If you’re anything like me, documenting adventures through photos, videos, or journals is an important part of any experience. Not for the gloating or praise, but just to have a piece of a memory, something you can look back on years later to remember a trip, a milestone, a friend’s birthday.
It always amazes me how quickly time passes. Milestones come and go and, as my husband says, ‘before you know it, we’ll be sending our kid off to college.’
While a growing trend, maternity photography is not something many people are familiar
with and even fewer actually go through with it. So when I informed friends and family that I was planning a maternity photo session, they (predictably) nodded their head and smirked. I could tell from their expression that they were skeptical to say the least. But they wouldn’t openly judge me (pregnant ladies get more lenience than normal) and instead quietly wondered to themselves why I would pursue such an odd, unfamiliar practice. And I’m sure it was probably perpetuated by the fact that it’s not like me to seek out flattery and self-praise (well, at least that’s what I told myself!).
When it would come up in conversation (and, believe me, I avoided mentioning it) I would pause and take a moment to gauge how to share such an awkward piece of information. Bracing myself for the silence with an undertone of judgement, I would make the announcement and immediately list several reasons WHY. And probably in part because of my own self-consciousness, the undertone of judgement and skepticism would read in their eyes, in what wasn’t said, in the hesitant curiosity of what this was all about.
And, to be fair, I also wondered why I wanted this so badly. After all, pregnancy is not exactly something I have been celebrating. I have spent more weeks concerned over what was to come – the financial obligations, the lack of sleep, the responsibility to raise a healthy, happy human being in the midst of a recession – rather than oogling over baby clothes and nursery themes.
But something unmistakeably pushed me to move past my own reservations, ignore the skepticism, and go outside of my comfort zone. And rather than thinking “why?” I started asking myself, “why not?!
And after spending a lot of time thinking about it, here are some of the reasons that I decided that a maternity photo shoot was right for me:
1. I am so happy with where my life is right now. I have a loving husband, two great dogs, a good job, a nice place to live, and a wonderful family. It’s a great time in my life and I want to capture that.
2. Our lives are about to change forever. We will never be just us again.. at least not for a long time. And while I’m sure our new addition will make our lives more full, I want to remember what it was like, what we were like, what I was like, before he arrived.
3. There is something about transformations that is so incredibly fascinating. If you think about it, even for those that don’t always carry a camera capture transformative experiences: graduation, marriage, holidays, first day of school. So why not capture the transformation as its occurring, rather than at the end? Think long study sessions, getting ready for a wedding, cooking the holiday dinner. These things are all part of our major events, yet they are not typically captured or held to have the same meaning. And I would disagree with that, because I think that’s the real life “stuff” that brings out who we are, how we are, and what life is really like.
4. I have a new level of respect for the female body, for all that it’s capable of. I want to remember what it did, what it was able to do, what it looked like and celebrate it.
5. I want to share who I was, who I am, with my son. I want him to see us from the
beginning, and to know how we started out together.
6. I want to remember weekends with my husband at his parents lakeside house, with our dogs in tow, and nothing but puzzles, card games, and the occasional summer barbeque event to keep us entertained. I have so many fond memories of that place, of getting to know my inlaws, and of getting to know my husband. I want to remember those days.
7. I am fortunate enough to have had the pleasure of meeting a fantastic, talented photographer that I not only like, but personally connect with, respect, and appreciate. Working with Chelle (Melissa Coe Photography) has been wonderful and I truly look forward to working with her on this next life milestone.
8. What If. What if this is my only child? What if my next pregnancy is complicated? What if I don’t have the opportunity to do this again? What if something happens to him? What if? What if.
9. I have never been so self-reflective as I have been during this year. It’s the year I turned 30, my first year of marriage, and my first kid. I have spent a lot of time being grateful for what I have and what is to come, planning for the future, and celebrating the little things in life (like grabbing coffee with friends, enjoying our restaurants, shopping at the farmers market, and chatting with the ladies at my local craft store).
10. And, because I’m not ashamed to admit it, this pregnancy just looks good on me. I feel beautiful. I carry my belly with a sense of accomplishment. And I want to remember how self-satisfied and amazing I feel. Especially for the days when I’m not feeling that way.
I hope when that time comes, you also consider whether this is something that is right for you. And if you want more information on Chelle or Melissa Coe Photography, or details on how it works, please comment! I’m happy to share.
Link to my Pinterest inspiration board: http://pinterest.com/juliegagen/maternity-photos/
Link to Mello Rose Photography post with photos from my shoot is here.. enjoy!