As many of us know, pregnancy can be quite a, let’s say, ‘challenging’ time – what with all the physical and emotional side effects of growing a little human and preparing for birth and beyond… It’s tough, and anything that makes life easier for mums-to-be is a brilliant thing in my book!
The newly-formed and not-for-profit Oxford Maternity Clothes Library is just that. It makes so much sense – rather than buying new clothes that you’ll only get a few months use out of (and when you’re already splashing out left, right and centre on baby gear), you can hire a whole wardrobe for next to nothing.
It’s also an appealing alternative to hand-me-downs from friends and family. Because there are so many clothes in the library, you’re much more likely to end up with outfits that you like, feel good in and that fit well. A very nice boost at a time when you might feel quite rubbish!
I met up with Katherine, creator of the library and an Oxford mum, to find out more for this blog and to help sort through some of the donations (though having my hungry newborn in tow meant I ended up doing shamefully little of the latter!). Here’s how it works:
Contact Katherine via the Oxford Maternity Clothes Library Facebook page to arrange an appointment – which will be at her house in East Oxford. You can try on as many clothes as you like, and to hire it will be a bargainous £2 per item. Proceeds will go to covering costs, and then to local mum-focused charities like NCT Oxford and Oxfordshire Breastfeeding Support.
The clothes will be due back to the library three months after your due date, giving you plenty of time to get up and out, and to feel like wearing your normal clothes again, all being well. Clothes should be washed and ironed, ready for the next mum-to-be.
Donations and volunteering
Donations are very gratefully received – they are what will make the library possible, and the more there are, the better it will be! But because it’s run by volunteers and not-for-profit, it’s asked that the clothes are clean (ideally ironed) and delivered to Katherine’s house. They should also be proper maternity clothes only, rather than large/baggy clothes.
The library would also welcome donations of large plastic tubs to store the clothes in and a clothes rail.
Anyone wanting to volunteer at the library should also get in touch – there’s lots to do!
It’s early days and in time the library will need to move to a bigger place – and it’ll need to be somewhere that’s free or cheap to hire and available evenings and weekends. There’s also the possibility of a pop-up Oxford Maternity Clothes Library attending events around Oxford. If you have any ideas for suitable venues and events, please let them know via the Facebook page.
So I think it’s safe to say that becoming a mum in Oxford just got even better! I’m so excited about this amazing addition to our community, and am looking forward to seeing many expectant mothers with springs in their steps on the streets of Oxford!
Get in touch with the library if you’re in need of maternity clothes, or if you want to donate clothes, tubs, a clothes rail or your time, via their Facebook page.
The Oxford Maternity Clothes Library is listed in the Pregnancy section of Oxford Mumbler – together with other support services and charities, as well as pregnancy exercise classes, useful NHS contacts, birth preparation classes, pre-natal massages and more!