Irrespective of whether you call it your broad mindedness or boldness, every now and then, when you open your social media account on Facebook or Instagram, there pops up at least one post of a celebrity flaunting her baby bump proudly. Celebrating one’s motherhood is the new kick. While these stories are doing their rounds on the social media, there is a whole deconstruction of certain taboos associated with pregnancy.
Bollywood actor Sweta Salve’s story was one such. The memories of her pregnancy photo shoot taking rounds on social media has not faded till now. The actor did the unusual and put up pictures of her pregnant belly, flaunting her baby bump in style. Right before that, star couple Genelia D’Souza and Ritesh Deshmukh’s pregnancy photo shoot done for their second child was showered with much adoration and affection.
Let’s give a pause to the stories of celebrities. Exclusive photo shoots are carried out by regular moms-to-be where memories of their 9 months are captured just before the baby gets ready to come out. In Kerala, which is a more so conservative society, the many taboos associated with pregnancy are taking a pass as well. Many young moms-to-be, who did their pregnancy photo shoots without paying heed to the blind beliefs and photographers who are specialising in maternity photo shoots are finding innovative ways to shoot their heavenly days, thus keeping up with the trend.
Swetha Menon, who ran into controversy during the live shoot of her delivery for the movie Kalimannu, says that every stage of an individual’s life should be celebrated, especially pregnancy — be it a celebrity or commoner. “A celebrity doing a photo shoot has become a very common thing, but if a commoner does that, it becomes a major liberation. I think, when your child comes out to a beautiful world, he or she should see how the mother was when she carried them. It is part of your life and a part of your body, so shooting while you are pregnant certainly doesn’t fall under any stigma. I believe I looked the most prettiest when I was pregnant and so every woman deserves to keep the memories of the best days of her life.”
Kochi-based couple Neetu Ajay and Subin N.S share their experience. Neetu is expecting her child this month and is in good spirits without any inhibitions of sharing her experience. “We had a love marriage and we had decided from the beginning that we want to capture all our important stages in life. So, when our child grows up, we want to share our memories with him/her. So we approached our photographer friend when I was eight months pregnant. In fact, our photographer was also very keen on doing a pregnancy photo shoot as the trend is picking up.”
Neetu says they indeed faced flak from the older generation. “Most of our old generations require the girls to sit at home and not go to the public flaunting their baby bump. I know many of my friends who backed off from photo shoots fearing such stigma. But ultimately, it was our decision and we had a great time doing it.” Sai Vaisakh Karthikeyan, a photographer from Kochi, goes with a similar take.
“Pregnancy photo shoots are in demand. But the situation is such that many couples cut across family restrictions and to an extent, most of them won’t be willing. Even if couples are willing, we only get to shoot two months before the delivery. It also depends on how we can convince them based on the ideas we put across. In foreign countries, pregnancy photshoots have a lot of tummy exposing, but our culture limits such innovative ideas. So as photographers, we are exploring innovative ways that doesn’t cast vice eyes,” says Sai.
Sai further explains the process of photo shoots is done with much care. “Unlike other photo shoots, pregnancy photo shoots requires so much patience. It is all about how we can explore the feel of the couple to the maximum. Especially, the woman will have mood swings and we need to take care during the shoot. We cannot use extra lighting or anything that discomforts the mom-to-be. We also make sure to use comfortable locations and make the shoot as simple as possible. So it is more than money-oriented work for us because the couple themselves come facing a lot of strain and restrictions.”