It’s almost customary now for pregnant ladies to get their portraits taken in the later months of their pregnancy. Heading to studios to be draped in Grecian scarves in front of pillars or magenta-toned backgrounds, mothers hope to capture their pregnancy with an ethereal or sometimes regal portrait. But now there is a new trend emerging at baby showers with women getting “belly art” of various design and colors on their stomachs.
Using the pregnant orb as a canvas, artists (professional or expectant) create basketballs, billboards, Disney portraits, henna designs, nature scenes on the blank expanse of skin. Photos are taken. Memories are made. There are belly-art baby showers and belly art contests.
While such images and descriptions immediately bringing to mind pictures of hippie mothers with their children at Woodstock, its fascinating to observe how expressions of pregnancy continue to shift with time. But with changing attitudes about how exactly to capture or experience pregnancy, women seem to be separating into two very different camps: the flaunters and the hiders. Jessica Alba may be encouraging mothers to show off their bellies but Victoria Beckham famously said that she felt that her pregnant body was not for the public’s eyes. For mothers who are comfortable with the idea, belly art seems to be another way to distill the experience.