Sometime in 2010, I hung out with a (toaster) and his friends at the Get Arena in Lekki. Back then, I hadn’t started working yet, as I was fresh out of the University and National Youth Service Corps so, I was thrilled to be in the midst of the working-class. We chilled over drinks and chops and gisted about a variety of topics from marriage to destination weddings and stuff. One guy raised a topic and everyone weighed in on the matter.
“What do you think of this new trend of naked belly photos?” He asked, staring at each and every one of us curiously.
“Naked what?” Some ladies asked.
In order to drive his point home, the guy brought out his blackberry phone and went on to Facebook where he extricated a photo of a lady friend of his who had taken a pregnancy shot of her bare belly.
You should have seen the look on my face. I wasn’t prepared to see the nakedness of the woman’s belly and I wondered what the world was turning into.
“God forbid!” I said. “Me? Bare my naked belly to the world? Ha! It’s like nakedness na….haba!”
“I think it’s a matter of choice…” One of the ladies, I think Carrie was her name and she was engaged to be married, infact, her fiancé was seated beside her.
“I don’t see anything wrong with it babe…” Her fiancé said to her.
“Me neither…” Carrie concurred.
“I see something wrong with it ooo…abeg, I can’t have that on my sitting room wall talk more of facebook.” A girl named Ashanti said.
My toaster spoke up, airing his views as he felt that it was no big deal and that it’ll be fun taking pictures of his wife’s naked belly.
‘Thank God I’m not getting married to you.’ I thought to myself as I cringed at his words.
We ended our outing and on our way home, he brought up the topic again.
“Ada, it’s no big deal…” He said.
“Me ke? Bare my belly? All in the name of a photoshoot? To prove what point?” I hiss.
“It’s the beauty of the life within….think of it, when we have our babies and they get to see the pictures of you pregnant with them.” He smiled at me.
I instantly picked a fight and we quarrelled all the way till he dropped me off and I promised never to go out with him again.
Now, fast forward to five years later and my close friend Angela, posts pictures of her pregnancy on Instagram. She is clad in a floral bikini top and a chiffon wrapper for her lower body, hence baring her huge belly for all to see. I quickly type into the comment section.
“You look so gorgeous dear! OMG! This is the prettiest picture I’ve ever seen in a long while.”
Am I not a hypocrite?
As soon as I sent it, I froze and remembered the conversation I had some five years ago.
‘Wow! How time flies! I couldn’t imagine doing this back then but now, I think I can picture myself doing it and no, it’s not a bad thing to take photos baring my pregnant belly.’ I say to myself.
I actually laughed and immediately started recalling the pregnancy pictures that I have saved on my phone; my cousin’s two pregnancies, Stephanie Linus’s pregnancy pictures from her magazine cover feature and lots of others and as I flipped, I saw the beauty in these women, and the pride they wore on their faces which seemed to say ‘I am proud to carry this life within me’. Lots of women do things for different reasons, most women who have battled so long TTC and finally had their hearts desires answered will swoon at every opportunity to take those photographs and place them on a stand for all to see. Many others who have never battled with conception would take pregnancy pictures for different reasons, some of which are for personal keeps while others take these photos to announce to the world that they are expecting.
Right now, in 2016, if I were to be in that same gathering as I was five years ago with my toaster, I would have said.
“Of course, it’s no big deal! I can take pictures of my belly but I might not upload it on Instagram or facebook, I might actually place them in my bedroom or my child’s nursery.”
And definitely, I would not pick up a fight with my toaster over a topic like that.
The African society is opening up to a lot of things and the western world is not doing so much good. We must be sure of whatever we share with social media because whether we like it or not, the world is watching. It could be for good or bad or both but at the end of the day, it is important to make everything we do especially as regards pregnancy, have a sort of symbol to our lives and to us as a people. Taking pictures of our naked bellies and deciding to share it or not on social media is not a problem, it is our pregnancy and we can do as we please but bear in mind that for everything we do, we must have a reason for doing it and it must be in our best interests and that of our children.
Baby dust to all….
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