By Michelle LeGault
There once was a time when pregnant women hid their baby bumps under tents masquerading as shirts. This was an era when men and women were never shown in the same bed on TV and instead they slept in identical twin beds separated by a nightstand. Think “I Love Lucy.”
Were we supposed to think that sex never happened? Or that babies really DID come delivered by storks? Maybe Lucy wasn’t really pregnant under that giant shirt. After all, she did eat a lot of chocolate when she briefly worked for a candy factory. Maybe she just gained a few pounds…. all in her abdomen.
Gone now are the days of Lucy. This is a new time. Couples today are shown sharing a bed on TV and baby bumps are hip. As a twenty-something who has just given birth to her first baby (yeah buddy!) I can tell you that it is now the cool thing to show off your baby belly. The tricky part is finding stores that sell clothes that a) fit the bump and b) look good stretched over the bump and c) feel comfortable. Here is what I found in my 9ish months of pregnancy:
1. Maternity pants are a good investment and Gap maternity pants are the best. I like Gap pants because they come in actual pant sizes. A lot of maternity pants (apart from being ugly) come in ambiguous sizes like small, medium or large, so unhelpful. The only problem I found with Gap maternity clothes was that most of them are only available online. However, if you like to thrift you can easily find this brand at consignment shops.
2. When it comes to shoes the flatter the better, I say. My baby was just over 7 pounds when she was born, but my total weight gain was 25 pounds (which is normal). That is a lot of extra weight to carry all in your abs and your feet will notice. This is like carrying around two 12.5 pound bowling balls all day. Do yourself a favor and invest in comfy shoes.
3. It doesn’t have to be a maternity shirt for you to wear it while pregnant. Stores like H&M and Express are good places for finding long, fitted tops that look cute over a baby bump. I tried to pick things in solid colors so I could coordinate with other pieces in my wardrobe.
4. Ruching: it looks better on you than on the hanger. You know how some things look really ugly on a hanger, and then when you put them on they look amazing? That’s how it goes for maternity tops with ruching. They are made to fit perfectly over your bump and stay in place so that you don’t accidentally bare your midriff when you don’t want to. Old Navy and Target both carry tops in this style that are very business casual.
5. In a pinch, you can use a cinch – a belt that is. Another way to draw attention to your bump is to wear a cute chunky belt around your shirt at empire-waist-height.
By Lindsay Patton-Carson
This past summer, I got too thin.
I suffer from chronic migraines that can be as little as tense neck and head pain for one day or as big as throwing up an entire day or suffering from pounding pain for a week straight. It wasn’t always like this. I used to suffer from migraines sporadically. Maybe one every couple of months. Over the past year, I have been in some sort of pain weekly, many times daily.
It got to the point where it interfered with the things I love. Just a couple months after completing my first marathon, I could not run without triggering a headache. My work, which is a great source of pride and fulfillment for me, became, well, work.
For months, I took on the role of lab rat. I was desperate to try anything to get rid of my pain. In May, after being put on a couple different prescriptions, I saw a neurologist about the pain, despite seeing two different doctors to try to help me. In my mind I thought, ‘Neurologists are like migraine experts. This will be a good thing.’
This doctor put me on Topamax, a prescription I’ve heard good things about from friends and family members that also suffer from migraines. I thought if it’s worked so well for them, it might work for me.
One of the side effects for Topamax is weight loss. Since I was already at 114 pounds, I figured I couldn’t lose that much anyway, so I went for it. I didn’t understand that this drug takes away a person’s appetite and in the beginning, leaves them nauseous daily.
Every day, I had the feeling that I had to throw up, but nothing ever came up. I accumulated ginger ale around my desk at work because I needed to calm my stomach somehow. I told myself to just stick it out, that it would get better. That this is a good drug and it would help me.
After a while, I started to notice that I was getting smaller. I looked on the scale and I was 111 pounds. OK, nothing to worry about. I’ve been this size before.
A couple weeks later, it was 110. OK, I just need to try to eat more.
When it got to 108, I knew I had to do something. I stopped working out completely because I was afraid to lose more weight. The last time I saw those numbers on the scale, I was 16 years old and not yet fully developed.
I was starting to get worried that people would notice. And they did. Some approached me out of concern, thinking I might be harming myself, it was that noticeable. If people were mentioning things to me and voicing concern, I could only imagine what was being said behind my back. In order to squash any potential rumors, I decided I’d be upfront about my struggle, letting people know that I’m working toward getting better.
Skinny Girl Problems
I’ve always felt uncomfortable about saying “I am skinny.” It’s the truth, it is what I am, but even though I know I’m small, I feel guilty around people who are bigger than me; like I am the one perpetuating the size-two culture we live in.
I feel bad because I have never really struggled with my weight. At 5’4″, I’ve fluctuated between 113 and 120 pounds for a good part of my adult life. I have never dieted. I have never said no to food because I was worried about calories. I know it’s a luxury not many people have.
But since I am the size-two culture, I’ve never been able to completely understand how messed up body image is in this country. I do know the culture is messed up, but since I’m right in the middle of the ‘problem,’ per se, I can’t fully understand how someone outside of that tiny bubble might feel.
And because of this, there is some sort of war against thin women. While other women get to embrace their curves, those that are my size must hold responsibility for what Hollywood and the media set as their standards. And once I started struggling with being too thin, I saw exactly how screwed up our culture can be.
I can give you some of my fat
I don’t expect people to understand what it’s like to be too thin. It’s not something that happens in our day-to-day lives. People struggle to lose weight. They don’t struggle to gain weight. So when I thought I was taking control with telling people about my struggle, it turned out that I just gave them a passive aggressive route as a way of responding.
“Wow. Must be nice to have that problem.”
“I wish I had that problem.”
“Which medication are you on? Maybe I should get my hands on that!”
And the most annoying, “I can give you some of my fat.”
Not only is that statement insensitive to what I’m going through, it is downright impossible. You cannot just give me your fat.
So in doing what I thought would be opening up a healthy conversation and understanding, it just turned out to be more stress on myself. Wow. Who am I to complain about this ‘problem?’ I should be happy I can no longer fit into my size-two pants, that my hard-earned muscles have shrunk, that I just feel weak all the time. I am the size of Kate Bosworth! I should be happy! I should shut up with my complaints because there are overweight people in this world.
And I get it, overweight people do get looks. They get nasty comments. To be concise, they get treated like shit. And trust me, I am not the problem. I want people to feel good, to be healthy, to be confident in their bodies, regardless of size. At 108 pounds, I felt weak, I felt unhealthy, I felt incapable. The healthiest I ever felt, in fact, was a year ago when I was 10 pounds heavier. I was strong, I was capable and I was confident. I was proud of my body and what it could do and I also liked the way I looked.
As for me today, I’m getting better. I went off my medication and switched over to one that fits my needs. I’m back up to 115 pounds, my healthy and happy weight, and I’m focusing on regaining my strength, falling back in love with running and becoming an overall healthier me. Most importantly, my migraines are fewer because I’ve learned to listen to my body better.
So I ask you, before you judge someone for their size, before you think, ‘Just eat less’ or ‘Just eat more,’ it might not be as easy as that for them. In fact, they could be struggling with something more.
By Tara Cavanaugh
It’s fall, y’all! Well not technically. It’s September, that transition month where it’s slowly getting cooler but the sun is still blazing away. So what to wear?
Black + brights
Take your favorite summer tanks — those bright, wild prints — and pair them with black jeans or a black skirt.
Bare legs still get a pass for now (so long as you have boots or a closed-toe shoe). And black tights are going to look kinda vampy this early in fall. So go for some colors! Saw the gal above rocking navy tights and a plum dress with metallic flats.
Dresses + boots
Pair your beloved, flowy, comfy summer dresses with knee-high boots or ankle-high booties.
Black + white
The foolproof combo for early fall and spring, black and white is always classy. While white pants or white shoes might be a bit much in September, try a white cardi (over your dress + boots outfit or over a bright summer tank and dark jeans). Or keep wearing those beloved white/light accessories for a while to offset the new darker, richer colors in your wardrobe.
Gold shoes. Rose gold jewelry. Silver skinny belts. In summer they looked best at night; now they add a romantic touch during the day.
Now is the easiest time of all to wear ankle-skimming pants and jeans with heels or flats.
By Tara Cavanaugh
There’s tons of good reasons to get a dog. Dogs are amusing. They help relieve stress. They provide companionship and affection.
But there’s a particular benefit of owning a dog in your late twenties: They chill you the fuck out. Continue reading
By Lindsay Ray
Taylor Swift may not have had a lot of love for Tina Fey and Amy Poehler recently, but that’s OK, I have more than enough. It’s easy to sum up why I adore these two so very much: they’re smart, they’re funny, and they support other women.
The first two parts of my list go hand-in-hand. They write funny jokes and they have the hutzpah to pull them off. I’m not saying all the jokes are a win, but they’re going to make you laugh, they’re not mean-spirited, and sometimes they’re going to make you think. If you don’t believe me (and if you do but just need an extra dose of Tina ‘n Amy), just watch the above. Continue reading
By Emma Kat Richardson
My feminist hero isn’t really a hero. At least not in casual popular estimation. Many would likely call her a villain; “adultress,” “slut,” and “bitch” are equally oft-used labels. Nor is she feminist, simply by virtue of having missed the first wave by more than 300 years. But she has, in time, come to stand as a figurehead of not only historical importance, but the more modern concept of feminine empowerment as well. Continue reading