feeling beautiful during pregnancy with rebecca | Philadelphia Maternity Photographer

When I first started my project to photography and interview women in their third trimester I had a distinct goal in mind. I wanted to help women see the beauty in themselves during a time when they are not feeling so beautiful. When I met Rebecca I would have never known the feelings she was having and the struggle she was fighting within. I loved working with her so much I found it hard to stop shooting, she was glowing and the lighting was perfect! After reading her answers to the interview questions I felt empowered that I was able to help her see what was so easy for me to. Her answers actually made me fill up with tears.

What were your first thoughts when you saw the images?

 I thought, Wow, how did she get rid of my tired eyes?? I couldn’t believe how genuinely happy and beautiful I looked. I was glowing. I looked at these pictures when I received them in November and thought they were stunning. I’ve since looked at them again, after giving birth, and believe them to be on a whole new level of amazing. I love how light-hearted and full of joy I look. I cannot wait to show these to my son to give him a glimpse into the world just four short weeks before he was born.

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

Throughout my life, exercise has been one of the main ways for me to release stress. Running was high on my list of hobbies and it was typically how I began each day. Staying healthy in this way was a huge part of how I defined myself.

Once I became pregnant, however, I had complications that led doctors to recommend I avoid running. This was devastating to me.  This hit me hardest during the second trimester when my body changed significantly from the athletic build I was used to. I wasn’t able to move in the same way and while I felt blessed to be carrying my son, giving up this significant part of my life was really difficult.  This frustration peaked once I couldn’t see my feet. Physically, I was tired from the pregnancy but emotionally, I was missing the connection with my body that I made through running, and the stress relief it once provided.

Did you struggle to feel confident with your new body?

As my stomach expanded and my body swelled, I absolutely struggled with confidence. In my mind, I didn’t look or feel like myself. I was unable to engage in many of the activities that made me feel good. Instead, I slept and ate A LOT.  It took awhile before I felt good in my own skin.  Having these pictures taken helped my spirit. It was one of the few times during my pregnancy that I put on a dress and make-up and strutted my stuff, and boy it felt good! Since then, I’ve learned a lot about (and have been much more appreciative of) the wonderful changes that our bodies undergo to create life.

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

At 30 weeks, I had grown to love my new shape. I especially loved how lopsided my belly had become because of the way the baby liked to lay. I had become more confident in my body knowing how well it was serving him. I didn’t realize it then, but looking back, I was looking forward to another 8 weeks of my developing shape.

When I realized it was likely that I would deliver early, I desperately wanted more time with him. I couldn’t bear the thought of him leaving me so soon. After all, he had been with me always, more often than my husband. I knew as soon as he was born he’d be whisked away from me and taken to the NICU. I would’ve given anything to feel him playfully kick my stomach for a few more weeks. Looking back, knowing and seeing all of his movements were the most enjoyable and amazing changes during pregnancy. I’ll never forget the feeling of his movement, gentle reminders of my tiny miracle.

Is capturing your pregnant self-important to you?

I had debated for awhile whether or not I needed to capture this moment in my life, especially because my body looked much different than what I was used to. For the first seven months, I avoided being the center of photographs. Any pictures that I have of myself during this time were completely accidental. At the last minute, I decided to have maternity photos taken and was photographed at 30 weeks pregnant.  Something inside of me urged me to do it.

I loved dressing up and feeling beautiful during the photo shoot. It was early November and the weather was turning a bit chilly, but it was still temperate enough to have the photos taken outside. Everything was perfect. Upon receiving the photos, I was completely impressed, and so glad that I had them done. I was surprised at how I looked; my images were soft and feminine, not bulky and bloated like I imagined myself to be. Two days after I received my proofs, my water broke. I was 32 weeks pregnant.

I was kept in the hospital for two weeks before I was induced. During the time, one of my recurring thoughts was how glad I was to have captured these moments before my baby entered the world. I knew in less than 2 weeks, I would deliver my son and my body would change once again. I wasn’t emotionally ready for the change yet which made these photos extra special to me. I never wanted to forget this important moment in what turned out to be a surprisingly shortened pregnancy.

I love being able to capture this special time from pregnancy to birth. Life is so beautiful! And baby Austin and his Mom are proof.