When I got the chance to be a part of Darrell and Beth’s Story Shoot, I couldn’t say no. “I want it to be really authentic,” she explained as we chattered excitedly over the phone. What I appreciated most about Bethany was that she wanted to do her maternity shoot the week she was due. And she wanted me to document everything. Wait. Everything? Swollen ankles? Afternoon naps? Popping tummy?
“Yes, everything. I want our son to see what family was like right before he came!”
Refreshing, right? I mean, maternity shoots are always amazing. Glowing mother, swollen body parts carefully cropped out, perfectly “slimming” angles, and mothers clothed in sexy or very little garments. But what about every day life? What about aching feet, living in a trailer to save money, or all those times when you really feel about as sexy as a goat?
With all this in mind, I was perusing Facebook a few days before the trip when I came across a post a friend of mine had written.
“I’m kind of over the whole “sexy preggers” thing. It’s like, seriously, can’t a woman be 8 months pregnant and be given a break from being pretty/put-together/sexy? She’s growing a human! Does she really have to style her hair too? On that same note, I’m also sick of our cultural obsession with sexy female athletes. She’s sweaty and just busted butt, but don’t worry! She’s still physically attractive!! Basically, I’m wondering, when is it ok for a woman to be ugly? Men get to be gross all the time. They get to fart and gain/lose weight, miss a few days of shaving, have stinky feet, whatever. We still think they’re wonderful…because they are. Because how great a man is has nothing to do with his physical appearance. He’s great because he’s a human. I’m into that. I’m ready to be like, ‘Yeah girl, you’ve got 10 extra pounds!’ And not have to follow it with a ‘But you’re still soooo pretty.’ it’s like, whatever, she’s got 10 extra pounds. Done. Do you have those pounds? It doesn’t mean anything about you. It’s just a bit boring to be always reminding girls how pretty they are, even when we mean well. ‘No matter what the world says about you, remember, you’re still beautiful.’ Ok, that’s nice. But she’s other things too. Right? Wouldn’t it be better to say, ‘It doesn’t matter what they say about you, remember, you have the power to lead people, to change minds, to be brave, to grow a human, to raise wonderful children, to crush it at a job you love, to be happy.’
A person, any person, matters because they’re a human. Pretty is…whatever.” -J.L.
Challenged? I think so. I was so excited by this new perspective, I could hardly wait till it was time to go. I got to shoot the real things. And it’s the real things in life that matter, because we all are human and we share similar experiences. So this is me trying to inspire others out there who struggle with self image, especially when pregnant. Girls, you aren’t alone. Just embrace it.
Here are some from my few days I was up in Delaware. I couldn’t have been more inspired by Bethany’s attitude.