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Why you’ll regret it if you skip having a maternity session
Trust me, I GET IT! I have three kids myself, the last one born this past January. No matter where I am, I hear what moms-to-be are saying. They feel fat, tired, unattractive, swollen, etc.
We take the selfies and share on social media to keep friends and family updated. They aren’t typically the most flattering photos, but I think we hide behind the fact that it’s not expected to be. We see professional maternity photos and think how we would like to have our pregnancy captured, but…. The thought of paying a photographer to have professional maternity photos done sounds like a waste of money. “I mean look how I look in these photos. I’m not a model and definitely don’t feel pretty.” I am here to tell you a photo you capture with your phone will look different than what a professional photographer will capture.
So, I’ve compiled a list of 4 reasons why I hear moms skip having professional maternity photos done. If you have an interest in having a maternity session, but are hesitant read on.
1. I don’t look like myself. I am fat everywhere!
That’s right! Carrying a baby inside you along with all the extra fluids is going to make you bigger. That’s the way it works. Your skin may break out and get splotchy. But you will have great hair! Some women only gain weight in their belly, but most put it on everywhere. I know with my second I was carrying around something like fifty extra pounds, and it had to go somewhere.
But regardless, this is how you look while pregnant. Your session should be when you have a prominent belly but not so late that you are too uncomfortable to move around, usually between 32-35 weeks for first time moms, and 30-32 for 2nd+ time moms. If you have your hair and makeup done for your session you’ll be amazed at how beautiful you feel. Pregnancy is beautiful! You are beautiful! Don’t forget that! Maternity sessions are not just about what you look like, they are about how you feel about this miracle inside you that you can’t see yet.
2. I’d rather just focus on spending the money on the newborn session instead.
I understand photography is a luxury, not a necessity. I also respect and understand that everyone has a budget. Maternity sessions are often cut for reasons of budget. I have made maternity sessions complimentary with every newborn session for this very reason, and will include your favorite maternity portrait with your newborn order. I think it’s so important to have your pregnancy captured that I want to give each of my newborn clients that option as a thank you for choosing me to capture such a precious time in your lives. I will not push you to have a maternity session if you decide it's not for you as I respect my clients and their decisions, I just really wish you would consider it. Pregnancy is a big part of your baby’s story, and your children see you as beautiful even if you don't see yourself that way, so include it in their baby book as a memory for them.
3. I don't have anything to wear.
Don't worry, I've got you covered! I now have a few maternity dresses available for my clients to wear, which help them look and feel like a model. Right now I only have dresses in pink and blue, but hope to expand my wardrobe as I have more clients interested in using them.
4. I never did it with my other children.
This should be a reason TO have maternity portraits taken! You have regrets of not doing it before? So, do it now! You may never get this chance again regardless of how many children you hope to have. We can’t predict the future. It doesn’t matter if you capture every pregnancy, at least capturing one is an amazing gift to give your future self. Your kids will not hold it against you or think you love them less because you didn’t do it with them all. That’s typical mommy guilt for you. They may ask, but if you tell them the truth they will understand and not make a big deal out of it. You didn’t with them due to lack of funds, not finding a photographer you liked, not knowing of this style of photography, etc. They will still get to see what you looked like pregnant through the other beautiful professional photos. And they will see your pregnancy with them through ones you did yourself.
Whether you believe it or not, you will one day want to look back on that short lived time. If not you, your children will. You may chuckle about how big you got (I do) or sob because you wish you were experiencing that joy all over again. I loved pregnancy, mostly. Of course there were struggles with each of my pregnancies. I had bad morning sickness, heartburn, rib pain, swelling, prodromal labor, etc. But the miracle of pregnancy gets my heart every time. It’s such an incredible experience. One of my favorite portraits displayed in my living room is my son cuddling my big belly when I was pregnant with my daughter. (Below left. Below right, in the blue dress is also me, the week before I had her.)
With my last pregnancy I was sick all the time, I didn't leave the couch much, then when the sickness got better, I couldn't stand long or walk very far without frequent breaks. I knew though that this was my last time, I was never doing it again, so when we headed to Cape May to ring in the new year at the shore, I brought along one of the dresses I keep for maternity clients, and my camera. What resulted is a portrait I absolutely love. The weather was less than ideal, it had been raining all day when the sun began to peek out, I quick changed into the dress and we jumped in the car to drive the couple blocks to the beach. As we got a block from the beach light rain began to splatter the windshield, I said as long as it's not pouring, I want to try anyway, the rain ended as we walked across the beach to the water's edge. The beach had a haze all over, you could barely see the ocean, and the sand was ice cold to walk on barefoot. My husband took the pictures as my brother tossed the long train. We only were out there about 10 mins but my ears burned with cold as we got back to the car, even though weather was less than ideal, I am absolutely in love with the end result (below).
I put on the dress again to take a few photos with my baby after his newborn session. (below)
*Disclaimer* This is not a message of pressure. We face so many pressures in this world today as moms. I’m not saying you are a bad mom or will live a life filled with tears over not having them done. If maternity photos are something you are interested in, but make these or any excuses you should really have them done. Why? Because that’s your true heart’s desire. These other thoughts are just noise getting in the way. If you don’t, you may end up with regrets. If you have absolutely no desire or interest, then don’t. You may or may not have regrets, but I’m not writing to convince you. I am writing to convince the mom with the desire to listen to her heart.
But you don't have to take my word for it, I asked one of my maternity and newborn clients about her sessions, this is what she had to say:
(When we first planned her session she wanted to somehow incorporate jeeps,
1. What was your favorite part of your experience with us?:
I love how genuine and natural the sessions felt. There was some staging but it felt comfortable and relaxed.
2. Do you have any advice for other people planning their portrait session?:
If you want photos that are real. That really show you. This is where you want to go.
3. Would you have regretted not having a maternity and newborn session, if so, why?:
I absolutely would have regretted not getting photos done, my maternity photos turned out so beautiful and having a before and after for when my son was born I will always cherish. I couldn't be happier with how everything turned out.
This was written by Jennifer Sherwin Pucely, which she allowed me to include in this updated blog post:
Take the pictures. Spend the money and the time to have pictures taken of you as a pregnant woman; at every appointment, at every stage, looking your best or just getting out of bed at 38 wks. I get it - it's hard. Your face, fingers and ankles are swollen. You've got uncharacteristic acne or extra curly hair or an extra 50 pounds. I get it.
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