“Belly Pics”

Have pregnant women always been so thin?  Celebrities, of course.  They get paid to conform to an American version of beautiful that doesn’t include folds or lumps.  Studies try to claim lots of things – that those with curves are smarter, or that men find them more attractive, live longer and have an evolutionary edge (proof that you can find a study to tell you anything you want to hear) but media images still show tiny women with huge pregnant bellies over and over.

What of the larger women?  The ones that don’t start showing at 2 days?  The ones that can’t make the joke about having eaten a burrito?  Those people are not publicly displayed except in crime television (“She hate me!”), reality television (“What’s that between my legs?  What do you mean I’m having a baby?”) and on the covers of tabloids (“Actress balloons over 300 pounds!”).  I take particular exception to the idea that women who don’t know they are pregnant are all fat, and, by extension, complete idiots.  Worse still, they allow the perception to persist that fat=dumb in every situation.  Thank you mass media, for reinforcing stereotypes.

Maybe it’s the digital camera trend (oh no, I’m eighty again.  Bring me my Polaroid, sonny!) but it seems as though everyone who is pregnant proudly finds some doorway to stand in, some wall to lean against, some outfit to squeeze into in order to have a succession of photos leading up to the birth.  This is a fantastic trend.  How wonderful to be able to document the body’s growth and change and memorialize an amazing nine months (or is it 6?  you know we can’t count over here, despite the blog name).   But (and you knew there was a but coming) why can’t I find many pictures of folks who start out bigger than a size 6?  Do those people not take photos?  Or are they simply not displayed?  Or, is it what I suspect, that if you’re already self-conscious about size, you’re less inclined to display the evidence of new growth?

I may be at a loss here, not being the one incubating anything.  My wife is beautiful (and always has been) and she says she doesn’t want belly shots.  This is not because she is huge, regularly portrayed on cops, planning to give birth in a port-o-potty or dumb.  She’s really not dumb.  She knows that she’s doing something amazing but at the same time she feels sick, it’s going to go on for another 10 months (or was it 8?) and it’s going to stretch her out. I think she should get to decide if she wants deliberate photographic evidence.

I love the idea of memorializing this time, but I want to find a way to do it that respects her wishes to leave her belly out of it.  At least, in the traditional way.  Any suggestions for alternatives to belly shots?

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5 Responses

  1. maybe you could do a series of drawings.

    • it’s never to early to bring in fingerpaints (as that is the limit of my artistic ability) actually – it’s not a bad idea!

  2. I didn’t want them at first. At all. I changed my mind. Not really sure what changed it – something just did.

    If you’re on flickr, feel free to send me an e-mail if you want; I’ve finally uploaded my pics up there, and I am Definitely Not Small. (Started pre-preg around a size 20 or so, give or take.)

    • Will do!

      • My wife is the same way. At a size 14 she had what she/I affectionately refer to as the beer pooge.
        She will.not.let.me.take.a.picture. GRRRRR. I love love love her belly.

        (yes, I’m late to commenting on your blog- ***Waves Hi!***)

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