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The Fetishization of the Ultrasound

Did you know that you can have lollipops made with an image from your baby’s ultrasound photo? Mmmm! Doesn’t that sound like delicious fun? Licking an unborn child—yum! I can almost taste it.

I find this odd. And a little disturbing. More than anything, I just don’t get it.

It seems that there is a growing phenomenon of romanticizing each and every little thing that happens in our lives, and then trying to create products around doing just that. I blame Facebook. All the best things eventually get commercialized, don’t they?

Obviously, the birth of a child is not a “little thing.” To the contrary, it is a momentous occasion to be celebrated. But ultrasound photos are just a small part of the process of what we hope will be a lifetime. A long and full lifetime. To dissect these moments, pre-moments, if you will, and slap them on lollipops and mouse pads and Christmas cards just seems a bit ahead of the game to me.

Full disclosure time: I’ve had six pregnancies, two babies, and am raising one child. No matter how you do the math, that is not an equation that adds up. After four miscarriages and losing my daughter to cancer, I know loss intimately. Some of you will read my words and make assumptions that the reason I condemn such harmless things as babies on lollipops is because I am cold and bitter. Nah. I will cop to being a cynic, but not bitter.

I condemn the fetishization of ultrasound photos because they give me the willies. Two of my miscarriages were detected through ultrasound. The images always made me just a bit squirrelly, even before my pregnancies stopped being viable. Our daughter’s ultrasound photos have been dutifully placed in her baby book. Our son’s? Well ... My best guess is that they are folded in the undermost layers of paper in my desk. I’ll get to them, I promise, just as I’ll get to his baby book.

When I see others' ultrasound photos across my social media feeds, a little part of me winces. I’m happy for you, new moms to be—I truly am—but I would prefer seeing a crying or smiling baby rather than a little squished nut. Does that make me a bad person? I don’t think so. The truth is that the folks who are most interested in the ultrasound photos probably live in your own home. Or as far as the grandparent’s house.

Enjoy those photos! Pop ‘em in the baby book or on your fridge, and smile when you see them. You are working miracles inside your belly, lady! That is amazing. Be proud of yourself and your hard work. I’ll just wait to see the real deal and skip the preview.

Now I’m off to look for those ultrasound photos of my boy.

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