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Pregnancy Fetishes

I’ve been meaning to make this post for a while anyway, but Paige’s comments this morning about pregnancy bellies make it as good a time as any. She quotes a post from Laura Wood (she left off the link, so I don’t have it to share) in which she (Wood) bemoans modern trends toward pregnant women showing off their bodies.

I have two different (but not mutually exclusive) opinions on this, and I think both are very important in their own right. First, I have seen some real problems with this. Shortly before their baby was born, Clark and his wife posed for exactly the kind of pictures that Ms. Wood blasts. Now, I don’t have any particular problem with these kinds of pictures. Pregnancy is a normal part of life, and a part that can be incredibly beautiful. But these particular pictures had a twist. First, Clark and his wife are very Southern Baptist. Remember, this is the guy who covers his eyes at nudity in movies. The poses in these pictures are the kind that they’d both be out bitching about in any other context. There are several in which her breasts are barely covered (in order to expose the belly), a couple in which she’s basically only wearing a sheet, and a couple in which he’s holding her from behind with his hands on her belly as you can clearly see the unbuttoned and unsnapped jeans. All fair enough if the photos were taken for personal use. They were posted on Facebook. The other problem I had with this photo shoot is how clearly and utterly pedestalized she is and how beta Clark is. These photos are all about making his wife the center of attention.

In other words, there are two basic problems. Because it’s “all about the baby and motherhood” women get to exercise their inner sluts and attention whores in ways that would be completely socially unacceptable in other contexts (at least for these particular women). They get to be skanks while pretending not to be. For a large portion of our population that’s really not an issue anymore – but for many “religious” women it still is. The other problem is that it’s another (often very expensive) item that’s all about the woman. “I’m pregnant, you should be catering to my every desire.” Groan.

Modern American women are wimps when it comes to pregnancy and childbirth. Yes, I’m a man and I said it. Let forth the feminist wrath. I’ll say it because I’ve had the very good fortune to find myself with a woman who is not a wimp about it. Don’t get me wrong, she’s no hero either (sorry honey). You want to see a hero in pregnancy and childbirth? Look at frontier women or nomad women, the kind who do real, physical labor all day in the hot sun right up until the moment they give birth – and then a few days later they’re out doing it again. Pregnancy is a natural part of human life. You’re not sick. You’re not injured. You don’t have a “medical condition.” You’re just pregnant. Yeah, you’ll get tired more easily. Your back will get sore because your center of gravity is completely off. You’ll have some other issues thanks to hormones. Yeah, there are even a very few women who are actually defective (defective in the sense that their bodies don’t quite work right) in some sense and have truly serious issues while they’re pregnant. But by and large, the female body was designed to do it and does a pretty good job of it.

But in modern America pregnancy has become an excuse for a woman to be worshiped and pedestalized not just by her husband/boyfriend/baby daddy but by all of society. “I’ve got a craving at three in the morning for a triple chocolate dunked Oreo and lard cheesecake – GO GET IT FOR ME NOW!” OMG, you’re pregnant! Can I wipe your ass for you? As I said, I was extremely fortunate that my wife wasn’t like that at all. In fact, she got extremely annoyed by everyone treating her like a baby.

Pictures of this sort are just another symptom of that. It’s not about the baby. It’s all about the attention whore mother. Babies should be a celebration, I agree. But you’re not a goddess because you managed to spread your legs and let some guy squirt a little bit of jizz in there. You’re just a woman – like the billions of other women who have done it before. I only put it that roughly because so many pregnant women need to get their heads out of their own asses so that we can get back to celebrating the baby, the birth and the miracle of life like we should be.

Now, with all of that said and done…. my second perspective. Pregnancy is a natural part of the human condition. A lot of people find it gross. I never really understood that. It’s not a fetish for me or anything, but frankly I find pregnant women to be beautiful in their own right. There’s a distinct difference between a pregnant body and a fat body. Fat bodies are gross. Pregnant bodies are not. Unfortunately in this day and age of obesity, most women I see are actually both. And women who are fat and pregnant… yeah, that’s pretty gross, too. And as I’ve mentioned before, when a woman you love is pregnant with your own baby and happy to be… that’s really damn hot.

My wife, however, does have a bit of a pregnancy fetish. As far as I know, she’s only ever admitted it to me. Even with me she gets embarrassed to talk about it. But as I’ve told her a million times, I’m willing to bet that this is an extremely common fetish for women. Duh, it makes an awful lot of evolutionary sense. And as Athol loves to remind us, sex is all about making babies.

Like I said, it’s not really a fetish for me. But you know what? When your wife reveals a fetish, roll with it. Milk it. Use it for all you can. So when we’re out in publicly, we quietly cheer to each other when we see cute pregnant women who are actually not fat. We talk about it when we tease each other. We talk about it in different ways when we’re actually having sex. Hey, it works for us (most of the time, anyway).

But especially these days, I suggest an alpha framing for men who go this way. It’s not just about her. Talk about showing her off in a “look what I did” kind of way. Talk about her belly as being your way of marking her as yours. I got the double bonus of luck – my wife was talking about things that way before it ever occurred to me and before I ever knew about Game. What can I say, she really did want me to Game her all along.

Oh, and women like Ms. Wood who rant about disgusting baby bellies are largely the same liberal feminist idiots who are against children and population growth anyway. Somehow these same women, who would kill any man who suggested that a woman should stay home, want to keep their fellow women from breast feeding in public and don’t want to go anywhere where they might run into somebody’s “screaming brat.” Don’t worry. These women may be proof positive that women are more misogynistic than men, but they’re also sowing the demographic seeds of their own irrelevance with their anti-child ideals. And frankly, she’s mostly jealous because she doesn’t have a pregnant belly of her own.

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  1. Paige
    April 11, 2011 at 11:44 am | #1

    Here is the link:
    http://www.thinkinghousewife.com/wp/2011/04/the-pregnant-pagan/

    My husband has never pampered me during pregnancy. Not that I haven’t tried because I pamper him constantly and sometimes I want to take my turn…but no cigar.

    He does see my pregnant belly as a personal ego-boost to his manhood.

    I am not the type of woman that particularly likes being pregnant. But the fact that my husband does helps me not feel so gross.

    As for women going back to the fields…that is a bad idea. It increases the risk of clotting and infection. 6 weeks recovery is necessary.

    I was overly active after one of my babies was born and I paid the price for it.

    • April 11, 2011 at 11:54 am | #2

      Other than Clark’s wife, who was mentioned in the post, I don’t mean to imply that any specific woman is a wimp about it. But don’t tell me you don’t know plenty of women who fit my description to the letter. ;)

    • April 11, 2011 at 11:56 am | #3

      Also, I will readily admit that we were a little blessed. My wife is one those women who actually likes being pregnant and does very well with it. I recognize that despite everything I just posted, this is not the norm. Most women really do experience at least a bit of discomfort over it. I just happen to think that in the modern world we treat them like invalids over it. Or, more accurately, we treat them like spoiled children, which is how we seem to treat women in general.

  2. April 11, 2011 at 12:11 pm | #4

    Leonidas,

    One thing to keep in mind is that Mrs. Wood is a fairly traditional Catholic. I don’t know what your parish is like, but most don’t teach a concept nowadays that used to be universally understood by all Christians: the veiling of the sacred. In the pre-1969 mass, an awful lot of things were veiled — the tabernacle inside and out, the ciborium, the sacred vessels used for consecration, etc.

    A woman’s pregnant belly isn’t gross, but it is the product of sex, and it is a private thing. I also don’t think non-pregnant woman should be taking such kinds of poses. But the point is that it shouldn’t be hidden because of shame, it should be hidden (to a point) because it is a private matter, and because it is so sacred. It used to be rude to ever ask when the baby was due, except for the closest of friends and family, and in private. It used to be unthinkable that a friend would walk up and rub a pregnant woman’s belly like they do today. My wife had an interesting way of dealing with that — whenever someone rubbed her belly, she’d do the same in turn to them.

    I couldn’t agree more that the whole thing is a display of extreme sluttiness in a culturally acceptable way for “respectable” women, as it is a method of pedestalizing them. I actually began my journey of ceasing acting like a whipped beta when my wife was pregnant for the first time, because she did want her every whims cared for, quit her job, and just slept all day. This was ages before I started learning about Game, and used to feel a bit guilty about it.

    • April 11, 2011 at 2:44 pm | #5

      “A woman’s pregnant belly isn’t gross, but it is the product of sex, and it is a private thing.”

      I generally agree. That’s why I wouldn’t object at all to a couple doing these kinds of photos to have for themselves. Putting them on Facebook, on the other hand, is attention seeking. So to that degree, I agree with Ms. Wood.

  3. Paige
    April 11, 2011 at 12:11 pm | #6

    I don’t particularly care for being treated like an invalid. I was at a book store and they had those little step stools so short people can reach the top shelf. I stood on it 9 months pregnant to reach a book and an older gentleman demanded…and I do mean DEMANDED…. I step down RIGHT NOW and think of the health of my baby.

    Given that I am quite accustomed to using a step stool in my kitchen to reach the higher shelves I knew my abilities quite well. I might want to stand on the top of a 10 foot ladder but I can handle being 2 feet off the ground.

    And then there was the time when I went to a karaoke bar with my husband and several people told me it was no environment for a pregnant lady. Now it was a non-smoking bar so I did’t see the big deal.

    Maybe the bar-hoppers just didn’t like the reminder that sex can lead to such a thing. :)

    During my first pregnancy I acted like a big baby. But that was because I was 19 and terrified that every less than comfortable symptom was a sign that something was wrong and me or the baby was in danger. lol.

    • April 11, 2011 at 2:47 pm | #7

      My wife had a lot of similar experiences and griped about them to no end. The worst offenders was my sister-in-law. Chewie’s wife was pretty overweight to begin with and made the most insane ordeal out of being pregnant (although she was so fat you couldn’t even tell, even at the end). She kept treating my wife like an invalid and trying to do the whole “let’s get together and bitch about how bad pregnancy is” thing. Which just annoyed Hermione because she actually liked being pregnant, and every time she said that Chewie’s wife just looked dazed and confused.

  4. Paige
    April 11, 2011 at 12:24 pm | #8

    I don’t understand why a womans belly is more indicative of sex having occurred than an actual child is. By this logic it would seem that babies and children should be veiled as well.

    I don’t see maternity photos in the same light. I’ve only ever seen it as a celebration of the life cycle, not of the specific woman.

    I think some of the cultural taboos that are meant to create an artificial distance between humans and nature do more harm than good.

  5. April 11, 2011 at 12:24 pm | #9

    It’s amazing how many people think they have the right to butt in to someone else’s business, just because that person happen to be a pregnant woman. I only know this second-hand, but it can be infuriating.

    And after having our first child, the anti-vaccine Nazi’s wouldn’t stop hounding us for the first six months.

    I think it actually bothers me far more than it bothers my wife. She’s a bit of an attention whore by nature, whereas I’m naturally a loner that doesn’t want to be noticed by anyone in most contexts.

    • April 11, 2011 at 2:48 pm | #10

      This drives us crazy, too. The thing that bothered my wife the most is all the people who would come up and try to rub her belly. Total strangers. Not coming up and asking, just coming up and trying to put their hands on her. How in the world to people think that’s OK?

  6. April 11, 2011 at 4:05 pm | #11

    A few years ago, a sculptor Daniel Edwards’ Monument to Prolife, caused a viseral reaction in the anti-natal community (which is the vast majority of the yammering community). I can’t find a picture of it now, but the money shot is… well… a money shot: the baby is crowning.

    At the time I hypothesized that, while a well-ordered society would neither seek nor be edified by such art, most of the negative reaction was arising from the divorce modern mind between the accidents of coitus and its telos. In that sense, alone, I deemed the work instructive if not entirely tasteful.

    • April 11, 2011 at 8:52 pm | #12

      This may be a compulsion that results from a longing for life in a sterile society. People used to be surrounded by babies and kids and old people and be able to touch according to (mutual) need. We are far more segregated now, with our day cares, schools, retirement homes, etc., but we probably still have that same internal need to ruffle hair, rub a back, or swat a behind playfully – we are simply deprived of the outlet.

      Thanks for the linkage, BTW!

  7. April 11, 2011 at 9:20 pm | #13

    yours.

    I’ll be honest, and note that I do have a bit of a pregnancy fetish and if I was some massively irresponsible twit (with some game), I probably would have impregnated a number of women by now. It’s quirky when you explain it to others, but when you’re with somebody that understands you, it makes engaging in it far more enjoyable and sensual. So yes, there is a bit of a thrill in threatening to knock up a girl*. Mind you, one should be ready for the consequences if you go a little crazy. :-)

    *I’ve jokingly said that it may have been the only time that I’ve been remotely alpha.

    • April 11, 2011 at 10:21 pm | #14

      As I said in the post, I don’t really have a fetish. But the idea of knocking my wife up is definitely kind of hot. Again, I think this is pretty common. It is, after all, what sex is actually for.

  8. April 14, 2011 at 5:25 pm | #15

    Leonidas, you might enjoy theologian Vernard Eller’s The Sex Manual for Puritans. It might as well be titled “for Puritans and Papists”, come to think of it. The money shot from that book is this little piece of wonder:

    Puritan thinkers argue among themselves as to just when and how the true sexual climax happens, but they have no problem as to where it lies. Some maintain that it comes with the birth of a baby–a loved, wanted, family-wrapped baby. Others would agree in principle but maintain that true sexual climax has been achieved only if the newborn infant is the couple’s grandchild–demanding considerably less of floor-walking, nighttime feeding, and dirty diaper-changing than first-order babies do.

    More recently, however, there has arisen a radical school of Puritan theologians–derisively referred to as “the sex fiends”–who have dared to go even further. They claim that the ultimate sexual climax is what the Bible knows as “the kingdom of God.”

  9. SugarAndSpice
    April 15, 2011 at 9:57 am | #16

    “You want to see a hero in pregnancy and childbirth? Look at frontier women or nomad women, the kind who do real, physical labor all day in the hot sun right up until the moment they give birth – and then a few days later they’re out doing it again. Pregnancy is a natural part of human life. You’re not sick. You’re not injured. You don’t have a ‘medical condition.’”

    Sure, lower-class women traditionally haven’t had the luxury of taking it easy during pregnancy, but is that really the ideal? Infant mortality, maternal mortality, etc. have all declined in the past hundred years, precisely *because* of the “medicalization” of pregnancy–giving birth in a sterile environment, encouraging a reasonable degree of rest, etc.

    I certainly don’t think pregnant women ought to be pampered, but there’s a difference between “pampering” and “responding appropriately to her limitations.” For instance, if a woman is nauseated, losing lots of weight, and can only think of one food she can actually choke down, it’s appropriate for her husband to go and get it for her (as long as she asks politely). But if she has no issues with nausea and simply wants a dozen Krispy Kreme chocolate doughnuts because they sound good, she should get them herself (or preferably, not get them at all–I doubt a giant infusion of carbs and sugar is good for the baby).

    • April 15, 2011 at 10:23 am | #17

      I’m not claiming it’s ideal, merely that modern women don’t have it anywhere near as hard as they make it out to be.

      Also, there’s a huge misconception about the decline of mother and infant mortality. Most if it is not due to the medicalization of birth and pregnancy. As with just about every other decline of medical related death in the last century and a half, roughly 70-90% of it can be attributed to nothing more than the increase of hand washing and the miracle of antibiotics. Many of our modern medical “treatments” for pregnancy are actually causing problems that are worse than what they’re trying to solve. Absent infection (see the previous antibiotic comment), the vast majority of childbirths and pregnancies are normal, natural affairs that the female body is quite well designed to handle on its own.

      Frankly, this topic deserves a post all of its own. Maybe next week sometime.

  10. Paige
    April 18, 2011 at 5:17 pm | #19

    I want to see a study that considers not just the individual outcomes of a pregnancy but the complications over a womans entire child-bearing years. A complication from 1 birth can become a major problem in a subsequent birth. Keeping complications to a minimum is necessary not just for that pregnancy but for future pregnancies as well.

  11. April 18, 2011 at 5:46 pm | #20

    I think SugarAndSpice is incorrect to categorize “home birth” and “birth free of medical interventions” as equivalent. A home birth is often free of medical interventions but doesn’t have to be. Many births that are free of medical interventions occur at birth centers or hospitals.

    For home births, the studies are somewhat mixed. The one linked study shows a higher neonatal mortality rate. Other studies show lower rates. Almost all of the studies have serious methodology issues that taint the results.

    For births free of medical intervention (absent a handful of specific medical conditions that truly warrant interventions), however, the research pretty clearly shows outcomes (for the immediate birth) are AT THE VERY LEAST as good as births with heavy medical intervention from the start. It’s not quite conclusive that the outcomes are better (from what I’ve seen, anyway). But really, if the outcomes are comparable that’s reason enough not to spend a lot of time, money, and energy on medical interventions.

    There’s one major exception to that last paragraph: the recover from a C-section is a LOT worse, on average, than the recovery from a vaginal birth. It takes longer, it’s generally more painful and the mother is typically more restricted (by her body, not just doctor’s orders) from physical activity. Our intuition is that a C-section would be the easy way out, but the reality is the opposite.

    There is good research showing that multiple C-sections are MORE dangerous than multiple natural births AND that multiple C-sections are more dangerous than VBACs (Vaginal Birth After a Cesarian, for the bulk of my readers who aren’t likely up to speed on the topic). There’s far less research on how other interventions effect follow up pregnancies, and like Paige I would very much like to see some done – and I also suspect that she’s right that it’s not good.

    • Paige
      April 18, 2011 at 9:57 pm | #21

      I have a friend who had 5 c-sections. Nearly all of the pregnancies were unexpected and occurred while using a contraception method (she is highly fertile), and nearly all of them after the 2nd one had some pretty heavy complications. The last three all resulted in a month-long NICU stay, one resulted in severe medical PTSD for the mother, and the last one resulted in a 12 foot long lap sponge being left in her abdomen that wasn’t discovered until 6 months later when she went into septic shock and was in the ICU for a week.

    • April 19, 2011 at 8:32 am | #22

      In interpreting any studies it would be well to note the general animosity of the medical establishment toward midwives and even mildly alternative practices, such as the Bradley Method. By “medical establishment”, I mean the practitioners in the field, the schools, and the medical associations and lobbyists. Texas midwives are continually fighting off legislation that would require them to be supervised by obstetricians.

      This is guild mentality and regulatory capture, not an actual question of best practices.

      • April 19, 2011 at 9:48 am | #23

        Agreed. Which is why it should hold even MORE weight when said studies actually end up with data that supports midwives.

  12. Hermione
    April 21, 2011 at 12:03 am | #24

    @SugarandSpice

    Take a look at the following links. I don’t usually like to jump into comments, but the Wax et al study was a poorly done meta analysis that has taken a lot of criticism on both sides of the fence.

    http://www.scienceandsensibility.org/?p=2551

    http://www.scienceandsensibility.org/?p=1422

    http://www.theunnecesarean.com/blog/2010/7/7/obgyn-journal-fast-tracks-anti-home-birth-study-in-advance-o.html

    http://www.theunnecesarean.com/blog/2011/4/2/another-critique-of-the-wax-paper.html

    To get on my soapbox for a minute, using a midwife doesn’t have to equal homebirth. My son was born in a hospital with a fantastic CNM. Of course, in many places it does, because OBGYNs are getting territorial and upset about lost revenue. Where we live now midwives are illegal. The maternal death rate in the U.S. is actually *rising*, and our infant mortality rate is, frankly, embarrassing. We rank 33rd in the world for infant mortality according to the UN rankings, and 46th according to the CIA world fact book. Something is broken in the way we’re doing things.

    Anyway, those are good reads about why that particular study is not really that great.

  13. Tim
    February 17, 2012 at 4:06 pm | #25

    I think pregnant women are beautiful im a pregnancy photographer text me 253 3245610

  14. Maya
    July 14, 2012 at 3:12 am | #26

    Good read, but you really lost my respect at the ‘fat bodies are gross’ part. Did you know that it’s possible to be beautiful and be rounder in shape? Now you know, asshole.

    • July 14, 2012 at 8:14 am | #27

      Glad you could put down the ho-hos long enough to comment.

  1. April 18, 2011 at 7:23 pm | #1

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