I had such lovely comments on my blog post yesterday, people were lovely about my bump photos and it really is a confidence boost. A few people said that they wish they’d taken similar photos when they were pregnant. A few others, who are pregnant now, said they wish they had my confidence to have similar photos taken and how they do not feel sexy in their pregnancy. This blog post is for them.
When I had my first baby I was about a size 10 when I got pregnant. I’d never been confident about my looks or figure (looking back now I am gobsmacked, it was bloody lovely!). I was quite lazy throughout my pregnancy and didn’t eat well at all, I went up to about a size 16 (about what I am now) and I felt huge. I wasn’t huge, I have pictures and I looked lovely. I remember I was due to go on a night out with my husband for his work do, my friend and I went clothes shopping and I tried on some silly things and some fitted things. She tried telling me I looked fab but I didn’t have the confidence to wear anything that showed off my figure, but she did get some pictures in the changing room!
I seem to recall I ended up choosing something quite ‘mumsy’ and that covered my figure rather than flattering it.
It was 10 years before I was pregnant again and while I enjoyed it far more than first time round I still hadn’t truly found my confidence.
After my second son was born I discovered an American website called The Shape of a Mother and I found that my body wasn’t ruined or weird, it was normal. I realised that some women have babies and their body hardly shows any sign of it whereas others may be left with extra skin on their belly (like mine!) or stretchmarks (like mine!) and that all of these things were OK. What’s more, all of these things were beautiful because those mother’s bodies had achieved something amazing, they had grown a human being.
When I became pregnant for the 3rd time I decided to submit some photos to the website and to tell my story. I’ve just re-read it now and I am still amazed by it. I was amazed by the response to my pictures, it is a wonderful place and so supportive. For the first time I stopped looking at my body and criticizing it for all the things it had wrong with it and instead looked at me as I would someone else. I looked on myself with kindness. I finally saw what other people could see. I saw a beautiful, amazing body that had achieved so much. I felt sexy, liberated, happy.
When I was 36 weeks pregnant Gareth took some more pictures (again, just in our sitting room using my digital SLR and lots of lamps for lighting). This time I LOVED it, you can see the confidence change between the 2 lots of photos. I shared them on the website again and shortly afterwards decided to start this blog so that I could share my own story of motherhood.
I implore any woman who is feeling unsure or frumpy in her pregnancy to do take some photos. Get someone you know or love to take some pictures, or go to a studio and get some taken. It’s great having pictures taken where you don’t feel you have to suck everything in, that belly is supposed to be there, push it out and be proud. No one need see them but you. Look at them with kindness, look at them as if you were looking at someone else and really see the wonders of your own body and shape, whatever it is.
If you manage that I suggest doing something really brave, really bloody scary. Share them. Share them on Shape of a Mother, or here on my blog, or on your own blog, just share them and then listen to what people say. It will change how you feel. It will allow you to see your beauty.
We are so hard on ourselves as women and there is starting to be a backlash against an ideal body size and shape and I’m proud to be part of that. We’re all so different and we all have to see ourselves as beautiful, once you feel it yourself it will shine through. This hasn’t only made a difference to me in pregnancy but at all times and means that as a Mum I can have photos taken with my children and like what I see. It’s a wonderful change.