Coco Austin showed off her pregnancy curves in a now-deleted Facebook post. (Photo: Facebook/Coco)
Reality star Coco Austin is known as much for her cartoonish curves, thong underwear, and risqué poses as she is for her marriage to rapper Ice-T. But just because the couple of 14 years is now expecting a baby — a daughter named Chanel — don’t expect this mom-to-be to cover up any time soon.
On Monday, the 36-year-old bombshell shared the first Facebook photos of her growing baby bump, at 26 weeks, while wearing a purple string bikini and matching stilettos. She captioned the now-deleted photo: “For some reason many of you have been asking weeks now to see my baby bump in a swimsuit! And of course I had to do it, Coco style and rep in a micro bikini. Well, I’ve been waiting sometime to take this cuz as u can see if u look at me from the front it’s very hard to see my lump but from the side its getting more visible.”
The photo likely satisfied fans, some of whom doubted the super-fit model was pregnant in the first place. Coco recently told E! News, “Some people still don’t think I’m pregnant. I don’t have anything to prove to anyone. My stomach is growing slowly.”
But much of the reaction to the photos was harsh. “I know pregnant women have the glow but no one needs to see that much of her glow,” wrote one online commenter. And another: “I love Coco but some things she should keep to herself.”
Coco Austin’s pregnancy curves stirred up controversy on social media. (Photo: Facebook/Coco)
The subtext of “those things” is clear — since Coco built her massive fan base (1.5 million Twitter followers) on her Betty Boop-like persona, nearly nude selfies, and TMI sound bites, her pregnancy — what it means, what it’s doing to her body — seems to be the tipping point for her detractors.
But Coco is hardly the first pregnant woman to be criticized for flaunting her sexuality. In March, lingerie model Sarah Stage, then eight and a half months pregnant, drew ire for her chiseled abs; Real Housewives of Atlanta star Kim Zolciak stirred controversy by sporting a French-maid-inspired bikini while carrying twins; and pregnant Kim Kardashian hasn’t let motherhood — or harsh public opinion — stop her from posing nude.
The backlash is ironic because for many women, pregnancy can trigger one’s sex drive, thanks to a boost in the hormones estrogen and testosterone. And from a philosophical perspective, pregnancy can inspire women to accept their new bodies, free from the pressure to meet conventional beauty standards.
So why is it so hard for women to be accepted as both a mother and a sexual being? “It’s the classic Madonna-whore complex,” Gail Saltz, MD, a New York City psychiatrist, tells Yahoo Parenting. “Our society often has difficulty reconciling how a mother can be both a sexual and a maternal being because of how we’re wired as a species.”
Carrying a child is also subconsciously regarded as a selfless act, adds Saltz, so the idea of a pregnant woman satiating her own needs or desires can be viewed as selfish. As a result, some struggle to embrace both the joys and challenges of motherhood and critique those — such as Coco — who appear to seamlessly juggle both.
Although it’s unclear why Coco deleted her latest selfie, it’s worth noting that plenty of sexy pre-pregnancy shots still populate the Internet. “It’s possible that she’s feeling the stirring of her maternal instinct and wondering, Will I be a good mom?” Saltz says. “Regardless, no woman should be judged or shamed for her choices.”