Pregnancy is a beautiful thing, but understandably, women don't always feel beautiful going through all of it: Morning sickness, the constant cravings, a transforming body, mood swings, are all side effects that can get an expecting mother down.
But Jill McLean, aka Cleo the Hurricane, found her own way to keep feeling sexy even in her last trimester of pregnancy — pole dancing.
McLean is no stranger to the art. The 36-year-old is a two-time Australian Pole Dance champion with her own brand called Cleo's Rock n' Pole. With a background in ballet, this professional pole dancing instructor has got her moves on lockdown and was not going to let anything stand in the way of putting on some heels and getting on a pole.
"Pole Dancing has brought to me so MUCH," she writes in a blog post titled The Pregnant Pole Dancer. "The freedom, strength in my body and mind, the confidence, feeling feminine, feeling sexy and, of course, feeling EMPOWERED."
Here she is, five months pregnant.
Throughout her pregnancy, McLean kept up the craft in whatever ways she could, writing about her journey on her website, and posting Instagram pictures and videos of herself dancing while pregnant.
Perhaps the most stunning of these images are the ones of her performing in her last trimester. They not only show how different every woman's experience of pregnancy is but that reclaiming your sexiness can be as simple as doing what you love.
On that note, McLean writes: "I absolutely LOVE being pregnant (for the most part), but I have also never felt so unsexy as I do today (especially in the last trimester) ... womanly DEFINITELY, feminine YES, confident YES ... but sexy? That's a big NO!"
"I have been CRAVING and LOVING that feeling of putting on my heels, a sexy song and pole dancing … just to feel sexy again.”
While we think the images of McLean pole dancing while very, very pregnant are amazing, responses to the images have been varied. Many think what she is doing is inspiring, while others are not so supportive.
McLean screenshot one Facebook commenter who wrote, "How is your man even okay [sic] with you stripping and dancing more than half naked infront [sic] of other creepy men?? I don't get it. Get some respect lady!"
McLean doesn't let these comments get her down though, as she proudly proclaims that pole dancing has not only kept her feeling good about herself, but that she thinks when her baby boy grows up, he will appreciate the fact that his mother is a confident woman who is not afraid to express herself. And what's more valuable than showing young men that confident women are sexy?
It's clear from this video, McLean has a sense of humor, too.
She adds that she takes her pregnancy very seriously and did not perform any moves she did not feel comfortable doing.
After all was said and done, McLean and her husband were proud to welcome their little baby boy John Rocco into the world. In the Instagram caption, McLean writes that her son is happy and healthy, and that the family "could not be happier."