14/01/2014 04:55 GMT | Updated 22/05/2015 06:12 BST

'Put It Away! I've Had A Belly Full Of Pregnant Tums On Display'

Pregnant woman shows her bump

My eyes...My eyes! Confronted with the disturbing sight of a gaggle of frenetic mums-to-be teetering in heels and bikinis, I don't know where to look.

That's before they start a nappy throwing competition.

This bizarre annual beauty pageant, held in Houston, America (where else?) caused quite a stir as images of its blossoming contestants were beamed around the world.

It's held to mark Labor Day. See what they did there?

I find any beauty competition objectionable – and most stipulate that you aren't pregnant. Young women have been stripped of their victory for less.

Call me squeamish, call me old fashioned, call me a miserable old prude but I really, really don't want to see a leopard-print clad, seven months pregnant, wannabe pageant queen.

But with the women's bellies looming large and unexpected from my newspaper, there wasn't much choice. Reminiscent of a busy day on Facebook, pregnant tummies were everywhere.

But it's not just in the reporting of some wacky US tradition that our gaze is met with burgeoning baby bumps. Enough already.

Like the sound of fingernails on a blackboard, I know it's bound to happen sometimes, I'd just rather not be around when it does, thanks very much.

If honest, I don't actually know why it makes me uncomfortable.

But I blame Demi Moore.


How many z-list celebrities have since adorned gossip magazine covers in their undercrackers since the star of Ghost got her belly out for the girls?


How many mums have sat for photo shoots celebrating their bodies to adorn their mantelpieces? I can of course see that it's their body and their choice and their wall they want to hang the pictures on, but please don't ask me to know where to put my eyes if I come around for a cup a tea.


I love and admire that pregnant women want to embrace and celebrate their impending motherhood, good on them. I just don't want their misshaped-navel shoved in my face, in the car park, at the soft play area or the frozen veg aisle.


Not for the first time, I can see I am out of step. OK so there's a group on Facebook called 'I don't want to see your pregnant belly' – that may be taking it a bit far – and with just 11 'likes' it's hardly captured the mood of a nation.

"Chill out," people tell me. "They're not hurting anyone."

In fact I'm reliably informed, women feel confident, beautiful and empowered when pregnant – why should they hide their fertility away? We don't have to look.

Some friends dare to suggest I too may have considered such showing off had I been a touch slimmer when my babies were on their way.

"With twins?" I wail and they fall silent.

But my friend Isobel is a lone voice of support.

She says: "Eugh. It's not for me. I was really proud to be pregnant but didn't want to show my bump to everyone! Although I do think its a bit weird that people think they can touch your belly when your pregnant without asking, you wouldn't normally do that would you?"

No I wouldn't, I reply and unlike The Spice Girls, All Saints (remember them?) and any other blooming girl band member ever since, I wouldn't be presenting my tummy to the world either.

Isobel continues: "I did love being fat when I was pregnant though – it was the only time it was allowed!"

Now some women are also taking things a step further, with body art and tattoos, I even saw a face painter advertising her services to etch on a loud and proud Mr Bump for expectant mums – subtle it isn't.

I must have some deep rooted problem with the human form I think, I've never been a fan of communal changing areas at the swimming pool – always heading for a cubicle of my own.

But I'm even more squeamish about pregnant tummies on display and I can't see that I'm going to be swayed into favour any time soon.

Yep, I've had a belly full.

More on Parentdish: Why pregnant women should be proud of their bodies

What do you think? It's lovely to show off your pregnant bump? Or put it away?