NEWSFLASH! Fat People Get Pregnant, Need Clothes

NEWSFLASH!

Fat People Get Pregnant, Need Clothes

Manufacturers and local retailers incredulous

Portland, OR — It is supposed to be the “happiest time in a woman’s life”1, but for Portland resident and fat pregnant woman Arwyn Arising2, it has proved to be a time marked by frustration and frumpy clothes.

“Sure, there are plenty of fat chick clothing stores in the area — from national chains like Lane Bryant to upscale boutiques like Magical Creations to trendy thrift stores like Fat Fancy — and there are all the usual pregnancy clothing stores, but do any of the above stock maternity clothing that will fit someone like me? Not that I’ve found,” said Arising.

An example: what Arising has found is half a dozen local retailers who stock a brand of maternity tank which, “barely!” according to Arising, comes up to her size — but none of them carry the “curvalicious”3 sizes.

This journalist contacted several of the local retailers for their take. All of them wished to remain anonymous4.

“Oh! I didn’t even know they made them that big,”5 said one maternity store, demonstrating a typical surprise that plus-size women do not universally dress in muumuus.

“No, of course we don’t carry that size,” said a lactation specialist, who went on to wonder how obese women managed to breast-feed their infants without suffocating them “with all that unnecessary breast tissue.”

“We stopped stocking that brand when they moved their manufacturing to China, because it doesn’t matter whether anyone can afford our products or even have clothes to wear as long as our purity standards are met. But I don’t think we ever had that size,”6 said one particularly earnest employee at a “mama-baby boutique” which caters to the cloth-diapering, baby-wearing, too-much-money crowd.7

“Fat chicks get knocked up? By WHOM?? Don’t they know it’ll only make them fatter?”8 asked one maternity worker in response.

Many manufacturers, however, protest that they do, of course, make “fatty sizes”.

“We offer up to 3x! Only offered online,” said one.

Another, “Plus sizing to 24W! Not available in stores.”

“Like we’d want fatties cluttering up our shops,” said the most candid retailer representative, whom we’ll call Babs9.

“Don’t they, like, smell and stuff?” she continued.

Arising noted that part of the problem may be the way manufacturers label the larger sizes of clothing.

“Take this tank, for instance. 34 B/C through 40 D/E: all the same product, just different sizes. But jump to a 42, 44, or an F/G, and suddenly it’s a whole different product with a different product number — and they charge 20% more.”

“We can’t let them think it’s ok to be all fat and pregnant without paying for it,” said Babs when queried about price differentials.

She hastily added, “What I mean is, it takes extra fabric and stuff.”

Arising again: “They’ll tell you it’s for ‘extra’ fabric, but do they charge less for the 32 Bs? Do petites pay less? Not from what my short and thin friends have told me.”

Arising suggested the solution would be for maternity retailers to make all their sizes available in stores, and for plus-size retailers to reach out to independent maternity designers.

Babs, meanwhile, had her own solution: “They should just, like, stop getting pregnant. Or stay home. No one wants to see them, anyway.”

  1. Because of course all women, and only women, get pregnant with the intention of birthing baby(s), happily and intentionally and unambivalently.
  2. Name changed for anonymity and because a newpaper article just isn’t the same without a surname to quote.
  3. I wish I were making this up.
  4. Translation: being blacklisted from all the local lactation-supportive stores would suck rocks.
  5. Direct quote. Swear to gods.
  6. It’s possible that everything after “China” in this quote has been added for dramatic effect.
  7. Please don’t let these lovely people ever figure out they’re being referenced, or at least let them have a sense of humor.
  8. Hat tip to Violetsouffle.
  9. Bigoted Against Big Suckas. What? You try to do better.
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24 Responses to NEWSFLASH! Fat People Get Pregnant, Need Clothes

  1. HAH! Funneh. And yet… not very (quite clever though). Thank you for having the mental fortitude to portray your frustration through humour.

  2. I was SO FRUSTRATED when I was pregnant, because in all of the research I did I could never find a store into which I could walk that would sell me plus-sized maternity undies. In all of Canada there was one online retailer that sold them, and they came t0 $18 for three, which meant that if I wanted enough undies to get through a week without doing laundry I’d need to spend over $50. On underwear. Oversized regular undies are NOT THE SAME. I was fat, sure, but I was also pregnant, and my body changed the way a pregnant person’s body changed, not the way a person’s body would change getting just generally fatter. I found two pairs of maternity jeans that were the largest size in the store and they barely got me through. Wouldn’t fit if I got pregnant now though, so I guess I’d be out of options, unless I managed to convince my mom to make me some pairs.

    So I sympathize. And unfortunately, you remind me of some of the completely unnecessary discomforts and difficulties of being pregnant. Not sure I can do it again.

  3. While the complaints of the pregnant plus size demographic are both completely founded in reality, and the extrapolative remarks you’ve made are snarky and hilarious, I need to bring up something regarding pricing and manufacturing.

    I’m an independent plus size designer, and all the funding, marketing, and development costs are undertaken by me personally. When a retailer says to me that they want me to cut a 12 or a 26 (my line is 14 – 24), what that means is that I need to pay a grading service to grade the new size (approx. $150 per size, per style), then pay a patternmaker to cut the new fitter mock up for fitting (approx. $400), then pay a fit model to come inand get tweaked on for an hour or 2 (approx. $250), then pay again to have the new pattern plots cut (approx. $150) for the yardage. I’m already paying higher wholesale costs on fabric and construction because I don’t meet the production minimums that Lane Bryant or Pea in the Pod can, and I’m paying for all manufacturing costs up front because I’m not bankrolled by a conglomerate or VC’s. This is true for independents who make Petites as well as the indie retailers.

    While I agree that there’s VERY little in the marketplace to choose from as a plus size woman who happens to be pregnant, knowledge about what The Little (Fat) Dressmakers and Retailers are up against is important too. Think of it as Walmart and Starbucks controlling pricing structures and supply availability for the mom and pop stores and cafes, and SUPPORT INDEPENDENT DESIGNERS PLEASE!

    • Maman A Droit

      Check out the “Sew, Mama Sew!” blog. They had some tips recently on doing your own grading and pattern making that were way over my head but might help you be able to do more of it yourself and same some of that money (hopefully anyway!)

  4. Yes!!!! I did notice that the more pregnant I got, the “smaller” I got. Rather, the sizes accomodated me better. I was a size 22/24 before I got pregnant, and as my belly got bigger, the clothes at Motherhood fit me better. Weird.

    Bonus 2c tip for you: I am super cheap and lazy, so instead of buying a big boob nursing bra that I wasn’t sure would fit or give me enough support, or making my own nursing bra, I used the Lane Bryant cacique jersey bras. I just pulled the bra up, and pulled my breast down under the band. This was perfectly comfortable for me, and I only got one case of mastitis, at 18 months, so I don’t think it was because of the bra. Plus, since I used them during my pregnancy anyway, they were essentially free. Buying them in the first place was relatively cheap, because I bought them during one of their many bra sales. I got 4 for $100. They lasted for about a year.

  5. You know I’m not fat by any means (unless your standard of normal is “skeletal”), but because I’m tall, I encounter some (NOT all), of these issues. Oh yeah, I also have some curves with my height (still not fat tho)… so I’m in the horrid position that I can’t find clothes in normal stores *or* fat people stores, even when not pregnant. I can usually find something that works in one dimension, if not the other, so it’s not quite as bad.. but I really don’t enjoy perpetual high water pants. To not have much in either? Would really suck.

    Maybe I should start an etsy shop selling burlap sacks. ;)

  6. This is genius. China quote along made me spew breakfast tea. And what’s UP with the higher prices? Extra fabric, my ass.

  7. This is so full of win and reminds me so much of what I went though when I was pregnant with my boys. It was absolutely ridiculous. What do they think that we are so fat that we cannot get laid, and therefore not get pregnant? I don’t understand why retailers refuse to admit that there is a market for these products.

  8. Awesome post. :)

    I found one store that sold pants that would fit me (shirt were easier) and basically alternated between 2 pairs of pans for most of my pregnancy.

    I was bothered more by the fact that in spite of being totally healthy and having zero complications, my midwives still had me undergo a gazillion tests (which now that I know better I will be declining next time) and the looks and comments I got when dealing with medical professionals outside my midwifery practice, basically along the lines of, Ew – I can`t believe you are actually daring to have a child.

    Indeed…how dare we…

  9. …This has made me want to throw all my previous intentions for self-run business out the window and learn to sew so I can start making decent goddamn plus-size maternity clothes. I mean, it’d still be online-based, but yeah. How has nobody figured out there’s a market here yet?

  10. I had the same problems when I was pregnant. Shopping is frustrating normally, add pregnancy and hormones and I am lucky I left the house at all :) I never found a pair of jeans and that was all I wanted. Thanks for posting things like this. I often read your blog and think, finally someone is saying what I am thinking. I really appreciate your site.

  11. I managed to buy 2 maternity shirts from Lane Bryant… before they stopped carrying maternity clothing (which at the time was only available online). I spent my entire pregnancy in 2 maternity shirts, a Bella Band over regular pants, and whatever tunic-type shirts I had that covered me adequately. It was frustrating as hell. I had money to spend on clothing, a need for clothing, and it was nearly impossible to find people to give my money to. What, fat money’s no good? I was very lucky that I didn’t gain much weight and so was able to keep wearing most of my non-pregnancy clothing, or I don’t know what I would have done. Made a muumuu out of sheets? No idea.

  12. what I wondered about is where do pregnant women stick their breasts? I didn’t have the plus size issue because I can still just fit in the top of the normal sizes (and in my favorite breastfeeding store I even have a medium, so that does cater to – ever so slightly – larger women). Before pregnancy I had a small A, when I got pregnant my boobs grew a little but not much (it wasn’t until the milk came in that they went all Napoleon on me). From the first pregnancy clothes shopping trips I could not get these breast to fit in anything that wasn’t spandex… what’s that about. Aren’t pregnant women generally bigger breasted than the average population? How can they forget about that?

    • YES to this. I would find a cute top that was supposed to be my size, but had no boob space at all. Empire waist tops were the worse offenders–what pregnant lady is that small up top? I ended up doing what I do when not pregnant; long tank tops under a light sweater/shirt. But in summer, that was still too damn hot. but it was that or flash my navel at people. By the end, I was wearing giant men’s t-shirts, which only worked because my office was casual.

      And I was forever pulling up my stretched-out pants.

      Forget maternity dresses. Ha.

  13. Oh god, this post. When I was pregnant I owned three pieces of maternity clothing — a pair of jeans I only just barely fit into from WalMart, a skirt I bought at our local overpriced baby store, and I think a maternity shirt I also bought at WalMart. I spent the rest of my pregnancy in sweatpants or a handful of skirts I owned, thanking god most of my t-shirts were already oversized.

    I remember being so discouraged when I went online to see that the things that would fit me or were cute I couldn’t afford — someone needs to tell the maternity industry that people living paycheck-to-paycheck also have kids and cannot manage some of these prices — or they weren’t in my size.

  14. Maman A Droit

    I love that you are bringing attention to this issue. I got up to a size 34J the first couple of months after having my son and it was nearly impossible, even online, to find bras that fit-never mind that no shirt in the universe is made to fit someone that shape. Yet I have trouble believing that I’m the only one who ever is that size! Now that I’m a 34F (my son is almost 2) I am a size that is somewhat easier to find, but still isn’t available in any retail store I’ve seen and isn’t even available online from JCPenney, Target, or WalMart (aka anywhere cheap). It’s amazing the extremely narrow range of clothing sizes and shapes actually available when real women come in such variety!

  15. I was lucky enough to work at a Motherworks (aka Motherhood Maternity, and various associated brands) store that actually stocked a mediocre selection of plus size, as well as long, short, and ‘regular’ length pants in most styles. It was nice being able to customize for any mom/mom-to-be that walked in. Unfortunately, their nursing bras haven’t evolved as far, You still won’t get above a DD in band sizes up to 38/40 and F in band sizes up to 44. Even those tend to run “small” as if lactating women want to cram their sore breasts into bras that give them “cleavage” because they’re aiming to feel all sexy when feeding their children in public. /sarcasm

    Great post as always!

  16. I hit an L cup when I started nursing, and I actually had to get a 36 (or 38, I can’t remember) band because they didn’t make my band size for that cup. I had to put darts in them. I still have them and I’m scared to get rid of them since they were so damn hard to find.

  17. And heaven help you if you want nursing clothes after all that….the biggest I’m finding anywhere online is a size 2x….

  18. Hey y’all — just because there’s been some question: the situation portrayed herein is entirely true, but half the quotes (I’ll leave it to you to guess which ones) have been fabricated or exaggerated for comedic effect. I think most people are getting that it’s satire, but enough have wondered I figured I’d toss a disclaimer up. So there it is.

  19. As a former journalist, props on the format. As a horrified woman who loves you and your bad self, props on maintaining the ability to not rip some throats out.

  20. Pingback: This Week’s Warm Link Hugs: May 22 « TouchstoneZ

  21. I can confirm, as a petite woman, that I have never gotten a discount for my short stature.

    And this post rocks. Too bad maternity stores, you know, don’t.

  22. Holy crap. I figured, just from the complete lack of pregnancy/nursing clothes for fat women, that someone, somewhere must be of the opinion that fat women can’t get laid, and therefore can’t get pregnant or need to breastfeed, but the blatant bigotry of those people leaves me breathless with anger. Furious.

    I’ve given up on maternity clothes. Stretchy fat clothes it is, for as long as I can make them work. I can’t stand the damn belly panels anyway.

    I’m a 4x. With a 46 L bra size. I want to bite all the websites that carry plus sized clothing and no maternity, or purport to carry plus sized maternity but stop at a 2x. And don’t get me started on nursing bras.

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