they’re with child.

Lastly, just because I sense you feel a bit “trapped” by the pregnancy and breastfeeding obstacles to DOING anything about your weight: Check out some prenatal fitness DVDs or classes. Swimming, yoga, whatever. Even if your goal isn’t weight loss, working out regularly can really, REALLY improve your mood and mental state. You’ll feel stronger and better, even though it has nothing to do with the number on the scale. Screw the scale! You’re growing a human. You can also call around to gyms and find out if they have any trainers who specialize in prenatal fitness, who can help you find low-impact exercises to help with your back pain and sciatica…and who can be there for you postpartum when you’re really ready to get serious about weight loss. I’d also recommend shopping around for a good book on pregnancy/nursing nutrition and eating — something that goes beyond simply upping your caloric intake. (Commenters? More recommendations? God, I’m just SUPER demanding of you today, aren’t I? Sorry.)

Good luck, with everything. I hope you find some clothes that make you happy, and find someone to talk to about all the other stuff making you unhappy.

(And if you decide to start a prenatal exercise regimen, my personal favorite songs to work out to is “Big Girl, You Are Beautiful” by MIKA. It’s awesome because it’s true!)

 

Photo credit: Thinkstock

About the author

Amalah

http://www.amalah.com
Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy's daily mothering adventures at Amalah. Also, it's pronounced AIM-ah-lah.

If there is a question you would like answered on the Advice Smackdown, please submit it to amyadvice@gmail.com.

Amy also documented her second pregnancy (with Ezra) in our wildly popular Weekly Pregnancy Calendar, Zero to Forty.

Amy is mother to rising first-grader Noah, preschooler Ezra, and toddler Ike.


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102 Responses to “In Search Of: Plus-Sized Maternity Clothes”

  1. Sarah Lena Mar 16 at 5:17 pm Reply Reply

    One, big, internetty hug coming up. BIG OLE HUG.

    I often had horrible service at those stores mentioned as well. And for their PRICES? Dude, you’d better be massaging my feet while hurrying to get me whatever size I need.

    Amalah, per always, hit it on the head – talk to your OB or midwife. And if you guys have a Kohls? Their maternity stuff is just fine (doesn’t last forever, but, hey, neither does pregnancy!), and inexpensive.

  2. Kate Sommers Mar 16 at 5:24 pm Reply Reply

    While I’m not in the XL+ category I do have quite large breasts (36DDD pre pregnancy, 38DDDD? ish at 32 weeks with twins) and yes, find bras is a BITCH!  But I’ve bookmarked a few that should fit you (or me!)… Ordering stuff online sucks, but if you search around (ie, retailmenot) you can often find coupon codes for free shipping at least one direction.  Here are a few sites I’ve found for the well endowed: 

    http://www.hotmilklingerie.com/shop/bras/nursing-full-cup/radiance-nursing-bra/
    http://www.glamourmom.com/store/shopexd.asp?id=414
    http://www.figleaves.com/us/department.asp?dept=Womens_Maternity_and_Nursing&searchhandle=A=womenswear%20not%20in%20olet~B=womenswear%20not%20in%20olet~&answerhandle=11220&departments=&page=1&cookied=16/03/2012%20211951#term=&dept=Womens_Maternity_and_Nursing&answerhandle=11220&searchhandle=A%3dwomenswear+not+in+olet~B%3dwomenswear+not+in+olet~&pageno=1&sort=8&pagesize=28&colours=&sizes=&brands=&maxprice=205&multioptions=DD%2B+STYLES@fitspecial~&deptcat=19391&minprice=5&islmin=5&islmax=205&fo=Department–19391~ItemTypes–DD%2B+STYLES~&cups=&bra=&clothing=&cosmetics=&shoes=&productid=&productcolour=&bboost=&gender=

    I also HIGHLY recommend Old Navy as a good starting point for maternity clothes.  Their tops go to XXL and their pants sizes up to 18.  At this point though, I’m pretty much wearing leggings and jersey tunics.  

    • Cassie Mar 16 at 9:45 pm Reply Reply

      A big ol’ thank you for places to find bras online (I’m a big busted girl who always has troubles finding stuff that fits.) No, not pregnant, but bras are important! :)

      Also, I have to agree with the Old Navy rec. I bought 75% of my maternity things there – and they weren’t actually in the maternity section. They were just larger sizes in cute styles, that nicely accommodated my growing belly. Plus, I’ve found that a lot of Old Navy stuff is pretty generous size-wise anyhows.

      Good luck, OP, and lots of internetty ::hugs::

    • Lilly Apr 03 at 8:23 pm Reply Reply

      The one headache is that Old Nave and Gap don’t sell their maternity line in Canada — can always do cross border shopping (I got some great things that way) but it is time consuming.

      For canucks if you are in the TO area — for nursing bras try Evymama (they have a huge range of types and sizes) or if in Ottawa try Milkface.
      Evymama offers online ordering as well but call them to discuss sizing

      for clothes — try to find more independent shops as they often carry many brands and will often order for you — the only catch is they do tend to be pricier.

  3. Jen Mar 16 at 5:25 pm Reply Reply

    I am a long-time reader and this letter made me cry. I feel so terrible that anyone should have to go through that just to get some clothing. I personally am on the bigger side, and had twins so I got even bigger. I had the best luck at JC Penny though I am not sure if they are available in Canada. I found the pants to be so comfy, they had a lot that were lower on the waist and sort of went under the belly, I liked those better than the panel ones because I did not have the basketball-under-shirt pregnant body, I had the all-around-bigger, good-gawd-woman, you’re-huge, how-many-are in-there body. That said, I did use the belly band and since my kids were promised to be early, tiny preemies who turned out to be full-term, 7 lbs each big kids, the seasons changed and I was to be damned if I was going to buy bigger clothes, so I just made the maternity pants work with the belly bands. The longer/wider shirts were essential.

    I did not have the breast size problem, however, so I can’t help there. I loved nursing tanks instead of bras, since I was tandem nursing and it helped cover the belly, but those were from Target and I don’t know if they would support larger breasts, mine are not large…

    I truly hope the questioner does find what she wants and gets to meet that baby soon, but not too soon! 

    • Mouse Mar 17 at 1:21 am Reply Reply

      I was in Canada when I did some maternity shopping and definitely used online resources.  JCPenney was definitely the best one for plus sizes and shipping wasn’t too bad.  One of the things I got that served as the basis of my wardrobe was a set of 5 pieces–I know mine was a 2X.  I’m not finding that particular product right now, but it was the Duo brand, and they have lots of that.

  4. Wiley Mar 16 at 5:26 pm Reply Reply

    Anybody have thoughs on non-plus sized sizes, but plus sized maternity? The medium tops that had enough fabric to get to 37 weeks with a singleton are already approaching their limit at 20 weeks with twins. Just go to XLs? But then they seem really wrongly fitting..

  5. roo Mar 16 at 5:29 pm Reply Reply

    I just want to give the LW a hug. Your latter made me tear up, and made me angry for you.

    I haven’t shopped plus-size maternity, so I’m no help there. But I do have a lot of experience with mood-oriented weight fluctuation. It’s no fun. And it can be really hard to even know what you look like, never mind when you add all the pregnancy-related body changes.

    I think online is definitely the way to go. You can try things on in a comfy, safe environment, and you don’t have to be on your feet for so long– which is the sort of thing that can bring on pregnancy tears regardless, even without bitch saleswomen.

    Good luck, and congratulations!

  6. Sasha Mar 16 at 5:34 pm Reply Reply

    Man, do I feel for you. Big hugs! Once you find a couple of things to wear, you will feel better. And a year from now, this will be but a blip on the radar. When I first got pregnant about 2 years ago I somehow convinced myself that plus sized maternity clothes did not exist. I don’t know why I thought this, but I cried many a tear and had near breakdowns about it before finding some plus-sized clothes.
    I agree with Amy – shopping on the Internet is best. Over the course of my pregnancy, I got by with 3 pairs of work pants, 2 jeans, 3 “work” shirts, and about 3 T-shirts. I bought lots of stuff from Motherhood Maternity online and it was all fine. (And I had a similar experience at one of their stores, where they had one small rack of the most inappropriate stuff imaginable.)
    I also only wore sports bras. These were the only things that I found that didn’t cut into me,etc. – so it is worth a try.

  7. DeNae Mar 16 at 5:36 pm Reply Reply

    For the bra problem, I cannot recommend Nordstrom’s enough. I would suggest finding someone to help you do a good base measurement now. Nordstrom’s website has a “Live Help” option available, and they will help you choose some bras that work well for you. They are famous for their fabulous customer service and even better returns policy. They have an entire section on international shipping.  

    Be prepared for a bit of sticker shock – I usually end up spending about $50-$75 per bra. They are very high quality, comfortable, and last. 

  8. Emma Mar 16 at 5:39 pm Reply Reply

    Besides wanting to give you a giant hug, I wish I hadn’t given away all my maternity clothes to a friend – I would have passed them to you! Re-iterate what Amalah said about Motherhood but online only. A google search will also find some smaller online shops with different things. And for sure I got regular plus size clothes (like tunics or empire waisted dresses or tops) too. Most helpful of all this time last year? Stretchy leggings and elasticated casual pants. These are also great post partum. Like right now for me. All the best for a great pregnancy! 

  9. KC Mar 16 at 5:41 pm Reply Reply

    Oh, I feel for you.  I am also a big girl, and have K sized breasts while nursing (like right now).  My favourite place for bra shopping is http://www.breakoutbras.com/  Free shipping (to US AND Canada, which is where I am too).  I also splurged and got 2 glamourmom nursing tanks, since they have ones specifically for larger breasted moms, and I was able to wear them throughout my pregnancy (they’re really long!) and while nursing.  I used eBay for most of my clothes, which was hit and miss.  

    I hope that helps, even if it’s just to know that you’re not alone!

  10. H Mar 16 at 5:44 pm Reply Reply

    I second Amy’s suggestion for Motherhood’s selection online.  It was definitely my go-to, along with Old Navy.

    And I totally hear you on the whole “people are judging me.”  I still wonder if people think I’m fat or pregnant, and I’m due tomorrow and totally look pregnant when I look in the mirror.  But as soon as other people see me, I feel like their judging.

    *Hugs*

  11. Procrastamom Mar 16 at 5:50 pm Reply Reply

    Canadian here, but one who hasn’t had to shop for maternity clothes for a good 14 years (and oy!  Was that a headache back then…they didn’t even have decent maternity clothes for thin women back in the 90’s, let alone 14+ me.  Think GIANT BOWS on everything).  My first thoughts went to Motherhood and Thyme, so I went online and found some nice stuff in 1-3X sizes. Not sure if they deserve any of your money though, from the way they treated you in store (this coming from a woman who has singe-handedly been shunning a grocery store that pissed me off over a decade ago.  I don’t do grudges well).  Another thought I had is Reitman’s.  They don’t do maternity specifically, but I wonder if some of their plus-sized tops might work.  Oh and their fitted jeans and pants that are stretchy (but not too fitted) and don’t have a zipper or button…they just slip on.  They are SUPER comfy and come in sizes from 4-26+.  For bigger bras I’d ask at Addition-Elle or even Sears.  Sears is really great for bra fittings and having a variety of sizes.  Oh and one last site I found which looks promising:  http://www.amplemama.ca/aboutus.php  Ample Mama – created by a woman who is actually ample herself and understands the problems we larger women face.  I wish you the best in your pregnancy and I’m sending you an internet ((hug)) from Greater Vancouver.

  12. fancybob Mar 16 at 6:05 pm Reply Reply

    I cannot recommend enough going to an actual bra boutique. I’m in a slightly (but not altogether) different situation. I was a DDD BEFORE getting pregnant, but I was only a 34 band size – that is an oddball size that is just not MADE. Once I got pregnant and started outgrowing my bras, I went to the bra boutique (actually called The Bra Boutique for those in the South Florida area) at which I purchased the corset for under my wedding gown. Most things were out of my price range (which isn’t saying much), but I did find a bra that they specially selected for me because it could STRETCH to accommodate a growing cup size. Knowing that I am going to have a devil of a time once I need to buy actual nursing bras, I asked them what size they went up to. They told me that for cup size, they go up to N and band size was probably over 50, so these types of stores have tons more selection than regular stores. On top of that, these women are MUCH more knowledgeable about sizing than the department stores (they sized my by LOOKING at me, even though I was wearing the wrong size bra). Definitely do yourself a favor and go find a place like that – it’s the only time I’ve gone bra shopping and not wanted to cry afterward since high school.

  13. Carmen Mar 16 at 6:31 pm Reply Reply

    Another Canadian here, from Vancouver, and I also would like to send you a giant Internetty hug. It sounds like you and I have had the same experiences. I am the same size as you, with E-cup breasts when I’m not pregnant, and I never did find any maternity clothes that fit here in Canada, during either of my pregnancies. And despite Amy’s statement about free shipping, we Canadians know that we very very rarely ever get free shipping, even from Canadian companies. What I ended up doing was buying shirts at Wal-Mart that were just bigger than I normally wear, and they were totally fine. I found some pants at Cotton Ginny Plus and Reitman’s Plus that were not maternity, but were just pull up and slightly stretchy, but dressy looking so I bought 3 pairs and wore them to death. I’m not sure what your body type is like, but I found that I didn’t really get the lovely beach ball look that slimmer people do, so just larger sizes in regular pants worked just fine. I’m sure that will be different for everyone, though. A friend of mine that is the same size as me ordered her stuff from Motherhood Maternity online and found that it fit okay. Although, I would certainly understand if you’d rather not give them any of your money at this point.

    For bras, I buy my non-nursing bras at Addition-Elle (although the stores are not always easy to get to (in Vancouver, I think the only one is at Park Royal…I’m not sure where you live)). They do bra fittings too, and they helped me find great bras. When I needed nursing bras, I did the same things as you: phoned a company, asked if they had larger sizes and then made the trek WITH A NEWBORN to the store, only to find out that, yeah, no. They didn’t have larger sizes. I also cried in the car after that. I ended up ordering some from http://www.breakoutbras.com/category/full-fig-plus-size-nursing-bras They were great – 2 fit perfectly, another was a little awkward to use, but was fine. The other nursing bra that I liked was by Bravado and I bought it at a local yuppy baby store. They used to even sell them at London Drugs if you’re on the west coast or the prairies.

    Email me at cerevisiae {[at]} gmail if you want to ask any other questions. I hope that you find something that works and don’t have to wear frilly tanks for your pregnancy. Because no one should ever have to look like a cupcake.

  14. Brooke Mar 16 at 6:33 pm Reply Reply

    I’m going to second JCP for plus-size maternity clothes. Of course, I’m happy in a v-neck t-shirt and jeans so the casual clothes worked for me. I can’t speak to anything dressier on their website. And I can’t say how irked I am that Old Navy discontinued their plus-size maternity, even if it was online only.
    I’m also generously endowed, and I found that any empire-waist shirts that fit across my chest also had room for my belly. And finally, a cute solution is to get the basic layer of t-shirt or tank top, then wear a great cardigan. There are so many that are meant to be worn loose, plus you can keep wearing them after you’ve had the baby.

  15. starlamagne Mar 16 at 6:38 pm Reply Reply

    I was plus sized before getting pregnant, so I was (and am still) in the exact same boat as you. I spent most of my pregnancy in 3X t-shirts and loose black pajama pants. When it came time for my baby shower I was devastated as I searched for something nice that fit (and covered my arms as I am loathe to show them.) I found Kiyonna and have not looked back. Their clothes aren’t specifically for maternity, but they’re usually made of a incredibly stretchy and forgiving material that I have been able to wear both while pregnant and after. I hope this helps. Please know you’re not alone.

  16. allison Mar 16 at 6:39 pm Reply Reply

    I am not plus-sized, but I am pregnant…and I am so sorry for what you are going through. For what it’s worth, maternity clothes have left me in tears, too! Why manufacturers and stores want to stuff pregnant women in really unflattering clothes is beyond me! What I have found (at least so far) that works best is to wear my regular pants unzipped with a belly band…I am going to make that work until as long as possible. They are just so much more flattering than icky maternity pants! I’ve been buying a lot of long, stretchy, tunic style tops too that hopefully should have enough length to tide me over til the end. And I’ve also bought some really, really long tanks to layer under shorter tops. The bonus of all this is that these clothes are cheaper than maternity-wear and can hopefully be worn post-baby as well. Dresses with stretch or that are normally loose have also been good! My goal is to try to feel as good about myself as possible and also not spend a ton of money on icky clothes, so I hope that you are able to do the ame. Best wishes to you!

  17. Paige Mar 16 at 6:43 pm Reply Reply

    Omg yes! Motherhood Maternity was terrible!! Not so much with the judgy, for me, but an absolutely awful selection. They didn’t even have bras above a D cup! Other than the bra, all I wanted was a t shirt that made me look like I had a belly, instead of just looking fat… There were only 2 in my size, both the same style, and came in beige or black! I looked naked or peaky. And fat.

    Online shopping was totally the way to go – try destination maternity, one stop plus or woman within. There was another great site I found, and the only one I ended up buying things from, but I can’t remember the name.

    I’d steer clear of motherhood maternity’s online store, btw. For one, I wouldn’t want to support them. But really it comes down to style. Want to feel and look pregnant instead of “fat”? Buy shirts with some kind of trim/decoration right under the bustline. It will make your belly appear to stick out more- something motherhood appears to not know.

  18. 'Noor Mar 16 at 6:44 pm Reply Reply

    As a big-busted gal (36G before pregnancy, 38H/I pregnant/nursing) I can share another option for nursing bras. You can have a seamstress convert a well fitting “normal” bra to a nursing bra. She can add clips to cups to allow them to drop. I found it to be a great option because many nursing bras don’t have distinct cups and I just felt like I had a “uniboob”. My tops also fit better.

  19. Morgan Mar 16 at 6:45 pm Reply Reply

    Calgarian here. I was a 36 E before I got pregnant, and my nursing bra is a 38 FF. I went to a bra boutique (Cat’s Pajamas) and yes, it wasn’t cheap. $100 for the bra, I think? But it fits really well. And it’s leopard print with pink lace, so it’s not depressingly ugly. (Yay!) I heartily recommend a good bra store. Nice old ladies who have seen it all before and aren’t in the least judgmental in any way about your size. Worth the money.

  20. Marie-Christine Mar 16 at 6:45 pm Reply Reply

    Fellow Canadian here.

    Oh my goodness… I’m so sorry for your awful shopping experiences. I can’t believe people can be so ignorant and mean. It’s just not ok.

    I had a baby a few months ago and for the most part skipped the maternity clothes. Just too expensive. I gained A LOT of weight while I was pregnant, enough to bump me into the plus-size world. I ended up ordering a lot of clothes from Old Navy and bought quite a few things at Superstore. Pretty basic stuff : tshirts, tank tops, wide leg yoga-type pants. I stretched the heck out of everything, but hey, it was cheap.

    Little side note : so, so sorry for your loss. I can’t even begin to imagine how you feel. I wish you all the best with this pregnancy. Do your best to stand proud – you deserve it. 

  21. Colleen Mar 16 at 6:46 pm Reply Reply

    As another oddly sized Canadian I understand the difficulty in finding maternity clothes outside the ‘normal’ range. I second Procrastamom’s advice to try Reitmans, and maybe Laura and Addition Elle for loose and flowy tops. For bras I highly recommend Milkface http://www.milkface.com They have a couple stores in Ottawa, and they also do mail order. I checked their website and they carry cup sizes from A to M in a bunch of brands, and they’re pretty too.
    Big internet hugs from Ottawa

  22. Jen Mar 16 at 6:47 pm Reply Reply

    Another Canadian here, and though I don’t have your size challenges, I too found that while I was pregnant, all the online shopping recommendations I could find were still expensive and pretty slim-pickins for us North of the 49th.

    One thing I only discovered after having my baby was that a lot of baby stores also carry maternity/nursing stuff! Who knew?! So check out your local baby boutiques (or even bigger chains, depending on where you are) and see what their expectant mama selection might have.

    In the meantime, congratulations on your upcoming baby boy, and remember to take care of you, while getting ready to take care of him!

  23. Susan:) Mar 16 at 6:50 pm Reply Reply

    Not pregnant, but my stomach looks like it us! Old Navy for shirts. They have super comfy t shirts and tanks. I get all my XXL t shirts there, as well as some stretchy pajama pants. I buy all my pants from Walmart. They have a decent plus size section. Just My Size elastic waist stretch jeans, which I get in size 26/28. You don’t have to get maternity specific clothes. If you need nicer stuff for work, Lane Bryant is good. I can’t help with bras, as that’s the one area of my body that isn’t big. But I too have heard good things about Nordstrom’s for fitting bigger women.

  24. Kai Mar 16 at 6:51 pm Reply Reply

    Oh man – no one should be treated that way in store. No one.
    I’m not pregnant yet, but as I’m hopping to start a family soon I’ve been looking around. I usually wear a similar size 12/14 on the bottom and XL on the top.
    For Cute Maternity in Canada I propose Old Navy (they do carry Maternity in stores, though it may be limited, but for basics like jeans and some longer tanks), Ricki’s (not Maternity but goes to an 18 in bottoms and XXL in tops, and is definitely more work appropriate clothes), and Additionelle (again not Maternity, but they start at size 14 and go up to a 26 or 4X). Who says it has to be maternity if it is just cut to fit really, and no joke there was no different between the “Maternity” line and the “plus” line when I used to work for Roots – they had the same cuts and styles but the Maternity line was 15$ more per item.
    It the bra department I love Bravissimo and Fig Leaves!!! Love love love. They go from 28″ band sizes to 40″ and AA cups to H or I cups – and even have categories for nursing bras later one.

    I’m with Carmen – if you are in Edmonton and want to talk or just need to vent drop me a line at nahgalla.kai at gmail.com

  25. Kate Mar 16 at 6:55 pm Reply Reply

    Fellow pregnant Canadian here.

    First, forget about Thyme. I am not plus size but I have boobs, and their clothes just plain don’t fit busty ladies.

    Motherhood might have some stuff available online (try here: http://www.motherhoodcanada.ca/plushome.asp) but read the descriptions VERY carefully — a lot of their stuff (mainly tops) is made with terrible scratchy polyester. You should, however, be able to find some cute jeans and cotton shirts.

    Old Navy maternity clothing is GREAT for curvy bodies, but is really hard to find in Canada. Use their store locator (http://oldnavy.gapcanada.ca/customerService/info.do?cid=57308&mlink=5151,4376703,10&clink=4376703) to see if you can buy it in-store anywhere near you. Otherwise you have to order from the US Old Navy site (http://oldnavy.gap.com/) and pay shipping, which is about $30 but totally worth it. If you end up buying Old Navy maternity stuff that does not work for you, you can likely re-sell it on Craigslist/Kijiji and get your money back, which is great as international returns are a pain in the @$$.

    For bras, I would find somewhere near you that carries Bravado and/or order from their website (http://www.bravadodesigns.com/home). They make great maternity/nursing bras for those of us in G/H/I cups.

    Also, totally talk to your midwife/doctor. If that isn’t an option for you, try someone like Pacific Post Partum Support (http://www.postpartum.org/) — they’re in BC but there will be a similar group in your province/territory.

    Good luck!

    • Heather Mar 21 at 7:04 pm Reply Reply

      I second the suggestion for Bravado bras. I’m bordering on an I cup right now and while I missed underwire at first, the soft cup bra and the sports bra type style for sleeping saved me so much hassle. Plus, they come in smaller band sizes.

      Skip maternity clothes. I remember being in Target and seeing a maternity tank top for $16, then the exact same top in juniors for $8. I bought the largest size and it fit the same. Get things with a looser cut or an empire waist and splurge on a couple maternity bottoms that don’t pinch too much up top. So many more options that way!

  26. Leigh Mar 16 at 7:06 pm Reply Reply

    I am a Canadian living down south and you are in luck in some ways on the bra front. I have never found a really good bar store down here, where there have been several in the Canadian Cities I have lived in. I am wearing at 32 H/I nursing bra right now (Bravado Bliss by the way) and have never ever been inside a store that carries them. I did it all online and found places with a good return policy. Even if you pay return shipping, bras are cheap to shop. Get a bra that works now and don’t fuss so much about it being a nursing bra. When you meet your little man, nursing tank tops are great for the first few days (and as PJ tops) and are easier to find one that fits (Glamourmoms has a plus line that fits well on my friends). See what the new Canadian Target’s are doing too. For nursing bras Anita makes a great comfortable and supportive option too for people who need engineering. They also sing the whole alphabet song, not just the first few letters. Make sure you get the right size.

  27. IrishCream Mar 16 at 7:15 pm Reply Reply

    It sounds like you have a lot on your plate right now–pregnancy, depression, anxiety, losing a pregnancy, health and body stuff all at once, holy cow! Handling just one of those at a time would have plenty of women in a fetal position under the covers. Major props to you for being upright at this point! It sounds like you’re bearing up remarkably well under a lot of stressors, but by all means take Amy’s excellent advice and check in with your OB or GP to see what they can do to make things easier for you.

    Clothing-wise, have you heard of Boden? It’s a bit pricey, but wonderful in quality, and some of their stuff could easily transition from maternity to post-partum/nursing. Their sizes go up to 18, and I’ve found the cuts to be generous. I would think their tunic styles would help make it clear you’re pregnant. Prices range from $60ish to $120ish (American), which seems steep but I’ve found it was worth the investment to buy one or two nice pieces that made me feel stylish and could work in the office or in a dressier situation. Shipping isn’t free, but it’s a flat rate, AND returns/exchanges are free, easy, and prompt, they’re known for their great service. To get shipping to Canada, you’d have to use their UK site, where they’re based. I’m in the US, so I don’t know how much of a hassle that is, but maybe a friend in the States could be aconduit if the overseas ordering is more challenging. It’s http://www.boden.co.uk/ Good luck with everything, and congratulations!

  28. maggie Mar 16 at 7:25 pm Reply Reply

    I feel for you!! EE before pregnancy, G to H after, and my son is 6!. There are GREAT nursing bras/any size bra’s online!. Can’t link anything because I am fairly computer illiterate, but had good luck online. I couldn’t even get a decent fit from the hospital medical supply store but online worked for me. Sorry you had such a bad experience. Good luck with the baby and try online-it’s so much better to try on at home!!!

  29. Tish Mar 16 at 7:38 pm Reply Reply

    HUG! Big hug. 39 weeks pregnant and a size 18 here. Bra cup size F. I feel you!

    I had a wonderful maternity clothing experience and let me tell you how I did it. First of all, motherhood is hit or miss in the stores. Some stores have a teensy little rack, some stores have a really nice selection. I have found that it’s best to call and ask which store has the best plus size selection. I also surprisingly found that the size extra large in the regular clothing section was my best bet. The 1x jeans stretched out badly and quickly became unwearable. The XL in the regular section and in leggings were perfect. I lost some weight due to extreme morning sickness and that became a factor as well. The XL tops also were a better bet than some of the 1X options. Well fitted snug tops and fitted jeans made me feel so much better than swimming in baggy clothes and I got lots of complements all through my pregnancy.

    I also relied pretty heavily on Target maternity and plus size regular section. The jeans didn’t work at all for me, but the dresses were fabulous and I’ve stayed in XL and XXL sizing in non maternity options and they’ve been great. I also have had a lot of luck with Forever 21 Plus size clothes. Lots of fitted stretchy dresses and tunics and leggings. I don’t know if you guys can get Target in Canada. But these are some cheap options that have seen me through and that I have felt nice and attractive in!

  30. Ang Mar 16 at 7:48 pm Reply Reply

    I would recommend going to your local hospital’s lactation consultant office for proper nursing bras.  I was fitted properly and what was not available “in-office” was shipped to their office free of charge.  The lactation consultant at our hospital was extremely friendly and not the least bit rude or condescending.

  31. Courtney Mar 16 at 7:58 pm Reply Reply

    Another Canadian here (Calgary) but it seems I may be no help because I was going to suggest Motherhood and Thyme. My best friend is plus sized and found some really cute stuff in-store (she’s not a fan of online shopping). Maybe if you have the option (live in a bigger centre) try another location to see if the service is better. I’m really sorry you had that experience and that it’s cast a cloud over your pregnancy. I personally found the selection in the Old Navy maternity section to be terrible (the shirts were basically tents) but it never hurts to look. And funny enough, I found my most favourite maternity dress at Wal-Mart and I know they definitely have a plus section. Best of luck, I’m sure you look fantastic!

  32. Sarah Huckablog Mar 16 at 8:19 pm Reply Reply

    I was about a size 20 before I got PG, and I so feel your pain! As for bras, I personally could not really afford the hundred plus dollar signs on the ones that really truly fit, and everyone I bought online never fit right irl. So……I went really soft, but super supportive sports bras, they just pulled down for nursing and were nice and soft for my painful breasts during my last trimester.

    And, I hope they see this, but Motherhood maternity was rude to me too! Not only did the clothes I did by online from them fit weird, but were cheaply made, and soo low cut! You pretty much have to wear a tank under everything! And this is the worst, I took my 3 month old to the mall, and needed to nurse. I was close to Motherhood maternity, and went in theri store to sit down on one of thier comfy chairs and nurse in peace. THE SALES GIRL ASKED ME TO GO TO THE DRESSING ROOM! In a maternity store! That sells nursing bras!! Needless to say they will never get a dollar from me again.

    One last clothing related thing. Do you know someone who sews? I went to a nice fabric store and spent hours looking at patterns with my mom. She then made me four super cute, super well fitting little wrap dresses that grew with me from 20 weeks on up and I got so many complements on them!

    I hope you take Amy’s advice about talking to someone, I had a lot of anxiety issues during pregnancy and then a horrible PPD. The two often times go together, so it is good to be on top of it, just in case. Good Luck and congratulations!!

  33. Alicia Mar 16 at 8:23 pm Reply Reply

    Dear C&P-. Accessories those ugly plain black and white tanks!  I wish I could go shipping with you!  I love getting in mean, pushy, inconsiderate sales people faces and giving them a taste of their own medicine. Seriously, unlike t a little TOO much. 

    Ahem. 

    Most of all, I’d like to offer a big ole CONGRATULATIONS to tou and your husband on this baby!  

    Yay!!!

  34. Fatima Mar 16 at 8:33 pm Reply Reply

    I feel for you on the bra front! I’ve gone from an E cup to an F and fear I may be moving upwards. I order from http://www.bravissimo.com (Generally love their stuff though I’m not THAT keen on the shape of the two nursing bras I’ve just got from them).

  35. Amy Mar 16 at 8:47 pm Reply Reply

    I had a plus-sized pregnancy, myself, so I totally feel ya.  Big hugs.  

    If the perinatal anxiety/depression stuff resonates, please check out Postpartum Progress – I never knew (until my THIRD pregnancy, for God’s sake) that a lot of women get “post”partum depression/anxiety BEFORE they give birth.  Pregnancy was one giant mess of anxiety for me all three times.  Oh, how it sucked and sucked and sucked.  They’ve changed it to “perinatal anxiety and depression” or “perinatal mood disorders” now to cover during and after pregnancy both, instead of just post, but that came too late for me.

    ANYWAY, the website is http://www.postpartumprogress.com, and Katherine Stone is doing the work of angels over there, for real.  (Not affiliated, just a big fan who has been there).

  36. Amy Mar 16 at 9:03 pm Reply Reply

    I am plus-sized myself and at 18 weeks am just starting to need maternity clothes. I’ve ordered everything online so far and it has been super easy to return the things I don’t want. Most of my maternity clothes have come from Old Navy which apparently isn’t available to you, but do try looking around online. It’s so nice to be able to try things on in the comfort of your own home rather than being crammed into a teeny dressing room while trying to cram your body into some awkwardly-cut, not-really-plus-sized outfit. Trying on clothes in stores makes me hate myself and I do not generally hate myself.

    Also, I second Amy’s advice about working out. I’ve been making an effort to get in some kind of cardio every day–even if it’s just a 20-minute walk–and while it hasn’t done anything for my weight, it has done WONDERS for my mood. 

    Good luck! I have so much sympathy for you and hope you can find some fabulous outfits that make you feel beautiful.

  37. Cassie Mar 16 at 9:42 pm Reply Reply

    I don’t have clothing advice, but I think reading some more body-positive, Health at Every Size, type stuff, particularly of the pregnant variety, would be helpful for you. This post: http://www.raisingmyboychick.com/2011/01/fat-and-pregnant-10-weeks/ has some great links to blogs that celebrate larger pregnant women. We all have hang-ups about our bodies, regardless of our starting size. I found it very helpful to see belly pics of women who were larger than a size 8 pre-pregnancy, and to read what others had to say about being big and pregnant.

  38. dzw Mar 16 at 9:49 pm Reply Reply

    Motherhood and Thyme are useless up here in Canada if you’re more plus-size than an 18. I second everyone who says to just buy larger sizes of where you’re already shopping. It’s looking like maxi-dresses are in for spring – long and full skirts equals awesome bump-hiding possibilities, and there’s lots of blouson stuff out there for spring too, which again is nice and generous. At least with this winter being mild you’ll miss the dreaded winter coat dilemma (buy a special one for pregnancy? use existing one and just hold it shut? but it’s only November, it’s not going to be that cold, right? And then you take the baby home on one of the string of -40 C days you’ve been having for a month and a half already even though the weather channel kept saying it’d be a mild winter, and you’ve spent two months holding your coat shut because you were too stubborn to buy a larger size and now there’s NO COATS LEFT AT ALL IN YOUR NEW BLOBBY SIZE, OMG! Yeah, I did that THREE TIMES, because I DID NOT LEARN with the March baby and had to relearn it with the November baby and the January one. Fun! By the end I was weeping at the memory of the nice, easy July baby pregnancy…)

    Anyway, Pennington’s will be selling out of their winter stock now in prep for spring/summer, so I suggest going and looking for lighter fabrics and all-purpose stuff like jeans that you can stretch until it’s really summer. Because sometimes their sales racks are like $5 for a dress, srsly, and for a spring/summer baby I always liked a dress better than fighting with pants anyway. I bought a lot of basic black dresses in stretchy jersey and then bought little jackets or cardigans or shrugs to go on top depending on the season (giant thick ones for winter, lighter material for summer, and I got a lot of those for $5 off the Pennington’s and Addition Elle end-of-season sale racks too).

    Also: Winners. Winners is more like an epic safari hunt than shopping, of course, because the stock rotates often and sometimes you find nothing and sometimes you find awesome stuff. I bought a zebra-print skirt two pregnancies ago there (for $10!) and I wear it non-pregnant because that thing looks so awesome with a tank and a jacket. (In the States I think this is TJ Maxx?)

  39. Heather Mar 16 at 10:12 pm Reply Reply

    Ugh, I had a similar experience with Motherhood Maternity– called ahead to see if they had plus size clothes, schlepped an hour to their store, only to find they had a mini-rack of clothes in my size, and no bras in anything close to my size.

    I recommend breakoutbras.com for maternity and nursing bras. They have seem to have the best selection and prices and they carry the full range of sizes. They also have good descriptions/reviews of each bra, whether it has much support, runs big, etc. Definitely get measured (or measure yourself, with a soft measuring tape) so you’re getting the right size– no reason to wear an uncomfortable bra that doesn’t fit!

    As for clothes, Old Navy was my go-to for plus-sized maternity stuff. It sucks that they no longer offer that line. But, their regular maternity stuff goes up to XXL/20 and may work for you– I’ve found their sizing to be generous. It might be worth ordering a top and some pants to see if they’ll work for you.

    For nursing, I didn’t find that nursing tanks had enough support for me to wear as a bra when I was about a 42E (at least not out of the house). When I knew I’d be nursing somewhere other than at home, I’d wear an Undercover Mama tank top over my nursing bra for tummy coverage, http://undercovermama.com/
    If you’re crafty, you could probably make your own version of their tank top.

    There’s also http://www.motherwear.com/ for nursing clothes. I have a couple of their tops but I find I don’t wear them that much. They add an extra layer of fabric to cover nursing openings. Some of their stuff is really cute and you’d never know it’s nursing clothing, but I would just get too hot with the extra fabric. YMMV. Their sizes go up to 3X.

  40. Bear Mar 16 at 10:16 pm Reply Reply

    You might like to check our chefwear.com. They make comfortable, durable 100% cotton pants with entirely elastic waists up to /very/ large sizes (way bigger than your doubtless-adorable ladies’ 2xl derrierre will ever require). They’re pretty casual trousers, generally, but if hemmed you could certainly go to work in some of the patterns.

    Also, I am a big fella, and I legitimately adore loaning pregnant loved ones my giant soft shirts to get them though the last few weeks of pregnancy, when they just want to be warm and covered. Just a datapoint.

  41. Antje Mar 16 at 10:17 pm Reply Reply

    There’s no law saying you have to buy maternity clothing at all.  I just went shopping to my regular stores and kept the baby bump in mind.  You can get all kinds of flowy cardigans and stretchy tops without the $$$ maternity $$$ pricetag.  Challenge yourself to try on some styles you wouldn’t normally try, too!  I ended up with some interesting tops that were outside my usual fare that could accommodate a baby bump, and just purchased at regular stores.

    Also, if you ever find a pair of maternity jeans you like JUST BUY THEM.  You will never regret it, regardless of the pricetag.  Good jeans are SO hard to find, but when you do, they are worth their weight in gold and make you feel fabulous on those particularly whale-y days.

  42. Erin Mar 16 at 10:41 pm Reply Reply

    Like you, I am Canadian, and like you I had a terrible experience at Thyme. My husband and I went in there on the day we found out we were pregnant, just to ask if they had plus-sized maternity clothes and we were told “No, we don’t have a lot of need for THOSE type of clothes” and she sent us to another location. Not impressed! Lucky for me, we have a Motherhood outlet near us and the sales ladies there are very pleasant and helpful, and the selection is not too bad. I also had some luck in store at Old Navy, some do carry mat clothes even though oldnavy.ca doesn’t advertise it.
    Good luck with the rest of your pregnancy and I hope you and your little boy are happy and healthy!

  43. Shanna Mar 16 at 10:45 pm Reply Reply

    I was super super plus sized up top (I cup at least – up from D cup) during nursing and pregnancy. It was awful. But I accepted that that is just how my body deals with pregnancy. Motherhood maternity was an absolute joke. Their selection made me feel awful.

    Luckily I fell into good hands with bras at boutiques selling the bravado nursing bras (highly HIGHLY) recommend. You can order them online and their website (bravadodesigns.com) is very helpful. As another commenter suggested, I also HIGHLY recommend nordstroms. They have a good selection and their saleswomen are so pleasant and nonjudgemental. Yes they are expensive. But the bras are all so comfy I continued to wear them after nursing for a long while.

  44. Melissa Mar 16 at 11:56 pm Reply Reply

    OH honey, I know how you feel! I also highly recommend the Bravado line of bras for us busty, bigger ladies.

    I also want to address your body hatred. I’m so sorry you feel so bad about how you look. I know that feeling but it’s gone for me now….just gone after years of hatred, I feel great.

    You must start reading these sites to keep your sanity:

    http://www.haescommunity.org/
    http://kateharding.net/
    (only the archives are left, but they are brilliant)

    And check out any book by Kate Harding. You are absolutely worth feeling good about. I think you look amazing.

  45. Cynthia Mar 17 at 12:21 am Reply Reply

    Piggybacking off the exercise suggestions, I highly recommend prenatal water aerobics.  I was/am a L/XL before pregnancy and gained a healthy amount during, but I felt weightless in the pool. It was such a nice stress reliever off the sore joints, and the light exercise always put me in a great mood.  I am a serial, start and stop exerciser, and I think that may have been the only class I ever actually finished from beginning to end. Plenty of women wore T-shirts and shorts if you don’t want to use a swimsuit too :)

  46. Colleen Mar 17 at 12:46 am Reply Reply

    Gah! I was *just* lamenting this myself–my local stores all seem to think that we plus-sized women don’t get pregnant. Grrrrr!!!!! I’ve gotten some things at Old Navy. I think the maternity clothes there run a bit on the bigger side. I also just got a couple of t-shirts on the JC Penney website, and they also seem to run a bit big. But super-soft & comfortable. With my previous pregnancy, I found a few things on eBay. When not pregnant, I do Lane Bryant for plus sized clothes & may check them out for things like stretchy maxi-dresses (which also work for maternity). I find that wearing pants with the full panel help me with looking more pregnant than overweight, for whatever that’s worth. 

  47. AlexMMR Mar 17 at 2:19 am Reply Reply

    I don’t have all the answers to your questions, but I’m practically in the exact same boat.  But I’ll even up the stakes, I’m also short (petite) and twins so I’m measuring about 8-10 weeks ahead of where I actually am.

    I lost twins at 19 weeks Christmas 2010.  And I DESPISE my body.  My body won’t get pregnant on its own, we have to do IVF, and it didn’t protect my girls from the infection that came after them.

    Then, when it was time to do IVF again, the rules all changed, and suddenly I had to drop 20lbs for them to do the procedure.  So my 250lb fat ass starved like crazy for 2 months to drop 20lbs while on weight retaining hormone supplements.  So it was my body preventing me from trying to get my girls back because it insisted on being too damned fat all the time!

    But I got there, and here I am, 23 weeks pregnant, with twin girls, AGAIN, and I’m starting to outgrow my wardrobe.  Dropping 20lbs just before getting pregnant has helped me delay the need for maternity clothes, I just kept growing back into my old ones, but I’m hitting the breaking point now.

    For some reason, my Lane Bryant pants (not jeans) seem to be stretching with me.  They are a size 18/20 and fit fine, still have some wiggle room, whereas my size 24 jeans are officially going unbuttoned.

    I only have a few pieces that allow me to leave the house (I work from home so I can kind of live in jammies).  Maternity leggings have been great, especially with a babydoll dress over it.  Like I said, my Lane Bryant polyester pants are stretching and look business like.  And I have a pair of Woman Within maternity jeans that are really comfortable.  For tops, the word you want to search for is “tunic”.  Every plus sized store has them whether they are intended for maternity or not.

    Can’t help you with bras I’m afraid.

  48. Jo Mar 17 at 4:02 am Reply Reply

    Ah, massive internet hug! I too have cried while trying to find a maternity bra – pre-pregnancy, was about an E cup and could buy from most places, but have gone up to an H cup now I’m nursing. I live in the UK but THE BEST place I’ve found is Bravissimo! It serves exclusively the non-flat-chested community and is brilliant. They didn’t bat an eyelid at an H cup and have furnished me with a lovely set of nursing bras so far. I’ve checked the website and they have a Canadian branch/ship to Canada.

    Clothes-wise, I think I’m a US 14-16ish with some baby weight yet to lose, and mostly while I was pregnant found that most things were too short – go for long styles, much longer than you’d think you’d need! There’s a UK site called Marisota that goes up to a UK size 32 (I put 3X into a size converter and it says it’s approx a UK 22 so there’s loads of room there!) which has really nice clothes in general – I’ve not used it personally but it’s very well advertised over here.

    Re the diet and nutrition thing, it might help you feel more in control of things – worked for me and is helping with the weight loss after! Try ‘Healthy Eating for Pregnancy’ by Amanda Grant, available on Amazon…also, there’s a TV personality over here called Davina McCall who makes exercise DVDs, and she’s made a FANTASTIC pregnancy/post-natal one which is great for the not-so-fit! I’m sure Amazon could help you get the right region.

    I so hope things improve for you! Listen to Amy and talk to someone about all this!!

  49. Jen Mar 17 at 7:22 am Reply Reply

    Nursing tanks instead of bras!  I love the Gillian OMalley ones from Target.  You could even try Craig’s list for gently used maternity clothes?  I purchased some XL stuff from there…  Definitely Old Navy.  They have great sales for credit card holders too. 

  50. Sheena Mar 17 at 8:47 am Reply Reply

    I haven’t read through all of the comments, but just wanted to chime in, first with the hugs! I am so sorry for your loss last year. Pregnancy after loss is difficult enough without the added stress of finding clothes you feel comfortable in and that make you feel good, which can make a world of difference. I’ve never enjoyed clothes shopping (ever!) but I much prefer shopping at thrift stores like Value Village or Goodwill. It is definitely hit or miss, but if you have a good one nearby, they have way more selection than any new clothing store. I just go in with the mindset of trying on a ton of clothes and usually leave with at least one or two items I love. Good luck!

  51. Nancy Mar 17 at 10:35 am Reply Reply

    I am a plus sized lady — was before I was pregnant with our twins and still am afterwards – and bigger than you except for bra size. I found some great things on ebay too — you don’t get the free shipping/returns but once you find a brand/size that you like, you might try it.

    I can’t really remember what online shops I found things at, but there ARE options and you will find something that is both comfy and pretty.

    And mostly — be kind to yourself. Your body is in the process of a truly miraculous process of making a baby. You’ll look different when the baby comes and you deserve to celebrate your womanhood and motherhood!

  52. SarahB Mar 17 at 10:44 am Reply Reply

    Amalah, I really think you are the kindest person on the internet. I have come to take your perspective for granted, but then this letter comes along.

    OP, your letter brought tears to my eyes. Hormones and body changes just wreak havoc on a woman’s psyche. Why in the world weren’t those salespeople nicer to you? Aren’t they used to people crying in their stores? I know I cried buying maternity clothes on mutiple occasions.

    A big hug to you, beautiful momma. Hang in there, as you await this child and grieve your first one. Best wishes.

  53. -k- Mar 17 at 11:35 am Reply Reply

    I just wanted to add to the great comments already here that you might like to explore sites written by and for plus-sized mamas. A great source of information in general, and especially to counteract any shade the medical community might be throwing you, is http://www.wellroundedmama.blogspot.com/. There’s also a group on the Mothering forums: http://www.mothering.com/community/groups/show/22/plus-size-mamas-mamas2b-ttc (you’ll be fine there even if you aren’t particularly ‘crunchy’- very nice people).

    Hugs.

  54. Amy Mar 17 at 11:53 am Reply Reply

    Oh yes Motherhood can kiss my hiney for the crappy/depressing in store experience I had this last fall. I hated feeling judged and am still dealing with the negative body image issues 6 weeks after delivery. Empire waisted maternity tops will emphasize the belly and clue people in to the fact that you’re pregnant. I did mostly short sleeved tops with cardigans. And in the last trimester when my shirts were looking too short I bought Men’s tank tops (they’re nice and long) and layered them underneath. Definitely look in the men’s dept with an open mind. I had polos, tshirts and even a few sweaters all much cheaper than maternity clothes and good enough for weekends.

  55. Melissa Mar 17 at 1:05 pm Reply Reply

    Oh, and http://www.fatnutritionist.com is a godsend. She’s just makes so much sense that comes from a well-researched, well thought out place.

  56. Kim Mar 17 at 6:11 pm Reply Reply

    Oh, sweetie, big big hugs. It’s so hard – our body images are all out of whack to begin with, and then you throw in the hormones and the legitimate weight gain and the nausea and the g-damn What to Expect book ending every other paragraph with “keep your weight down!” and it’s enough to make you scream.SO:Big Girl Bras has a wide selection. http://www.biggerbras.com/
    I preferred the Goddess brand. Bravado was fine for sleeping in (And I’ve been sleeping in bras now for 5 1/2 years – I would leak if I didn’t, even well after weaning. Now I’m just used to it.) Also, because most of my tops are sized for my boobs, I got through my last pregnancy by going up a size or two in regular tops and elastic-waisted pants. One last piece of advice – make sure you have a soft comfortable bra to labor in. I am not someone who can comfortably hang out, even in a hospital bed, with no support. I stupidly wore my too small “going out” bra to the hospital with my first, and ended up wearing that stretchy fetal montor band as a tube top. Not a shining moment. (And hey. Your body is doing a wonderful thing here. Be gentle with it, and with yourself, truly.) More hugs!

  57. AmyRenee Mar 17 at 7:17 pm Reply Reply

    I’m going to second/third/twelveth the water aerobics (or just water walking) – feeling weightless in the pool is wonderful! And I know, you’re saying “but I couldn’t find clothes, and you want me to wear a SWIMSUIT!?!” but first, if you go to a community pool there are going to be people bigger than you, and second, you can get cute suits in separates that fit well, even in maternity. I’m larger (16+, pre pregbancy), and I had great luck with just getting larger sizes from Lands End. They sell tops specifically designed for larger cup sizes, some of which are tunic length, and bottoms in both shorts & skirt styles – great for when you get to the point where is hard to see to shave the bikini line – and they even sell rashguards (tshirts made from swimsuit material). It’s not cheap, but they hold up really well and if you sign up for their emails you get email coupons every other day.

  58. Corie Mar 17 at 7:46 pm Reply Reply

    I LIVED in Old Navy pants and Lane Bryant tops while I was pregnant. Since Lane Bryant’s clothes are specifically designed for larger women, it’s easy to find longer cuts and stretchier fabrics that accommodate a growing baby bump. I still wear many of the tops now, since I also have rather generous boobs (38DD and growing, thanks to newly gestating #2). When I was concerned that a short wasn’t quite going to be long enough, I busted out the belly bands. (I feel like I should add a disclaimer, which is that I gave birth at 35 weeks, so I have no idea how these shirts would have worked out if/when I was 1063678 months pregnant.) I do know that the Old Navy “real waist” pants were fantastic until early in my third trimester, when I started wanting the coverage from full panel pants.

    Good luck!!!!

  59. J Mar 17 at 10:25 pm Reply Reply

    Another Canadian here! I’m not plus sized, but also had bad experiences at Thyme & Motherhood!
    A couple shopping suggestions-gap and old navy.com (not .ca) do ship to Canada. It’s a bit more but might be worth it.
    I did nearly all my maternity shopping in the US, both online (shipped to an American friend) and on holiday. Perhaps some cross border shipping will work. 
    Some Canadian Old Navy’s have good maternity selections, and as Amy said, their sizes are pretty generous. 
    As for bras (I’m def. large chested, especially pregnant and nursing!)-Bravado is easy to get in Canada anc does a good range of sizes (and the are pretty too!). They don’t seem to even be more expensive in Canada!
    Good luck with everything!

  60. cck Mar 17 at 10:49 pm Reply Reply

    *HUGE HUG* and I’m right there with you.  First, get thee to someone to talk about the sadness.  Plus size maternity clothes suck – but I hate to think of crying over the sad options.  :)

    Plus size prior to pregnancy, rather tall, and omgeeee – my boobs!  I’ve gone from a DD to a G.  I started buying good bras (goddess), but soon ran out of moola to buy a new bra every month.  I like bravada plus size nursing bras, but I’m not worrying about it too much (29 weeks) yet.  There’s a lactation station at my hospital – and they’ll even build your bra.

    I’m frustrated by the lack of options – motherhood has TWO plus size dresses right now.  TWO?!?  It’s spring!  I need dress options!  So far, most of my clothes have arrived via Gap/Old Navy.  My advice – if you find a shape that works for you, buy it in every color.  I wish I had stocked up on a few dresses/shirts that I could wear to work, play, church, etc.  Forget variety, get enough stuff to cover you for a week.

    Don’t pay attention to sizes – whatever fits, fits.  You’re doing good, momma.  Maybe we should start our own plus size pregnancy shop?

  61. Laura Mar 17 at 11:32 pm Reply Reply

    They used to have a maternity section, but I don’t see it now, but http://www.torrid.com is generally a decent site for plus sized clothes that are relatively funky/modern. Some of the looser shirts might work for a maternity shirt. Other than that, the usual suggestions of Old Navy, JC Penney, Addition-elle. Good luck girl!

  62. Erika Mar 17 at 11:37 pm Reply Reply

    Hey Friend–I don’t have any new and fresh advice–just commiseration. I had all these same problems when I was preggo 3 years ago and online was my best friend–especially for bras. i found some great underwire nursing bras that held my big ladies up and proud even while an EE and that made me feel a zillion times better throughout the 17 months I nursed. So find things that make you feel great, because you ARE great. Obviously. You’re gonna be an awesome mom too. Be gentle with yourself during this tender time…

  63. Moira Mar 18 at 8:26 am Reply Reply

    Oh, god, I cried in Motherhood too.  I could barely even fit between their racks of clothing!  Ugh.

    I am also an XL and a DDD cup – I lived in Old Navy stuff.  I could dress up their dresses enough for work (I always wore cardigans over them).  I never really found pants that worked (aside from yoga-ish pants).

    As for the top, I found a nursing bra I liked at Nordstrom and ordered 4 of them.   I HAD to have underwire, which I know can be a no-no when you are nursing, but I NEEDED that support.  I slept (and still sleep in) the Gilligan and O’Malley nursing tanks in XXL.  

    Good luck, I hope all these internetty hugs are helping bunches!

  64. Jodi Mar 18 at 9:13 am Reply Reply

    OP Here.  :)

    OK..first…OMG OMG OMG OMG Amalah answered my question.  WIth such AWESOMENESS.  *totally geeks out*

    *ahem*

    Thank you, everyone, so much.  *accepts all the internety type hugs with appreciation and luvs*  It really, really helps to know I’m not alone – as I was feeling pretty alone for awhile there.  I want to reply to each and every one of you and thank you personally for the awesome links and advice, but do not want to spam the board.  :P  I have bookmarked all the links for clothes and big gal intenet bloggers as well!

    I have plans to hit up my Old Navy today in my local mall and eat delicious Sushi.  Oh – and there is a store near me that I never would have known about if not for you wonderful people  that has Bravado bras and does fittings!  Yay!  :D

    As for the depression and anxiety – I guess I didn’t realize that it was coming through so STRONGLY, I just thought I was being kinda whiny.  I do have an appt at the local hospital to get into a program that helps with pre and post partum depression and anxiety.  I know that it’s out of control though I am trying my best to not let it overwhelm me.  And you are all right on, the previous loss is still causing me much grief and panic.  Thanks for your concern, I will be getting help beginning of April.  I have an awesome and supportive husband who helps me through the worst of it too.

    Oh – and the water aerobics ideas are fab!  I would not have thought of that as an option though you are right EEK swimsuit.  :P  I think that I can get over that.  

    Thank you Amy for writing this column and being an awesome person to boot.  Thank you to all of you who commented.  What you said and the support you have shown really has helped me.  Now…off to do some shopping!  :)

    • Lilly Apr 03 at 8:43 pm Reply Reply

      do the pre-natal water aerobics — everyone is pregnant and feeling ti so you will have support.
      If you are worried about the swimsuit and don’t want to have a 2 piece try to find the EQ maternity onepiece — I was a size 16 (old navy) before becoming pregnant — lost some weight from morning sickness and bought the large and it was fine — swimoutlet.com sells them and ships them to Canada it ended up being close to $100 after shipping/duty etc though so I am not sure about your budget.

      re bras — there are services that will take a normal bra and convert it into a nursing bra so if you can find good and comfortable bras that is also an option.

      I know a lot of people mentioned Old Navy and I know I asked them and as of 2010 they discontinued selling maternity wear in Canada (so calling around is a waste) — they ship from the states but if you are closer to the border it might be a better deal to cross-border shop — I got awesome work pants from them and from the Gap (same company really).

  65. Sheri Mar 18 at 9:39 am Reply Reply

    More (((HUGS))) and support! I found in-store shopping miserable and uncomfortable, so the Internet was a godsend- my daughter is 14 months now and I still wear some of the tops because they’re nice and long with leggings!

    I had the best luck at Old Navy and Motherhood, but was also pleasantly surprised by JCPenbey’s duo line in plus sizes. They had trouser jeans with the most comfy waistband ever. Hope they’re available in Canada!!

    As for exercise for your comfort and well being, I loved walking and prenatal yoga. Just be sure to drink lots of water and listen to your body. Take good care of you and that sweet little guy!!

  66. Laura B. Mar 18 at 12:45 pm Reply Reply

    Jodi! Fellow Canadian here – east coast.

    I live quite rural, and the ONLY maternity option for me without a 3-hr drive was Walmart… I lived in one pair of Walmart jeans and a skirt I grabbed off the Motherhood sale rack on a rare trip to the big city. I also found a couple tops at a second hand store, so if you have the energy I’d suggest taking a look there, too. Definitely don’t buy clothes you don’t love in store, otherwise it’s just a waste of money (I bought a few things because omg I’m at the mall and I need clothes to wear!!! and then got them home and never wore them.)

    AND, if you end up talking to a counsellor who tries to tell you it’s “just hormones” you have my full permission to smack them! And then demand another counsellor who will listen. I wish I had done that after getting the verbal pat on the there-there-pregnant lady-is-crazy head.

    I wish I could remember where I found my maternity swimsuit… It was awful, the only one I could find in NL at the time, but I’ve since seen some nice ones in boutiques and online. MATERNITY SWIMSUITS ARE AWESOME! They totally snug in around your belly and kind of hold it up…. I did water aerobics (or just easy laps) right up to my due date.

    Bras continue to be a challenge (38G here) and I can never stomach shelling out $150 – $200 for one, but I recently found a sports bra in my size at The Bay in Edmonton – on sale! So, eyes open and good luck! Also going to check out Bravado now, too…

    (Ps: I vividly remember shopping in Motherhood when this tiny 5-mo pregnant lady was all “I’m so big already! I can’t possibly get any bigger!” meanwhile, I was not fitting into ANYTHING in the store, and my friend who was with me (and had carried twins) just laughed and laughed at her, and made me feel awesome – do you have a friend you can take shopping?)

  67. Natalie Mar 18 at 11:26 pm Reply Reply

    Sorry to be an Internet buzzkill but I just want to take this opportunity to say, also as a plus sized woman who started pregnancy at a size 18 and has never been able to get back down below an 18 since, I hate when people say “just go online”. I get that there isn’t much else in the way of advice to be given but it kills me that when something suddenly comes up I can’t run to the store to find appropriate clothes. I have to
    go online and guess and then return meaning that like today, looking for a nice outfit for my
    first day at a new job, I have to either go w ocer priced, poor taste from lane bryant OR try and find aomethig online and pay extra to get it here soon enough that i can return it and try again before the job starts. God forbid clothing stores
    acknowledge me and my fat people money. Okay sorry this just kills me AND gave me a flash back to being 7 months pregnant and crying in target because all of the maternity clothes were too small for me… I am right there with you !!!

  68. Eris Mar 19 at 12:20 am Reply Reply

    HUGS AND HUGS AND HUGS MY LOVE!!!!!

    You are NOT ALONE! We all love you, your husband loves you, and your letter (and response) made me cry.

    I will never forget my sister, already a DDD and ashamed of her breasts, crying during her pregnancy because she had ballooned up well past F and couldn’t find H and she was literally knocking things over with her boobs. She never really had that “beachball” look and felt fat, alone, and deflated during her whole special time. She wrapped herself in sport bras and tank tops to try to find support and NASTY sales ladies were mean to her in Macy’s and Nordstroms and beyond, but she finally found some relief after her birth online.

    I, and everyone here, is so sorry you lost a boy at 19 weeks. It was real, he is precious, and grieving that is very important to you, your life, and your future son. The pregnancy hormones alone are wrecking your body, but the added pain of losing a pregnancy already, oh honey, I send you sooooooooo much love, and so many prayers. This is more than bitchy sales ladies not getting you being pregnant, this is everything all at once, and you are strong and brave for dealing with it. So many hugs, and so much love.

    Media makes SO MUCH out of the perfect belly that “pops out”, but not everyone has it, at all. Even “skinny” broads. My friend was 165 lbs at delivery and NEVER looked pregnant, she only looked like she drank too much beer nightly, and she cried too when crap sales ladies in maternity stores acted like she was only in there because she was fat (as though 165 is fat!!!).

    You don’t have to shop in maternity stores, look at regular stores with good “plus” size selections.

    And please, please, please: I know how hard it is, in the throes of hormones and grief and loss, to struggle with finding balance and reality: BUT YOU ARE OKAY. And exactly where you need to be. You lost one baby, a real baby, and you are carrying another which is both hard and wonderful. You are loved.

    I am so happy to hear that in April you will have help with the depression and anxiety. If you need support or help I know amalah will pass along email addresses, and the internet will rise to support you. The strength you showed just in sending that email is huge, and beautiful.

    Hugs again my love, it REALLY will all be okay :)

  69. Emily Mar 19 at 1:00 am Reply Reply

    Oh. Oh, oh, oh. My heart just hurts for you! Because I was there! Motherhood Maternity is a joke if you’re plus-sized. With my second pregnancy I just never even set foot in the store. You know what I loved? Old Navy Maternity. Not all stores carry it (there’s a great selection online), but when you can find one that does it’s awesome. And if yours doesn’t, scour their clearance racks for returned maternity. IT’S AUTOMATICALLY 50% OFF when it gets returned to a store that doesn’t stock maternity. I scored some great maternity clothes that way. And, AND! Lane Bryant (where I get all my bras, because Kohl’s just doesn’t carry my size…) has nursing tanks, and to be honest, I use their regular bras when nursing. The other cloth-unhookable-nosupportwhatsoever-nursing bras got so infuriating for me after my first child that I just wore whatever bra I liked best and was most supportive. Lift boob out, feed baby, tuck back in. It does not hinder me or my eight month old in the least. I’m more comfortable, my back isn’t constantly killing me, and my boobs aren’t hanging down without support. Maternity is just a name for clothes they charge you twice as much for that only work for a small percentage of the pregnant women in the world.

    That said, please PLEASE follow Amy’s advice and speak to your doctor about the way you’re feeling. You could be at increased risk for PPD, and after the loss you suffered I know I speak for all the commenters on here when I say we want you to soak. this. up. In blissful, oblivious love and adoration for your son, and enjoy your new-parenthood. Without any hiccups along the way. So do speak to your doctor. They are there to help you with just this kind of issue, and they WANT you to come to them to make sure you are not just OK physically, but also mentally. Sending you good thoughts, prayers, and BEST wishes for you, your husband, and son. Congratulations!

  70. Manapan Mar 19 at 7:13 am Reply Reply

    First, I’m sorry for your loss. I had a few early losses and I know I never believed I’d see my baby alive until they pulled him out of me. In the meanwhile I spent a ton of time and energy pretending I wasn’t worried about *that*, I was worried about (insert thing of the day here), and clothes that fit was a huge one for me. So if that’s where you’re coming from too, I wanted to let you know you’re not alone. Hugs and I hope you have a worry-free rest of your pregnancy before you meet your newest son.

    But to be on topic, another huge yes to Old Navy. They have these great pants they call the “fold over” or “roll over” yoga pants in the regular section. I wore mine in the same size from pre-pregnancy all the way to delivery. My workplace is pretty casual and will let us wear anything that’s in good condition though, so maybe yoga pants won’t fit the bill for you. I spent 21 weeks on bed rest, so I was out of work and money by the time I really needed maternity clothes anyway. I bought my shirts from mens big and tall websites. The extra length from the tall sizes was the only thing that could cover the belly in the last 2 months. As for the bras, I just made do with cupless sports bras in a larger size. If I hadn’t been on bed rest I couldn’t have gotten away with it though, so no help from me there.

  71. Jadzia@Toddlerisms Mar 19 at 8:10 am Reply Reply

    It sounds like there are lots of good clothing recommendations here.  As somebody who has struggled with depression and an eating disorder, I found that one Band-Aid solution that really cut down on the self-hatred during my pregnancies was to ask the doc NOT to tell me what my weight gain was unless there was some real problem.  It kept me from getting hung up on the number and having One More Thing to be upset about.  It’s not a cure, of course, but it did help me.

  72. Olivia Mar 19 at 8:32 am Reply Reply

    Just want to offer hugs from another plus sized pregnant gal. I’m a 2X and it is impossible to find clothes in the store, so on line shopping is the only way to go. I’ve had good luck at JC Penny, though perhaps I’m not very fashionable, lol.

    FWIW, I found my first pregnancy really helped me learn to love my body. Sure, it’s not a “cute” little preggo belly, but it still grew and nourished my amazing daughter. And she has never cared that I am fat. It’s just more mama to cuddle. And maybe it’s just me, but it seems like people are less likely to touch my belly unsolicited because I’m fat, and I rather like that. Hang in there mama. Your body is amazing and capable of creating a baby. There is no shame in that no matter what size your pants are.

  73. Hi there! Sherri here from http://www.plussizefashion.ca

    I am really sorry to hear about your shopping experience. Not having children I haven’t experienced the trials of shopping for maternity as a plus size woman in Canada.

    I can imagine though, because it is difficult enough when you are not pregnant.  That is why I started PlusSizeFashion.ca, to have a complete list of stores that ship to Canada.

    I am think I need to add a maternity section!  Here are a couple of suggestions.

    Simply Be – search apparel/maternity.  This is a UK based store and only ships to the US (see shipping option below) but has really adorable things. One thing to be aware of UK sizing is slightly different then ours.
    http://www.simplybe.com  

    To have it shipped you can open a MYUSA account (http://www.myus.com/cgi-bin/aff/landing.cgi?myuskd=&id=1000411)  This company collects all of your packages from companies that don’t ship to Canada and ships to them you.  Yes there is a cost but if you take advantage of free shipping offers from these stores you will only pay for shipping from them to you.  They will hold your order until all have come in and then ship it to you as one order.

    Ample Mamma – Canadian
    http://www.amplemama.ca

    OneStopPlus – a collection of plus size shops, just search maternity. http://www.OneStopPlus.ca 

    SWAK – although they don’t sell maternity I am sure their styling and fabrics would work really well.
    http://www.swakdesigns.com/

    Etsy.com – search plus size maternity and you will find a few sellers.

    As for bras
    Butterfly Collection has bras for bigger busted Canadian women.  Not sure if they have nursing bras but email Claire and I am sure she could help direct you.
    http://www.butterflycollection.ca/

    I will also send out a request to my facebook readers to find out if there are others.  I will share anything I learn.

    Separately, I really hope you feel the support from the other mothers in this forum.  It really should be the happiest of times :)

  74. liz Mar 19 at 10:52 am Reply Reply

    http://www.biggerbras.com for, well, bigger bras.

    And I also second Nordstroms (if they are in your area) for getting fitted. They may have bras in your size in stock, but if they don’t they can order them for you. After you get one or two from them, order more from biggerbras.com.

  75. Julie W Mar 19 at 12:35 pm Reply Reply

    For great deals on gently used larger sizes CHECK your local mother of multiples consignment sale. At least at our sale we have several racks of maternity clothes. I’m a “medium” IRL but pregnant with twins got me to XL…

    Also someone asked about clothes for twin pregnancies: https://www.formultiples.com/

  76. Lauren B Mar 19 at 1:58 pm Reply Reply

    OMG! I just had these same experiences. Huge huge hugs your way. A couple brands of maternity clothes that made some larger sized (CUTE!) tops were Lilo Maternity and BOBA Maternity. As for pants, Motherhood Maternity online was the best I could find, but then I’m not very adventurous with pants to begin with (think jeans, jeans, and more jeans.) The internet is also great for bras…way way better than any store. Finally, while water aerobics would have been my first choice while pregnant, I found it really hard to find a class that I could get to with my work schedule. I walked…a lot. Not very fast and not necessarily very far, but it helped to have that quiet time where I could think through things. Exercise doesn’t have to be primarily for weight loss or physical fitness. I have found time and again, pregnant or not, that activity is one of the best ways to help me combat my depression and anxiety. Good luck, lots of love, and know that you are not even close to being alone!

  77. JenVegas Mar 19 at 2:21 pm Reply Reply

    Here in the US when I was pregnant I found that even stores that SAID they had a great maternity selection only really offered that selection online. i guess a lot of pregnant ladies were like me and preferred to avoid the horrible lighting and crappy mirrors in the store dressing rooms. I say just do your shopping online and return/exchange whatever necessary. It’s a little more expensive in the long run but do NOT let stupid and rude sales people ruin this wonderful time in your life. I’m plus sized too and I had the same issues with my breasts. Go to a boutique, get fitted for a good bra, pay the piper and then take the tag and look it up online to order more of them at a cheaper cost. Good luck! It’s going to be GREAT! 

  78. cheryl Mar 19 at 2:51 pm Reply Reply

    Jodi, thank you for sending in your question. Amy and commenters, thank you for all your wonderful advice, heartfelt sympathy, and righteous outrage. I am very grateful to have this post as a future resource. I’m a plus-sized girl with huge unwieldy boobs, not pregnant, but already worrying about all this! It hurts my heart when I hear thin pregnant people talk about how fat they are. I feel body-based self hatred on a pretty regular basis, but stuff like this helps me direct the hatred where it really belongs…to insensitive d-bags who judge others by how they look. There are so many completely obnoxious, elitist, and just plain mean things I would just love say to people like the saleswomen you dealt with…but I don’t, because I’m not a total jerk like they are!

    Jodi, please, please, PLEASE call the stores you had bad experiences in and report those salespeople. Call corporate and complain about the stores. Write specific negative reviews online. I am absolutely horrified that a salesperson told you to go on a diet and made you cry. Rudeness from salespeople is simply not acceptable in any business, and the woman who were rude to you have no business working in retail, least of all in maternity retail. Please use your consumer power to send a message to the individuals and the company involved.

  79. Jen Mar 19 at 4:21 pm Reply Reply

    Loooooooong time lurker, first time poster. I was plus size before, during and after my pregnancy, and probably will be unil the day I die :) I know that you had a terrible experience at Motherhood in-store, but I would strongly urge you to check their online selections. The clothes aren’t bad, and they have frequent sales, which helps so much. I tried to adapt “regular” clothes in larger sizes during my first pregnancy, but by the third trimester, I would have had to wear muumuus to make that work. Very large muu muus. As for bras, I second the recommendation of getting them through a lactation consultant. I was amazed at the selection of styles but mostly SIZES my lactation consultant offered, and if you’re going to shell out big bucks for a bra, may as well be able to wear it both during and after pregnancy, right? And finally, PLEASE talk to your doctor or midwife about your feelings. While I was lucky enough to have a great pregnancy, I had severe post-partum depression and resisted getting help for a long time. I can’t get those “lost” months back. Pregnancy and motherhood are challenging enough; you don’t want to add anything else to the mix when there are so many resources out there that can help!

  80. Leah Mar 19 at 4:32 pm Reply Reply

    Facing the same problem and although the store selection was TINY for Motherhood Maternity, I’d like to reiterate that the online selection is MUCH better. I also got a bunch of stuff at Old Navy online – boo that you can’t find it on the Canadian website!

    Internet shopping has been my best friend in finding plus size maternity clothes  – Avenue has plus maternity clothes online as does JC Penny. There is an online store called Babies N Bellies with an okay selection and for some unknown reason a ton of formal wear. 

    As for nursing bras, I’m waiting until after the baby comes in and then I’m going to just buy the conversion kits for regular sized bras that actually fit (aka Cacique from Lane Bryant).

    Good luck and happy internet shopping!

  81. Kate Mar 19 at 5:06 pm Reply Reply

    First, massive hugs for you, sweetie! You have a lot going on in your life, and the last thing you should have to deal with is people being ugly to you because they’re inherently jerks. Tell them where they can stick it. And good on your husband for saying so to that woman in the store! She should be ashamed.

    That said, Ill share this: my best ‘maternity’ stores thusfar have been Sears for clothes, and Motherhood (shock!) for bras. I was almost 250 before getting pregnant, and am somewhere around 215 now. I lost a lot in the first trimester, and just looked ‘big’ – I have only recently started looking pregnant, and have gotten some rudeness from folks I saw around. It was hard enough to find decent, cute clothes pre-pregnancy, and is a little more difficult now. Feeling your pain! Sears was a lifesaver for me, as well as thrift stores (Goodwill, local maternity shops, if you have anything). The saleswoman at my local Motherhood is very helpful, and spent two hours with me and my husband to find comfortable nursing and sleep bras that would accommodate my rapidly-increasing rack. I hate that you had a bad experience there, and that other commenters have as well. Write to corporate, and tell them! Your money is important to them. Also, you may want to sign up with zulily.com, a Groupon-like site for maternity and children’s clothes.

    On the subject of nutrition during pregnancy, have you tried talking to a nutritionist/dietitian at your local clinic or hospital, perhaps with your midwife/doula/OB present? They should be able to provide you with either specific plans and information, or at least a direction in which you can find that information and make your own decisions. Disclaiming that I am NOT a nutritionist or a dietitian, or anyone with any professional training in that realm, I would suggest that you look at it more from the perspective that it is less about how much you eat, and more about the quality of what you eat and how it makes you feel. I’m a personal proponent of a diet that favors a whole foods approach, however one chooses to go about it (whole hog, or implementing more fresh produce or meat, etc.). Ultimately, it’s up to you how to go about your life, and that includes dietary changes at any stage. I would also recommend speaking to your midwife/OB regarding your body-image issues and depression – while they may not be specifically trained in those issues, they can get you to someone who is. The stress of being pregnant is enough without adding depression and self-hatred into the mix! You are what that baby needs to survive, and one of the first steps to taking care of your family is taking care of yourself. Please don’t be afraid to speak up and talk to someone about ANYTHING.

  82. Suzy Q Mar 19 at 6:41 pm Reply Reply

    Jodi, dear, I am so sorry for your loss.  

    And so happy for your currently gestating little one!  Congrats to you and your awesomely supportive husband.

    The previous commenters have you “covered,” I think, and since I have never given birth, I have no suggestions for maternity clothing anyway.  I just really wanted to give you my support, as a larger woman, in general.  Hugs to you, lady!  Please be kind to yourself.

    A pox on bitchy salesladies! And a kiss to commenter Bear above, who sounds like a lovely snuggly guy.

  83. Mountaingirl Mar 20 at 1:35 pm Reply Reply

    Sister, I hope you realize you are So NOT Alone! I am also plus sized and had much the same expereience so many women talk about here. And i also cried in Motherhood- why oh why do the plus sized clothes they do have have to be so freaking ulgy??? There are 8 things to choose from and they are anything but modern or fashionable. Plus sized women are not looking to appear old and frumpy. I digress. I also wanted to offer up the option of acupuncture. I at in my 37th week and have been seeing an acupunturist throughout my entire preganancy and it has changed my life and my relationship with my body. And for the record, i also had horrible painful sciatic pain which was taken care of in one treatment flat. It was amazing. See an acupucturist who is female and has experience working with pregnant women….not only have I had a very painfree, comfortable enjoyable pregnancy, but I have learned the value in having all my system aligned and in sync with one another. I sleep better, I have more energy, and even at my size at 37 weeks, I feel great. It has also had a HUGE impact on my issue of depression and anxiety. It has been a very empowering experience to do something healthy for my mind & body. I wish all good things for you!

  84. Lexi Mar 20 at 2:05 pm Reply Reply

    First and foremost, big huds to OP!! You don’t give yourself nearly enough credit for being a strong woman. You’ve been through so much! I was at work, reading your letter, saying to myself, ‘I must not cry at work. I must not cry at work…’
    Bras: I love Intimacy though they can be pricey (http://www.myintimacy.com/) I have one bra from there and I nearly live in it!
    Clothes: I don’t know about the availability of Gap stores or the possibility of shopping at Gap.com but I LOVE their maternity selection. They do have larger sizes and I found that many of their offerings ran a bit on the bigger side. Workout routine: Let’s face it, you’re exhausted and who wants to exercise when you’re already dragging? I had some anxiety issues as well and found that any movement at all through the day for any length of time really helped me. One of my favorite videos was ‘Summer Sanders’ Prenatal Workout’. All prenatal workouts are cheesy (personal opinion) but I used this one all the way through. I also had a yoga video that I used as my major source of relaxation. It cames as a set with all the bits and pieces you needed to do the routines. Good for the body and the mind… and the baby!
    Take good care of yourself, enjoy that beautiful little boy (mine just turned 9 months… tear!) snd always remember you are beautiful no matter what any unthinking person says!

  85. Sherri Mar 20 at 2:14 pm Reply Reply

    Found another one…

    Destination Maternity – they have a Plus section
    http://www.destinationmaternity.com/

  86. LC Mar 20 at 4:41 pm Reply Reply

    I’m 30 weeks pregnant, I wear XL or US-16, and I hate clothes shopping… so shopping for maternity clothes was not something I was looking forward to. One of my friends suggested craigslist, and I was thrilled to find someone who had an entire XL maternity wardrobe for sale locally for $60. Some of the items weren’t really my style, but overall it was a good deal…. I got a combination of some casual and some work clothes. I ended up supplementing with some thrift store finds (including cardigans from the “regular” clothes section), a bunch of summer maternity tshirts that my sister gave me, and a few new pairs of pants. It made the entire maternity clothes shopping experience so much less stressful to just go and pick up a bag o’stuff for a reasonable price and keep what fits. Even if you don’t find anyone locally selling clothes that will work for you, you might want to think about selling off your whole maternity wardrobe when you’re done having kids…. it could help defray the cost a bit.

  87. leslie Mar 20 at 5:31 pm Reply Reply

    I’m borderline between the L and XL, but non-pregnant have had lots of issues with weight. I had just lost some weight when I got pregnant and have found that one of the weirdest things is that I’ve spent so much of my life trying to lose weight that it’s a bit of a mental trip to say it’s OK to gain it. I’m 29 weeks and starting to have days where I feel gross, but like the woman who wrote the message, I’m lucky enough to have a partner who loves me and supports me through those annoying moments. The part in the letter about the husband’s quick response to the mean lady’s remark about losing weight was fabulous. I actually cheered when I read that. The pressures on women to look a certain way, even when pregnant, are ridiculous. I love this forum and all these amazingly supportive women. And it sounds as if the letter-writer has a fabulous partner to help her through these amazingly emotional times. You’re a very strong woman, even if you don’t see it now. 

  88. Donna Mar 21 at 12:02 am Reply Reply

    I’m pregnant with my second baby and I completely feel your pain on the plus size maternity clothes issue  It’s just ridiculous that the few items you can find are huge, ugly and look like they belong to a grandmother!  The best luck I’ve had is to order my jeans from motherhood online and then buy some regular plus sized shirts from Target.  The shirts tend to make me look more pregnant and less fat.  Also, I found a long flowy dress at Kohls that works great.  Good luck with your search.  please know you are not alone!  

  89. SnohoMomma Mar 21 at 3:21 pm Reply Reply

    Hi there Jodi!! Congrats on your new little boy on the way. The clothing issues are well covered in previous comments so I’m gonna put my 2 cents in on another subject….pictures of your pregnant self.

    OK, so I’m a plus-sized/38H momma to 2 beautiful boys. Right now I hover around size 18/20. I have never been thin in my adult life and I can honestly say I LOVED being pregnant, because I actually felt like I was fat for a reason! My belly got firmer, but never really popped until somewhere around 28-30weeks. I do not like to look at pictures of myself in general because, GAWD, is that what I really look like? Gah! With my 1st pregnancy, I just felt ROUND everywhere and aside from my baby shower, never really let pictures be taken of me. Being pregnant was great, but c’mon, I was still fat and knew it. Son #2 was OP (head down, but facing my abdomen) and my belly was painfully protruding (like, pre-umbilical hernia-OUCH), so I decided to snap some cell phone pics of myself and my belly in a full length mirror, at home, in private, wearing a t-shirt and yoga capris. They still live in my cell phone, I’ve never shown them to anyone and it’s been 20months now but I am SO GLAD I took those pics. You may feel ugly/fat/depressed now, but when you look at your beautiful boy and see him grow with such alarming speed, I think you might like to look back on a few pictures and remember not that you were plus sized, but that you carried this amazing little guy INSIDE you. Just a suggestion. :) I think it sounds like you are on track to being a wonderful momma. Good Luck!

  90. Page Mar 22 at 2:49 pm Reply Reply

    Oof, you poor thing. You are doing a great job nourishing and growing your little one! And you certainly don’t need or deserve any grief from bitchy, incompetent salespeople. It’s their loss: Businesses like these are leaving money on the table by catering only to a set range of body types. But for you, I hope you find a supportive professional ear and some supportive cute clothing! You’re doing great! (For what it’s worth I’ve found some comfortable H-cup bras on the site HerRoom.com.) Good luck! 

  91. AmyO Mar 23 at 2:44 pm Reply Reply

    Jodi, THANK YOU for writing in about this problem of plus-size maternity clothes. I am having the same problem, and I am also feeling shamed because of it. I KNOW there are other women out there who were size 1X before they got pregnant, so what gives with the maternity shops catering only to women who were size 4-10 pre-pregnancy (apparently)? My doctor isn’t giving me a hard time as long as I stay healthy and the baby’s healthy, so why are the maternity shops? Arrgh. THANK YOU also to all the helpful commenters. I am in desperate need of maternity pants for work, and I plan to check out some of these resources right away. I feel lucky not to be facing the bra issue yet – I haven’t gained much in the bust, it’s all about the belly, hips and thighs for me. It’s the thighs that make it hard to find pants that fit.

  92. Jodi Mar 24 at 10:07 am Reply Reply

    (OP Here)

    I am so glad that my writing in helped other women in the same situation as I – it’s nice to know we aren’t alone, eh?  Perhaps if we all start writing those maternity shops and telling them we want larger clothes and more selection in store they will start to listen.  I did find some dresses at my local Old Navy this time around so I’m feeling a bit better – and it turns out two of the bra companies mentioned have fittings in my area so I can get fitted then order online.  So once again, a huge THANK YOU to Amalah for being awesome but also to all of you – a more wonderful, supportive and sweet community I’ve never found online.  *hugs* to you all.

    I haven’t started the therapy yet, but it’s in the works, and I’m working on things at home to make me feel better.  Knitting, getting out and meeting other mamas, prenatal classes, started a blog about life and walking outside more (much to the delight of my first, four legged baby)  And guess what, SnohoMama – I took pictures of my body.  With and *grin* without clothes.  I might not look at the snaps now, but you are right, I’d be sad later if I wanted them and didn’t have them.

    Thank you all as well for the support and condolences on the loss of my first child.  It affects me more than I know most days – and feeds the anxiety as well.  

    I can feel the love and support from here and I am thankful for it.  I hope these links will help others as well as myself.  I’m planning on collecting them all today or tomorrow just to have them all in one place.  

    This boy is growing big and strong and kicking so now that I feel him more and more moving, I feel better too.  Much love to you all – and good luck on the journeys you are taking.

    xoxo

  93. Onze Mar 26 at 1:22 pm Reply Reply

    I want to tell you that I’ve been in the same position as you for the past 9 years – I feel your maternity clothes pain! I’m now 19weeks into my fourth pregnancy (1 boy & 2 girls at home) and I was plus-sized before the first and struggled to lose the weight in between each baby.  I live in BC and have had a hell of a time finding clothes – are canadian women so thin that we don’t need plus options? What are our retailers thinking??  My last two pregnancies (2005 & 2008) were a bit better because empire waist tops were “in” so I just bought a bigger size from Penningtons or Additionelle! This time, I’m bigger than I was in 2008 so I’m having to re-shop for mat clothes (which really chaps my a … Well, you know!).  As a result, I have a 2foot-high stack of size 2x mat clothes to give away. Mostly casual tops & tanks, at least one dress, and a few pairs of jeans… If someone could get me in touch w u directly, perhaps I could ship them to ya?

  94. Colcuore Mar 27 at 11:15 pm Reply Reply

    I love your post but I also have a problem trying to find maternity clothes in my size. I wear a size 32 pant not pregnant, was trying to loose weight when my husband and i were surprised with a pregnancy. I can wear a 28 but it is hard. No one seems to carry clothes in my size for pregnancy. And I am having a seriously hard time finding work pants. I have to wear either Khaki or brown for work but no one seems to think of that. Has anyone found anything. I am only 4 weeks but I need to start looking ahead. Even the online sights don’t go large enough. Plus size is 1x. what does 3x and 4x translate to?

  95. Malissa Apr 10 at 4:58 pm Reply Reply

    I am so sorry for your loss and so happy for your new pregnancy at the same time. When I read your letter I got chills because I have been through almost the same thing. Three years ago this August I lost my son also at 19w due to what we later found out was incompetent cervix. I was a size 18 (Lane Bryant) at that pregnancy but soon gained weight from depression and became a size 22. The struggle to find clothes and now nursing stuff upset me so much.

    I found alomost all of my maternity clothes from Old Navy I fit into their XXL size with room to spare. I am also a 44H bra size and I had no problem with the tops. I got all my bottoms from Motherhood Maternity. If you decide to nurse I do not recommend buying a bra there. I got mine online from Linda the Bra Lady. It was expensive but worth it.

    I also want to recommend a book that I got and it helped me a lot with my pregnancy. I was a wreck almost the whole time because of our loss and it really made everything else pile up on me including my size. My hubby and I also attended neonatal loss support groups and I joined a few chat rooms dedicated to hight risk and/or plus size pregnancies. The support I found there and then was later able to give was amazing. The name of the book I recommend for you is “Pregnancy after a Loss, a Guide to Pregnancy after a Miscarriage, Stillbirth or Infant Death” by Carol Cirulli Lanham.

  96. jenie Mar 01 at 2:22 am Reply Reply

    I have been using Morphmaternity clothes during my pregnancy and after my delivery too. Their long tops come with a leak proof layer which saved me from embarrassing leaks on so many occasions. It truly is a blessing!

  97. Erica May 06 at 12:41 pm Reply Reply

    This is all excellent advice. However, from a truly plus-size mama-to-be I can tell you that the XXL at Old Navy and Target are insultingly small. I tried to shop at Target with my 14 year old daughter and the Maternity XXL was only slightly bigger than her regular size 8. Finding plus size maternity clothing isn’t about just going to a store (online or otherwise) that sells XXL. It’s about finding a store that actually understand that some moms to be are fat before they get pregnant and need clothes that fit not just their expanding stomachs. I found some items at Catherines and the associates were fantastic. The problem I found that one shirt cost me $58 (with a discount.) So instead of being able to buy a few items to get me through I bought one shirt and a short sleeve cardigan. It is beyond frustrating and honestly, insulting.

    Please know you are not alone in the search for proper fitting plus-size maternity clothing. Sending you a big internetty hug.

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