However, I needed underwear that I can be comfortably seen and photographed in, and I have high standards, meaning lacy and well made and no digging into my skin, and flattering, etc etc. And most importantly matching sets only. I hate it when the tops and bottoms don't match. I don't just mean colour. I mean perfect match. So today I set myself out on a mission to find the needed items at the lowest possible price, hence I started with Winners. After one and a half hours of trying stuff on, I can promise you that if you are my size, you will not be able to find both a bra and a pair of panties that fit and are flattering. Don't even try. Mission failed miserably. I wanted to compromise and felt that I could not, that I would betray my principles if I did and would not have enjoyed wearing something that was not meeting the standards.
So I gave up on the frugal aspect and went to Change lingerie, which is not the most expensive but makes nice lace items that live through many washes and come out still standing. I would have gone for CK but Mr Calvin fits me well when I am less...cellulite ridden, because their panties are smooth and thin and hence show everything with no distraction. So Change it was. In a matter of 10 minutes I found a white bra with matching boy shorts and bikini bottoms, and the same thing in black, plus two sets of breastfeeding bras and underwear that I had to order. Their material is not the softest, but the abundance of well designed lace distracts from any imperfections and stands out on the skin very well. In short, I was super pleased, and decided that the feminine and well-cared for feeling that I was experiencing made the steep price tag worth it, even though I did not know how long I would be wearing the x-large bottoms for.
Pleased and content that I was finally coming home to myself (that is what it felt like, seriously), I modelled for my mom and my grandmother the black set. My mom loved it. My grandmother must have been in one of her moods, because she informed me that I am now fat, I have gained weight, I look "solid" and that I used to be thin, but hey, now that I am pregnant and am eating everything, what can I expect. She was very matter-of-factly about it, like informing me that I had mail.
I did not say anything about it, but it bothered me for a few hours, and I even cried when I told the story to MrH. I now weigh 50 lb over my normal weight, 40 lb from the pregnancy, and 10 lb from IVF. There is no denying that I have put on weight, despite fairly careful eating and swimming 1 to 1.5 km every day. My body likes to put on a lot of weight with hormonal fluctuations, and there is not much I can do. But. BUT. My wonderful husband was able to remind me that I am pregnant, that the estrogen in my body makes the fat layer thicker in preparation for breastfeeding, and that this is all a normal process. In addition, I am honestly very happy about being big and pregnant, I have wanted this for so long, that I guess what hurt me more is that others don't see me as beautiful as I see myself. I thought I looked like hot stuff in my sexy lingerie, and my grandmother's comments made me see myself through her eyes, and perhaps through other people's eyes as well. Other people who don't know that I have fought long and hard for 3 years for the privilege of being this big and pregnant.
So, after a lovely conversation with my husband, who somehow always makes me feel better about other people's crap, I decided that yes, others might see my wide thighs and the obvious layer of fat that has deposited on my butt, but that I have a different lens for my own body, and fortunately my husband does to. We know what a privilege this is. We know what an amazing process this has been, and how hard it was to get here, and what immense satisfaction we get out of my huge belly and Emma's kicking. And WE LOVE ME PREGNANT, fat and all.
The funny epilogue of this story is that after this conversation, I went swimming and did my 1.5 km as usual. Two people, at two different occasions, asked me how many laps I did and how I can swim so much, and wanted advice about where to get bathing caps (I have my neoprene triathlon style cap which makes me look very much like I mean business). I felt like the athlete of the moment in the pool. I should have taken a picture of their faces when I got out of the pool and my belly became visible, I don't think they had realized up to that point that I was pregnant!