I had some photos taken of me the other day.
Out by some rocks in the woods.
Since I hate getting my picture taken when I'm pregnant this is a big deal for me.
And I feel very self-conscious.
Perhaps this stems from the fact that my first pregnancy was with twins and I was roughly the size of a small whale.
My ankles were so thick that my brother-in-law called them "thankles."
But subsequent pregnancies haven't been as dramatic, and since this is my last pregnancy I thought I would go out on a limb and have my tummy captured for posterity.
So here I will post a rare glimps of my pregnant self.
I must say that since we were outdoors the photo shoot was a little chilly at times.
I hope no one will be offended by it or by what I am going to say after I show you the picture.
But I am almost certain that some of you will be.
Don't worry--I'm only going to post one photo.
Are you ready?
It is coming. . . my big, fat beeeee-utiful belly.
Aren't you relieved that I have all my clothes on?
Shame on you for thinking that I would let anyone photograph my naked belly and then post it.
Now comes the offensive portion of my blog post.
If you are the kind of person who thinks it is okay to pose nude or semi-nude for a photographer and then post the photo on the internet, this blog post is not for you. You can do whatever you want with your belly.
But if you are the kind of person who doesn't normally bare skin on the internet (or anywhere else), or if you are the kind of person who wouldn't dare stand in front of a group of people and have your husband kiss your bare tummy, why does this suddenly become okay if you are pregnant?
Am I alone in wondering this?
I have never heard anyone else complain about PDB (public displays of bellies) before, so it is no wonder I'm sure you think I've got a closed mind and a cold heart. Of course it is taboo to tell a normally modest pregnant woman who just spent $300 dollars on a photo shoot in her sports bra that her photos lack taste and decorum. Even a slight raise of the eyebrows would put her teetering hormones over the edge. But I am the pregnant one now and I just want to ask the question:
Why does pregnancy make it okay to be naked?
It is not that I don't think pregnancy is beautiful and wonderful and deserves admiration. It is tremendous and miraculous. Just because I don't want to see your bare stomach--or worse, your husband with has hands/arms/lips on your bare stomach--doesn't mean I think motherhood should not be flaunted. It should be--it is awesome. I just think a covered belly is much more appealing to the masses. Call me crazy.
I always wonder what people plan on doing with these photos. I'll tell you right now their kids aren't going to want to look at them. Would you hang up a photo of your mother if she took a bare-tummy photo when she was pregnant with you? Bridal photos are quite sufficient. Mother/baby photos are even better. Naked babies are fine. Naked moms are not.
I tell my kids and young women to never post a photo on facebook that they wouldn't want plastered on a billboard on the side of the interstate. Do you want a poster of your pregnant self on I-15? or I-40? Or I-anything?
Some of you might have seen the 50 Most Awkward Pregnancy Photos that have been circulating around on Facebook. Some of the photos are hilarious. Most are disturbing. A few are pornographic. All of them are visually painful. If you want to look it up you will see what I mean, but I feel uneasy putting a link to it on my blog since some of the photos have scarred me for life.
You may say that these photos were just taken distastefully. That if the models were good-looking or in a different pose or didn't have such creepy husbands lurking nearby than it would be better.
But I don't think matters if you are pregnant or not, good-looking or not. Naked is naked.
It would be like saying that beautiful, artfully-posed porn stars are okay, but fat, awkward porn stars are not.
Now, all of this doesn't mean that I am the kind of person who goes to a museum and drapes scarves over naked statues and takes a sharpie to nude paintings. I expect to see nude statues and paintings in museums. However, if I went into a museum and saw YOU naked that would be quite disturbing, and you can bet I would take out my sharpie and get to work.
If you are Venus de Milo, feel free to pose naked.
If you are a Victoria Secret Model, go prance around in your lace and ribbons. I know how to avoid you.
But if you are my friend? Cover up on the internet. Save the photos for your coffee table album at home.
If you are one of my friends and have posted belly shots or if you are one of friends and you plan to one day post belly shots, please know that I will not think less of you and that I do not think you are a sinner. Just be aware I cannot share the same enthusiasm for your photos as I might otherwise since it is hard for me to be excited about something that makes me feel queasy.
As for me, there is only one person on this earth who gets to see my bare skin--pregnant or not.
And I think he really likes it that way.