feeling beautiful during pregnancy with Jaclyn | Philadelphia Maternity Photographer

When I first met Jaclyn my first words to her may have been “you need to be in pictures” or maybe it was something along the lines of “I would love to photograph you!” Whatever it was I am sure it sounded a little creepy. Who goes up to people they don’t know and says that! I loved the vintage inspired shirt she was wearing and her style. When I heard from her to schedule a session for her kids and a maternity session for her I was excited. Photographing her children this past fall was so much fun! I couldn’t wait to photograph Jaclyn’s maternity session. We had talked a few times before the session about what she wanted. When she told me she wanted to wear a glamourous dress I was intrigued. She had great ideas for the shoot… I only hoped I could deliver. She had told me she is most comfortable when she is dressed up. I love that her personality is reflected in these photos. When I arrived at her home and saw her beautifully designed room and the dress it was perfection. I was even more impressed when she told me her and her husband made the headboard for these photos. This is one of my last sessions in the feeling beautiful during pregnancy series. I am really happy with how these turned out and what really matters is that I made Jaclyn happy!!! She had sent me a few texts after she had seen the images for the first time expressing her initial reaction. My favorite: “AHHHH They LOOK GREAT!!!!!! really love the profile in the chair and the one of me and Fiona is to DIE FOR. OMG, you are amazing. I’m so happy.” She thought she was bothering me with all of the texts but it was the best thing for me to hear since I am always so critical of my work. She had made me so happy knowing I made her happy. It means everything to me making my clients happy and what I do totally worth it!! I loved everything about this session and have equally enjoyed getting to know Jaclyn and her family!

I absolutely LOVE what she had to say about the experience and her thoughts on pregnancy. I laughed and cried!!

What were your first thoughts when you saw the images?

“I don’t look terrible.” And “All my dreams came true.” I generally hate pictures of myself.  I hate getting pictures taken; it makes me so uncomfortable.  Perhaps if I practiced in a mirror and really got down my Zoolander face, I wouldn’t mind so much, but that just seems so vain and I don’t really have time for that.  So I was pleasantly surprised with the pictures of me.

The picture of my daughter and me kissing made my life.  I never thought I’d have a daughter, and having had a bald head as a baby, I never thought I’d have a daughter with her long hair.  And one of my favorite things about my kids is their little baby fat rolls… so to have this image of myself in a place I never thought I’d be with a little girl I never thought I’d be with that captures all the things I love so much about her while I’m loving her and her sister in my belly…. I just can’t say enough about it. People ask what you’d take on an island or if your house was burning down, I’d take this picture. If I never get another picture of myself, I’d just be happy I have this one.

What has been your biggest struggle with how you feel during your pregnancy?

This has by far been my busiest pregnancy; besides the fact that I have two small children who have busy schedules and yet cannot pour their own juice, prepare their own meals, bathe, wipe, or dress themselves, we also moved in my fourth month.

Naturally, there have been the physical difficulties of pregnancy: exhaustion, nausea every night well into my third trimester, urinating in far-too-frequent intervals  and now constant discomfort as her body is taking over mine.  But “busy” has overwhelmed the focus on tired, sick and uncomfortable.

It’s been disappointing not having time or feeling up to wearing anything other than my “mom suit” (black stretchies, tank top, and whatever comfortable shirt will still cover my stomach)… Not wearing makeup or drying my hair 98% of the time can be frustrating and takes its toll on a girl who loves “all that glitters”… Fortunately, there aren’t many mirrors hanging in my house yet and I don’t normally have the time to notice.  —  One time I thought this kid working at produce junction was checking me out, (which I thought was especially strange because I was noticeably pregnant).  When I went to pick my daughter up I happened to see my reflection and realized that my tank top was practically invisible…. It left no room for imagination…. Not that anyone would care to imagine a pregnant belly button and grandma bra, but that kid will probably be very cautious about getting anyone pregnant.

So other than that which is to be expected, I don’t have any genuine complaints about this pregnancy.  At about 7 weeks pregnant I had a lot of bleeding and thought I had miscarried.  So the combination of knowing what to expect and knowing how blessed I am that she’s still here is good enough for me.

Do you struggle to feel confident with your new body?

The only real “new” body is the one in my womb.  I have experienced this feeling of enormity before and in hindsight, I’m now able to acknowledge that it’s not as serious as it appears.  Although, I was very fortunate in that I lost my weight fairly quickly after each of my previous pregnancies.  When my husband and I decided to try for another baby, I actually (for the first time ever) stuck a pillow under my shirt and looked at my profile in the mirror; I was so excited about the idea of harboring a child inside a big belly.  It is an amazing experiencing. Although, I am hesitant to say “I love being pregnant” because it certainly is not easy and not always enjoyable, but always worth it.

The hardest part for me is dealing with my body in between pregnant and 5’4″ and 125ish.

What have you enjoyed most with the changes of your body?

Knowing what to expect this go-round has really given me the opportunity to enjoy each stage of this pregnancy.  Knowing that each stage is temporary helps to keep things in perspective.  I had a dark linea negra with my first daughter which went away after she was born and I’ve started to notice it faintly forming over the past month or so with this baby.  With my son I got a birthmark-looking patch on my lower back and that’s still there, but I’ve started to notice other pigment changes  within the past couple weeks.  It amazes me really and I don’t mind the changes because I figure either they’ll go away, they’re just meant to be, or there will one day be a non-invasive cosmetic procedure to fix that.  Until then, my husband is stuck with me, my children will love me no matter what, and there will always be at least three people on any beach who look worse than I do in a bathing suit.

Oh!  I also really like my boobs.  This pregnancy has really brought me much closer to considering implants if they melt away again after delivery.  They make me feel like a woman. Maybe having boobs would help me feel more confident without the makeup and dry hair…. And maybe the kid will actually be checking me out at produce junction and not just wondering why I’m wearing a see-thru shirt so unscrupulously.

Is capturing your pregnant self-important to you?

This time it was.  My first pregnancy I refused any pictures because I felt horrible about my weight, but I ended up having a premature baby via emergency c-section, so I didn’t even get a picture before the delivery.

Right before my son was born, I was told his lungs were not fully developed and that if he was born he would have trouble.  It dawned on me that the safest place for my child was inside me.  Up to that point I had never felt that kind of love, the kind that you would literally lay your life on the line for.

Being that I hadn’t gotten any pictures, I made sure to get my hair and makeup done to get a picture before i delivered my daughter.  But it wasn’t a picture anyone would want to hang on their wall or even look at frequently.

After my daughter was born I had seen the movie “The Family Stone”. There was a scene when the whole family was looking at this beautiful picture of their mother- young and pregnant- and the mother looked at one of her daughters and said “that’s you and me, kid”.  The picture was such a beautifully captured moment in time.

Pregnancy for me is not a lonely journey, there’s someone along for the ride.  Knowing how it feels to love someone before even seeing their face and just hoping that they’ll breathe if nothing else.  Knowing how it feels to love someone else so much that protecting them with the walls of your own body feels worth it for as long as possible.  I wanted to capture that.  I didn’t want these pictures to capture me pregnant,  I wanted them to capture my children in the place where I loved them first.