This post was inspired by a pregnant woman I passed as I walked through a local shopping mall earlier today.
She was at least seven months pregnant, and wearing a crop top. It’s the bare midriff fashion, writ large.
Was I offended? Certainly not! I think pregnancy is beautiful … even sexy, though the comment may shock some of you.
I have never understood women who fret about their appearance during pregnancy and confuse it with getting fat. Definitely not the same thing.
Not so long ago, pregnancy was somehow shameful. I suppose that everything connected with reproduction was supposed to be private. So it wasn’t good form to be pregnant in public. Instead, upper class women were confined for the duration of their pregnancies:
Historically the question of what women should do during pregnancy was a highly class-based one. Upper- and middle-class European and North American women of previous centuries were kept in confinement and forced leisure. To be visibly pregnant was constituted as a bit of a social shame, and women were discouraged from appearing in public with the evidence of reproduction swelling their bellies (plus, it was kinda tough to fit into those corsets after a few months, although many women tried and subsequently did quite a bit of damage to themselves and the baby). However, being immobilized and enshrined in the house was a luxury not available to the majority of the female population. Most worked at some sort of manual labour right up until their delivery.
Even just a few years ago, women were much more discreet about their swollen bellies. Maternity clothes were baggy (and unflattering), but they have evolved, too.
This summer I have noticed a radical change in the fashion: maternity clothes can be form-fitting or sheer. And today, the woman in the crop top, proudly exposing her belly for all of us to celebrate with her.
Pregnant in public. How delightful!