To let the cat out of the bag as we say in German when someone wants to express transparency and say the truth, I’d like you to know that I am writing this article because Esprit asked me whether I want to be part of their spring summer #ImEsprit campaign, a campaign that’s all about raising awareness around people’s individuality and the things they stand for. Having grown up with Esprit back in Germany (any 90’s kids represent here ?), there have always been clothes from this brand in my closet, whether it’s been a tee shirt, a dress or even underwear. Though I’ve never been a real fashionista, the way I dress has always been part of how I express myself so when Esprit asked me whether I’d like to style a couple of pieces from their latest collection, saying yes happened quite naturally !
Pregnancy…just a normal thing ?
I must say that this collaboration is also happening at a quite interesting time because my baby girl is about to turn 12 months old. 12 months, and I can say that I finally feel more like me, like myself again; #ImMe. This is why I was intrigued when I recently read an article in which the author expressed how annoyed she was about the fact that pregnant women and mothers celebrate their style. For her, pregnancy and motherhood are two things which are just normal and part of most women’s lifes, so she did not see a need for a hashtag nor the hype around #stylethebump and #mamastyle features which are getting more and more attention lately.
This article got me thinking because I do see the whole thing from a completely different angle. In my eyes, a pregnancy is a major event in the life of a woman. No, let me correct myself and be more precise, I don’t even see it only as a punctual event. In fact, I see it as a journey, a journey that does take more than those 9 months that the media usually talks about, ending with the birth of the baby, followed by the so called “snapback”, the question on how fast moms can fit back into their old self again. No, in my eyes becoming a mother is a continuous journey which takes much longer and the changes that can happen on a physical and mental level are huge. Of course, all women are different, for some the transition from woman to mother comes with no additional impacts on their life. However, for me, going through this transition has certainly influenced how I feel about myself.
My New Body
For instance, I put on 18 kg during both my pregnancies but lost much more than that afterwards. This was definitely something that I hadn’t expected at all, especially the first time around and even less after the birth of my second child. I’ve become quite skinny and I must admit that I do miss a bit my bum. The funny thing is that the actual way of how my body is shaped has changed, too. Yes, carrying and birthing two babies has widened both my rib cage and my hip bones. Although I may weigh less now, I had to get rid of some of my clothes because they will never fit again. Moreover, after my second pregnancy, I got some stretch marks on my belly and I lost tremendous amounts of hair, leaving my scalp with pretty impressive oxbow hairlines, which are currently starting to be covered by slowly growing baby hair. However, my overall hair does feel thinner now and I am unsure whether this will get back to how it used to be or stay the way it is.
I knew that all these things are normal, that they can be part of the whole motherhood package and I decided to accept them and learn to love myself the way I am. However, during the postpartum time a lot of changes are happening either at the same time or one right after the other, making it easy to feel a bit overwhelmed. Top the whole thing with sleep deprivation, endless hormonal changes (yes, those keep changing once the baby’s born, too), a career change or any other possible life changes that can come in addition (in my case a move to a continent on the other side of the world) and it’s easy to feel more like a lost chicken instead of your true self.
A Little Bit of Colour
But lets talk again about style. I still remember my first postpartum phase. I didn’t fit into most of my old clothes yet, nor did I want to wear pregnancy clothes any longer. Especially during the first weeks I changed clothes often, given the breastmilk spills or poop incidents that covered me on a frequent basis. At that time, an “outfit” would not last long so I just did not care about what I was wearing. Moreover, with a newborn at my side, I was fully into the natural mode, avoiding anything chemical that could harm my baby. However, I didn’t like this all day pyjama feel at all so once I had passed the first couple of months, I started to experiment with make-up. Never having been much into it, I kept it basic but wow, putting some colour on my eyes and cheeks did make a big difference in order to feel more awake at that time. Whereas this remained a short phase for me (I switched make-up for experiments with clothes once I fit back into mine), for some of my friends who had babies, the red lipstick became some sort of post-pregnancy trademark. Knowing that if they were already limited in their clothing and accessory choices due to their weight, body shape or breastfeeding needs, the least they wanted to keep control over was the colour of their lips.
Mama Style ?
There is currently a debate about what mama style is and whether it exists. Some defend it, others say that there is no such thing. I agree with the latter. In my opinion, there is no proper mama style. Sure, most of us love it more comfy but if you ask me, comfort can translate into different things, depending on each mother. Some love their flats or sneakers, some are perfectly fine in heels (honestly, I’ve never seen as many mamas in high heels as here in Central America!), some like high waist jeans, some prefer skinny jeans and bodycon dresses.
In my case, I still do like a wider range of styles. It just depends on my mood. In general, I feel more grown up, more feminine and softer since I entered motherhood and I guess that’s something that you can see in the way I dress. But then there are also days where I prefer it more playful and less serious. This is something that became clear while wearing some pieces of the latest Esprit collection and walking around in my favourite areas in Panama City to shoot these pictures here. That said, the thing that stands out the most is that I do feel stronger and more sure about myself. I do feel that I can achieve anything I want. This is a new feeling, something that I have started to feel once I became a mother and which has deepened since I became a mother of two. Believe me, without this I may would have chosen this brown “that’s 70’s show” suit but I wouldn’t have worn it in such a confident way. So after all, I’d say that #ImMe, same, same but a bit different.
So maybe, it’s not about mama style or whatever label you would like to call it. Maybe it’s just me who’s been growing up. Maybe my style would have gone into that direction anyway and entering motherhood has just been speeding up this process.
That said, all in all, I believe that #stylethebump and #mamastyle moments do indeed have a purpose. They allow mothers (to-be) to get inspiration and encourage and boost each other, eventually contributing to making their journey and transition from women to mothers a bit easier. So if something that is this positive can come out through sharing style ideas via a hashtag, well, then I am all in.
After all, carrying, birthing, nurturing and raising children, all this is a big deal. A deal, which in my eyes deserves all the celebrations and hashtags that there can be !
What’s your take on this ? Has your style changed since you’ve become a mother ?
Shoes: 1. Vintage, 2. Melissa, 3. Adidas Iniki
Bag – Susan Bijl
Bracelets & Ear rings: 1. Vintage, 2. Niki Ro
Sandals – Bocage
Bag – Vintage
Headband – Noo X Tot Paris
Glasses – Ace & Tate
Shoes – Adidas Originals
Necklace – Vintage
Jeans – Vintage
Hat – LL Bean