Despite a lot of pregnancy information and conversation happening all over social media and other platforms, it appears that many of us still have a lot to learn and unlearn about pregnancy-related concerns. The most common pregnancy-related concern is how society expects pregnant women to behave or dress during their pregnancy.
Pregnancy bumps have always been kept hidden from public view, therefore pregnant women and girls are expected to cover up completely when pregnant. When a lady or a girl becomes pregnant, she is expected to change her entire wardrobe in order to fit these expectations.
Many of these expectations, however, have little or nothing to do with the safety of the pregnant mother or the infant. One would wonder, therefore, who is intended to gain from these changes that pregnant women are expected to make.
I honestly believe that if given the option, most people would vote to confine pregnant women and welcome them back into the society after they give birth. My belief is based on the reactions I've seen pregnant women receive when they publicly expose their pregnancy bump (naked or in tight clothing).
Women should flaunt or conceal their pregnancy for their own comfort, and not for the comfort of others
Celebrities (most recently Rihanna) and local women who have done maternity photoshoots have been ripped to bits on social media because they went against what is expected of them, which is to dress in something deemed “pregnancy-appropriate”. Remember when Hazel Mak's pregnancy shoot sparked a social media frenzy in Malawi? (In this case, Facebook.) Many individuals, particularly women, were keen to remind the artist that she was not in the UK or the US. They were essentially reminding her that ,while they may have tolerated or complimented Beyoncé and other celebrities for exposing their baby bumps, they still supported the "tradition" that limits a woman's control over her own body, especially when that woman is African.
We must accept and learn that pregnancy should be celebrated, and women and girls must decide how to celebrate and live their individual experiences when pregnant. Women and girls should not be forced to suppress their likes or style because a certain group of people think it is inappropriate for pregnant women or girls. These ridiculous and baseless expectations on pregnant women must be put to an end!