Modern Pregnancy: Fertility Goddesses Revisited

pregnant.jpgI rose from my seat in church with a smile on my face to turn and greet my neighbor. When I made the about-face to the row behind me, I was greeted instead with an outie belly button protruding through a thin cotton-knit shirt. Was it a teenager with a too-tight top? Nope, it was a 30-year-old upper middle class woman about 8 months pregnant who shook my hand that Sunday.

Pregnancy, as I have come to see it in ladies of my generation, is revered and displayed as almost a goddess worship. We are no longer young enough to wear hip-huggers and bare our midriffs. Casting that aside as “unprofessional”, we’ve taken a new way to draw attention to ourselves. If we cannot have a naked belly, we can still show it through conforming tops as we swell with child. We can get a cast of our full-front to commemorate the event. We can have things painted around our belly-buttons at baby showers.

There is little aura of mystery surrounding our goddesses. To follow suit with cultural standards, we want to be sexy, sensual, and seductive as well as publically fecund. No flowing greek robes or cute jumper dresses to drape over our unborn children. They are initiated early into the world of “flaunt it if you’ve got it” while still in our wombs. Sheer knit tops, shorts with elastic tummy panels, low v-necks to show off burgeoning bosoms, all are supposed to make the pregnant woman feel honored and beautiful.

The reverse psychology of less-is-more in fashion ends up putting more stress on ladies to maintain their bodies in some state of pre-pregnancy perfection. Another woman in my church wore at least 3 inch heels while obviously greatly round this past Sunday. I was fearing she may break an ankle! If there is any point in a woman’s life where she should be comfortable in her clothing is when she is nuturing a child within!

Some may argue, “This trend just honors the New Life. Wouldn’t you support that sentiment?” My feelings of honor do not depend on seeing more than I should of someone else’s anatomy. When a woman is in her last trimester, it is pretty self-evident, no matter what she wears. Of course most people are drawn to her belly as a magnent whether it is neatly covered or threadbare. She shows respect for the Creation of new life (and herself) by keeping some of the mystery in tact.


8 Responses to “Modern Pregnancy: Fertility Goddesses Revisited”

  1. 1 Mrs. Brigham August 31, 2007 at 9:07 am

    Wonderful post! I could not agree more! If only maternity clothing manufactures would take note *sigh* I really must learn how to sew…

  2. 2 MInTheGap August 31, 2007 at 9:20 am

    It is amusing to see where trends go. The pendulum swings anywhere but the middle.

    I mean, I’m pro-life– but I can imagine someone saying “you’re pro-life, so you should be one to cheer on life inside the womb, to celebrate it.”

    Certainly, I celebrate life, but not as an opportunity to show me naked pictures of your body showing just some bits– or with you and your husband.

    The whole process of having a child is both an intimate and special time– not a time for flaunting, but not a time to be ashamed either.

    (Oh, and Labor day I have a motivational poster at Weekend Kindness that pictures a pregnant lady showing her belly while in labor– hopefully I didn’t contradict that with what I said here!)

  3. 3 Gemaecca September 1, 2007 at 4:22 am

    Erm… when I was pregnant, the stretchy knit tops were the only things I could comfortably wear after about 7 months. The looser tops actually made my belly itch more. But hey, maybe that’s just me.

  4. 4 Cathy September 1, 2007 at 7:11 am

    I guess I have mixed feelings on this. Have definitely seen maternity clothes out there that I would label trampy. But overall, I prefer the more fitted look to the really loose look, as long as it isn’t skin tight. Now some people take this too far, as in anything.

    Last night, I was trying on some maternity clothes that a friend loaned me and had the realization that today’s current styles just plain old fit differently. I picked out a cute pair of denim capri pants (we were going to a picnic) that I thought were appropriate. Well, they had the new “under the belly” cut as opposed to the full elasticy panel. That may be part of the problem right there, because then only your shirt is covering the belly button area and it honestly looked awful on me. Wearing the same shirt with pants that covered that area looked just fine. But younger women having to buy new clothes may not find many of these full elastic-panel pants…I’ve picked up things over several years and some used things which is why I have them, and now know that I prefer them both for looks and comfort.

    Just another thought as to why some people may be dressing this way.

  5. 5 cbrunette September 1, 2007 at 8:00 am

    Though I haven’t been pregnant (yet), I really sympathize with the ladies who have to pick and choose as to what is comfortable and somewhat modest out of current fashions.

    The under-belly elastic panels worry me because I’d be afraid of the skirt/pants working their way down all day. Cathy, you’re right with wanting the fitted shirt if this is the case. I could just see a good gust of prairie wind revealing too much tummy!

    The thin line we have to walk!


  6. 6 Gemaecca September 4, 2007 at 9:46 am

    I hated those under-belly panels. They’re really uncomfortable (in my opinion) and they do have the worst tendency to fall down. I was always hiking my jeans/skirts back up. Full elastic panels are so much more comfortable, and hey, they stay up too! 😀

    Someone who carries high might feel differently though. I carried really, really low, so maybe that’s why I didn’t like them and had so much trouble with them. *Someone* must like them, considering they sell so well it’s becoming hard to find the full-elastic panels now…

  7. 7 Laura September 6, 2007 at 8:11 pm

    I can’t tell you how much this article hit me! I am stating to feel the very same convictions. I am a doula so this is a hot topic to me! I think there is nothing more beautiful than a pregnant or birthing woman, by all means! but…. aside from when I am helping her labour, birth or breastfeed, why do I need to be seeing so much of her body? and why in public and in mixed company!? isn’t this immodest?

    the other day my co-doulas and i had a get together with husband invited. well one of the douas recently had a baby so they have a “blessingway” for her. afterwards one of the doulas who is also a photographer took some beautiful naked pictures of her. well i mean her “private areas” were mostly covered… but she really wanted these pictures to remember her pregnant self many years down the road. I take no issue with that of course! but… then they started showing the pictures on the computer to the entire mixed audience! I was horrified! my husband and her sat on the couch uncomfortably trying to look the other way. I tried to pleasantly encourage her to wait til another time, but she did not get the drift so I finally excused myself to go use the phone. I was so angry my husband was in plain site of a naked woman and no one seemed to care b/c she was a *pregnant* naked woman! (as if that is any different!)
    this has been bugging me for a long time now. I haven’t confronted her b/c i don’t know how and i know she is a very nice person. but oh my gosh it makes me feel awful even thinking about my husband seeing them… even if he tried to divert his eyes.

    I am so glad you wrote this article and i am sending to to a few people!

  8. 8 Carrie September 8, 2007 at 3:23 pm

    I found your entry, and loved it! Perfectly true! I’ve said as much to my husband. I think the only way to *avoid* the “trendy” (read: trashy) maternity outfitting that is prevalent today is either to sew your own, or buy older clothing from a thrift store. And, stick to (looser) jumpers or dresses, please. They’re simply more modest. Period.

    ~ Carrie
    How I Love Thee

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"I can't say I don't believe in your God, but I don't believe He meant the world to be as it is." ~Nicholas Higgins. North and South.

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