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Warning! Too much belly rubbing could be hazardous to your shirts…

Jani Venter

With all the belly rubbing going on, you’d think I'm trying to free a genie. But my bump is not a lamp and although I'm not looking for any wish-granting, it seems that a huge wish of mine has already been granted. I have been pregnant before, but only made it to eight weeks before our first child left this world. We were devastated and tried for another eight months before we decided to put our (mostly my) obsessive behaviour aside for a year and enjoy our lives. Five months later, our wish was granted. We found out we were pregnant and so started the tumultuous journey of pregnancy while at the same time prepping for a move to Germany.

I remember watching the final episode of Hart of Dixie and watching one of the pregnant characters rub her tummy and I thought to myself, “Seriously, do you have to flaunt it like that?” I was bitter, sad and wanted it so badly. So badly in fact, that by the time it happened, I had convinced myself that I no longer wanted it. When we did stare down at the positive results on the pregnancy test stick a few weeks later, we were shocked and didn't know what to do with the information for a few days.

And so started the belly rubbing. Shameless, endless belly rubbing. It’s become such a common sight in our household, that my husband now takes one look at the little fluff balls on my shirts and just laughs. The fluff balls, also known as pilling, is only in one area. Yep, you guessed it, my belly. I’m rubbing my belly so much, that I'm ruining my shirts! Well, some of them anyway. 

It’s clear from all the rubbing, which shirts are made from better quality fabrics. Some shirts start pilling on the first wear, others need a few weeks’ worth of loving abrasion before the tiny balls make their appearance. It’s not uncommon for clothing made from man-made fibres to start pilling. Abrasion on fabrics such as polyester, nylon and acrylics causes tiny fibres to unravel and these gather and form little balls on the fabric’s surface. Unsightly balls that make garments look old and worn – not the look I’d like to go for while trying to take advantage of my pregnancy glow.

But I wasn’t willing to stop rubbing my belly. In fact, it’s become such an amazing bonding experience for me. It brings me back to the moment. Considering our past pregnancy, there’s the reality that I only have this moment, right now. We’ve taken this pregnancy day by day, knowing that it might end at any moment and appreciating every single second with our little boy. I love how our unborn son reacts to my touch and I love trying to figure out if the bump within my bump is a knee, foot or hand. So I’ll keep my hands on my tummy and be present.


Is there a way to deal with the tiny balls of fluff though? Yes, quite a few, actually. wikiHow has some great tips for preventing and removing pilling. I’ve listed three of my favourites below.

Shop for clothing that is less likely to pill

It helps to be on the lookout for good-quality fabrics, but there’s no true way of knowing until you put a garment through the wash or belly rubbing test. Some clothing stores have even started putting stickers on their garments to indicate that the fabrics withstand abrasion a little better than
in the past. My shirts that have lasted the longest so far are the round neck top and gauged wrap top from Cherry Melon. I fell in love with the striped round neck top from the moment I first tried it on, and it’s treated me well indeed.

Use liquid detergent rather than powder

Powder detergent is more abrasive to clothing than liquid detergents, because the granules rub against fabrics as they dissolve. I also like the smell of liquid detergents a whole lot more – it seems softer and more gentle. Also wash your garments inside out on a delicate, short cycle.

Use a razor to remove the balls of fluff

This is such an easy trick and works every time. Using a sharp, new disposable razor, simply shave off those unsightly balls. To ensure you don’t cut through the fabric, put your garment on a flat surface and pull taught the area you’re about to shave. Then take a sticky lint roller and voila, you’ll have a pill-free shirt or dress in no time.

Here, Jani’s pictured in a Mock Wrap Dress in grey melange, an elegant little dress that’s wonderfully comfy. For more preggie ramblings, be sure to return to this site or visit the Cherry Melon Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages. You can also follow Jani on Twitter and Instagram. ‘Till next time!

January 26, 2016 by Barbra Nyakudya

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