Finally, one morning I pulled on my jeans and they wouldn’t zip. I didn’t even wait for my husband to come home from work. I raced to the mall (wearing his sweats) and there it was: the maternity outfit of my dreams. Navy blue stretch pants, complete with elastic waist. Blue and white striped sailor-style shirt, size “Tent.” On the way into the dressing room, the saleslady grinned and handed me a pillow with two adjustable straps on it. “This way you can see how it will fit later in your pregnancy,” she said and smiled knowingly. Adjustable straps — what a great idea, I thought, and headed for the full-length mirror with my pillow once again. I strapped the it on and pulled the blouse over my head. Pregnant perfection!

That night, I tried the outfit on for my husband. It didn’t look quite the same sans pillow. In fact, the hem in the front hung almost to my knees.

“Is that actually going to fit someday?” he asked, apprehensively.

“Yes,” I answered, dreamily. “Hand me that throw pillow. I’ll show you.”

By the time it did fit, I was too round and uncomfortable to appreciate it. I had reached the stage where my husband would have to anchor his sneakers on the carpet, take hold of my hands, and lean all the way back just to hoist me off the couch.

I saved that outfit for my second pregnancy, when, much to my dismay, it got a lot more wear. Any mother of two will tell you that you show a lot earlier in subsequent pregnancies than you do in your first. In fact, my youngest (and final) child is 2 1/2 now, and some days I think I’m still showing.

At least now I can always find my throw pillows where they belong — on the couch.

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