Bronwyn O'Neill looks at the recent backlash against Beyoncé's Grammy performance, which celebrated her pregnancy.
Beyoncé doesn’t do things by halves, so when she announced on Instagram that she was pregnant with not one baby but twins, the Beyhive exploded.
When she performed at the Grammys, people cried and praised her for being such an amazing performer and mother. However, there are people who didn’t see her performance as something beautiful and her love for her unborn children as something to be praised. Instead, there was opinion piece after opinion piece on how being pregnant is nothing special.
Yes, of course millions of women are pregnant across the world as I type this, and there are millions of mothers. However there are millions of women who can’t have children, who have difficulty getting pregnant and millions of women who have suffered miscarriages.
Here in Ireland, 1 in 6 couples have difficulty conceiving, whilst 10% of the women in America find it difficult to conceive or stay pregnant. In the UK, 1 in 7 couples find it difficult to conceive. It is estimated that 14,000 Irish women will suffer from a miscarriage every year. According to statistics in the UK, between ten to twenty per cent of pregnancies end in miscarriage.
It is hard to read opinion pieces telling us that being pregnant is something that isn’t beautiful, it’s just something that happens. Of course, between you and your partner, it’s something beautiful. I disagree with the author of the New York Post piece that says but it’s not something that anyone else should see as beautiful.
I understand that pregnancy is not always the most glamorous thing; it is hard, uncomfortable and the labour is even worse. However, the creation of life is something that should be celebrated rather than something that should be hidden from the public view. It’s 2017, I thought we had moved on from women hiding away during their pregnancies.
Beyoncé is a performer and if she chooses to embrace her pregnancy during her time on stage, more power to her. She has every right to let the world know that she is happy and well, as are her unborn twins.
In 2013, Beyoncé opened up about having a miscarriage during her HBO documentary, Life Is But a Dream. In the documentary she talks about the heart break she felt due to losing her first child. “I was pregnant for the first time. And I heard the heartbeat, which was the most beautiful music I ever heard in my life. I picked out names. I envisioned what my child would look like,” the singer said, before continuing to say she went to get a check up and there was no heart beat.
During her pregnancy with Blue Ivy, who is now five, she says that “being pregnant was very much like falling in love. There’s no words that can express having a baby growing inside of you, so of course you want to scream it out and tell everyone.”
And that is what she did at the Grammys as she dressed like a fertility Goddess and projected images of her mother, herself and her daughter. The themes of motherhood, feminity and power ran throughout her performance. The words from her visual album Lemonade were repeated, “You look nothing like your mother, you look everything like your mother.”
Although motherhood is not for everyone, it is something that should rightly be celebrated rather than scorned. Being pregnant and a woman is not something we should be embarrassed by, instead we should embrace it. So yes pregnancy is a miracle and it does in fact make you a Goddess.