I had this hilarious friend who was way pregnant, irritatingly past her due date, sequestered to her velvet couch in the blistering heat of a Floridian July and still, somehow (God bless her) maintained that certain brand of humor that probably got her knocked up, married and sprawled out on that couch in the first place. I called her to see when the hell she was going to have that child anyway because, like, I totally was anxious to order her baby gift online and could she please just get the show on the road?
Totally, deadpan, she replied, “Dude, chill. I’m working on it.”
When I asked her how, she said, “I just took a Sharpie and drew a big ass arrow over my big ass belly and wrote THIS WAY OUT!”
Then when I asked her if it was working, she clicked her tongue and asked back, “Do you think he’s already behind if he can’t read that message backward?”
Ohhhh, good times. But really, any time you take a permanent marker to an overloaded, overdue, outstretched, outwitting baby bump to divert your attention from worrying that the newborn will be in there so long, he’ll emerge with callouses on his hands and hair on his legs, you really are having good times.
My funny southern friend became a mama the next morning, so either the kid could read backward after all or the marker fumes successfully sent him screaming from the placenta. Regardless, the good times gave way to water breaking all over that velvet couch and eventually, an epidural and things got even better from there.
That was five or six years ago, and I still laugh when I think of her straining to see while she scribbled across the underside of her belly. While the hormones and heat and sheer desperation to longer house the fetus took over her good sense, I would personally warn against taking a Sharpie to your own pregnant body. I remember what my deflated post-partumness looked like and I can assure you that words tucked into the folds would not have made it any prettier (and seriously, you may feel blissful but you will not feel particularly appreciative of the comedic elements of birth while you are coming down off a spinal block). What you don’t need is some crabby nurse leaning over you as she de-body fluids the scene and asking why in the world you wrote THOUT on your stomach and if you are aware you misspelled it in permanent ink. Nooooo, you don’t want that.
Fortunately, you can decorate your belly in the most beautiful (and non-toxic) of ways. No threatening messages, no worries about fetal reading ability. Just a big old bottle of henna, a steady hand and hopefully, a very patient artist to cover you in floral designs that go from stunning to sweet as the ink imprints itself as far as your eye can see.
Linda at Sundry Mourning chronicled the henna-ing of her already perfect pregnant belly from bare to blossom-covered. Her pictures are breath-taking and even though she describes herself (as my friend in Florida would so appreciate) as a THOUSAND MONTHS PREGNANT, she really does look serene and like she is holding the most gorgeous flesh-colored pillow sham I’ve ever seen in my life in front of her tiny, articulate self.
I think it is such a lovely idea and so incredibly beautiful that I can’t stop staring at the pictures in her Flickr pool. I also can’t stop wondering if henna ink covers stretch marks or distracts from those God-awful elastic waistbands on maternity pants. Or hell, if prettying up the digs makes the fetus happy to stay or, like the Sharpie threat, it ellicits immediate evacuation.
Sure, having a baby is beautiful. And of course, having a baby belly – especially in those last agonizing days – isn’t always. The good thing is, whether you DIY it with a marker or opt for sweet henna decorating, this particular place you’re stretched can become a very happy canvas.
[photo credit: Sundry Mourning]