Monday, October 8, 2012

Say Cheese

Self portraits are all over the place. With the invention of camera phones and social media, they are inescapable. And almost every random self-portrait out there makes me smile. I have a friend that is taking a picture of herself and her 5 year old daughter as they wait for the school bus and posting it to facebook daily. The pictures are completely adorable and hilarious. I have friends that do self-portraits to ensure wardrobe choices are appropriate and people who just take their own picture just for the heck of it. And yet, I completely and totally hate my own.

I don't know what angles I look best at or how to smile or what exactly I should do to ensure my pictures are cute and show my "best" side. I'm bad at self-portrait hair and angles. I feel awkward about any photo of me, that is me by myself. I don't mind having my picture taken with friends or family or maybe in front of a landmark. But I feel incredibly awkward about a photograph of me, by myself, for 'no reason'. Does not matter the circumstances, I won't like it. And as a result, I have failed to document either of my pregnancies at all. And I hate that.

Some people (mostly women) despise being photographed at all. This article broke my heart because luckily, I've never let the self-criticism go this far but I know so many women that do. My mother, in fact, has never seen a photo of herself that she likes. She hates them all. And like the 5 year old son in the Huff Po piece, I don't see my mom's flaws in her pictures, I see her warm smile and twinkly eyes.

As I've mentioned before, I am done having babies after my newest arrival gets here. In just a few weeks, I will never be pregnant again. And somehow, despite how privileged I am and how excited I have been for these babies...I have almost no pictures of me pregnant. I'm not even sure how that happened but both times, I've just been too "busy" to document my pregnancies. And I have never stopped to take pictures of this very amazing chapter in my life.

I haven't had formal (professional) maternity shots taken. I haven't taken weekly belly profile pictures. I haven't even snapped informally funny pictures with my funny belly . And sadly, I think it's all because I am not particularly comfortable with pictures of me by myself for 'no reason'. And so the amazing and beautiful progression and transition of my body is something I will have to rely on from a few scattered photos and memories.  I have enormous regret that I have not put my own issues with self-portraits on hold and just made a point of creating some type of journal of this amazing transition of my body.

And so, at 35 weeks pregnant (never mind that I'll be lucky to make 38 or 39 weeks, let alone 40), I decided, no time like the present. And I decided if anything I could get the last 4-5 weeks. See if there was any noticeable difference between week 35 and week 39. And so with the lovely instagram's help, I present to you weeks 35, 36 and 37.

Self-image issues placed on hold. I'm throwing it all out there. And for anyone newly pregnant or not so newly pregnant, DO SOMETHING to document this. You will not remember what it looked like or how your body supported the squirmy little person inside.  And you cannot know what your body looks like by looking down at your shoes a couple times a day. Honor your beautiful changing body and the miracle within by capturing it and its changes. Do it naked, clothed, weekly, monthly, daily, I don't care. Just do it. And here's my final rule: absolutely, positively no criticism of yourself or comparison to someone else. You are creating new life and you are blessed and lucky to be doing so.  Now is not the time to complain about your hair not cooperating like you'd like or asking why someone else's stretch marks are less visible than your own. Share with the world or share with no one, just don't fail to document the beauty. It's why God created camera phones. And photo filters.

Week 35. I call this look "business baby". I argued 4 motions in court this day.

A little fuzzy but I had to add because of how cute Eliot is peeking in on the picture.

Eliot, getting his picture "with MY baby."

37 weeks. Full Term. Doctor says all systems are "go". Holy cow. This is really happening.

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