Can we talk about maternity photos for a second?
For a while, I was completely on the fence about having maternity photos done. A huge part of me (mostly, the part of me that’s huge) has not felt attractive or glowing through this entire pregnancy, and this isn’t really something I want to immortalize on film. There’s also a huge part of me that doesn’t want to spend any amount of money on pictures that will be important until November, when this baby comes. Furthermore, we have taken a belly picture every single week since I was 6 weeks pregnant to track the growth of this alien life form, so how many more belly pictures does someone actually need?
This isn’t to knock my friends who have done them; my friends have very good taste, and I’ve seen the fun, funky photos they’ve taken that really showcase their style. Tim and I, though? We don’t really have a photography style, at least not one that fits the mold of most of the occasions that would require professional photograhy. Allow me to give you an example from our wedding. Most maternity photos I’ve seen on Pinterest and the like are serious, pensive, and romantic. Here’s a picture from our wedding that was supposed to be romantic. I think the direction from the photographer was, “Look at each other and be in love.”
I guess that’s what love looks like? I mean, Tim is pretty good at it, but I can’t hide the fact that I think what we’re doing is ridiculous. I’ve never been very good at separating my feelings from my facial expression. So, something that’s very beautiful, calm, and centered like this photo? Yea, I couldn’t pull that off.
I especially couldn’t pull off something like this:
On top of that, I’ve been really irritated recently with people who treat me like a disembodied bump. If you’ve ever been pregnant, you know what I’m talking about: The unsolicited belly touch. The once-over as you pass a stranger on the street. The questions about what you’re eating or drinking and whether or not you should be eating or drinking it. The absolute inability of anyone anywhere to talk to you about anything other than being pregnant. The CONSTANT COMMENTS ABOUT YOUR SIZE – “Are you having twins?” “Oh, you’re starting to show!” “You’re so big!” “You’re such a tiny pregnant woman!” “You’re all baby!”
I’m an autonomous human being. I have a life growing in my uterus, which is pretty cool, and yes, I’m pretty excited about it. But the bump comments (and penetrating stares) get old. Fast. Especially the ones about your size. After this experience, I firmly believe there is no comment that is appropriate to say to a pregnant woman except, “You look absolutely beautiful.”
And this problem, I think, is only perpetuated by the maternity photo industry. Just look for maternity photos on Pinterest and see how many of them actually show the woman’s face. So, so many of them are disembodied bump photos. They could really be anyone. Need a few examples? I’m happy to oblige:
OK, I have to admit, I think this one is really cute, especially since we’re probably going to take lots of bump pictures with pumpkins in October. It is, after all, our favorite month, and will be our fourth wedding anniversary. But, seriously, the photographer couldn’t pan back a little bit and include their faces?
So, the more I think about it, the more I have come to realize that this just isn’t for me. And I’m writing about it not to make anyone feel bad who adores their maternity photos. I adore your maternity photos, too. I just don’t want them, and I want people to know that it’s OK if you don’t want them, either. If they’re not your thing, you probably won’t regret not having them. The baby industry is so similar to the wedding industry in the way that it is built on regret for not having and documenting every second of a fleeting moment exactly as you had envisioned it. “They grow up so fast,” after all, and that starts with your quickly expanding waistline.
Who knows. I might eat my words in a few months and really regret not doing maternity photos. But I’m guessing that regret will be overshadowed by the plethora of super cute newborn photos I want to show off. To be fair, my mom just bought a really stellar camera and has been learning how to use it all summer, so she is going to come over and snap some pictures of us and the dogs this October, so I will have some record of the fact that I am, in fact, pregnant. I think that’s a nice, happy, middle ground, especially since she knows exactly how I feel about maternity photos of myself. We’ll goof around, snap a few pictures, and maybe put one on the mantle until we replace it with a bajillion pictures of Emily. And I’m perfectly fine with that.
If you need a good belly laugh – PUN INTENDED! – (or if you need any more proof as to how ridiculous some of these maternity poses truly are), check out this guy who did his wife’s maternity shots in her place because she didn’t want to do them. I think we need to get Tim on this, stat.
Most of these images were found on Pinterest without proper photo credits.