Body Image

Pregnancy Photos Are Sexy If You Are These Sexy Pregnant Women

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I am all for women celebrating their pregnant bodies. Get it. Do it. Love it. I think pregnant bodies are beautiful, even if I did feel like a bloated sea creature during mine. One British photographer is going a step further, though, and making the case for sexy pregnancy photos by releasing pics of some beautiful, naked, pregnant women. I hear what you’re saying, friend, and I admire what you’re trying to do. But trying to prove that pregnant women can be sexy by showing us photos of naked women with amazing bodies and perfect pregnant bellies does not exactly convince the unconvinced.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that these aren’t some sexy pregnant women. But what you’re making the case for is, “gorgeous women are still gorgeous when pregnant.” True. You win that battle. But that is not what I or many of my peers looked like while pregnant. Did you know that at the end of my pregnancy my belly had a point to it? Yes. My son dropped and his head turned the bottom of my belly into a point. A POINT. It was not comfortable, and it was not attractive. I also gained 70 pounds and could barely move at the end. I had trouble showering and wiping my own behind. I did not feel pretty.

So if you want to make pregnant women feel sexy, showing us Gisele Bundchen with a twenty pound baby bump is not going to do it. If anything, that makes most pregnant women feel even worse about themselves for not looking anywhere close to that. For most of us, the bodies we knew disappear, leaving nary a trace. We get stretch marks and varicose veins and weird colored nipples and freaking points to our bellies. Show me a woman like that with a crown of flowers and a gauzy white wrap and I’ll start browsing what you’re selling. Show me a gal with a lovely pair of cankles strolling through a field with a bottle of water and some Entenmann’s, and I may even walk inside the shop. Show me a woman nine months pregnant who is no longer able to roll over in bed, laid out on her couch au natural while praying for labor to start, and I’ll even buy purchase something (on layaway, of course).

But photographer Sandi Ford wants even the cankled and hemerrhoided to feel like ladies. As she says to Babycenter UK:

“Embrace this time! Record it. Cherish it. You are creating new life, that is a miracle and deserves attention. You are beautiful. You will forget the niggles and discomfort and you may want to look back and think ‘Wow. Actually I looked awesome.’”

As someone who tried for years to have a baby before I got pregnant, I did cherish that time. I was thrilled to be pregnant…90% of the time. But when I look back at photos of me during my pregnancy, I don’t think, “Wow, I looked awesome.” I think, “Boy, was I lucky to have that. And boy, am I lucky that I won’t ever, ever have to do it again.” I didn’t feel a need to reassure myself of my attractiveness during that period of my life. What I did need was one of those claw grabber things and a nurse to occasionally turn me. Sometimes we don’t get what we want.

(Photo: Facebook page for Bumps, Babes, and Beyond)

20 Comments

  1. mamaduck_75

    November 6, 2014 at 6:17 pm

    I think these are great for private photos, and kudos to them. I DID NOT look like that when pregnant.

    Unfortunately, I predict a Facebook bombardment of ‘sexy pregnant bodies’. Oh joy.

  2. Rachel Sea

    November 6, 2014 at 7:16 pm

    Most of us don’t look that good when we aren’t pregnant.

    • momma425

      November 7, 2014 at 12:07 am

      Right? Where are the featured sexy pictures of stretch marks, and swollen feet, and massive weight gain?
      Telling women they should be confident about their pregnant bodies and then featuring women who a very tiny fraction of what pregnant women actually look like is contradictory.

  3. Desert_RoseAZ

    November 6, 2014 at 8:15 pm

    Yeah, the almost 60lbs I gained during pregnancy didn’t look a damned thing like this. I was as wide as I am tall and felt as graceful, feminine and sexy as a bowling ball. Add on the funky under-the-skin rash I developed on my jawline and I easily never felt less attractive.
    Good for these ladies for feeling confident enough to bare all, but something about the “embrace your female godessness-you are Creating Life so celebrate your bodies for the miracle they are performing-RAWR” message feels like pandering and just irks me for some reason. The photos are lovely and tasteful, but publishing them somehow cheapens the beauty of how they were intended. Guess that’s the old fogey in me talking!

  4. Wicked Prophet Kay Sue

    November 6, 2014 at 8:21 pm

    I can see wanting the pictures. I can even see publishing them for exhibits or starting a special facebook folder for all the people that you think want to see you naked or putting it on instagram or whatever.

    What I can’t see is putting pressure on every pregnant woman to accept that their bodies are sexy, or acting like photos of the above are normal average pregnancy photos. They simply aren’t. And women are entitled to feel however they want about their bodies, pregnant, not pregnant, or what have you.

  5. jane

    November 6, 2014 at 8:22 pm

    Sexy or not is beside the point. All I see when I look at that picture is a woman who’s thinking, “Shit. I can’t get up.”

    • Megan - Frank

      November 6, 2014 at 10:30 pm

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  6. Looby

    November 6, 2014 at 8:28 pm

    I’m still waiting for my pregnant lady ‘glow’ to show up in the mail. Every picture of me taken over those 40 weeks I look like shit even with clothes on

    • Mimi

      November 7, 2014 at 7:17 am

      The “glow” is actually just sweat. At least it was for me. Pregnant in the summer? Constantly covered by a thin layer of shining sweat… sexy! 😛

  7. NotTakenNotAvailableWTFDisqus

    November 6, 2014 at 8:35 pm

    I’ve never had a serious bout of BDD, but I could easily see tipping over into that particular level of hell if I’d been able to get pregnant. The reason I’m currently okay with the paunch of belly fat that appears whenever I sit down is that I know I could make it go away if I really wanted to. Pregnancy? Nope, sorry, that baby ain’t going anywhere for nine months, and neither are those stretch marks. Plus, the typical inability of third-trimester women to do more than shuffle uncomfortably through the grocery store and call that exercise would drive me up a freaking wall. So for me, the issue with pregnancy would be less a loss of my ability to feel sexy (sexy is never something I aspire to anyway) and more that that sudden inability to get visible core strength would be a glaringly obvious symptom of my near-complete loss of control over my own body. Hell, that was a HUGE contributing factor to getting Essure–I have no doubt I would have wound up spending time in a mental hospital if I’d ever gotten pregnant.

  8. ChelseaBFH

    November 6, 2014 at 8:47 pm

    I know this is supposed to be empowering and all, and if it works for you, go for it. But to me it just seems exhausting. Isn’t there a second of our lives where we are allowed to not look/feel/be sexy without people feeling the need to jump in and reassure us that no, really, we are sexy!?

    No thanks, I’ll enjoy my break from sexy – obviously I was sexy at one point or I wouldn’t be pregnant, and I will probably be sexy again once I’m not pregnant anymore. I’m cool with a 9-month break while I grow some life.

    ETA: I mean, last night I choked on a Triscuit and peed myself. I’m actually pretty happy that my husband didn’t find that sexy.

    • Grr! Arrgh!

      November 6, 2014 at 9:05 pm

      I’m all for women feeling empowered and confident about their bodies but my initial reaction to this was, “God damn it, is there ever a time where I don’t need to be sexy?!?”

      And why can we only feel good about ourselves when we feel sexy anyway? Can’t I feel strong and confident and empowered because I’m growing a person without it being related to who wants to shag me?

    • chill

      November 7, 2014 at 4:05 am

      Yes especially to your second paragraph!! I feel way more confident when I use my brain and solve a problem than I ever do feeling sexy.

  9. Kite

    November 6, 2014 at 11:27 pm

    Yeah yay how is this celebrating the pregnant body when it’s an unrealistic ideal anyway? If you look like that you’re a tiny minority of pregnant women, and ONLY members of that tiny minority are celebrated as sexy. Everyone else can go hang because they DON’T look like that, so it’s a total con.

    With the constant pressure for women to be sexy sexy sexy for men and look like an alpha woman for other women to envy, it’s just tiresome. No, eff you, my attractiveness/charisma, WHEN I’m feeling it, when I want it, when I turn it on, comes from my strength and fertility and self-assurance and earthiness as a pregnant woman. It’s not conditional on my body shape, it’s conditional on my attitude WHEN I choose to project it. At any other times, I don’t have to be “attractive” for anyone, not even myself, I just want to lie on the couch and take what rest and enjoyment I can with all the weird things happening to my body, ouch that was my bladder you kicked baby wasn’t it sh*t where’s the loo quick.

    I got a pregnancy magazine from the hospital in my “goodie bag” (yawn), and it is 100% softly feminine white women in pastels with airbrushed lily-white skin all at about the ideal of 30-35 weeks pregnant. Before that you might look *gasp!* fat, and after that, you look like an ungainly elephant about to topple over. All of them are smiling beatifically and looking down at their bump lovingly and would surely have perfectly puckered pink petals with nary a haemorrhoid. (But of course there’s diversity, there’s blonde AND brunette women…) Ugh, this removal from actual pregnant women’s lived reality feels like a slap.

  10. jendra_berri

    November 7, 2014 at 12:22 am

    I looked pretty great pregnant, if I may say so. Not like the model above, but it was a good look for me, even though I felt awful. But shit, about one minute in that pose and I would’ve vomited from reflux. And my ankles were about twice that size.
    My husband took some lovely shots taken of me, clothed. Those will suffice.
    No, what makes me feel crummy are postpartum shots of gorgeous women. I’d happily trade my attractive pregnancy for an attractive post-pregnancy (Which is right now and forever after). Things have really gone downhill around these parts.

    • jane

      November 7, 2014 at 6:22 am

      I know you meant “these parts” in general, but I’m imagining you gesturing to specific parts of your body and it’s pretty funny. I also have some parts that have gone downhill; I don’t think that my nipples touched my belly button before kids.

  11. thompson Boutique

    November 7, 2014 at 12:39 am

    I wish I felt that sexy and confident during my pregnancy to try anything like that. lol.

  12. Rowan

    November 7, 2014 at 4:16 am

    I actually felt amazing when I was pregnant – sure my belly button was inside out, I had a circumference rather than a waist and walked funny cos of SPD but I did have that glow. It’s weird cos I hate my body 99% of the time. I had some nude shots done the week before my son was born and I still love them.

  13. Moliss

    November 7, 2014 at 1:30 pm

    I was SUPER CUTE from about 3 months to about 6 1/2 months. Perfect round belly, nothing else had really started to expand…after that? NOPE. Just. So. Big. Ugh! I refused pregnancy photos because my face blew up and I was in no way into documenting that.

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