Over the past few months, I’ve been packing up maternity clothes and all those silly newborn items you use for just a few weeks but store in your garage for years. I’m looking at you – nursing tanks, boppy pillow, tiny swaddles, and burp cloths.
I’m starting to feel like my non-pregnant self again, mostly sleeping at night and simply needing to lose 15 pounds (easy, right?). I recently reactivated my subscription to Le Tote, where I rent my clothes instead of buying them (see my past review here). During the final trimester of pregnancy, I used Le Tote’s maternity subscription to keep the bump looking cute without buying even more maternity clothes I would later have to stash in a storage bin or pawn off on a pregnant friend. Before I wipe all the maternity items from my closet on Le Tote, I thought I would share a quick review of their maternity subscription. This is NOT sponsored by Le Tote. I just want to fill you in on how you can feel cute during week 39 of pregnancy without spending all your money in the Target maternity section.
When I was pregnant with Zianne, I had fun buying some cute maternity dresses and tank tops to get my large body through the brutal Phoenix summer. I also had a friend loan me all her maternity clothes. I thought she was being generous, but it turns out she was just being crafty. She was in the middle of moving and lending her maternity clothes meant one less box to pack up and store. After I had Zianne, I realized it’s actually not that fun to own maternity clothes, because you only wear them for three to six months, and then you have to figure out where to keep them. They are necessary, but highly impractical.
Side note: I know some women solve this problem by wearing flowy, non-maternity items throughout pregnancy that can still be worn after the baby arrives. While I like the idea, I often notice that non-maternity clothes make pregnant women look frumpy and extra large, especially in photographs. I prefer to wear real maternity clothes, at least in the final months of pregnancy. They are more comfortable, since they are designed for the uniquely-shaped body of a pregnant woman, and they extenuate the bump, while allowing the thinner parts of my body to still be seen.
Even though I’ve only had spring and summer babies, I have found that even the difference of a few months between my due dates has meant fairly different wardrobe needs during pregnancy. Zianne was born on the last day of a typical 110+ degree Phoenix summer. I was not teaching and could float in my pool in a bikini every afternoon. Eisley, however, was born in April in California, which means my bump was significantly popping by Christmastime. I was teaching full-time, so I needed professional, yet comfortable clothing for mildly cold weather. My Old Navy maternity tanks that I lived in with Zianne would not suffice.
Enter Le Tote. I switched over to their maternity package when I was around 30 weeks, and I lived in their gorgeous dresses for the rest of my pregnancy. I had pretty bad varicose veins with Eisley, so I was desperate to keep my legs covered, but didn’t want to buy more maxi dresses. Instead, I borrowed Le Tote’s dresses and kept my legs hidden in style.
To sum it up: I loved using Le Tote Maternity during my 3rd trimester. I own a solid foundation of maternity pieces, but it was great to use Le Tote to fill in some gaps as far as professional clothing, spring styles, and long items to keep my legs covered. I also rented a few nursing items after Eisley was born, but then I put my account on hold for the summer while I was fluctuating sizes and off work for a few months. I love that you can freeze your Le Tote account at any time for as long as you want. I actually extended my freeze for an extra month or two, when I realized I didn’t really have a need for Le Tote until school started up again. But now that fall has arrived, I am using my Le Tote subscription again and I love it. The downside is that the maternity option is expensive. It costs about $10 more per month than the regular subscription. I thought it was worth it, especially since I only used it for about ten weeks and then paused my account for a number of months, but cost may be a hinderance to some people. I truly wish Le Tote would drop their prices a little bit…
If you are interested in signing up for Le Tote, you can use this referral link for one free tote. This post is NOT at all sponsored by Le Tote; I just really love their service and wanted to highlight their maternity option.
I missed writing you a letter last month. I’ve never missed a letter…
Two other daughters got a letter every single month during their first year. You have four so far. I was right on pace. But now you are missing one. Whenever I create a book with these letters – if that ever happens – yours will only have 11 letters and for that, I’m sorry.
It’s not that I forgot to write you a letter. I remembered multiple times over the past month… remember to write Eisley’s five month letter. The weeks are slipping by. She’ll be six months old soon. Write her letter ASAP.
But it never happened.
Today, I was tempted to write you two letters, just so the math would be right, but that seems a little disingenuous. Because this year is the kind of year where letters don’t get written. The kind of year where the house is too cramped and the future is uncertain. Where going back to work feels messy, and I don’t have time to blog or write letters or sort through the million pictures jamming up the memory on my phone. Where I feel a little bit anxious, a little bit tired, and not quite like myself.
Someday I’ll look back on this year and simply see it as brief season of life – a hard season of good lessons learned in marriage and parenting and achieving dreams and shifting plans. I’ll always think, “The year Eisley was born was a really hard year.”
But I want you to know the difficulty of this season has nothing to do with you. Of course, the sheer volume of three children has been an adjustment, but individually, you are a gem. I have a feeling this would have been a hard year, whether or not you were here with us. Even if we had waited another year to have a baby, I’m certain this season would still be difficult.
But God knew about this season in advance, and He gave us you to be the bright spot in days that sometimes feel gray. You smiling. You laughing. You sleeping peacefully in your little pink sleep sack. You, with your fuzzy strawberry hair and your raspberry forehead. Your pudgy thighs and soft cheeks. The baby who tolerates her sisters’ antics and kicks the water in the bath tub with such vigor and glee. You.
At the beginning of my pregnancy with you, I felt so nauseated and tired that for once in my life I started spending time relaxing… often curling up in bed with a book. Now you are here and the habit continues. Instead of reading, we curl up in bed together for your feedings. I escape the chores in the kitchen and the whining kids in the living room, and inhale your baby scent and kiss your forehead. With your sisters, I always saw breastfeeding as merely perfunctory, simply to provide the most healthy and affordable food for my child. But you have made me understand those tender paintings of mothers nursing their babies throughout the centuries. It took three children for me to see it as less of a burden and more of a bond.
We didn’t decide your name until after you were born. The night before I went into labor with you, your dad and I went to dinner. We were discussing girl names and Eisley started rising to the top of our list. We had no idea you would be born just hours later. When you arrived, we settled on Eisley. It means cheerful. And that you are. My smiling, content baby. You are like a pleasant tune that drowns out chaos, sadness, anger, and frustration. Not only are you cheerful, but you bring good cheer to others. Most of all, to me.
You are a gift, my child. This season might be a hard one. My patience is short. My margin is too thin. And you are missing a letter in your collection. But that doesn’t change the fact that you are my Eisley girl. You are the cheerful soul who brings so much love and light into my days.