Having recently entered the realm of pregnant women, I have found myself eager to learn all I can about a stage of life I previously had not paid much attention to. My table has slowly become piled with books on pregnancy and babies and childbirth – all full of interesting facts that have somehow failed to be a part of my life thus far. I remember flipping through a pregnancy book late one night and snickering out loud as I read a certain passage. I found it comical enough to read out loud to my husband. It said something along the lines of culture has totally shifted in America so that being pregnant is now a very sexy and sensual state of being. The book admonished that since it is such a highly attractive time of life, be sure to revel in your new found sexiness. Ha. I closed the book after that and proceeded to lie in bed until the nausea left me long enough to slip into sleep.
Yet the book’s story of a newly founded “sexy pregnant” culture in America fascinated me. Sexy is the last word I would personally use to define the nausea, overwhelming tiredness, constant eating, lack of digestion, and inability to still button up my pants. The trend was therefore easy for me to scoff at until one afternoon, as I laid on the couch in between running for the bathroom, a Tempur-Pedic mattress commercial came on the TV. The commercial started off with a variety of people of all ages and walks of life testifying how much they love their Tempur-Pedic mattress. And then there she was. The commercial zoomed in on the “pregnant” woman, a woman who wore a slinky black dress that barely covered her bulging stomach – emphasizing her long, slender legs. The strapless black dress also highlighted her arms as she spun around on stiletto high-heels that matched the little dress. I was stunned. I didn’t even buy that she was pregnant. Everyone else on the commercial was dressed completely normal – outfits one would wear to work or school. And then here was the pregnant woman dressed as if she were going out for cocktails. And not only that, she accompanied her little strut on film with her line “ask me about my mattress.” What?
The commercial ended I felt like maybe I grasped what the book was talking about a little more. There hasdefinitely been a culture shift. Where has it come from? Is it a good change? I think these would be interesting questions to explore as our culture becomes increasingly more geared towards the sensual. Are pregnant women becoming more of a symbol of the act that got them there, or a symbol of new life? With a million different pressures already, it also seems a little much to require appearing “sexy” to a pregnant woman’s to-do list. What about comfortable, happy, radiating, or beautiful? While it seems positive that women are no longer expected to feel shameful, bashful, or a need to hide pregnancy, has our culture taken the liberation too far? In my opinion, the shift represents what our culture currently values and thatis what really needs a good change.
Pictures of then and now: