Pics Showcasing Me in My Pregnant Glory (and Lack Thereof)

Formerly eating-disordered, I struggle with the emotional impact of my pregnancy weight gain, which in both successful pregnancies has been well beyond twice the maximum amount recommended.

In 2004-2005, when I was pregnant with my son, now 5, I didn’t have anyone take pictures of me until the tail-end of my pregnancy. And I only relented because of guilt, because friend upon friend told me that I would be cheating my son if I refused to be photographed, because a pregnancy picture is a must-have on the first page of every baby book.

I wasn’t able to find a baby book appropriate for our family situation anyway, for I conceived my son as an aspiring single mother inseminated with anonymous-donor sperm, and every baby book I saw included a family tree, with expectations that both branches be completed, along with other single-parent nightmares such as “Parents” pages featuring fill-ins like “The Story of How We Met.”

Not wanting my son to be screwed on both the baby book and pregnancy pic front, I had my boyfriend (now my husband) and other friends take pictures of me a few times during the final months of my pregnancy, and I’m glad I did. I have shown them to my son throughout his little life, and, in hindsight, they’re proof that I actually carried him, that at least one aspect of his conception and in-utero stay was “normal.”

With this pregnancy, I didn’t make any conscious decision not to be photographed. Actually, I’d planned to have our go-to photographer, Jennifer Girard, do a shoot because she has recently delved into pregnancy portraits. Jennifer encouraged me so I wouldn’t regret not having pictures of my final pregnancy, and she said to book the shoot as late in the pregnancy as possible.

But I was hospitalized at 25 weeks of pregnancy because of pre-term bleeding, then I was on full or partial bed rest for the last 11 weeks, so I couldn’t make it to her Wrigleyville studio. And now, frankly, I feel so disgusting that I can’t imagine that the effort involved in trying to make myself presentable, then traveling downtown, would result in pictures that I would find acceptable. Jennifer could Photoshop me, of course, but what’s the use of documenting the real pregnant me, then making me slimmer?

So today my 5-year-old son took on the role of photographer. Unfortunately, he doesn’t fully understand the zoom lens on my digital camera, and, unfortunately, he’s very blunt: He told me flat-out that he coudn’t fit my entire belly into a picture because it’s too big.

Here are two of his images, demonstrating that, no, he couldn’t figure out to how to fit all of me, in my pregnant glory, into the frame. But now I have pictures of this pregnancy, I look like the real me, and the pics were free.

Me, 36 Weeks and 6 Days Pregnant

Me, 36 Weeks and 6 Days Pregnant

My 47-Inch Waist

My 47-Inch Waist

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