When I was pregnant, the thought of being in front of the camera made me want to vomit. I felt so big I was bursting everywhere. None of my clothes fit right. It was uncomfortable and depressing. I wished I could be one of those women who only grew in their belly. I grew everywhere. All of me got bigger. I vividly remember walking by a store in the mall and seeing my reflection in the store window. I stopped in my tracks as a little shriek of terror escaped my lips. I couldn't believe I had gotten that big. That was only my first pregnancy. You should have seen my by my fourth.
Thankfully, my husband, friends, and other family members did sneak some photos of me while I was pregnant. I reluctantly put them into my photo albums, and now years later, I have to say I actually like them. I stop and look at them longer than any other photos of me. Why? Because they make me feel good about myself. Yes, those images of my huge bulging belly make me feel good. I am removed enough from the pain of the pregnancy to just see myself, and guess what? I didn't look as horrible as I thought I did. Not even close. I wasn't as big as I imagined in my own mind. I look at those photos and feel tremendous gratitude that I could give birth to 4 healthy beautiful babies. There is nothing in life I wanted more than to be a mother, and I was able to have that. I am incredibly blessed.
My message to all expectant moms out there is this: LOVE that amazing body of yours. The fact that you can bear children is a miracle, and trust me, there are countless women out there who pray for that ability every day with no success. Your children will want to see what you looked like. They will pour over those images and marvel that they were once in there. YOU will pour over those images and marvel that they once fit in there. Don't be hard on yourself. Don't compare yourself to other women. Don't beat yourself up about stretch marks, veins, or bulging belly buttons. Those are trivial. You are a treasure worth documenting, if not for yourself, then for your children.
This is a recent maternity session I did at the beach. This couple was such a pleasure to photograph. This was actually our second time meeting. The first time we attempted a photo session I lost all of my photography equipment to a rogue wave that swept me up and knocked me down. Luckily I have the best clients who are so understanding. I will never forget their kindness and compassion.
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