Today's post has me a little nervous. Because, while I wholeheartedly believe what I'm about to say, it means me putting more images on this blog of yours truly. Not something I relish. I tend to prefer to beautiful interiors images, pretty views or more recently photos of my sweet little babe. But that's also kind of the point behind this post. That while you may be like me in your dislike for appearing in photographs, it's actually a really lovely and special thing to do from time to time. Getting pregnant wasn't quite as straight forward as I may have anticipated (you can read more about our journey here) and so it felt right to record this special moment. That while I felt even bigger than usual, it was a precious miracle that was cooking away in my belly and that deserved to be celebrated.
I'd seen Siobhan Calder on Instagram (here and here) and loved her images so it felt like a natural fit to ask her to take my portraits. Siobhan has a magical way with light which is so different to my usual predilection for bright, white (often overexposed) shots. I knew that she'd capture this quiet moment for us beautifully and we'd be left with images to treasure forever. I wasn't wrong. Usually my first thought upon seeing myself in photos is to zone in straight away on my appearance. Don't we all do that? It can be the most amazing photo and all we see is our flaws. But these photos were different. Instead of seeing flaws and feeling uncomfortable, my initial thought was just how happy I looked and even now looking at them takes me back to that moment of excitement waiting for our little Tallie to arrive. It felt like the most effortless shoot, too. Siobhan and I chatted over cups of tea and she snapped away all the while. There were no cheesy forced grins or awkward poses. I didn't fancy doing any full on belly shots and that was fine because she captured me. The bump is there, just not taking centre stage. She knew where the light was and played to that (on one of the greyest days in January!) and it all felt so easy. A surprisingly fun morning for a camera shy person like me. And now that Tallie is here and B and I are already often found looking at pictures from when she first arrived, I also find myself going back to these photos too. From when she was still safely nestled in my belly. I was full of cold, but felt that strange mixture of calm and excited a month before my due date.
So, if you're pregnant and sitting on the face debating whether to have some maternity photographs taken here are five good reasons to do it...
IT'S A PRECIOUS MOMENT
Pregnancy is one of those amazing moments in life that makes you go 'wow'. It's probably why perfect strangers see fit to reach out and touch your bump, or stop to chat asking all the usual 'when's it due?' questions. Bringing life into the world really is a miracle. And pregnancy doesn't happen everyday, or more often that a few times in a woman's lifetime, so it's precious. I don't know if I'll be pregnant again and so recording this treasured moment was something that felt really right for us.
PREGNANCY IS BEAUTIFUL
Ok so depending on how far along you are in your pregnancy you might be contending with morning sickness, swelling, nausea or feeling super achey. And this might make appearing in photos feel less that appealing. But you still look gorgeous. Trust me, you do. I loved my big bump as for the first time in ages I didn't feel self conscious about my tummy! Looking back at photos of yourself from pregnancy you'll see your lovely bump and remember your little one growing inside you - you honestly won't see your swollen ankles or anything else you might otherwise be hung up on.
THE MEMORIES WILL ENDURE
There's something magical about photographs that means that they capture more than just a moment in time. They capture so much more - the smells, the emotions, the sounds... As I said earlier, my own maternity photos remind me of the grey day in January, when I was full of cold and downing copious amounts of warmed honey and lemon. The house was as still as can be, with lights on and candles flickering. Anticipation filled each room as we waited and prepared and imagined what life might soon look like. If feels so special to be able to look at images and have all this conjured up time and again.
Pregnancy can feel a bit like a slog especially towards the end. So taking time out just for you to sit, rest and generally reflect on it all is really lovely. And if you decide to have photos taken with your partner and any other children it'll be a happy moment for you all to enjoy together as you anticipate your new arrival. I found the morning with Siobhan so calming and enjoyable - which totally surprised me as ordinarily I feel so tense having my photo taken. It was just her and me as B was at work and it just felt like hanging out with a lovely friend, I was barely aware of her snapping away.
YOUR KIDS WILL LOVE IT
Obviously Tallie is still to young right now but I imagine that as she grows she'll be keen to see photos of her as a baby and photos of her as a bump. I think it'll be such a special thing to enjoy looking at together as I tell her stories of how I felt, what labour was like, how we first felt to be parents. I love hearing stories from my own childhood and it makes me happy to think of passing similar memories onto Tallie. Of course, these portraits don't need to just capture you. They could be images of corners of your home, sweet gifts you've been given or particularly treasured items. For us, these other photos included ones of our sitting room, some sweet crochet booties and a precious print with a bible verse on. (You can see the print more here). So not only will Tallie be able to see my bump and me, but she'll get a little peek at what her first home looked like too. (I wonder if it'll seem as weird and outdated as when I look back at our first home and its furnishing way back in the 80s and 90s?!)
So, have you had maternity photos? Would you like to? Let me know in the comments below, or find me on Instagram!
If you're looking for a photographer I'd so happily recommend Siobhan. Go see her amazing work here.
All photos shot by Siobhan Calder