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Mums-to-be, give it some belly! Pregnant women who decorate their bumps with art

By Amanda Poole

Ever since a heavily pregnant Demi Moore posed on the front cover of Vanity Fair magazine in all her big bump glory, women have been searching for new ways to celebrate their pregnancy.

Now, the latest craze among mothers-to-be in Northern Ireland is to have their baby bump painted.

Co Armagh make-up artist Stacey Kilpatrick is thought to be the only person in Northern Ireland offering this particular type of body painting and she says heavily pregnant women love the experience.

“Some women told me they want to have photographs of their bumps taken but feel a bit odd about the bareness of it, so the paint gives them the confidence to have it done.

“It's a lovely experience and great for me too. When people look their best, they feel good and I believe make-up gives people confidence,” Stacey said.

“I love experimenting with colour, and wowing people is really rewarding.”

Pregnancy bump painting is thought to have originated in America, but now Northern Ireland's mums-to-be are getting in on the act.

Among them is Lianne Coates (29), from north Belfast, whose first child is due in two weeks.

“My friend got me the baby bump painting experience as a present. I hadn't heard of it before,” she said.

“I love the autumn, so I asked for leaves swirling around my stomach.

“The sketch Stacey did in advance looked incredible so I decided to go for that.”

The mum-to-be said she was initially concerned about her stretch marks and scars being photographed.

“I wanted to be able to say ‘this is my bump’, so having it painted was perfect for me,” she said.

“Stacey hid my stretch marks and was able to paint over the scars I have from another operation.

“I sat back on a bean bag and the baby was moving away. It was a really nice experience.

“I bought a big multi-photo frame, so the bump photos are already in it waiting for the first baby photos to arrive.”

Claire Martin (30), from Omagh, gave birth to her second child Harriet six months ago.

“I thought it was a really nice idea,” she said. “All my girlfriends came over and we had tea and cakes and made a baby shower out of it.

“I left it up to Stacey to choose the rainbow because I didn't know the sex of the baby.

“I look back and can't believe I was that size. It's a really nice way to remember my pregnancy.”

Stacey, a 29-year-old mum-of-one from Markethill, had been a face-painter for 11 years before graduating from the Oonagh Boman School of Make-Up in Belfast last year.

She said: “Bump painting is really popular in America and England, but nobody else does it in Northern Ireland.

“I saw a gap in the market about 18 months ago, so decided to go for it. Mums-to-be want to get something different done. It takes one to two hours and prices start at £50.”

Expectant mothers with any concerns about having their bump painted can check out Stacey's health and safety policy on her website and have a chat with their GP.

“I use a child-friendly face paint,” Stacey explained. “It's water-based paint and has passed FDA and EU safety regulations

“I would recommend that mums get it done on clean, blemish-free skin after 34 weeks.

“It means their bump will be a really good size and they will be over the most critical stages of pregnancy.”

Stacey said she is happy to paint just about any type of picture on women's pregnancy bumps. She said: “Lots of people want to include surnames and due dates. Some like the idea of images of storks delivering the baby. My images would be more lighthearted. It could be anything from Disney characters to jigsaw puzzles and treasure maps.

“Generally, it's something that means something to the couple.”

Talented Stacey even managed to paint a horse on her own bump, so she could give mums-to-be an honest account of how the experience feels.

“It was very difficult.” she said.

“I used a mirror and painted it back to front and upside down.

“I can tell the mums what it's like, how it feels, how the baby reacts and how it washes off easily.”

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Since the camera was invented women have had photographs taken of their bumps, but in recent times more colourful ways of celebrating a pregnancy have become popular. The modern bump art phenomenon is thought to have originated in the US. Famous fans include singer Mariah Carey. Now Northern Ireland’s mums-to-be have got in on the act


In August 1991, Demi Moore appeared nude on the cover of Vanity Fair magazine when she was seven months pregnant with her daughter Scout.

Acclaimed photographer Annie Leibovitz took the photographs which caused a sensation at the time.

Some felt the image was inappropriate, but many more felt it was a powerful and inspiring symbol of female empowerment.

Henna has been used to adorn women’s bodies for many years.

Body painting is an ancient practice in countries such as India and Morocco and there has been a revival of body painting in Western society since the 1960s.

Since the camera was invented women have had photographs taken of their bumps, but in recent times more inventive ways of celebratinga pregnancy have been popular.

Belfast Telegraph


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