1. Maternity pictures have become popular social media fixtures for several reasons, most of which make no sense to me. Some couples post them to be funny. They think it’ll be goofy to participate in the ongoing fad that is The Over-The-Top Belly Pic. Whether the belly is painted or props (such as the occasional gun and/or watermelon) are involved, these pictures are intentionally styled to be jokes. Then there are the couples who view pregnancy as extraordinarily beautiful and want to illustrate how much they love each other through the soul-capturing art of photography. Heart hands, yards of chiffon, and lots of belly kissing are all signs of a couple’s strength and true love. Finally, there are the centerfolds, the women who get pictures taken of themselves looking like the goddesses they are, wearing expansive wings, draped in satin sheets, and sometimes standing in a meadow. It’s all very artistic and self-congratulatory, but hey, screw it. Carrying a baby is a long and arduous process, and if a woman or couple wants to celebrate that time period with pictures, so be it.

Everyone welcomes the responsibility of parenthood and the miracle of life in different ways. And I don’t really care if people want to dress up as literary characters and hire a photographer to take their picture by a pool or on a farm or standing in the frozen foods section of a supermarket. That’s their prerogative. But when the pictures get posted on Facebook, I start to cringe. Especially since there are now so many different “styles” of maternity pics, with everyone seemingly trying to out-do each other. It’s amusing, and some of the pictures are genuinely sweet, but I can’t help but wonder why they’re being shared online. Am I crazy for thinking that maternity pictures should be kept private or between close friends rather than prominently displayed on Facebook? Maybe it depends on the type of picture. Let’s take a look at some examples of popular trends in maternity portraiture on social media to figure it out.

1. Pregnancy Is a Gift

This approach takes “the gift of a baby” literally by tying a ribbon around a woman’s belly and declaring her baby “a gift from God” or “not to opened until its due date!” It’s been done time and time again, but the ladies sure do love it.