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I have found it.  No, not the perfect pair of maternity pants, not the perfect pair of maternity leggings, not a limitless supply of dresses, and not a society that doesn’t care if I walk around without pants.  I have found, however, the solution to many of my woes: The Bella Band.

A few weeks ago, Mr. Apron and I were lucky enough to accept a large donation of baby equipment (clothing, bottles, a play mat, a mobile, etc.), and a small box of maternity clothes from a coworker of his who is done making babies.  Unfortunately, she loved and lived in jean her entire pregnancy, and jeans about the least ideal piece of maternity wear there is, not to mention that they are the key violation of my work dress code.  So her entire denim stash was out, but buried among the flowy swaths of XL shirts and clingy tank tops was a small tube of spandex.

I made it through my early pregnancy without a Bella Band; I just unbuttoned the top button of my pants and wore shirt long and loose enough that nothing was obviously amiss.  Pregnancy books say Bella Bands (and their ilk) are best for early pregnancy, to hold up your old, regular clothes, or to hold up the maternity clothes you can’t quite fill out yet.  Personally, I’m quite at the stage where I fill out my maternity duds, but I still can’t hold my pants up unless they’re super stretchy and pulled all the way over my bump.  Which causes sensory ills, and seam lines on my swollen abdomen that draw sympathetic looks from my husband.  Enter: the Bella Band.

Last week I tucked it into my bag, figuring I’d try it out on a pair of pants that I wasn’t sure would stay up all day, if I dared pull myself to a standing position at any point.  As soon as I climbed the 5 flights of stairs, the drooping waistband let me know I was going to have problems, so I ducked into the bathroom and pulled on the magnificent tube.  It’s stretchy enough to fit over my whole belly, but thin enough that I can fold it or scrunch it down.  No seams anywhere.  And if I pull it over my waistband, I magically have pants that stay up all day!  Plus, my popping belly button is smoothed over once and for all.

Friday was a dress-down day, but my previous jeans experience had been so miserable I was reluctant to join the fray.  Again, I tucked the Bella Band into my purse, and again, I knew by the time I’d reached my office that my pants situation was unsustainable.  Though they did stay up on their own, due to magic stretch panels hidden somewhere in the waistband, the denim was chafing every inch of my delicate skin.  Again, I hit the bathroom, where this time, I pulled the Bella Band on before my pants.  I covered my sensitive waist with it, then pulled up my pants.  Voila!  Added friction for anti-gravity powers, as well as a barrier between jeans and my skin.

I may have worn pants that were hemmed with safety pins yesterday (I hate to commit to making real hems before I know if my $5 thrift store find is worth the effort) and covered with dog fur (this particular pair was a magnet for blond dog hairs), but my pants stayed up all day long.

If this post saves one woman from the belly pouch panels and drooping elastic waist maternity pants, I will consider my obligation to the pregnant community fulfilled.

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October 2011