Maternity Pics Round-Up, Part II

Before I post a series of images that you will never, ever forget, allow me to apologize for taking a little time away from the site. I know the past few months have been like, “Yo, WTF is going on with this blog?”, but I’m working hard to get back to bringing you daily posts filled with horrific poo splatters and sanctimommies galore. Taking a break from posting on a blog that typically has daily content has been weird, especially because I want everyone to know how dedicated I am to being the arbiter of parent overshare — and not just because it sounds fancy at dinner parties to tell people that I sift through pictures of bloody organs all day (humblebrag!). It’s because the people who read this site are awesome, and the emails you guys send clearly spell out a need for this site in the larger conversation about social media and why some parents are so incredibly annoying. So, if you’ll accept my lack-of-posts apology, I will happily continue to make your wildest dreams come true by writing posts about mama drama, umbilical cords yanked into animal shapes (which could totally be a trend), and, of course, the many mommyjackers among us (<— title of a future Lifetime movie). 

Speaking of trends, it’s been a whole year since I posted the first Maternity Pics Round-Up, and my-oh-my have I received some bizarre submissions since then! As I wrote before, “wacky” maternity pictures are kind of gimmicky, not to mention errrrwhere on the internet, so I tend to stockpile the submissions and focus on other types of posts. But not today, my friends! Today it’s Round Two, and yes I fully intend to smack you in the face (metaphorically) with some bulging bellies that deserve formal recognition for the way(s) in which they were displayed online.

This isn’t about “body shaming”; it’s about trying to understand why some women choose to show off their bodies the minute they get pregnant, as if their friends are suddenly interested in checking them out. After all, it’s one thing to post a profile shot of your clothed, growing belly, which many friends and family are usually happy to see, and it’s another to post stylized, semi-(or full) nude photos in an effort that screams “I am a goddess!” Sure, every woman who carries a baby is a “goddess,” but that doesn’t mean I want to see my goddess friend’s naked belly, possibly draped in pink chiffon or in an extreme close-up. A growing belly is beautiful, but it can also be jarring, especially when Photoshop is involved. Let’s check out some examples. (You can also see several more examples over on Mommyish in my latest column!)

1. Baseball Stitching

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Words Jennifer’s friends used to describe this picture: Amazing, cute, cool. Words I’d use to describe this picture: Terrifying, grim, basket catch. The only connections I see are the round baseball/belly shape and nine innings/nine months of gestation. Everything else makes me want to swear off technology and live in a Wifi-free forest. Anything to ensure that I’ll never have to see this image again, which, by the way, probably won’t happen considering this is one of three baseball belly submissions that I’ve received in recent weeks.

baseball cap smiley

2. HaTeRz

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Mmmm. Nothing gets me in the mood like a little spaghetti-in-the-dark and the seminal 1995 classic "Dangerous Minds." Kimberly is truly living in a gangster’s paradise. And just in case you didn’t believe that Jack rubbed coconut oil all over her belly, she provided a picture! Very romantic :)

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Question: Are Ultrasound Photos Still Considered Overshare?

Before I put up the depressing Sandy Hook post everyone knew was coming, I wanted to put up this post that I’d planned to run on Friday because it’s tied to some thoughts I’ve had about the blog in recent weeks. I should begin my diatribe by saying that the blog isn’t going anywhere, even though I took a week off from posting. I’m still sitting on a crapload of new submissions, and there are many mommyjackings and crusades in our future. That being said, something is shifting in the climate of overshare. I get regular emails from parents who say, “Can I post [X] as my status update, or will it wind up on your blog?” They’re sincerely asking because the definition of overshare is always changing, but for the most part, I think it’s actually changing in parents’ favor.

My personal definitions of “overshare” haven’t changed much, but other people’s attitudes seem to have. If anything, it’s possible that my ideas about overshare are becoming dated. I’m like an old granny shaking her fist at cervix dilation updates. The word “desensitization” comes to mind. I’ve actually come to expect to read comments like, “This turd post isn’t nearly as bad as that other one!”, or “Hey, at least they didn’t post a picture!” or even,  ”At least she didn’t misspell anything.” On a post featuring an aerial shot of some kid’s poop in a toilet, people will actually commend the poster on his or her grammar. I’ve also read several comments by readers (here and on the Facebook page) that use the word “desensitized” to describe their reaction to some of the arguably grosser posts. People have started looking at certain updates in a new light, and what used to be considered “extreme overshare” might now merely summon a “meh.” We’re entering a new phase where placenta pics may occasionally inspire more organ appreciation than nausea.

In addition to that, 2012 has been the year of parents’ resistance  More than ever, people are committed to NOT changing their posting habits, so if you don’t like what they have to say, feel free to unfollow/de-friend/burn some sage and that’ll be that. No one is concerned with what others think, even if what they’re thinking is, “Why is there a picture of a baby crowning in my newsfeed?” It’s a headstrong approach to social media that shows we’re not getting more considerate of our friends and followers, but rather more thoughtless. Why should you care what Suzy thinks about your pictures and updates? Screw Suzy! It’s as though people have become “empowered” by their ignorance in order to justify their posting habits. But it also beckons the question: What is “overshare” anyway? If everyone - not just parents - treats social media like a free-for-all, why should parents withhold their poop pics? (Or so goes the thinking.) 

One somewhat surprising thread involved ultrasound pictures. I posted an article about how Shakira and her boyfriend shared their ultrasound picture, and several people commenting said the pictures aren’t overshare, which wound up inspiring last week’s Mommyish column and this post. I’ve always thought of ultrasounds as the gateway drug to overshare, because they’re usually the first personal picture(s) a person posts related to parenthood (other than pee stick and Prego pics). The seal has been broken, so to speak, and parents can make way for sharing other, more daring pictures in the coming months. However, they’ve become so common on Facebook, most parents probably share their pictures because everyone else they know shared theirs, too. A lot has changed in the past few years. 

Even the ultrasounds themselves have changed over the years, with the scary 3D pictures becoming more popular than the cute lil 2D ones. It’s hard to remember when people just posted a single 2D ultrasound picture, isn’t it? That’s some prairie shit. 

Most of the ultrasound submissions I get now are pretty different from this one, and the basis of this post is just to say that overshare shouldn’t be defined by a single type of update. There are several ways to post about something, and one way might not be classified as overshare as much as another. To back up that claim, today’s post includes five different ways to post about ultrasounds. Sort of like “five ways to wear a scrunchie" or "five ways to make ramen,” except not.

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Anatomy of an Oversharer

It’s been a very lite week of blogging for me, probably the lightest ever, which makes me so sad that I could just cry, but I promise that next week will be different. Next week will be a shimmering fairyland of angry parents, sanctimommies, and even a disgusting Tease & Reveal because THAT is how much I owe you guys for being so absent. Hell, I owe it to myself to go balls-out with posts next week, if only because I feel a hole in my heart when I don’t measure up to my typical blogging form.

In the meantime, please check out my column on Mommyish this week about oversharing about labor and delivery. I know we fully covered this territory on the blog on Monday, but I didn’t get a chance to link to the Mommyish post, so I hope you guys will still give it a whirl. To really drive home the point, and to showcase just how quickly status updates can devolve after a woman goes into labor and has a baby, I’ve compiled a series of (small) screenshots written by a gal named Andi. Andi promptly updated her friends when she was dilating and going into labor, and then POOF! A healthy, precious baby made her entrance into this world, and Andi’s updates went straight to Nastytown. Read on to get a sense of what many people seem to experience after a friend has a baby. Those last nine months of baby cookin’ were all leading up to this…

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