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Fashion Header image article main attention on section plus size maternity clothes hanane fathallah

| by Hanane Fathallah


One of women's most sacred and miraculous callings is motherhood. Being a plus size woman can be challenging on so many levels. The fashion industry has yet to fulfill the needs of bigger women, so imagine what it is like when it is time to dress up your growing baby bump, while still trying to embrace your curves and voluptuous size. I went through that experience. Another battle in the shopping scene, and against society. In terms of maternity clothes, the headache had increased just a notch!

April 2010 -  After feeling sore, uneasy and always so sleepy for a couple of weeks, I figured something was off. A home pregnancy test became the fireworks of the day! We were pregnant with our first child. Doctor's appointment - check, pregnancy multivitamins - check, feeling happy and joyful – depending on the days and finally, maternity clothes... It took me a little while to check that box.

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Living in Saudi Arabia back then, I had limited access to cute maternity clothes. Well, isn't that a predicament? What else is new? I am a plus size mama-to-be living in the Middle East, wanting to envelop my baby bump with some mama-licious maternity clothes. Like any woman, I want to enjoy my pregnancy, in style. I spent my first trimester in Jeddah (KSA): During that period, I was still okay wearing my normal clothes, so I didn't really stress too much. I bought basic maternity denim jeans from Mothercare, and I also had my heart set on overalls! Mothercare’s maternity line is casual, light and well fitted. This brand embraces the fact that all sizes can welcome pregnancy in style. If you are looking for day-to-day basics, it is a good shopping destination. What about feeling fabulous?

The second trimester sneaks up on you quite fast. By that time, I went to stay with my family in Beirut (Lebanon). The fashion challenge has officially begun! As usual, I use the same tactics: Digging in the most unlikely shops and local stores to find – almost all the time – imported brands that would match my super-preggo size. It is all a matter of luck. Eventually, I did find some good pieces. One of them was a cute dress that just shaped my baby bump beautifully. For a very pregnant plus size woman, getting compliments from complete strangers would make my day. I was also buying plus size clothes from Centrepoint's SPLASH plus size collection, they didn't have maternity clothes, I was picking a few items from their standard plus size range and up-size. I am normally an 18-20 UK, I would just get the clothes in 22 UK and above. I was applying this genius tactic on tops mostly and stretchy items.

In terms of maternity clothes, my story was very brief. The lack of options shortens my testimony. I was craving for dresses and to fulfill that need, I did some online shopping from US brands, where the plus size movement was already at an advanced stage, compared to our region. I would definitely recommend that. Also, if you have plans to travel or someone else in traveling to Europe or US, write up a wishlist and request some items.

Here are some online shopping destinations for plus size moms-to-be:

ASOS Maternity goes up to size 20 UK. Yours London, which is initially a 100% plus size brand, have a maternity section, so there is a delight! And Old Navy, the king of basics, has a maternity section too, that goes up to size 20 UK. I would recommend you check out their plus size section, because they can work as great substitutes for traditional maternity clothes.

For the lovely plus size women living in the Middle East and Arab region, I found another maternity clothes store that has a section for fabulously plus-sized mamas-to-be. It is called Destination Maternity and it is available in several countries in the region.

I have also noticed that Instagram has been a huge platform for home businesses and mom designers. Social media could be helpful in these situations. If you research using specific hashtags, you might eventually bump into a home business or a local designer, confectioning or importing plus size maternity clothes. It is disappointing to see that there aren't many options and that sometimes we have to “figure it out” on our own, or depend on luck.

I am always on the lookout for new stores. I don’t think it is fair that curvier and bigger women should settle for baggy unflattering block-like pregnancy clothes. Just like any other day of the year, women should feel fabulous every day, whether wearing lounge wear chilling at home or casually chic for an outing!

Like the life flourishing in your belly, I hope the market for plus size maternity clothes will expand and bring more options. Every woman deserves to feel beautiful during her pregnancy. To be honest, I didn't mind the adventure of looking for clothes but it is the frustration that comes with it. My hormones were not always happy. I'll end this by saying that it is funny how I found my little piece of heaven, a cute dress and some flattering plus size tops from a tiny store owned by a soulful elderly Armenian woman, hidden in one of the alleyways of Hamra Street, in the busy city of Beirut.

Embrace your curves, your size, your baby bump and don't let anything stop you from nesting in your little cloud nine!

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