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To the moms who dislike maternity photos, you are not alone

in Motherhood - Lisa Van Groningen - 6 min read
Maternity Photo

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One of the most common things to do during pregnancy these days is getting maternity photos. Not to mention taking monthly bump pictures.

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A simple Pinterest search or Instagram scroll will leave you with tons of results of maternity photos ideas.

Women bearing their belly’s wrapped in cloth or flowers. I have to admit many of those pregnancy photos are gorgeous. But I disliked pregnancy photos when I was pregnant.

This post is to bring light and support those women who struggle/ed with their body image during pregnancy.

I was one of those women. Even after 3 pregnancies I never took a “true” maternity photoshoot. Let alone many pregnancy photos.

It may not be commonly discussed but the self-esteem of an expectant mother can be a struggle for some.

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I disliked pregnancy photos

When I was pregnant I disliked how I felt.  I hated how I looked in certain clothes. I cringed sometimes when people complimented me saying that I was beautiful during pregnancy.

The superficial expectation that you should be feeling like you have superpowers during pregnancy for me was not a reality.

I know of women who told me they loved how they looked and felt during pregnancy.

Personally, it was moments I loved. Like the first movements of the baby and connection between baby, only a mother can feel. The reactions the baby would have when my husband spoke to my belly.

Those moments will be memories I will cherish forever. Moments that brought tears of joy.

However mentally I struggled with my appearance I was self-conscious month after month and the bigger the belly became the more uncomfortable I felt in my own skin.

Below is a quote from a family member of mine who posted on Facebook.

I did not like to take pictures
Because I did not like the way I looked
And I was so big, people made me feel uncomfortable and all the comments are you sure there only 1 baby, I was happy to be carrying her, but ashamed to take pictures, so I’m sad now, that I don’t have more memories of my journey with the growing belly….

Image may contain: 1 person, standing, stripes and indoor

Please be kind, women go thru so much during this time of there life as they carry a new life…

Self-esteem issues during pregnancy

Not feeling my self during pregnancy and my body changing took a toll on my self-esteem.

If I am being honest I disliked the look of pregnancy but also felt so guilty for disliking it.

The stress of finding something to wear to work during two of my pregnancies was hard.

Then the social stress of looking at some women who had these perfect little bumps. It made me, even more, self-conscious.

It became a mental war in my head. Am I too big, I am gaining too much weight, oh gosh the stretch marks it just spirals.

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Needing help to get up from the couch and not feeling like working out because it was uncomfortable.

Watching some moms being able to run all the way into their last trimester. Walking was a daily exercise for me but walking was painful in my pelvic area.

The thoughts of being perceived as being lazy.

It even was the thoughts people may have been thinking while I was eating.

I also felt like I was drifting apart psychically feeling very unattractive to my husband even though he would tell me I was beautiful.

I felt not worthy of being touched. I think many women struggle with this especially during the last trimester. Let’s be real the last trimester is so hard.

You get to the point where you are over being pregnant and just want your body back. (News flash mama to be, you don’t get your body back for many years to come. Ya know… breastfeeding, toddlers jumping on you, kids attached to the hip, not using the bathroom alone EVER!)

Related: I love you but I am touched out

Dealing with body image comments

While many people are just trying to be supportive sometimes the comments about an expectant mother’s body or belly can just be constant reminders of her uncomfortableness.

Comments like:

  • You look like you are ready to pop
  • Are you sure there is only one in there
  • You gotta eat for too now

While I disliked the way I looked mainly because I was uncomfortable and felt huge.

My 3rd and last pregnancy

The constant comments were hard to hear daily for nine months.

I was overjoyed for my baby but so depressed about my changing body.

I can only imagine the women who struggle with eating disorders before pregnancy. Maybe the fear to gain weight led to depression.

Ashamed of taking maternity photos

Taking photos was hard for me. To me, nothing I wore was cute or attractive.

2nd Pregnancy Maternity Photo and my effort to hide it with black

I wasn’t a big fan of the belly pics and focusing on them. I also did not feel empowered to take those famous pregnancy photos.

In fact, I would try to hide the belly by wearing black more often to look smaller.

I did take photos but they were because I did want something to remember the pregnancies by but it was a mental struggle.

How do you deal with body image during pregnancy?

After having 3 pregnancies now I can offer some tips for mamas to be.

  • What you are feeling is normal and it is ok.
  • Only wear things that make you feel good
  • This feeling is only temporary
  • You are beautiful and our bodies can do amazing things. And guess what we can get back to our normal selves but it will take a lot of hard work. So be mentally prepared for that.
  • The size of your belly means nothing!! Let me say this again the size of your belly means nothing. Every woman is different.
  • Stay focused on eating right and learning more about those habits. It’s important to gain this education. I wish I had done this more.
  • Keep moving you will feel ten times better even just walking 30 mins a day instead of giving in to the laying down all day. Trust me I know!!
  • Don’t take every piece of advice to heart. Everyone means well but not every piece of advice is for you.
  • Make sure you are still enjoying things you love
  • Pregnancy Yoga feels so amazing even if you do just a few moves

Deciding to take maternity photos

When it comes to taking maternity photos I will say one thing. At least take one photo of your pregnancy.

If you want nothing to do with photos it is totally ok and you don’t need to feel pressure to taking glamour belly shots.

I mean really let’s think about this. How many homes have you walked into where someone has a glamour belly picture on display.

You may find a few baby pictures, for sure a wedding photo.

You don’t need to take a photo of your belly each month unless you really want to.

Pregnancy is a wonderful time but a hard time. So be in tune with your self.

Pregnancy photos are for you and you alone.

As an adult seeing a photo of my mother pregnant with me has no real connection for me personally.

But as a mother my-self seeing a picture of each of my 3 pregnancies reminds me of the special time.

You get what I am saying here. Do only what feels the best for you and ultimately these pictures are a record of a very short period of our lives. Pictures that reveal the amazing gift that God has given us as women to carry life.

Did you struggle with self-esteem issues as a mama to be?? Share in the comments below.

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Lisa Van Groningen

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Hi, I'm Lisa

I am your former career-driven mom turned stay at home mom of 3. Here you will find real life solutions to help you manage your home. Tips to help you organize and clean. So you can create the haven your desire while making time to do the things you love most. Check out the shop for printables!

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