Starting on the day of our wedding (though admittedly, it probably happened earlier), Russell and I started getting asked when were having kids. Which I don’t mine being asked, like the first million or so times. I understand folks are just excited to squeeze cute little babies and want new additions to the family.
But after awhile, it starts to get weird, cause really, your Great Aunt someone, who you see twice a year at Easter and Christmas, is basically asking you how often you and your husband do it, and that’s just kind of awkward. Our answer has morphed from specific – “When we get our student loans paid off and can afford it!” – to basic answers of “When we are ready!” by which we really mean “None of your damn business.” I’m sure there are people out there who can relate.
But of course, I totally turned into one of THOSE people when my best friend told me she was pregnant. I tried getting myself to shut up as I badgered her about baby names and nursery colors, but good Lord, I was just so happy for her and it was word vomit every day. It happens to the best of us, ha.
However, one of the things we talked about during her pregnancy was my request to take a few maternity photos of her. I think my friend was perhaps a little shy and a little uncomfortable with the idea at first, and who could blame her? Literally from the second her and her husband were married, people started asking such personal questions about when they could expect a little one. It was the same as my story. Then you throw in all this online crap – the Pinterest boards, the mommy advice blogs, the beautiful photos of nurseries and sexy baby mama bumps, and it’s all a little bit overwhelming. Everyone is suddenly giving you a lot of extra attention, and that can be nerve-wracking.
I wasn’t even having a kid, and as I was looking for examples of shots we could recreate, and pretty maternity poses, I was overwhelmed. I couldn’t imagine how my friend felt, being the subject. I was hiding behind the camera, so I had nothing to lose.
I’ve never been pregnant, and I’ve admittedly not been around a lot of babies. My bestie, bless her heart, allows me to actually hold her kid, which is amazing. My experience in this particular phase of life is nada. But I am observant.
I watched my best friend glow and I watched her get sick. I watched her feel a bit self-conscious as she grew another human inside her (no big deal, right? Pfft). I also heard about many folks who perhaps crossed a line with their questions, well-meaning advice, and attempts at belly rubbing. This was a huge change in her life, and I think every angle was probably really hard to adjust to. And she did it, so, so amazingly well. Her little girl is barely a few weeks old, and she’s already such a great mom.
What I learned from watching my best friend is that having a child is incredibly personal. It’s also beautiful. It’s maybe the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen – watching my best friend become a mom – and I cry every time I think about it. It was not easy for her, but she handled it wonderfully, with more courage than I’ll probably ever have. I hope that one day, if Russell and I are lucky enough to conceive a few of our own, that I’m half as tough as she is. I also kind of can’t wait for her to laugh at me when I freak out and have her try to calm me down with the knowledge only a mom has.
I wanted to take a few simple maternity photos of her so she could see how beautiful she really was during this time. I think it’s really easy to get caught up in trying to be a good mom, a good wife, a good person, friend, daughter, sister, etc. and it can be incredibly overwhelming. But what I wanted my friend to look back and remember was that she had her own little miracle, and although it may be the hardest thing she’ll ever do, giving life to another, she did it with grace, beauty, and the wisdom that only comes from being a natural-born mom. I think it’s really important for ALL new moms to think this way about themselves. They may have swollen ankles, and want to puke and throttle someone at the same time, but the rest of the world is amazed by them. Mom appreciation all around, folks.
I’m not the best photographer by any means – and I don’t like to call myself that either, I’m just a hobbyist – but what I do like to do is capture important moments. I would encourage anyone who is currently pregnant to take at least one or two photos of themselves, or have a friend do it for you. This is a time in your life you’ll want to remember. And maybe through a lens, you’ll start to see how brave and timeless you look to the world around you. I think that’s something worth holding onto.
We spent maybe an hour taking a few snapshots to turn into forever keepsakes. Nothing was particularly fancy, or difficult – we took these photos at my friend’s home, which was awesome, because we can recreate the photos at a later date. Cute little girl sitting on her mommy’s lap on the same porch swing in a few years, then again at her high school graduation, or maybe even on her wedding day? Yep, I’ve got all of those on my radar.
Life is sweet. New life is the sweetest. We need to remember to pause and acknowledge it for ourselves, and that’s why every new mom should take even the most simple maternity photos – they deserve it. ❤