Muscadine Lines: A Southern Journal

Delicate Condition

Mickie McGee

Dear Hearts, have you noticed the new trend in maternity clothes? The let-it-all-hang-out bared-belly look? Am I the only one who thinks a woman who bares her pregnant belly looks like a python that’s swallowed a watermelon?

Frankly, I think it’s disgusting. Okay, so some of you think a pregnant belly is “beautiful,” that it makes a woman feel more feminine when she can bare her navel and her myriad stretch marks to the entire world. I disagree.

Some things are just private, folks, and baring your bulging belly when you are in your third trimester is one of them. As Mammy of Gone With the Wind fame would say, “It ain’t fittin'. It just ain’t fittin'.”

Whatever happened to real maternity clothes? You know, the ones that those of us in my generation were so anxious to wear that we started wearing them the day of our pregnancy test. The ones that had tops and bottoms that actually covered your private parts, your belly and all points immediately north and south. Remember those?

Discretion. It all comes down to discretion. I, for one, wouldn’t have dared to disgrace myself, my unborn child, and my husband, or God forbid, my mother, by exposing my stomach in public when I was in such a “delicate condition.”

Times have changed, you say. They certainly have. Look inside any fashion catalog and turn to the maternity section. It looks more like a Playboy spread than ads for mothers-to-be. And most of the models are so pencil thin they'd be hard pressed to carry a full meal, let alone a baby.

Skin. It’s all you see these days, but--and this is my humble yet accurate opinion--pregnant women of all people just should not succumb to this fad. Have you seen the women who are great with child and wear low-rise blue jeans? I kid you not. I hate those things anyway but on a pregnant woman they are downright obscene.

And I don’t know about you but I see all the skin I need to when the plumber comes to call; I don’t need to see the backsides of women whose fronts are 8 1/2 months along.

There’s an absolutely beautiful girl on Fox News who is obviously quite pregnant, yet she chooses to wear short, short skirts and skin-tight tops that leave nothing to the imagination, including her bulging belly button. I’m sorry. That’s just not attractive.

If she’d like to take photos of herself in varying stages of her pregnancy, even scantily clothed…heck, naked even…then why not take them in the privacy of her home with her husband and the family cat? Must we be forced to watch her spandex strain every day for the next seven months until it bursts?

“Finding appealing clothes for the mother-to-be has been next to impossible the last few years,” says Mariah Flynn, a Toledo, Ohio, maternity shop owner. “Expectant women have been frustrated at the lack of stylish wear for a long time; now finally they are able to purchase chic, sexy clothing no matter how far along they are in their pregnancy.”

Surely you jest, Ms. Flynn!

Is this really what keeps pregnant women awake at night? Worrying about the availability of sexy maternity clothes? And all this time I thought it was their bladders!

I’m just sorry; I don’t quite understand the need for looking sexy at this time in one’s life. Pretty, yes. Glowing, yes. Exuberant, yes. But sexy? C’mon.

It’s apparent the soon-to-be mom was, and very recently I might add, at least somewhat sexy or she wouldn’t be in this condition in the first place. Why can’t she just enjoy her Haagen-Dazs, stay home and put her swollen feet up like the rest of us?

I do understand the desire to look attractive during these difficult yet fulfilling months, however. It is a wonderful time in a woman’s life. I’ve been there three times. But I can promise you this. The majority of pregnant women in the throes of pregnancy do not look like Victoria Secret models, nor should they feel they must.

They are tired, bloated, sometimes irritable, can’t remember the last time they have seen their feet, and wouldn’t be caught dead right now in a bikini.

Yes, there are women who wear bikinis when they are pregnant, some as far along as nine months. Now get that picture in your mind and tell me that that little baby will not wish to kill his mother for that someday down the line.

Oh, I wore bathing suits when I was pregnant. They were one-piece little numbers with cute little pleated skirts that covered up…well, everything that should have been covered up.

Sexy underwear for expectant mothers was not even an option in my day. Most of us wore our husbands' oversized shirts by day and at night we wore their boxer shorts. They were handy and besides, they were all that would fit. Kind of had a little Fruit-of-the-Loom bonding thing going on there, too. Talk about sexy.

And those tight t-shirts that pregnant women wear today. Those that don’t meet in the middle and have those hideous little sayings on them like Don’t Touch the Bump. Or Baby with an arrow pointing downward. How about, Coming Soon to a Hospital Near You, or Mom-in-Training, or the worst, Bun in the Oven? Tacky. Tacky. Tacky.

What I’m trying to say is that I know pregnancy is a special time and it has to be the most rewarding of life’s experiences. It is truly a “beautiful” thing. But, hey, so is modesty. Proverbs 11:22 says: “Like a gold ring in a pig’s snout is a beautiful woman who shows no discretion.” You tell ‘em, Sol.

I’m no prude by any means, but some things are just better left private, to be enjoyed with an exclusive group and not with the entire planet. Like varicose veins, swelling ankles, belly buttons, and stretch marks. In other words, inquiring minds might want to know about your expanding girth but that doesn’t mean they necessarily want to see it.

Tell you what, ladies. If you won’t show me your naked tummy, I won’t show you mine. Deal?


Mickie McGee is a 57-year-old Southern born and bred female, raised in a small town forty miles north of Augusta, Georgia. She has been married to a John Deere "veteran" for thirty-eight years and has two grown sons. Her childhood was chocked full of exciting, sometimes traumatic, events and thus, her penchant for writing about them. She writes a personal column,"Dear Hearts," in her weekly hometown paper and, at last count, had written some 340 of them. As far as she's concerned, one can only write (that is, with any passion) of what one has experienced, and she has experienced quite a lot in her half a century of living, and she gets a thrill each and every time a reader gushes, "I've been there, done that!"

© Mickie McGee

Muscadine Lines: A Southern Journal ISSN 1554-8449, Copyright © 2004-2012