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National Editorials & Columns

Maternity Wear: A big fashion choice

I am an addict.

They say the first step is admitting that you have a problem. I do, and it’s time to come clean. I love wearing maternity clothes.

In case you are wondering, I’m not pregnant again. But you wouldn’t know it by my wardrobe. By my wardrobe, you could mistake me for Michelle Duggar from “19 Kids and Counting.”

You may not think that maternity shopaholism is that sexy of a disease; it doesn’t have the immediate universal flair of chocaholism. But you couldn’t be more wrong.

There’s something sensual about the tug of the forgiving spandex-blend material when I pull on the waist of a hanging garment to check the tag.

A heat rush burns my cheeks as my eyes settle on the tag’s large “M” for “maternity.” A tickle of naughtiness creeps up my spine when I curl the pull string of a maternity shirt around my little finger. Tugging it. Releasing the bow, liberating the shirt — the released fabric cascading to newfound freedom in every direction.

I simply can’t describe the feeling of wholeness and centeredness I get from wearing clothes that seemingly float around me. It’s like wearing a puffy cloud of love.

Do I daydream about emptying dressers full of expandable pants and belly belts onto my bed and rolling around in their elastic goodness? Of course. Who doesn’t? But my addiction runs much deeper than the simple joy of wearing oversize garments. I love the rush I get from ignoring my Target shopping list and walking straight into the maternity aisle, hands immediately wrapping around a purple turtleneck with an expandable neck. It’s naughty. It’s wrong. I don’t belong in this section of the store. But before I know it, I have a cartful of clothes and I’m full-speed booking it to the checkout line.

Don’t judge. I finally have found my style, my image, my look. If only I had discovered the simple joy of shopping for maternity clothes early in my teen years! I could have avoided the pain of walking around in whatever tacky trends my mom bought for me. (OK, sure, I might have bemoaned the reason behind my pubescent discovery of stretchy pants, but clothes would have been a definite silver lining.) All of those years my friends threatened to send in my pictures to TLC’s “What Not to Wear” would have disappeared! Stacy London always says that once you know how it feels to be in perfectly fitted jeans, you never will go back. And now I know, Stacy! Really, I know! And it comes equipped with a 5-inch stretchy bellyband and four rows of buttons to accommodate a growing gut. I realize that London probably wouldn’t recommend wearing maternity jeans a year after giving birth, but she probably never has put on a pair, so what does that hussy know?

For the first 30 years of my life, I hated shopping. Loathed it. Despised it. And now I am supposed to just give up my new shopping passion just because I’m no longer with child? You know what this is? This is discrimination! I will sue you if you try to stop me! I have rights!

Sorry. Didn’t mean to yell. I get a little impassioned over my maternity wear shopaholism. Whew.

I’ve made a lot of excuses for my addiction over the past year. I told myself it’s OK because I haven’t lost all the baby weight. The clothes are convenient for a mom who is on the go. Everyone else is doing it. I even have been proud of wearing the tent-sized garments. I’m a revolutionary! An artist! People who think outside the box are always persecuted. Just think about the scandal when women first started wearing pants.

But yesterday, in the Target checkout line, a woman looked at my cartful of maternity clothes and asked, “When is your baby due?”

My cheeks burned red, not from the sexy rush of rolling in muumuus but from that painful and ever-so-distinctive flush of embarrassment. I looked at the woman, smiled and said, “March 19.”

Without thinking, I had given her my birthday and scuttled away, quickly returning the clothes to their racks.

They say the first step is admitting you have a problem.

Hello. My name is Katiedid Langrock, and I’m a maternity wear shopaholic.

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