Navigating the world of pregnancy photos is tricky business.
Across the woman’s bare shoulders (she’s wearing a tube top) is a starry night-time sky and the words “The circle of life” are written. And her belly, oh my! Painted on her very pregnant belly is a baby cat of some sort, perhaps a bobcat. The bobcat baby is looking up with big adorable eyes at its soon-to-be mommy and daddy.
I have no clue what the history of this photo is or who that couple may be. I can only guess at their reasoning to depict this scene and imagery in their pregnancy photo. Perhaps they met at a production of Cats on Broadway. Maybe they run a rescue zoo for bobcats.
Up until the moment I came across that photo, my wife and I had spent a fair amount of our pregnancy time chuckling at the clueless couples who posed in these photos, many of which seemed at best of bad taste and at worst hopelessly, willfully, aggressively insane.
But the bobcat photo changed all that, caused me to re-evaluate the meaning of pregnancy photos. I have spent quite a bit of time studying that photo and here’s the lesson I have learned. There is no hesitation in that couples’ cat-eyebrowed eyes, no wink and a nod, no uncertainty in the design, make-up or presentation.
They are in. All the way. Damn what people may think. And that’s actually beautiful.
This bobcat couple made the decision to not just be comfortable in their big cat skin, but to celebrate the madness of it all. There is no shame. No humility. No ego. They are big cats and their baby is a bobcat and they have stars on their shoulders and whiskers over their cat mouths and if you don’t like it then turn the page, brother, because bobcat family is here to stay.
They are committed.
And suddenly, I began looking at all of those crazy photos in a new light. Like the one where the woman’s belly is painted like a basketball and the dad is getting ready to dunk her. Maybe they met at a game, or just love basketball.
Or the one with the woman sitting on an enormous tire and it’s sort of hard to tell if the man is more interested in her, or you know, the tire. Perhaps he’s a mechanic, or they are truck drivers.
Or the one with the woman with her arm around her shirtless man, grabbing his gun out of his holster. You know, come to think of it, there’s an enormous amount of photos of pregnant women with guns out there. Not clear on this trend, but lots of people like guns, so sure, pose with your gun..
Yes, there are a few that are disturbing: the lady with the target on her belly for example, or the one where the woman’s belly is painted like a baseball and the man is holding a bat. I know they are baseball fans, but they just didn’t think that one through.
The point is, all these people have jumped into the deep end, full on here-comes-the-baby and we are probably not getting much sleep and terrified of what’s to come and scrambling to make sense of how the rest of our lives are going to play out, but you know what, grab the body paint, baby, cause we are going to be tigers for a day!
I dig that. And actually kind of get it now. The missus even pointed out that in the face of all that over-the-top awkwardness, it’s the “tasteful” pregnancy shots that now seem less authentic. You know what I mean, the black and white artistic versions that hide the stretch marks and three day stubble, where the clothes are clean, the drapes are always billowing and there is not a prop in site. No cat make-up. No firearms. No fun.
All this revelation, of course, has led us to wonder if we’ll take our own pregnancy shots or not, and what our theme will be. We love nature and the outdoors. Music plays a big role in our lives. Travel and adventure tops our list of activities. Do we, as a couple, even have a theme? Hard to say.
I don’t know them, but I can tell you with some certainty what bobcat family would say; have your own pregnancy, think nothing of what anyone else says or cares and if you do decide to use body paint, don’t hesitate. Be a big cat and tell the rest of the world to get the hell out of your way.