Updated: Jul 31, 2019
1 in 10,000.
These are the odds of having subsequent twin pregnancies without fertility treatments. Yep-- having twins, and then having twins again. By chance. Pretty remarkable.
Now, let’s combine that with almost losing your second set of twins to blood clots in the uterus during the first trimester. And follow that up with a 4-week hospitalization at the end of the pregnancy resulting in the second set of twins being born prematurely at 34 weeks. And if this wasn’t enough, add onto this a NICU stay for the twins after birth for extra necessary care.
And just to make things extra spicy, you are going through all of this 2,000 miles away from any family without a supportive community due to a recent move. And the NICU is an hour away from your house, so you don’t get to see your new twins much at all with your first set of twins at home with plenty of questions about this whole scenario.
I’ll admit it: I read this story and thought to myself, “There’s no way I could get through that." I mean, I sat in a dark room for 24 hours, blinds drawn, lamenting my very uncoordinated life and sang a beautiful ballad of “WHY ME?!” for the better half of the evening - all over a skinned knee cap that brushed against a barbell at my gym.
In a wild comparison, this Super Mom, a woman who persevered through one of the most challenging experiences a mother could go through – she did it.
Meet Jaimi Stewart – mother of two sets of twins, fashionista, and blogger at JaimiStewart.com. Jaimi is passionate about style, travel, and encouraging Moms through her blog – and this Mama knows how to put together a cute outfit!
However, going through a harrowing experience like her second pregnancy resulted in Jaimi’s style taking a back seat during her postpartum days. Jaimi and I sat down for an interview to talk about how she dealt with the NICU, postpartum, and finding her style again.
Kat: What was the scariest part of your NICU experience?
Jaimi: Probably the fact that I was over an hour away from where my babies were staying. I got to visit them only a handful of times. With my older two, I’ve been with them for every “scary” experience...but I couldn’t be there all the time with my babies and that broke my heart. Even though it wasn’t true, I told myself “my babies will bond with nurses and not me.” That’s a scary place to be in. Tons of guilt, but nothing I could do about it.
Kat: If there is one piece of advice you can give mothers who have a child in the NICU, what would it be?
Jaimi: Oh man, I think everyone’s NICU experience is so different. I would say, deal with your feelings. Do not push them down or aside. Do not compare your journey to someone else’s. Another mom may be handling everything just fine, but you feel you’re at your breaking point. Talk to someone. A counselor, your partner, a pastor, a mentor, the nurses/doctors. And you may realize years down the road how deeply that time affected you...don’t push those feelings aside. Get some help and deal with those feelings.
Kat: How did your body change specifically from before you were pregnant to the postpartum stage?
Jaimi: Non-pregnant me is petite all over. Postpartum me is...not petite. I had big boobs and I was squishy. The best way to describe how I felt was shapeless. Nothing fit quite right. I was tired and unmotivated. I couldn’t nurse and I was recovering from a C-section so I was inactive and just felt very blah. Physically and emotionally I felt lost and not myself at all.
Kat: What was the hardest part about finding your style during postpartum?
Jaimi: For one thing, I was feeling deep emotions and not really sure what to do with myself. I felt extremely self-conscious. My first pregnancy went full term and we brought our babies home immediately. So when I stepped out of the house with them in tow the first few weeks, it was obvious I was postpartum. This time around was different. I felt like I was just out of shape for no reason. There were no babies around as an “excuse” for my shape. I bought some spanx after this second pregnancy and that did help me feel a little better. But overall, I was unmotivated to dress like myself because I really was unhappy with how I looked and how my life was at the time. Mostly, it was just hard to dress during that time. Maternity clothes didn’t fit as well and my regular clothes didn’t fit at all. I didn’t want to buy a new wardrobe so I just wore dresses or wore ill-fitting things. It’s definitely an awkward phase.
Kat: When did you finally get your style groove back? Was there a specific event or catalyst that helped you feel like you got your mojo back?
Jaimi: Shortly after out babies came home, we moved 12 hours west of where we lived when they were born (from southern Ohio to Kansas City, Missouri). So that was another big life change. I was absolutely depressed during the first 6 months or so after we moved. Although looking back, I’m not sure I would have admitted that. But after we’d lived in KC about 6 months, we bought a house, moved out of the rental, summer came around and I was feeling back to my normal shape. Consistent sleep at night helped too. I wouldn’t say there was one specific event that changed my view, it was gradual. I think the “cobwebs” needed to clear from the NICU and the move. Sometimes I wish I could have just snapped out of it. But I learned a lot in that gradual time and I know it was worth going through. And I still am learning. It’s interesting isn’t it? So many people try to convince us that fashion and outfits are superficial and self-serving. But dressing well, in my proper size, really lifts my spirits. Yes, leggings are comfy, but man I feel so much more uplifted when I step out of my house wearing a well put together outfit.
While everyone’s postpartum story is different, I think many mothers can relate to some of Jaimi’s feelings during this time, even if your pregnancy didn’t go the same way as hers. It’s easy and completely understandable to “feel unhappy with how you look, shapeless, and unmotivated.”
And while no one expects a Mom going through what Jaimi went through to meet some arbitrary standard of style, I think Jaimi’s words can be very true for many of us:
“I feel so much more uplifted when I step out of my house wearing a well put-together outfit.”
Yet postpartum makes this seem almost impossible.
However, I believe it doesn’t have to be this way. In fact, I think that having a wardrobe that makes you feel good during the challenging time of postpartum can actually be an effective way to cope with all of the negative feelings that postpartum brings.
While it may not be easy, there are ways you can style your body during this time that can help you feel better about yourself and motivate you that much more during this time of distress.
And if you’re going through a challenging situation like Jaimi did, any little thing helps to just make it through one more day.
Yoga Pants & Kimono
Yoga pants are everything during postpartum. They are soft and stretchy, and unlike most things in your current closet they fit without any fuss or awkward tugging involved. To create a cohesive outfit, put on a neutral camisole that gives the little ones easy boob access. And to ensure some easy visual interest, layer a colorful kimono over your cami. The addition of the kimono creates simple dimension and makes this comfortable ensemble pop without having to sacrifice comfort. The kimono comes in many shapes and lengths, but during postpartum I recommend one that hits at your knees or below as the flounce feels airy and comforting against the skin while also working to draw the eyes along the leg line and away from any wobbly bits. Finish the look off with a pair of strappy wedges, and somehow you have mastered comfort and style in a few mindless minutes.
The maxi dress will always be all things to all people. I doubt that it will ever go out of style, as I have had the same one hanging in my closet and wear it with pride every summer… for the past 10 years. When choosing a maxi for postpartum, choose ones that are made of cotton spandex blends that provide plenty of luxurious stretch regardless of the neckline. Stay away from polyester as it just does not offer the kind of comfort that cotton and spandex will during the early postpartum years. Choose a dress with an empire waist cut, which is flattering on every body type under the sun. Apple, pear, casserole shapes… come one, come all to this marvelous maxi! The empire waist provides a fitted bodice ending just below the bust, giving a high-waisted appearance, and a gathered long skirt that loosely fits but skims the body. This means your dress will come in at the most narrow part of your body while coming away from the tummy region, offering necessary camouflage and a flattering waistline all in one.
The wrap dress is a magician when it comes to stylish comfort. It typically has a front closure formed by wrapping one side across the other and knotting the attached ties that wrap around the back at the waist. The dress offers easy boob access via the v-neckline and comes in at the narrowest part of your waist, making you look tiny even when you feel puffy and bloated. The wrap dress is also fantastically adjustable along the waist, which is absolute magic in the postpartum years. Your body can feel like it changes shape by the day and maybe sometimes by the hour. Think of the adjustable ties as your compassionate friend, giving you more space and room when you feel bloated and tightening up and highlighting your gorgeous waistline when you are feeling at your prime. All you have to do is change the tightness of the ties and you no longer have to submit to the limits of a changing body.
Styling Your Way Out Of Postpartum
Postpartum is a challenging time for any mother, but Jaimi’s experience was especially unique. Jaimi used the term “PTSD” to describe it, and I think many families who have gone through the NICU with their children would agree with that description.
While clothing cannot solve the myriad of problems Jaimi faced during this time, utilizing style can be one piece of the puzzle in coping with and moving on from a traumatic experience like this. It took Jaimi another move, time, and space to heal, but this Super Mom did finally get her groove back. I highly recommend you visit her blog to read about her journey throughout motherhood, her own sense of style, and an interview that she did with me about personal styling!
Did you have a go-to outfit during your postpartum period? Share it with us in the comments below!
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