Meeting an expectant parent for the first time | What to wear

Finding out that there is an expectant parent that is considering you as a family of her precious child is so exciting.

Meeting them is miraculous and nerve-racking.

 “Will she like us?”

“Will we represent ourselves well?”

“Will we accurately represent ourselves?”

“Will we look like all those pictures on our online profile?”

When we met Tyson’s birth mom and her family for the first time, I dragged my friend Carrie with me to Nordstrom to pick out a new outfit. Then I over-shared with the sales associate (as I am prone to do) about what said outfit was for and proceeded to try on just about everything their department had to offer.

When we met Gavin’s birth mom for the first time, a very similar story unfolded. First impressions are a big deal …or at least they feel like it at the time.

When we flew out to North Carolina to meet C, we took the red-eye. I got off the plane in my jammies and went into the bathroom to give myself a complete make-over (clothes, hair, make-up) before meeting her face-to-face for the first time and going to lunch.


Why? Why is the way we look and carry ourselves such a big deal?

I wanted to look my best because I knew that if I felt like I looked my best then I would be slightly more confident and more myself during these potentially life-altering meetings. (No pressure, right?) Also, I respected these expectant mothers and the choices that lay ahead of them. I respected the importance of our meeting together. I wanted my appearance to reflect that.

Perhaps you have found yourself in a similar situation. Poor Kim and Leisha are constantly getting bad phone pictures of outfit options for important events in my life. (When you don’t have sisters these are the measures you have to take.) Sometimes a girl just needs a friend to help her look her best.

Recently I met Reachel Bagley of Cardigan Empire.

Her passion is to help you feel pretty, look your best and therefore FEEL your best.

She worked her magic and did a color profile on me telling me which colors look best on me, which wash me out, etc. I cannot tell you how helpful this info is! I seriously think about it every time I am in the store or shopping in closet for the perfect outfit for an important event. (My color profile is “Clear Spring” and my cheat sheet is below.)

An adoptive mama and infertility survivor herself, Reachel understands how intense those butterflies are when invited to meet an expectant parent for the first time …and she is here to help.

This post is a little different from the norm here on The R House but we just recently met two expectant parents for the first time and I had a total outfit crisis both times. (One to the point of tears!) I don’t know if expectant parents go through this as well before these important meetings, but MAN I totally tried on my entire closet. Here’s hoping Reachel can help us all represent our best selves!

Hi, I’m Reachel, devoted wife to Andrew, grateful mother to Coco (found through adoption), Levi (received through patience), and other baby (in the works).   When I’m not painting tiny toenails or adjusting baby bowties within my own domestic, I’m endeavoring to make the world a prettier place.  As a fashion consultant, I blog at, teach Wardrobe Strategies at a local college, remix under-performing closets across the Phoenix valley, and execute local and virtual shopping sessions for clients across the world.

All these styling skills were put to the test when I met my future birth mom for the first time.  Before leaving, a sizeable battalion of garments buried my bedroom floor. Holding equal rank with the first date with a future husband, I feared fashion sabotage at this crucial encounter. Before you assail your floorboards with closet carnage, review these steps for getting dressed to court a family:


Step one:  Look relatable

Simultaneous head nodding and mutual head tilting are physical manifestations of an intangible connection.  Strengthen the link via wardrobe.  If your potential birth mom is an indi rocker and you are a vintage enthusiast, consider layering a distressed denim jacket over your lace dress.  Don’t forsake your genuine nature but do make token acknowledgments of the culture you are visiting. Aim for a variance of under ten percent when compared to the people and environment you call upon. Too overdressed labels you as intimidating; too underdressed and you’ll translate into careless.


Step Two: Look matronly

Wear the uniform of the job you want to have, in this case: mother. Fragile dry-clean garments cognitively repel spitting babies and sticky toddlers.  Opt for something clean that could get dirty without expletives being uttered.  But stray far from sloppy, respect the courage and propriety of the situation with your attire.

Remember that demure and comfortable will protect you from wardrobe malfunction.  It’s very difficult to stay genuine when you’re being attacked by constrictive undergarments or creeping hemlines.


Step three: Look stable

You are being recruited to protect and provide for a helpless, vulnerable creature.  Now is the not the time to appear unpredictable. Timeless accessories can hint at your unwavering values, classic structure can allude to resolute stability.  Not everyone speaks in trends and it’s safer to express yourself in words rather than threads.


Getting started

Select a tried and true ensemble over an untested formula.  Shoes should be broken in and all tags removed. If you need the confidence provided by a new outfit, create a fresh combination of already favorite pieces.  Closet shop your own wardrobe for a new look.

First pick one piece you resonate with and build a complete ensemble from there.  The components should include one basic (ie dark denim or white button-up), one statement (ie printed blouse, bright trousers), a polishing layer (jacket, sweater etc), and at least one but no more than three accessories (necklace, earrings, handbag).


In conclusion, be yourself.

Now is not the time for cloaks or masks.  Prepare your best, genuine self then shed your self-conscious glances in the mirror. Focus your energy on investigating the compatibility of this possibility and finding your future family.


I seriously cannot say enough fabulous things about Reachel. Once you spend 5 minutes with her (or reading her), you will be  absolutely smitten. I promise.

Thank you so much, Reachel!



  1. says

    I thought this was really great, though it always makes me cringe when adoptive parents refer to their child’s birth parents as “our birth mom”. My son’s birth mom is all his!!

    • Lindsey says

      I can see that.

      However, in working with adoptive families, I have found that with the kind of openness that Reachel enjoys in the adoption of her daughter that there is this mutual feeling of adoption. I know for our family, I feel like we adopted the kids’ entire birth families and that they adopted us as well. When you think of it in that context, saying “our” is a term of endearment and family to me.

      That said, one thing that you can count on in adoption is someone being offended (or “cringing”) by verbiage. One of my son’s birth mothers DOES NOT like to be called “mother.” The other one does. They both have expressed not liking “first mother” and prefer “birth mother.”

      The term “tummy mommy” makes me a little nauseated, but in some adoption relationships it is what works for their family…I feel like it is demeaning, but it’s not my relationship so it isn’t my place to throw around what titles I’d like them to use. (In fact a couple weeks ago, one of my good friends came to my house right after placement in the hospital and expressed how much she wanted to be called “tummy mommy.” It was a little awkward for me since I kind of hate that term, but it was something sacred to her. She explained that it accurately expressed her feelings in their relationship. So I didn’t say anything …which was hard. LOL)

      Everyone has their own language to describe their own situation and the roles of the people in their own life …and quite frankly, that’s how it should be as these relationships are so personal and sacred.

      Have you had a conversation with your child’s birth/first/biological mother about it? I know some birth parents who would feel slighted by “my son’s birth mother” as it feels like they are not being included in the whole family as “our birth mother” seems to convey. I know some that feel totally the opposite.

      My concern is always this: Are you having an open and honest conversation about titles? What is everyone comfortable with? What do the people in your life WANT to be called?

      Also? Is this the world’s longest reply? I think so. I was going for the Guinness World Record, just fyi. ;)

      • says

        I’m replying on my iPhone so this will be short since I hate typing on it. I appreciate what you had to say! That’s true, we all have things that we cringe about in adoption language! Our son’s birth mom does feel the same way as I do about it, which is the most important thing. We both also don’t like first mom, but I know others who feel the same about birth mom! Sorry to open up this annoying can of worms. I respect your opinion!! Love, amber

  2. says

    Reachel rocks! She did an awesome style class at our last birth mother pamper night here. Lindsey, I know a simple solution….AZ loves you! ;)

  3. Aubrey says

    I would LOVE to figure out my ideal colors. How can I do that? Is there a quiz I can take? What do I do? I so love this post!!!

  4. Cari says

    Lindsey, thanks so much for your post, and thanks to Reachel for all the good advice/knowledge. We just met a darling expectant young girl last night, and once I figured out the outfit thing, then I could worry more about what to say, how to not be nervous, and all that good stuff, LOL