Friday, August 2, 2013

Maternity Photos: The Nearly Naked Truth

When I was pregnant with my daughter, we had to wait until I was 21 weeks pregnant to announce it to everyone, since we had to travel back east and tell my mother-in-law in person. Thankfully, I was only showing a tiny bit so keeping a secret wasn't that hard. So it was now September. We took our Christmas card portraits in November, like always, but there wasn't a whole lot to see belly-wise under the black sweater I picked out, and once Christmas came and went, then the New Year, and my birthday, I had completely forgotten to have maternity photos done. 

I'd had them envisioned. I wanted to wear a flowy dress, walk down the beach hand-in-hand with my husband (which is weird because we both hate sand and I hate flowy dresses), I figured we'd write baby's name in the sand in a heart (REALLY weird because we kept baby's name a secret), and maybe get some of me on the end of the jetty, the sea mist splashing up around me, a sheer white drape barely covering what needed to be covered. It was a cute fantasy, but as time grew near and my belly grew large, it became more and more unrealistic. 

We live an hour from the beach. 

We don't even really like the beach. 
I had gained over 50 pounds and had no desire to wear anything revealing - or not black. 
Also, it was now the end of January and very cold. 

It would be just my luck that I would get sick just before delivering and with me being the cooky naturalist that I am, my elaborate fantasy of a birth plan did NOT include a stuffy nose while "breathing through the pain" or sneezing while I was trying to get my newborn daughter to latch. No sea mist for me. I decided I just wasn't going to do maternity photos. I had waited too long and there was just too much going on. My due date came and went.

The day after my due date, I woke up and decided I wanted maternity photos. Yes, I was swollen, yes, I was tired, yes, I was the size of a schoolbus but ya know what? This was my first pregnancy and dagnabit I want half-naked pictures of myself in this condition! 

I called a photographer friend who thought I was crazy and was positive I was going to give birth on her floor but she made time for a few indoor photos the next morning. 

I was NOT feeling sexy by any stretch of the imagination when I did my hair and makeup that morning, but I felt like this was just one of those things I needed to do as part of the pregnancy experience, like playing baby shower games and letting strangers in Starbucks touch your belly. We spent a few hours talking, laughing, snapping photos, I changed clothes a few times, and my wonderful friend allowed plenty of time for me to catch my breath between poses. When we were almost done, she asked if I wanted to take some "intimates". By this time, I was sweaty, tired, and hungry, but I'd brought a robe to make outfit changes easier and figured, "why not?". The image she got of me in that robe turned out to be my favorite from the session. I share it with you, and all of the internet, God help me, below.

I love that I'm not smiling. I love that it's shadowy and the focus is not on my belly. I love that my "mother's love" necklace, a Christmas gift from my Mother, is showing, and I love that my normally thin fingers, in all their sausage-y glory are visible. I think this captures me, at that time, so very well. And after all, isn't that what maternity photos are all about? Capturing Mom (and the rest of the family) during a time in your life when everything is different, and after which nothing will ever be the same.

Thanks for letting me share this experience with you. I promise to be wearing more clothes when I shoot your maternity session.