When I was pregnant, I didn’t lovingly stroke my belly and my husband didn’t shower it with daily kisses. Back in the day, we also didn’t parade around in public with our extended bellies hanging out of our pants or bulging beneath skin- tight tee shirts. As a matter of fact, we generally masked our pregnancies with oversize dresses and maternity clothes made with stretch panels to accommodate our growing girth.
I never thought the physical state of pregnancy was especially attractive, especially when I was undressed. The more my belly grew, the more irritating it became. It prevented me from sleeping comfortably, it limited my wardrobe to a handful of garments that still fit, and it tired me out to be lugging around an extra 20 pounds–right smack in the center of my body. I constantly felt that I was going to topple over.
Today, the physical state of pregnancy is romanticized more than the characters in a Barbara Cartland novel. Young, and not so young, women are baring their bellies in public like never before, proudly crisscrossing major intersections in Manhattan and elsewhere for all the world to see their accomplishments.
Please don’t get me wrong. It’s great if a woman is thrilled and proud to be pregnant. Better yet if she feels sexy. And if she wants to have a professional photographer memorialize her husband caressing her big bare belly, I support her all the way. But when I’m passing the professional photographer’s studio on my way to the subway, do I really need to see a giant blow up of the photo in the window.
I had to hide my pregnancy in 1979 when I went on a job interview since potential employers worried that mothers would be less focused, able employees. That was nonsense, of course, and I’m thrilled that’s no longer the case (at least, I hope so!)
But this business of exposing, flaunting and parading around big bellies has gone too far. Keep the exhibitionism at home, ladies. Your big belly may be a thing of beauty to you, but it isn’t the Eiffel Tower to me.