If nine months seems like too long and treacherous a time to wait patiently for your little sweet little bundle of joy to arrive, consider getting your creativity on—literally—by intentionally decorating your ever-growing bump. Plenty of moms-to-be mope and whine about ugly stretch marks, a suddenly appearing linea nigra, unexpected outties and many other varieties of changes to their daily morphing physiques.
But instead of complaining about the tummy’s transitions, many other mamas are actually celebrating their sacred expansion by enhancing it with their own sense of creativity and aesthetics. So if you are a rapidly expanding expectant mom and anxious to get the show on the road, instead of dragging around what might sometimes feel like a burdensome bump, you might consider embellishing your belly with the following perfectly baby-safe ideas.
Another way to funk up the frontal trunk is to cast it. Belly casts are also sometimes referred to as belly masks, pregnancy belly casts, pregnant plaster casts and prenatal casts. Belly casts are typically done in the seventh or eighth months of pregnancy, though some mamas opt to do a series of plasters to keep a visual progression of the whole experience. There are all varieties of home casting kits, which allow you to cast your own belly at home with friends. The process is pretty simple, and usually involves using a lubricant, such as Vaseline, and applications of wet plaster gauze to the belly.
Countries like Morocco and India have age-old traditions of applying henna during the third trimester of pregnancy, as the dye is believed to protect and bless the mother and child from any malicious spirits that may be near during delivery. The red coloring and protective images used in the patterns are said to guard against the evil eye and are thought to protect the pair during the child’s difficult passage into this world. Special attention is given to the hands, and especially the feet, which are considered to be vulnerable connections to the outside world. But many mamas are also now using henna to decorate the belly during pregnancy. This is a wonderful way to celebrate the body’s physical changes and ritually embrace this special time. Baby showers and henna parties can be combined into a decadent day of pampering and relaxation for the new expectant mom, close friends, and family.
If the body is ordinarily a temple, during pregnancy, you may as well think of it as the Sistine Chapel. So go Michelangelo on yourself by turning your bump into a piece of fine art. Belly paintings can range from the silly and sublime to the truly inspired, featuring images of just about anything: from a big ol’ pumpkin (if you’re having an autumnal baby), to your hubby’s favorite sports team mascot, to a calming Zen-like sunset—think of your bump as a blank canvas on which to play. Most belly paints are FDA approved, water-based and easy to apply and remove.
Last, but certainly not least, you can always go the traditional route of simply photo-archiving your pregnancy. No one can ever forget the infamous photo of a very pregnant Demi Moore on the cover of Vanity Fair, holding her bump and looking straight into the camera with style and confidence. A photo archive of your pregnancy is an easy and effective way to document what will likely be one of the most momentous periods of your life, so it is even worth looking into professional photographers who specialize in capturing the beauty of a mama-to-be, and allow yourself to indulge in the pleasures of rituals and nostalgia.