When I was pregnant with my first son, over 4 years ago, I had one rule…no bare belly pictures. As a person who isn’t completely confident in her body or “revealing” her body it was just something I didn’t feel comfortable with…at all, even pictures to be taken and seen only for the eyes of the photographer, myself and my husband.
Since then my perspective has changed. I’m not sure what caused this change as I’m still not the person who is confident in a bathing suit on the beach or even happy with my body on a daily basis. Also since my pregnancy with my son I’ve become more focused on fitness goals and seeing my body image change throughout this pregnancy, though super thankful and blessed, has been a little bit of a struggle for me at times. Maybe the change of heart was because I’ve since birthed a child (a place where you truly bare all ). It may be that my husband and I have endured some losses, therefore I have a different appreciation for this growing body. It may even be that there is a good chance this could be the last time that my body carries a baby. It may be a culmination of all of these.
I decided though this time around that I really wanted some “belly-exposed” pictures. Again, it’s not really my style to “show off” my body in any matter but for me this felt important and meaningful. I wanted to be able to document and freeze in time this moment of my life, a moment I may never see again. I won’t lie it was still a struggle for me with my insecurities. As women, we seem to put so much pressure on ourselves and our bodies. I truly believe in eating healthy (though I also believe in embracing indulgences ) and staying active and fit and I’ve realized when you’re pregnant you sometimes just can’t meet your goals. I’ve tried to be as accepting of that as I can.
I asked a close friend of mine who is a photographer if she would mind taking some maternity pictures for me, both family pictures and…bare belly. I explained that with my son I didn’t have any and really wanted to try it this time around. She not only agreed but also let me borrow a beautiful maternity dress. Both her and my vision for the shoot were completely inline (though she far exceeded my expectations).
I can’t say enough how happy I am that she took these pictures for me and honestly how proud I am of myself for being completely vulnerable and exposing a “side” of myself that I haven’t before. I’ll admit that at times I felt nervous and anxious. When looking through the pictures at first I began to self-critique my body but then I just made myself stop. To just look at the beautiful image of a myself with a life, that I’ve so desperately wanted, growing inside myself. I can’t thank my friend enough for being patient with me and providing such truly beautiful pictures that I will hold dear to my heart for the rest of my life.
I encourage all women in whatever phase of life to constantly try to make themselves better (yes the week of the photoshoot I didn’t miss a workout) but then to embrace themselves and be proud of where they’ve come from. If you truly are unhappy with where you are at take small steps to make those changes. When you do, even if it’s a small change be proud. If there is a time or phase in your life where you are proud of where you are at, document it to either provide yourself with a concrete memory or inspiration for the future.
So here it goes, here are some of my favorites. Thank you so much Fitography Files!