Turns out, there aren't that many maternity shopping options in Oslo. This is strange to me because the culture here is extremely supportive of pregnant women in every other capacity. Also, because women wait longer to have kids in Norway, the women shopping for these clothes are interested in looking sophisticated and purchasing high quality goods. The demand is there. But when my jeans starting getting a little tight around the tummy, I did some Google searching and discovered that--as one of my mama friends put it--I was pretty much stuck with H&M and online shopping.
That said, I remembered seeing a boutique in Majorstuen with a preggers silhouette on the sign, so I detoured there on my way home from class one day.
Svangerskapet is a great little shop. I spent about 45 minutes in there that day--not my original intention. All I really wanted was a simple belly band. It's something I'd needed for at least a week, but never got around to buying. Why? Let me see... Denial. I've been roughly the same size for fifteen years. My three and four-year-old jeans were making me feel nauseous whenever I sat down, but I refused to equate those two things. Also, when I went online to shop for an Ingrid & Isabel Bellaband , I was bummed to find that they don't ship internationally. Given their popularity, I'd guess that will change soon.
, I expected to dart in, find a belly band, and get the heck out again. After all, I was still keeping my pregnancy a secret, so I didn't want to blow my cover by getting caught in such a specific establishment. Also, I'm still not used to being a pregnant person. Shuffling through piles of jeans with full tummy panels and racks of nursing bras is not something I know how to do. I was intimidated. But that didn't last long.
The friendly gal working the cashier at Svangerskapet welcomed me warmly as I entered. (Already, this flies in the face of standard Norwegian customer service, which, from an American perspective, usually comes off as chilly.) When I told her what I was looking for, she directed me right to it and helped me figure out the sizing. This intial, pleasant transaction made me want to shop longer.
Did you know that nice maternity jeans aren't only be-paneled, but also have a little adjustable strap within the waist band? Yeah, I didn't either. Not until I had them on and walked out to ask the aforementioned cashier a question. She kindly showed it to me. And didn't make me feel like a dummy for not knowing. (Something I've had happen more than once in a regular clothing boutique in Oslo. Again with the chilly. Brrrrrr...)
I walked away from Svangerskapet with three comfortable, lovely, practical items. And here's the best part: it didn't cost as much as I'd expected it to! I'm used to the notoriously expensive price of everything in Oslo. In Norway, a dollar will buy you absolutely nothing. But my new Mamalicious maternity jeans, Espirit maternity sweater, and Ingrid & Isabel Bellaband rang up to 859 NOK ($132).
Long story short, I'll definitely be going back there in future months if there's something I need. (Though I picked up most items on a recent trip to California.)
To close on an almost unrelated note, I would just like to state that I hate the word belly. I loathe it, actually. There's something overly cutesy or babytalkish about it. Yet, because I'm expecting, I get to hear it and see it constantly, and usually in connection with me. Because I'm going to have one soon. Because I'm growing a human. Okay. I'll take it. Fine. But I do this under protest.