With Meghan’s pregnancy having been announced, and the press already watching for her growing bump, writer Susie Harrison shares her thoughts on bump-bragging.
“So, the news is out.
Meghan and Harry are preparing for parenthood, and photographers the world over are going to spend the coming months trying to catch every possible glimpse of the Mum-to-be…and her bulging tummy.
Frankly, the media has been commenting on the likely ‘family Sussex’ pregnancy since the couple walked back up the aisle after their nuptials earlier this summer.
Indeed, it seemed the cake had scarcely been cut, and press were discussing whether this or that fold of a dress, or wrinkle in a coat, or billowing cape, was suggestive of Meghan disguising her unborn.
And now, given that the pregnancy has become official, we’re already hearing commentary about the garment choice of the ‘future Mummy’ and whether she’s deliberately going to want to ‘show off’ her bump, or discreetly tuck it away for the coming six or so months.
It seems to me, that pregnant women really just cannot win.
Back when I was born in the 1970’s, I bet no-one really thought to obsess about the choice of clothing a woman like my mother was wearing throughout her pregnancy.
If one day she had a smock-type dress which barely gave hint to her expected arrival, and the other she had a neat bulge tipping from her skirt waistband, did anyone really feel it was their right to comment or critique?
These days, however, it seems we’ve all got something to say about whether a female is accentuating her baby bump.
The minute a celebrity is confirmed as expecting, commentators are discussing how she’s accentuating the bump, or whether she seems to be carrying a disproportionate amount of weight for the phase of her pregnancy.
Call me grumpy, but it really bothers me that anyone feels they have a right to judge how a woman chooses to celebrate her growing baby bump – be that whether she’s keeping it discreet or, as some will label it, ‘flaunting’ it.
I’ve had two pregnancies in the last decade, and on both occasions, I chose to wear my bump with a degree of happy pride.
No, I didn’t wear t-shirts emblazoned with ‘one in the oven’, but, I did feel content enough to wear dresses and outfits which celebrated my curvy pre-baby physique.
At one point, I remember a female colleague saying to me ‘goodness, you really are flaunting the baby bump today’.
I was horrified – although I didn’t let on at the time.
What I wish I had said in the moment was: ‘Yes, that’s right, I’m happy with my choice to ‘bump brag’. It’s taken me three rounds of IVF to get here, and I’m super proud of what my body is capable of’.
I have a feeling that would have stopped her critiquing of my body pretty swiftly!
I hope when it comes to Meghan’s developing pregnancy, that the world will choose to stay mindful of the fact that this is one woman’s very special nine-month period of joy and celebration.
Her body remains hers and hers alone.
Just because it’s about to birth a new infant, doesn’t give everyone the right to cast judgment.
Whether she wears pregnancy dungarees or designer maternity wear, and whether she is a bump-bragger or a darling of discretion, I for one wish her and her bump all the very best.”