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What is the fuss about maternity photos?

A recent set of photos in the social media gave me a good tummy chuckle and I’m sure did the same for anyone who saw it.

Yes I’m talking about the “MANternity” photos of Justin Sylvester. If you haven’t seen them yet, check out the photos.

Justin’s wife did not want to do maternity photos so he did this as a joke. I love how he took it so seriously and some of the images look so real that he might as well be pregnant. But I was thinking more on our obsession with sharing everything about our lives on social media, especially how it is almost mandatory for a pregnant woman these days to take maternity photos and share them with everyone on her social media circle. This topic is not new to Mommy Culture. We have talked about people using social media as a reality show to showcase their lives (see attention-seekers).

Ofcourse I’m not saying it’s wrong to take maternity photos and I’m not an exception either. When I was pregnant with our first child I took some photos at a studio. But I did not feel pressured in any sense to take photos or feel like I had to go out of my way to have a magazine spread. I found a really cheap photo shoot deal online for a friend and simply tagged along with her and got some photos done. They did turn out well and I ended up sharing them with my friends. They were nothing exceptional, just photos of me and my growing belly.

These days though I see a lot of maternity photos floating around with each competing to top the other in scenery, props and concepts. I understand the need to document this beautiful journey to motherhood…I’ve been there. But why all the fuss about it?

The pictures are great if you are feeling great about your pregnancy and want to capture the moments. But what if you’re going through a rough pregnancy and feel like a truck just ran through you and the last thing you want to do is capture those sleepless and baggy eyes for everyone to see? When you see all these beautiful photos floating around, does it actually make you feel worse that you don’t feel and look that way? Over the years our society’s expectations of women’s beauty has been illustrated in every aspect of the media (see our recent post on the “obsession with skinny“). The pressure on being a mother and acting maternal has already created a lot of stress on women, and now the need to showcase beautiful, glowing photos of themselves being pregnant and “loving it” is just too much. It doesn’t help either that celebrities are always spotted with their baby bumps in fashionable outfits, with their perfect hair and makeup.

Do you think women go too far on these ‘maternity’ shoots? I’d love to hear from you on this.

…Saumea…

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