I’ll admit it, the idea of a glamour maternity shoot or professional pregnancy photos is one that has bugged me in the past. I’m not sure why, it just felt like it was so over the top. I unfairly judged the women who got all dolled up and showed off their bumps. Were they flaunting their perfect pregnant bodies? Were they bragging about the fact that they looked good while the rest of us were trolls in sweatpants?
Looking back now, I realize that because I never felt great during my pregnancies, I didn’t want my picture taken. And because I didn’t want my picture taken, seeing photos of beautiful moms-to-be with their cute little bumps and their glowing faces made me want to throw up.
That all changed once I knew my last pregnancy would be my last. As soon as I found out I was expecting, I knew I wanted to hire a professional photographer and capture the final baby bump of my life. (Sigh.)
When we see pictures of ourselves it’s so, so easy for our brains to start picking apart at all the little things wrong with us. “Why is my hair so frizzy?” “Nice back fat!” “I’m pregnant everywhere!” And I definitely was pregnant everywhere by the time I got my maternity shoot scheduled. But I was still OK with it because of what it meant to me to freeze that moment of my life and be able to look back at it forever.
Even though I wish I could have gotten in a month sooner—before my face started looking pregnant too—I actually really love what the incredible photographer captured that day. I had been feeling like a troll and when the proofs came back I saw a little glimpse at what everyone else had been seeing.
If a professional shoot isn’t for you, ask your partner to take some—even if it's just with your smartphone.
No, there was no “pregnancy glow"—no magic of Photoshop could make me look like a pregnancy model. It was simply my baby and I. And it was amazing. What a miraculous, incredible thing pregnancy is. Our bodies are literally capable of creating another human life in only nine months! What!? I’m not sure how we can do this but I am so honored to have had that experience. It’s not an easy thing and it forever changes our lives and our bodies.
Ultimately, what it came down to for me to step out of my comfort zone and in front of a camera with my whole pregnant self was confidence. Its never been my strong suit but as I get older, I accept my body more and more for what it is capable of and worry less about what it looks like. Confidence is key. Confidence, and great lighting!
I will forever have those pictures to look at, for my kids to look back on—of what it looked like “when Mommy was pregnant.” It’s the place where the lives of my children began, where their stories started out. It is the literal birthplace of each and every, “Once upon a time” for our kids. So although it’s easy to pick the tired Mama Bear in those pictures apart, I will cherish those images forever and respect my body for its strengths.
I encourage all expecting mothers to take more pictures during those nine months. If a professional shoot isn’t for you, ask your partner to take some—even if it's just with your smartphone. Take more than you think you’ll want or need to. One day you’ll love seeing them and I can guarantee that your kids will, too.