• Mon, Jul 15 - 12:40 pm ET

STFU Parents: 5 Facebook Maternity Pictures That Should Have Stayed Offline

Last year, I dedicated a column to notable maternity picture trends, and since then, my inbox has continued to balloon with bizarre submissions. Also since then, the world has gained about a zillion “What She Wore” Kim Kardashian maternity photo galleries, which got me thinking about how people publicly portray themselves when they’re pregnant. Not that I care what Kim Kardashian wears, and not that everyone who steps foot outside her home is “making a statement” with an outfit, but there’s something to be said about a woman’s approach to pregnancy in the public eye. After all, Kate Middleton would never be caught dead wearing this, nor would she post elaborate boudoir photo shoots of herself on Facebook (I’m assuming). And it’s not just because she’s royalty. It’s because it’s not her style.

I understand the impulse behind maternity photo shoots and the desire to document one’s changing body, because pregnancy is a fully transformative experience. You could even make a case that those nine months *should* be documented. However, the ways in which some people choose to do that boggle the mind, especially when the images are shared on Facebook. I try to imagine what each person is trying to achieve with the posts, but ultimately I keep coming back to the same reactions, which range from a simple “No.” to “Oh, for the love of god, NO.” Here are some more examples of maternity pictures that probably should have been kept offline, but for whatever reason, weren’t.

1. Bikini Bod Selfie

STFU Parents

Okay, so…Chelsea was just looking for an excuse to post a picture of herself in a bra and underwear? Got it. Something tells me she’ll also document the road ”back” to her bikini body after she has her baby. And won’t that be exciting?

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  • chickadee

    In #3, it is EXACTLY like it is in the womb. Because all babies live there without a placenta?

    • CB

      There’s also fantastic lighting in there. Seriously, you’ll never look better than you did when you were living inside someone else’s body.

    • chickadee

      I think they airbrushed out the fetal cellulite.

    • SusannahJoy

      not to mention the fur…

    • lea

      And the vernix.

    • lea

      I’ve gone too far haven’t I? Sorry everyone…. *hangs head in shame*

    • Katherine Handcock

      Oh, no, you gave me the best laugh I’ve had all day!

    • padme

      Yes, you’ve gone too far. You made me Google vernix.

    • scooby23

      And of course a baby in the womb looks perfectly chubby and clean.

    • G.S.

      And the kid looks about three months old . . .

    • e.mcarthur

      LOL

      Honestly though, they don’t even have the positioning and scale right. Baby’s head would be down in mom’s pelvis; fetuses don’t float all out front like that.

  • Wendy

    To be fair, if I looked like Chelsea (and I’m not even pregnant), you wouldn’t be able to keep a shirt on me either!

    • G.E. Phillips

      Yeah, that 1st one didn’t bother me. Go, Chelsea!

    • chickadee

      I think what bugged me about that one wasn’t the photo, but the caption: “Still lookin good at 16 weeks!”…like if she had gained more weight or something she would be lookin bad? Or that someone who has gained more weight is lookin bad?

    • Justme

      I think it’s the caption…she might be setting herself up for a rough end-of-pregnancy and postpartum period.

    • Wendy

      And 50 stretch marks….

    • Justme

      Why stretch marks?

    • Wendy

      Because what she’s essentially done is that thing that happens when you say, “I haven’t had the flu in years” and then the next day you’re wishing you just had the strength to leave the bathroom floor. Or you see a car pulled over and think….”Hmmmmm….I haven’t had a ticket in ages.” She’s tempting fate…..She’s clearly delighted to have an excuse to whip off her shirt on Facebook, so I can just imagine the horror when she discovers that this pregnancy might have some surprises in store for her yet.

    • Justme

      Oh. Well…I was just thinking that someone who might pride themselves on their body could have a potentially difficult time gaining a large amount of weight and then having to firm back up afterwards. I’m not wishing anything terrible upon her – I WAS her to a certain extent during my pregnancy (except no selfies on social media).

    • Wendy

      I’m not *trying* to wish anything too terrible on her. I don’t want to be mean-spirited. It’s just….one of those things that, try though we might, we can’t control, and…it’s pretty common.

    • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

      Yup. Tempting Fate is quite dangerous, because Fate WILL accept your challenge, and it WILL end badly. For you.

    • Iwill Findu

      I’m 31 weeks I don’t have stretch marks yet.

    • Wendy

      Oh jesus! Don’t say that! I thought I had escaped too…. my Grandmother had 12 kids, my mom 6….not a stretch mark between them. I got like 500 on my first pregnancy. Basically overnight…..

    • Iwill Findu

      That’s why I added yet to the end of that statement. I know it could still happen, I mean I hope it doesn’t I’ve used an insane amount of body oil over the last 6 months.
      Although in my family the rule seems to be if you laugh at family for some crazy body change they can’t control it will happen to you. So I’ve made sure to never ever laugh at another women’s stretch marks, I learned that lesson at 16 when I ended up with my great-aunts chin hair.

    • Wendy

      That was awesome.

    • Justme

      I never did either.

    • http://www.facebook.com/valerisexton.jones Valeri Jones

      I didn’t get the first stretch mark until 37 weeks. And after that, the spider-webbed across my belly like you wouldn’t believe. I had a nice, smooth belly one day… And the next, it was like a shattered window. :(

    • goofyjj

      could make it into a tattoo though… juuuuuust thinking….

    • http://www.facebook.com/valerisexton.jones Valeri Jones

      That’s kind of a cute idea. Maybe not across my whole stomach, but I think it would be neat if I got the very first one outlined or something and then added some profound words about what they mean?

      I don’t know. I think my pregnancy hormones (from the baby I am pregnant with now) is making me all sentimental and weepy.

    • Jayamama

      That’s exactly what I was thinking. Mine didn’t really appear until around 36-37 weeks, then they just came overnight. I did everything right to prevent them and was thrilled that I had escaped thus far, and I just broke down in tears when I discovered the first one. A year and a half later, they’re mostly faded, but I’m not even bothering this pregnancy to prevent them. That ship has sailed.

    • geckomommy

      Blah blah blah. I’m 35 weeks and have had them since 20. Everyone is different, and putting on lotion does nothing but help with itching. So, congratulations to you for not having them yet, hope you don’t get them in the next 9 weeks+.

    • Iwill Findu

      Itching would be worse then stretch marks for me at this point. The last thing I need is another thing to make me uncomfortable. LOL

    • Jessie

      I had 3 kids and got maybe 2 stretch marks–and the last kid weight almost 10 pounds. Good luck to you!! (I got the chin hair, too.)

    • Simon

      To be fair she might be one of those people who really strives to tone and define her body, you know, abs, hip bones etc. It’s okay to take pride in your body! If she was 200lbs and posted a picture with the exact same caption, it’d either be hailed as body positivity or “deluded fat chick”. No one can win.

    • Iwill Findu

      I don’t care how toned or fat someone is. If you wouldn’t whip your shirt off in public why is it ok to post a shirtless photo just because you’re now pregnant? I think I look pretty darn good and yet I’ve made it a point not to post shirtless photos on the internet, because the world doesn’t need to see me shirtless. My pre-pregnancy hip bones were for me and I didn’t need to hear from facebook-friends that I looked good to feel good about myself. I like a little modesty.

    • http://www.facebook.com/valerisexton.jones Valeri Jones

      Amen, sister! Pregnancy is beautiful and all, but we don’t need to see every gory aspect of it documented on Facebook. What’s next? Status updates about how bad the hemorrhoids itch?

    • jessica

      Though I don’t have proof at the moment I am absolutely positive that someone… someone somewhere out there… has already done the hemorrhoid thing. Almost a guarantee.

    • goofyjj

      i would kinda think she does, in fact, walk around shirtless in public.

    • Iwill Findu

      Doesn’t most places have laws about that kind of thing?

    • Jessie

      If I looked like that I’d walk around shirtless in public.

    • LawGeekNYC

      I think when people, of any size, keep their clothes on in Facebook pictures everybody wins.

  • Lucy

    Our Olan Mills went out of business, damnit.

    • Hibbie

      Maybe it was in protest to photos like these. “Enough is enough! Make your own damn cheesy backgrounds!”

  • Micha

    I did the up angle from the belly and really liked it, but I had a shirt on! I loved my pregnant look and actually felt I looked better than before but no one wants to see a huge naked belly with stretch marks! Be proud but with a bit of modesty….

  • Justme

    I don’t want to see my own stretch marks, let alone anyone else’s.

    • chickadee

      Are you sure? Because I could take a picture of my 19-year-old stretch marks and share it with you now….

    • Catscats

      I can understand not wanting to see other people’s stretch marks (along with other parts of other people’s bodies), but your own? I think it’s sad that so many women feel ashamed of their bodies and lack confidence to say: that’s me and that’s good enough, no need to put myself or other women down…

    • Justme

      Good thing it was a joke.

      And also because I don’t have any stretch marks from pregnancy.

  • Tinyfaeri

    It’s prolly best if no one, pregnant or otherwise, posts pictures of themselves in their underwear on Facebook. Chances are pretty good that your aunt, uncle, cousins, siblings, first grade teacher and middle school friends don’t really want to see that even if you do look like Chelsea. Ditto the whole “from your genitals’ perspective” shots.

    • Wendy

      So true…..

  • Ptownsteveschick

    Best maternity facebook pic I have seen in a long time was one of the women I know, who is due any day. She stood outside in the sun and took a picture of her very pregnant shadow. I thought that was super cool.

    • http://abasketcase.blogspot.com/ Basketcase

      Damn, wish I had tried that! Simple, and kinda cool.

  • RTG

    At least Chelsea looks good. Some of the others . . . ugh

  • Steve

    Wait, please tell me the child in #4 is not named Hazelnut…

    • LawGeekNYC

      I’m praying it’s just a nickname. Like “bun” in the oven or something.

  • Teal

    #2 It doesn’t help that the baby’s name is really irritating. “Easton”? Really?

    • G.S.

      If his last name is “South,” I’m just DONE.

    • goofyjj

      If that’s true, I’m thinking she’s just crying for “reality show baby”

    • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

      I think Easton is the name of a company that makes baseball bats…

      EDIT: It is

    • canaduck

      ugh

    • goofyjj

      i think of Bret Easton Ellis. who wrote AMERICAN PSYCHO. shudder

    • LawGeekNYC

      to this day the only book I think of and say, “I wish I hadn’t read that.”

    • goofyjj

      Making me remember that book is reason alone to hate them. I wish i could scrub the book, the visualization, etc., from my mind.

    • whiteroses

      Dear God yes. I’m a bit of an omnivore when it comes to the written word- but I read that one and had nightmares for three weeks. Fortunately, with a palette cleanser of Diane Mott Davidson, L Maud Montgomery, Laura Ingalls Wilder, and Roald Dahl, I was able to get past it.

  • brebay

    Chelsea’s on you just pray gets stretch marks…

  • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

    1: Uhh… no.

    2: …whaaaaat. This is way over the top, man.

    3: Okay, I actually kinda like this one. Babby is managing to look like a little human being, the photoshop job is decently done, and it’s not overly pretentious or obnoxious. It’s still quite silly, though.

    4: And then there’s this. What is that weird brown spotty patch above her navel, anyway?

    5: Top picture, as much as I loathe the “we’re pregnant” thing, that one was well-executed. Bottom picture, notsomuch. (And yes, I had a moment of, “Is that a nipple? No… wait, it’s a fingertip. Whew.”)

  • Aimee

    Absolutely appalling how mothers can judge each other like this. Stretch marks are normal, large bellies are normal, loving husbands who want to share in the joy of announcing a pregnancy – rare – but amazing. Of course there is a part of me that judges, and wishes Chelsea would whack on 50 kilos because COME ON! But that’s the jealous part of ME, it has nothing to do with these beautiful women whatsoever.
    TL;DR: Women are allowed to be proud of their bellies and their babies: all of you take a long hard look in the mirror before you cast the first stone.

    • Amber

      Lots of things are normal, that doesn’t mean I want to see them. If you expose yourself and broadcast your flaws publicly, you should expect some feedback. If you don’t want feedback, wear a shirt. It’s really quite simple.

    • EcnoTheNeato

      I’m actually quite proud of my physique and belly. But my shirt stays on in public, and in any and all photos. Only the bestest of friends have seen me sans shirt in a non-water situation. Hardly anyone has seen me without pants

      But then again, I even hated changing in gym class. So maybe I’m just weird…

    • whiteroses

      Nobody’s saying that people aren’t allowed to be proud of their bodies, bellies and babies. Heck, maternity photos are, in my mind, an absolute must.

      But realistically, I can’t think of a single person on earth who would sincerely want to see thirty-nine belly shots of the same pregnant woman unless they either made her pregnant or were her parents. One, definitely. A whole album? No. There are some things that absolutely do not need to be posted on Facebook. (You’re welcome, B, I just summed up STFU Parents in one sentence ;) Anyone in their underwear or naked are some of them. I don’t honestly want to see anyone on my friends list besides my husband naked.

  • Persistent Cat

    #1 is attention-seeking at its finest. “Still looking good, teehee” is begging for validating comments. If she had of just written “Week 4″ or whatever, it wouldn’t be notable but it’s the need for validation that makes it offensive.

  • Katherine Handcock

    #1 bothers me because, to me, the caption sets the expectation that any pregnant woman COULD look like this at 16 weeks – and that, therefore, if you don’t, it’s a matter of personal fault rather than luck of the draw. We all handle pregnancy differently, and if the end result is a healthy mom and a healthy baby, what happens in the middle doesn’t matter so much.

    • LawGeekNYC

      Hell, I don’t look like that at 0 weeks. .

  • Victoria

    I have facebook friends who post weekly selfies of their midsection, with their shirts pulled up, of course. I don’t really mind excessive baby pictures (as long as they don’t involve bodily functions and follow other STFU parents parameters), or even excessive sonogram photos… but you midsection looks like every other pregnant midsection. What’s worse is many of them don’t stop after they’ve give birth. This baffles me.

  • Tasha

    I dont see a problem with any of the pics.. Over the years Ive had a few family/friends show off many pregnancy pics via facebook & I loved looking at them! Pregnant belly are just adorable…
    Would it make a difference if they put on a bikini before taking the pic?

    • babycarrot

      Yes, it’d be even more annoying then.

  • RCIAG

    The only naked belly & undies I wanna see are David Beckham’s or Hugh Jackman’s. If you’re not Jackman or Beckham, keep that crap to a private message or email.

  • heather

    Yeah, I have worked as a C-section nurse, this is not even remotely what the inner environment of the uterus looks like.

  • QueenieBear

    At first glance I thought #4 was a picture from above with, like, one of her older kids sticking their head out from between her legs…

    Never before have I been so grateful to be wrong.

    • EcnoTheNeato

      Yeah, I also had NO idea what direction the shot was coming from. It wasn’t until I read the caption that I saw the tiny little censor-circle and realized “Oh, that’s her HEAD!” Before that, I thought she was taking a weird picture from the top down, not that someone else was taking a “bottoms-up” picture

  • EcnoTheNeato

    It seems like B likes to start out with a tame #1 pic to ease us into the posts.

    To be honest,
    my favorite part of that one is Steven’s comment. It’s as if he’s
    saying “Hey, you showed up in my newsfeed. I had previously forgotten
    about your existence, but now that I see you in your underwear and like
    what I see, and if you’re pregnant you apparently are into sex, too, why
    not give me a shot? So, you know, how’s it going? How’ve you been?”