Puffy hands. Swollen feet. Raging hormones. Unusual cravings. A belly that lures complete strangers to oooh, awe, and paw combined with the pressure to display it all in a few snapshots. Why do women do it? Why do they bare the baby bump for maternity photos?
Truth be told, I felt like a beached whale when I was pregnant. Maybe not as much when my 20-year-old body held the precious cargo of my first born daughter, but definitely when I was 27 and carried a little extra weight with my beloved second daughter. I felt hideous, and dodged the camera like it was a silver bullet.
Today, all I have left to show of those truly precious days are jagged, discolored scars that frame my hips and tummy. Of the thousands of photos taken throughout our years, not one image inhabits the belly that held my little girls. I couldn’t see past the fact that those nine months, which seemed to never end, sadly would come to an end. I clearly remember the immense love I immediately had for my baby girls sheltered deep within the womb, but memories quickly fade, time passes, and I forget what my baby bump looked like.
Here are some fabulous reasons to celebrate and bare that baby bump:
1. “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above.” – James 1:1
Pregnancy IS a gift. We eagerly exhibit our diamond engagement rings. We hastily post pictures of flower bouquets given to us by loved ones. Any treasure bestowed upon us, we anxiously pursue anyone in which to boast. A child is the most prized blessing given, so why not capture pregnancy in it’s entirety and proudly share.
2. Winnie the Pooh says, “An adventure is going to happen.”
Becoming a parent is the start of a grand adventure. So, start before your little one makes a grand appearance. Have fun in your photoshoot. Get creative. Use ribbons, balloons, signs, and paint that belly. Smile, laugh, be silly, and simply capture the moment. Maybe this is your first baby and life is changing as you know it. Maybe you’re adding to a growing family. Involve siblings to interact and help prepare for their new brother or sister even before they arrive, and get it on film!
3. “This moment contains all moments.” – CS Lewis
Pictures capture moments in time. They live on forever and can be passed down throughout the generations. What better heirloom can you pass down than still images of the way life was. I know your grandchildren and their grandchildren will appreciate them! Don’t let the moment slip by.
4. Bonding is the process of forming a close relationship with someone.
A child is a symbol of love between two people. Use this unique opportunity to bond with your partner in a photo session. Use the alone time to get close, sneak in a kiss or two, and embrace the time to be together before the new addition arrives. Touch one another and allow the camera to capture your love in a whole new light.
5. “By far the most common craving of a pregnant woman is not to be pregnant.” – Phyllis Diller
Carrying the weight of a 7-plus-pound child inside your body is uncomfortable and, most often, not glamorous. There is obviously the basketball sized belly adorned with a dark, furry middle stripe; engorged breasts; and we are not even talking about the hemorrhoids and varicose veins. But it all goes away….soon enough…including the belly that held your precious, growing baby. These discomforts are often minimal and temporary but your unbreakable mother-child bond and the wonder of creating life are so important. Even if you want pregnancy to end, capture it because there will surely be times when you marvel at your parenting journey and will want to remember it with a beautiful image.
Speaking as a woman, a mom of daughters, and a photographer, I never want anyone to feel insecure about themselves, especially when they become blessed with children. I want women to embrace their bodies during those nine months of creation and I want them to see it and have it to treasure on film.
Go on beautiful women, celebrate your body. Celebrate what it brings. Trust me, looking back you won’t regret it. Ever.
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