From The Jewish Daily Forward, writer Monica Osbourne laments how being pregnant elicits all sorts of shameless demands from people with voyeuristic drives to see her naked stomach. And Monica should know, because she’s pregnant.
This is the first time that people I hardly know have asked me to reveal my bare mid-section on social networking sites for all of my so-called ”friends” to see. What was previously an indecent form of exhibitionism has become a standard behavior, the expected conduct of pregnant women. It’s your obligation to show us your stomach, the voyeurs suggest, and it’s our right to see! Instead, I flash a well-practiced look that says, Surely you jest.
Back the eff off people! I can’t imagine asking anyone to see their naked stomach, because I’m not some creeper who wants to invade someone’s privacy, but also because I just don’t find it that interesting. If I were with a close friend or family member who was expecting and they requested that I feel their growing belly, I could see doing that, but it would never be a desire of mine, no matter how close I feel to the woman carrying the baby. If anything I’m always super aware of how a pregnant woman’s body is being invaded constantly, not only by family members but by total strangers, and it makes me feel protective of the expectant moms-to-be because I know when I was pregnant I despised people touching me or my stomach. Or requesting that they see how my unborn child was growing.
I find it particularly puzzling when women only a few weeks along snap photos of their flat naked stomachs in the bathroom mirror, yoga pants pulled so low one can make out the top of whatever Victoria’s Secret underwear they’re wearing, and ask the world to comment on their so-called ”baby bump.” And many women post photos weekly or daily, transforming social networking pages into a breeding ground for their new all-consuming identity as a mother.
As any article by STFU Parents tells us, it’s that we are a nation of attention whores and too-much-information-spewing over sharers, especially when it comes to our pregnancies and our children. Maybe this is just me, but when I was pregnant I didn’t have any interest in seeing how other women looked during various stages of their pregnancies. The human body is beautiful and giving birth is a miracle, but I can happily live my life never seeing another woman’s belly stretched to ten times it’s usual size and how her skin has changed since getting herself knocked up. I’m sure you’re huge and bloated and you have stretch marks and hurray, I’m happy you are having a baby but I just don’t care.
I can see taking photographs to put in a nice album to remember all the stages of pregnancy and to share with your family. That makes sense. But I can’t understand wanting to share pictures of your naked baby bump with everyone on your Facebook page , especially considering I am “friends” with my dentist on Facebook. The person who cleans my teeth never ever needs to see my naked flesh, ever. That goes for cousins I rarely speak to. I don’t fully understand why people want to show these photos or why other people want to see them. Yes, you are pregnant. Yes, your stomach is growing. Yes, there is a baby in there. But for me at least, I’d much rather see the baby when it’s not distorting your organs and living inside of your stomach. No matter how cute you find your baby bump, to me it will never be as cute as the human living inside of it.