With around four million views on YouTube in just over a week, you've more than likely seen it, or at least caught a glimpse on your Facebook feed - Beyonce and Jay-Z closing their 'On the Run' tour in Paris with an emotional duet of 'Young Forever' and 'Halo', which was aired on HBO last week.
Sung to a back drop of never-before-seen footage exposing intimate moments throughout their years together, and ending much speculation surrounding their marriage and pregnancy, it's a real tear jerker. Well, I say a tear jerker - I practically sobbed when a segment showed Beyonce exposing her bare baby bump while pregnant with her daughter, Blue Ivy - her husband's hands wrapped tenderly around it.
For those who don't know, I'm just over 35 weeks pregnant and currently get emotional over a good chocolate brownie, let alone anything that reminds me I'm due my own little bundle in the next few weeks.
But the baring of Beyonce's bump not only moved me in a maternal way. It also filled me with pride that, yes, a bump is beautiful, and yes, a bump should be celebrated and shared - if the woman wants to, of course.
I bring this up because four weeks ago, at just over 31 weeks pregnant, my partner and I are jetted off to the Amalfi coast in Italy for a so-called 'babymoon'. In the run up to our holiday, I simply assumed I'd be packing my usual bikinis. But, when discussing my upcoming trip, a comment from an indirect work colleague gave me second thoughts: "You'll cover it up though, won't you love?" And by 'it' she meant my bump, my baby, my changed body.
Although I didn't show it, I was startled. I felt almost ashamed thinking it would be OK to expose my bump in a bikini. So the next day, I bought a maternity swimsuit (which are not cheap, I will add!), as well as borrowed an extra one from a friend who recently gave birth.
Fast-forward a week to our first day in beautiful Sorrento and I was straight down to the poolside to enjoy the sunshine in my new one-piece. But I just didn't feel myself. I'd never worn a swimsuit before, nor did I really want to. I missed my bikini, I wanted to feel the sun on my stomach and actually, I didn't feel like I should be hiding my bump. What did I have to be ashamed of? It was still my body - just a slightly different shape, and for a positive reason at that.
So by day two, it was bikinis all the way. Yes, I probably got more looks and stares than usual, but most were accompanied by smiles, or wonderful comments and general interest about when the baby was due and "do you know what you're having?!"
On my return to England, I was intrigued how many other woman questioned whether they should show off their baby bump in a bikini. A quick Google search revealed just how much of a hot topic it is. I was shocked to see forum after forum with similar questions. 'Should a pregnant woman wear a bikini?' 'Is a pregnant belly in a bikini offensive?' 'Is it bad to wear a bikini when pregnant?' I was completely saddened about the uncertainty so many pregnant women seem to have about exposing their baby bumps. And I briefly fell into this category myself - someone who has only ever worn bikinis and not once felt ashamed or embarrassed about baring my body.
In general, in a bikini or not, a baby bump to me is stunning. I follow pregnancy-related Instagram channels, adore black and white pregnancy photography, and I'm embracing how incredible my body is, changing and adapting beautifully to accommodate my baby. A bump generally represents health, vitality, life, love and quite frankly, an utter miracle. How could it ever be deemed offensive?
I do agree that some moments should remain private. I have semi-naked pregnancy photos that I would only share with my close family and friends. Not because I feel ashamed. But because a little privacy surrounding the most intimate moments of your life is becoming sacred in our social media-driven world.
I think this is why the recent Beyonce and Jay-Z footage has not only gone viral, but touched a lot of people's hearts as well. A celebrity couple known and respected for keeping their private life out of the spotlight have shared with the world glimpses of their most treasured memories. The image of Beyonce's bare bump was simply beautiful and has likely reinforced many people's belief that a baby bump is something to be proud of - not to be covered up.Suggest a correction