Picture This

I’m one day past my expiration, I mean due, date, so I guess I have to write about something other than Baby Pienik’s birth weight and length.

I have a list of things that I’d never thought I’d do but I ended up doing. On that list are things like bungee jumping and marrying a “Drummie.” (That’s what we called the military guys who were stationed at Fort Drum, near where I grew up. Well, I added something new to that list the other day, and although it’s not nearly as adventuresome as some of the other things on my list, I’m glad I did it: I got belly photos taken.

I never thought I would sign up for something like maternity photos because I never really put myself in that spiritual momma category. You know the kind of mommies-to-be that I’m talking about. The ones who  believe pregnant bodies are always beautiful, only subscribe natural childbirth methods, and breastfeed until their kids are almost three. More power to these mommas, but that’s just not me.

In fact, I’ve always been sort of horrified at some of the ways people try to chronicle their pregnancies. Take belly casts for example. Basically how it works is mommy-to-be slathers herself and her round belly up with a casting mix–paper mache or plaster or whatever–lets it dry and ends up with a mold of her body that can then be decorated and (theoretically) turned into art. I don’t remember how I ran across this phenom, but I was so intrigued–and sometimes flabbergasted–by the end results that I do know I spent a good afternoon at work (it was a slow news day) surfing the Web to see if I could find a good execution. I did find a couple–mostly ones where the mold had been dipped in bronze–but generally the results were, shall we say, less than sophisticated. No offense intended to those mommies-to-be who tried it out; I just think I would’ve been a bit disappointed with the end result, if mine  turned out something like this (and quite frankly there are definitely scarier ones out there):

Or this:

Again, apologies if you’re a mommy-to-be who went down this road. Like I said, it’s just not for me.

So, needless to say, maternity photos, particularly bare-naked belly ones, sort of fell in this category for me. That is, until I had dinner with one of my oldest, dearest friends about a month ago. I had stopped by her house to pick up some maternity clothes–she had a huge selection of really cute stuff appropriate for pretty much any season that she so generously offered to let me borrow. We were sitting in her kitchen, eating Chinese food and drinking diet soda, when somehow we got on the topic of pregnancy regrets. Topping her list was that she didn’t have more pictures of herself pregnant.

At that point, I hadn’t really considered that I might miss being pregnant once baby arrived. But it makes sense. For the better part of a year, your wee one is always with you, experiencing whatever ups and downs your day may bring. Every little flip or turn or wiggle or kick is a quiet, private reminder that you are never alone–and you grow to count on it. Or at least I have.

So, I thought to myself maybe I should just go ahead and do it. If I hated them, I wouldn’t have to show them to anyone. But if they turned out great–or even just good–then what a great gift for my husband, who has pretty much missed the better part of my pregnancy because he’s been doing military training in North Carolina for the past year. And what a fun gift for the new grandparents.

I won’t bore you with the logistics of how I found Jessi Ringer–if you’re really curious ask me and I’ll tell you–but I basically took a look at her Web site, 5 Rings Photo, and thought, “Hey, this could work.” The added bonus was that I needed it done quickly–I had already hit the nine month mark, and was worried that I’d miss my opportunity if baby decided to debut early.

When Jessi showed up at my house at 7am, I was nervous–about what to wear, how I looked, how the photos were going to turn out. I didn’t really know what kind of maternity shots I wanted. Fun or reflective? Bold or sweet? Cute or sexy? She was so flexible, so we tried a whole bunch of different outfits, styles, backgrounds, etc. And I’m very pleased with the results. I’d say about the only regret is that I didn’t get better sleep the night before. I can tell I’m tired in the photos, but I’ll get over it.

Feel free to check out Jessi’s highlight reel here. I’ll post more samples once I get the actual photo files. In the meantime, I’ll share this one with you.

Me, baby, and Joey

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2 Comments

Filed under maternity, newbie parents, photos

2 responses to “Picture This

  1. Jen V

    Your pictures are great! I can definitey relate, the first time around, I couldn’t imagine ever wanting a reminder of being so big. Of course within hours of giving birth, my only regret was that I hadn’t memorialized my belly in some way.

    The second time, I went the belly cast route thinking that it would save my belly forever and I would remember that and not my fat face ( ha ha). I can say that it was definitely a hilarious evening when we did it, but now Maya is 4 and has a giant cast of her mom’s boobs and belly hanging in her room. I’m guessing that’s going to get old real fast.

    Which leads us to our third and final pregnancy. I, much like you, decided just to get the pictures done and if I hated them, I didn’t have to show them to anyone. I’m so glad I did it, we’ve since hung some around the house and I love them. I only wish I’d done it all 3 times.

    I can’t wait to see the rest of your pictures…. And baby pictures, once he makes his debut.

    Jen

    • Thanks for sharing, Jen. I have to say that I hadn’t yet considered how absolutely fun and hilarious it would be to make the belly casts. What a fun girl night that could make. You wouldn’t even need to add wine to crank up the laughs. Hmmm… maybe I should reconsider and give it a try. But your pictures this last pregnancy around were awesome. Inf act, to be completely honest, seeing your pictures got my wheels turning on the topic and then when Metevia said she wished she had more pregger photos, I was like, “Done. I’m doing it.” Really glad I did.

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