See what happens when you replace a baby bump with a beer belly

By Kelli Bender
Updated August 01, 2014 11:35 AM
Credit: Courtesy Justin Sylvester

Just call him Mr. Mom.

Justin Sylvester of Austin, Texas, has become a viral star after posting his “maternity” photo shoot on Reddit.

The hilarious pictures show the 31-year-old proudly sticking out his own belly while striking popular expectant mother poses.

“I call my Facebook feed ‘Babybook,’ because it’s filled with nothing but people having babies and maternity pics,” Sylvester tells PEOPLE. “I asked my wife, Meghan, if she wanted to take maternity pictures [she is nine months pregnant and due any day now]. She didn’t take them for our first child, and said she didn’t want to now. When I sat back down I said, ‘Screw it, I’ll hire my own photographer and do it myself.’ ”

Eager to bring his somewhat unorthodox idea to life, the dad reached out to photographer Kerri Lohmeier and explained the concept. Once Lohmeier got over her giggle fit, she happily agreed.

To get camera-ready, Sylvester Googled classic maternity photo poses, such as the silhouette or laying on the bed, and worked with Lohmeier to get the positions just right. The pair also introduced a few props into the shoot. Sylvester brought his own ice cream, Superman undies and his wife’s Lululemon shorts to complete the look.

Though the pictures turned out effortlessly silly, the photo shoot wasn’t totally problem-free.

“I had to stick my belly out for 30 minutes. It’s like flexing your abs, but in a different direction,” the photogenic father explained. “I was sore all day, and my lower back hurt from the shifting weight. I actually had a small glimpse into the pains that my wife and other women experience for nine full months! It’s truly an amazing sacrifice.”

All the belly-puffing was worth it in the end. Sylvester says his wife, friends and family burst into laughter upon seeing the final product, which was perfectly in line with his strange sense of humor.

“I originally planned on showing the photos to a few friends and was convinced to put them on Facebook. Once I saw the responses, I put them on Reddit, and it blew up,” he said. “Now, I am being approached by agents, publishers, even ice cream and pizza sponsors!”

While Sylvester’s pizza alliance rests with local pie shop Austin’s Pizza, he has some interest in turning these mommy-less maternity shots into a book – but that can wait until later. Number one on Sylvester’s list right now is welcoming his second daughter, Ruby June, into the world.

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