I was initially against having a bump photoshoot. My body had changed beyond all recognition, some days I did feel like my inner Earth Goddess was finally manifesting itself in my rounded belly, huge breasts, glossy hair and dewey skin – other days I felt like a refrigerator wrapped in a duvet. The thought of a camera flashing on my exposed pregnant body was not attractive to me, why would I want to get this not so hot bod out at all let alone photograph it? Despite my protests the shoot was bought for me as a gift so I allowed myself to be persuaded, rummaged around for the one bikini I owned that might still fit me and reluctantly made my way to the photography studio to stand under the flashing lights.
Now, I am so glad I had those photographs taken. What I was cynical about at first now seems like the most obvious thing in the world to do. We take endless photographs of every other momentous occasion in our lives, why then was I rolling my eyes at the thought of capturing what was probably the most life-changing and profound experience of my life? Now, the thought of not having the changes my body went through captured forever on film seems absurd. I will never be the same again, and having a professional photographer capture that pivotal moment in your life is such a beautiful thing. There is still a lot of shame around women’s bodies – if they are not perfect and within a specific context (usually this means attractive to the male gaze) they are deemed something to hide away. There is almost something defiant about photographing a big bulging body, far removed from society’s ideal – despite it becoming more common it still feels a little taboo.
Taking the time to document my changing body felt empowering. This is me creating life! This is me at my most vulnerable and my most powerful. This is me accountable to no one but myself, with no presumed audience to appeal to, with no purpose other than to bring human life in to being. You may find my giant belly repulsive, you may find it amazing, either way it really doesn’t matter…these photos are me at my most alive.
I am so glad I was talked in to marking the occasion with photographs, I can look at them and marvel at what my body was capable of, how simultaneously beautiful and ridiculous being pregnant is.
If you’re thinking of getting your big ole bump out for the camera – do it! I will treasure my photos for the rest of my life and look back happy that for one afternoon I treated my pregnancy with the sense of occasion it deserved!