10 years ago in March I was about 4 months pregnant and looking for a job.
It’s not that I minded waiting tables, but the 5 am wake up call and smell of bacon was not helping my nausea.
I figured a maternity store might be a good fit (literally and figuratively) so I called up a small maternity boutique and asked if they were hiring.
When I went into the interview I had no idea that this job would mean so much more to me than a paycheck.
On the eve 2016, I worked my very last shift at Hip to be Round. This weekend the store will close it’s doors forever.
Over the past 10 years, I’ve seen the store through 5 locations, 2 owners, 1 name change and 4 babies of my own. I’ve worked part time and full time both as an associate and a manager. I’ve seen brands come and go and families grow.
Most of all, while standing outside of the dressing room ready to get another size or color of a pair of pants, I’ve heard stories.
Being a person who loves stories, I’ve listened to them all. Good stories and sad ones. Women who are excited to be pregnant and women who aren’t. I’ve caught a woman as she fainted and found a dress for a funeral (she wasn’t pregnant, just swollen). I’ve dressed two men in maternity clothes feeling intensely protective of one of them who had clearly not been dress shopping before. I’ve helped a woman in labor with a nursing bra. I’ve been the neutral party when mother and daughter shopping tension arrises. I’ve brought tissues to the dressing room when reality hits.
I’ve talked to women who are afraid of birth.
I’ve talked to women who have lost their babies.
I’ve talked to women who are infertile.
I’ve talked to women who are surrogates.
I’ve gained pearls of wisdom from a mother of 6.
I’ve given out as much wisdom as I had to offer.
I’ve seen ultrasounds, kept gender secrets, and heard name picks before family members have.
I’ve listened to so many complaints.
I’ve met doulas and midwives and yoga instructors who have all taught me something. I’ve swapped tips with other mothers about sibling rivalry and potty training. I attended monthly La Leche League meetings for 4 years and learned something new every time.
To say I am thankful for my experience with this little store is an understatement. I have logged so many hours and learned so much. The women I have worked with have become some of my dearest friends and the customers I have interacted with have offered me so many new perspectives. It is not hyperbole to say that when it comes to motherhood this store helped raise me.
While the day to day of working in a store may not be the most prestigious of jobs I have been unbelievably honored to be a part of what Hip to be Round was. Hip to be Round was so much more than clothes, it was a safe place for women at such a unique and rare time and I am so lucky to have been a part of that.