Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Take Maternity Pictures! [Even If You Feel Ugly]

During my first pregnancy with Isaiah, I realized rather quickly how much I don't like being pregnant. Along with the not-so-pleasant symptoms of pregnancy, I quickly realized how self-conscious and [let's be honest] ugly I feel during pregnancy. Every single one. Even if I'm in a good mood or have a new outfit on. I don't feel like myself when I'm pregnant. No matter how healthy I am or how much I exercise, I gain weight all over my body. All. Over. Even though I've been able to lose every pound before, watching the scale rise and rise does a number on my self-esteem. (This might sound crazy but it does! And I have a feeling I'm not alone in this.)

I might take pictures every week to keep track of my belly's growth but I have never wanted to do a professional photo shoot. I mean, why in the world would I spend money to commemorate my body in this state of bloat? I distinctly remember crying when I looked at pictures of myself pregnant with Isaiah at sunset in Coronado. This can't be me, I remember thinking. Pregnancy just isn't my thing. I feel more like myself the first few weeks of post-partum than the entire 9 months. I'm dead serious.

So knowing this is going to be my last pregnancy, I really wanted to approach it with a good attitude. And I have, for the most part. But alas, I still feel pretty ugly. And fat. And huge. And swollen. And self-conscious. [We do hard things, don't we?]

I was talking with a friend who takes pictures on the side about snapping a few newborn pictures after Emmie arrives and the conversation went something like this:
Let's do some maternity ones too.

No, that sounds awful.

Really? I think you should do it. You will treasure them more than you think.

No, I hate being pregnant.

Everyone does, but I promise you'll love them.

Okay, just make sure you hide my back fat.

So we went for it. We went to a local beach and she told me what to do, how to look, how to smile, relax my forehead, fix my bra, tilt that way or this way. I'll admit, I still look at these and think, That's not me. Partly because my entire body type changes when I'm pregnant, but mostly because I look at them and see a beautiful mama that has allowed her body to transform so she can carry her children. It's true, I will treasure these forever.

If you're on the fence about getting pictures taken while pregnant. I encourage you to get them done. I also encourage you to be 100% honest with your photographer. Tell them what facial expressions bother you, what parts of your body you'd like to hide (me: fat arms and arm pits), and let them know they should feel comfortable fixing your bra straps or hiding your back fat with your dress.

Pregnancy is hard and it is NOT glamourous. But it is an incredible phase of life whether you are on your first or last pregnancy. And after all, it is just a phase. My memory of this time will fade. Before I know it, I won't even remember what it's like to wonder who Emmie is. Before I know it my body will begin to retain it's normal shape and I will start to feel like myself again. When that happens, I will be able to look back at these and remember: my body did that.

Thank you so much, Trisha! You made me feel beautiful and created something I will cherish forever.

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