I have about 10 photographs of my pregnant self. Now my son is older and pregnancy seems like a past life, I reflect on 4 thoughts that influenced my decision not to get maternity photographs, and why I was wrong .
1. I didn't love my pregnant body.
I don't think I'm the first or the last woman to be less than thrilled with the way my body changed as I was growing my baby. I have always been fit and active, but I barely did any sort of exercise during pregnancy due to a combo of never-ending sickness, an ever-expanding belly, and very painful sciatica. Looking back, I can see that my body hadn't really changed that much, but I felt bigger than I wanted to be.
My skin also went totally bananas in the third trimester, and for a few months I had horrific dry skin around my mouth and nose, which simply flaked when I tried to cover it with makeup.
All in all, "The Glow" sadly never graced me with its presence.
2. I was too superstitious
This is more common that people might think, but the idea of celebrating anything to do with my baby before he was safely here made me nervous. My mind kept going to the worst case scenarios, and worrying that photographs would only be there to haunt me later if anything bad were to happen.
I also didn't think that being pregnant was anything to celebrate; it was all about the baby and he wasn't here yet, so what was the point?
3. I didn't think it would matter.
I didn't think I'd care about not having photographs of my pregnant self. I assumed I'd feel the same way about my pregnancy afterwards as I did during it, and the lack of photos wouldn't be an issue at all. I disliked it then, so why would my future self feel any different?
4. I had never seen examples of tasteful, classic maternity photographs.
I mean I didn't search very hard given that I had already decided not to get maternity photos at all, but all the examples I had ever seen were a little bit cringe, or way too stylised and posed for my tastes. I had also seen loads and loads of naked ones, and when you're feeling a bit off with your body (see point 1 above) getting your kit off is the last thing you want to do!
But I was wrong, you guys. So wrong.
Let me break down for you why all of the above thoughts are not good reasons to avoid maternity photos; if you are pregnant and also thinking the same, I hope I can change your mind!
First, my body issues:
At the time, I felt like I was going to be pregnant forever, but in reality it was a very temporary phase of my life. My body didn't immediately "bounce back" but it definitely did not look pregnant any more almost the second my son was no longer inside it.
Your body goes from "pregnant" to "postpartum" and as more and more time passes , it becomes increasingly difficult to ever imagine you were actually pregnant at all, and that's where photos come in! Photographs will help you remember that you really were pregnant, no matter how you felt about your body at the time.
Secondly, "the fear":
I understand very well that the idea of a "bump" photo shoot seems a little bit like tempting fate to the more superstitious of us out there, but let me reframe the reason for getting maternity photographs: no matter the outcome of your pregnancy, you are still pregnant.
Pregnancy photo shoots aren't about celebrating your baby; they are about celebrating you. The miracle of pregnancy is one of the most challenging and powerful things a female body can do, and it is for that reason I believe it is worth documenting.
Don't be like me: don't let anxiety about the outcome of your pregnancy distract you from the amazing thing your body is doing RIGHT NOW. Don't miss out on giving it the credit it deserves.
Thirdly, feeling blue:
If you're not feeling super cheery during your pregnancy, I get it. Believe me. But just like with your body, try not to assume that you'll still feel this way in weeks, months, or years to come. I will never say I loved pregnancy, but looking back on it, it was a pretty fascinating process, and I wish I had more evidence of it now that I'm not living it every day.
Finally, maternity photographs don't have to be awkward or tacky:
And you definitely do NOT have to strip off for them. The maternity photographs I take are timeless, tasteful and classic; no dodgy outfits, no cheesy poses and no nudity.
I take photographs in your own home, or a beautiful outdoor location within 20 miles of Coventry, (so almost anywhere in Warwickshire and the West Midlands!). You can be in the photographs with your partner, any other children, or alone (or a combo of all three!).
Pre-shoot, we have an in-depth consultation about your body, how you are feeling and any worries you might have. This helps me to gently direct you during the photoshoot so you look and feel your best, and respectfully edit the photos afterwards, paying attention to anything you may feel insecure about, whilst also celebrating the real you (no airbrushing or body-shrinking over here).
So, if you are putting off having a baby bump photoshoot for any of the above reasons, I hope I have managed to change your mind! And if you'd like something a little different from the mainstream maternity photography you may have seen, come and have a look at what I can offer over here, or go right ahead and get in touch if you'd like to book, or if you have any questions.
I'll finish by sharing some of my natural, unposed and authentic maternity photography, which I'm sure you'll agree shows powerful women looking their best: both relaxed and beautiful.