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When most women have their pregnancy photos taken, they hit the
standard poses: Husband kissing stomach; hands uniting in a heart shape over
the navel; maybe a belly-baring shot or two.
I am not most women.
That's why when I was just a few weeks away from delivering our first
child, I found myself totally naked, cavorting around my friend Christine's
apartment as she used her Cannon to capture my belly. Her baby was fast asleep
in his crib, her pug Betty was locked in a closet and my bump (and assorted other
body parts) was on full display. It was the first time I'd ever needed a bikini
wax to prepare for a date with a girlfriend.
So when I saw that Kim Kardashian has released yet another selfie—this time, a
naked pregnant one—not only am I not shocked, but I totally get it. Like Kim,
we struggled with infertility. Like Kim (I imagine), our pregnancy felt
hard-won. I'd spent the first half in a perpetual state of fear over losing it;
now in the home stretch, I was finally able to relax. It was time to celebrate.
I also had worked out pretty hardcore throughout the pregnancy,
and I loved the way I looked. After a college-era eating disorder and a
post-graduate career of alternating between berating and grudgingly accepting my
body, I now looked in the mirror and enjoyed what stared back at me: I had
great curves, yes, but still rocked some sinewy muscles. I was blessed, through
nothing but luck, with zero stretch marks. Because I'm 5'11", I carried the pregnancy
extremely well (some people never really realized I was pregnant), and it felt
incredible to revel in a body I finally felt at peace with.
When something happens that helps you to fall in love with your physique, you run with it. For me, that thing was pregnancy.
words don't make me sound egotistical, but even if they do, I don't care. When
you spend years loathing your body—first from anorexia and later from infertility—well, when something happens that helps you to fall in love with
your physique, you run with it. For me, that thing was pregnancy.
As for pregnancy photos, I'd always considered them pretty
cheesy. But one day while undressing in my gym locker room, a stranger took one
look at me and announced, "Go get your pregnancy pictures taken." So I gave it
I called Christine, who was my IVF BFF. We'd met in the
waiting room of my (first of many) fertility doctor and had become
wonderful friends as we bonded over the soaring highs (BFPs!) and soul-crushing
lows (everything else). She was also a professional photographer. Christine
invited me over, blacked out her windows and ordered me to strip.
were tasteful and artistic and Ansel Adams-esque: My normally small B breasts
and swollen belly were transformed into undulating mountains and shadowy gray crevasses.
I was the landscape and our baby was the traveller. It was awesome.
Unlike Kim, I didn't share my pics on Instagram; the photos now
live in a bound book in the bottom drawer of my bedside table. I don't look
back at them very often, but writing this blog inspired me. Instantly, I'm
transported back to that photo session, a combination of giggles and posing and
hopes for the future. My breasts might not ever look that good again, but the
feeling—that feeling of promise—will stay with me forever.
Image via Christine Otte Photography/Leslie Goldman