Kathryn From

Posted By: Kathryn From

Kathryn From, CEO of Bravado and mother of two shares her candid insights from the corner office and the nursing lounge. Get the inside line on the company that has defined breastfeeding as well as the very personal journey of the woman at the helm.

I have just returned from the International Lingerie show in Paris. It's the world's largest professional trade show for the lingerie industry. I can assure that you've not seen nor experienced anything like it. Companies put on elaborate fashion shows featuring the latest in lingerie. Part of the focus is a catwalk on which (I must say, hurray), even those professional lingerie models have bits that jiggle as they walk! The floor is littered with scantily-clad (and I do mean scanty) models teetering along in 5 inch heels wearing nothing but teeny push-up bras and g-strings. A booth near us hosted a burlesque show every 2 hours that featured models stripping down to sparkling tassels on their nipples, which they spun in time to the music. And who could forget the woman parading around in a full see-through fishnet body stocking and nothing else? My description cannot do this place justice – picture a Victoria's Secret fashion show, remove a lot of fabric, multiply by 100 and you might get the idea.

Pregnant Model in Nursing Bra Leopard (Paris)Bravado exhibits at this show. Much like at other shows where we highlight our wares, we include our own model. In our booth we feature a local, beautiful pregnant woman with the singular goal of better showcasing our collection to buyers. This year our model was Sam – she was 30 weeks pregnant with her second child, and simply radiated motherhood, warmth and beauty. After losing two babies – including one at 20 weeks – she was understandably joyous, proud of the impending arrival of her newborn, and she literally glowed. She was funny, warm, energetic, and eager to do a good job. She looked simply beautiful – complete with her lush curves which were modestly – certainly by this show's standard – covered.

Sam attracted a lot of attention. Major French and Italian television stations filmed her, as did numerous smaller international ones. Journalists popped into our booth. Customers loved her warmth and her ability to showcase our products. Italian men called out "Bella Mama" as they walked by, and I lost track of all the well-wishers, double-takes with smiles, and congratulatory remarks that she received.

All in all, you could say that it was a great 3 days for showcasing the beauty of pregnancy and motherhood, not to mention the commitment Bravado has made to creating wonderful products specifically suited to a woman's changing body, her changing needs and her desire for both care and comfort. Except. Except...

Except for the looks of disgust – and no, that is not too strong a word – that Sam engendered from more than a few passersby. The frowns, the disdainful glances, the muttered whispers. The pointing, the sneers and the general looks of horror that a pregnant woman dare to show her curves. And just who were these people? Not men (young or old), not conservatively-dressed women. No, the primary attackers were young, fashionably dressed European women, too stylish for their own good and apparently too hung up on their own selves to appreciate that beauty comes in many forms.

This was not a question of someone being offended by partial nudity. This was a judgment that pregnant women should be hidden away, covered up and shoved in the closet until they are no longer offensive to look at. And this I am afraid is spot on with the American outcry at the Curve show as featured in the New York Times. So this prejudice seems to know no boundaries geographic, industry (yes this happened at the ABC Kids Show as well) or otherwise – and still we show up. We are, and we have, Bravado.Press Pregnant Model

At Bravado, our primary goal is to support a woman at the most wonderful, yet challenging time of her life: having a baby. Yes, we provide her with the products that she needs to successfully navigate through pregnancy and new motherhood. But above all we offer her support and comfort in the larger sense: tools, encouragement and a sense of community that bolsters her self esteem and sends her with confidence onward to make her own personal choices. We are incredibly proud to stand up and shout from the rafters that pregnant women are beautiful and inspiring, as they literally create new life. And we will not bow to nay-sayers and those who stand in judgment.

At the show, Sam took the negative looks in stride and her smile never wavered... at least publicly. Privately she acknowledged that it was difficult to be on the receiving end of negative judgments that a pregnant woman has no business showing her belly. Remember, this was a trade show – not open to the public – and there were literally hundreds of virtually naked women parading around, flaunting their barely-there outfits. Sam looked fully-clothed in comparison.

I was very proud of Sam and her ability to showcase motherhood at its finest. I am ashamed that in this day and age, at a trade show where nudity is de rigueur, that the biggest obstacle to promoting pregnancy as a time of beauty was the young modern women who will one day be walking in Sam's shoes.

2:33pm on Thursday February 10


Patricia Fitzgerald
8:35am on Monday February 28

As long as pregnant women don't completely let themselves go, they are beautiful! Of course I never think I am, but I am fascinated with other pregnant women.

8:36pm on Saturday February 26

Great job Sam! Thank you for representing all pregnant women!

2:41am on Friday February 25

Glowing and gorgeous is right! I wish I looked as good as Sam does..heck, I'd model my baby bump for all the world to see!
I'm curious who the naysayers think will model their clothing 20 years down the line if no one's pregnant anymore..

Samantha Shuman
9:57pm on Thursday February 24

I'm betting most of the women sneering at her have never been pregnant.

I'll admit, I didn't find my own body terribly attractive while I was pregnant, but I think pregnant women are amazing. So many of them just glow. Sam looks amazing.

Cara Rochford
5:41pm on Thursday February 24

I never felt more proud of my body than I did when I was pregnant. I wore tight fitted shirts that I probably would have never worn when not pregnant. I felt lush and beautiful and round and curvy, and it was wonderful. Its sad that people aren't able to appreciate the beauty of a pregnant body.

4:31pm on Thursday February 24

Bravo, Sam! You look beautiful!

Kathryn From
3:52pm on Thursday February 24

Thanks for sharing your comments! We will continue to showcase pregnant and nursing women in all of their glory... as we did at the Curve trade show this week in NYC. I'm glad that society has come a long way in the past 20 years - but work still remains to be done. Fortunately there are many out there - men and women - who find pregnancy beautiful. Keep showing off those bellies :)!

Naomi Ball
3:23pm on Thursday February 24

Although it must have been truly difficult for Sam and the Bravado team to be subjected to such unnecessary negativity, it sounds like people generally appreciated seeing a beautiful pregnant woman at the show.

Our culture has generally not been exposed to the beauty of a pregnant woman's body, and as a result, our understanding of feminine beauty has been limited to waif thin models, which is extremely limiting.

Bravo to Bravado for working to promote, support and proudly draw attention to both the beautiful and normal reality of pregnancy and nursing. In time, hopefully, perceptions will change for the better.

In the meantime, I will continue to show off my huge belly with pride!

Lilliana Gonzalez
1:38pm on Thursday February 24

So sad that as a global society we can't appreciate the beauty of pregnancy. I'm sorry for Sam but glad she was there to help Bravado stand out as a product we pregnant or recent moms need but more than that want. Indeed she (and her Belly) is beautiful.

1:14pm on Thursday February 24

I couldn't have been prouder of my body while I was pregnant. I don't care what if I sound old fashioned, growing a baby human is the most special, important thing a woman can do. We are uniquely suited for it after all!

Heather Ganshorn
12:49pm on Thursday February 24

Sadly, we've all been given the message that women's bodies exist primarily for men's pleasure; if it's doing something that fulfils a completely different role (nursing, pregnancy), then it better be covered up. It's OK for supermarket tabloids to display scantily clad women, but not OK for a normally dressed woman to nurse her baby in public, or for a pregnant woman to wear a bikini on the beach.

Robin Leighton
12:48pm on Thursday February 24

Unbelievable! There are people prancing around in nothing but gold fishnet and SAM is the one who should cover up? She's beautiful, and I'm glad to hear that lots of people acknowledged that.

Kate Walker
12:39pm on Thursday February 24

I am proud of Sam as well. Shame on those people that judge. A pregnant woman is especially beautiful! Besides, she looks amazing!

Mikayla Dalton
12:31pm on Thursday February 24

Thank you so much for the advocacy work you do for mothers simply by running your business! The idea that the very flowering of sexuality is somehow disgusting goes to show that society has a very warped idea of sex and sexiness.

Lindsay K
3:42pm on Monday February 14

she is beautiful and so is the beautiful soul of the innocent child in her womb

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