For many women, the evolution of becoming a mother is intense and complex. I know, for myself, I felt awash in a sea of gratitude for my daughter and simultaneously ashamed of what I perceived as the “physical toll” the pregnancy and childbirth had taken on my body. For the year following her birth, I reflexively avoided looking at myself in the mirror because I was terrified to acknowledge any physical changes, and to consider their permanence. Our cultural conversation around the postpartum body can be understood as a simple question- did she or didn’t she “snap back?”
This question is so formidable because of the embedded implication. If a women hasn’t “snapped back” then the alternative, it suggests, is she “let herself go.” A phrase that calls to mind the euthanasia of a pet. Her value, in this category, dead.
For me, appearing in photographs, albeit reluctantly (is there any better place to hide than behind a camera?) is a form of seeing myself anew. A beautiful photograph gives me the opportunity to see that yes, I am changed, but also contain a new, womanly beauty where there was simple girlishness before.
I have a plan. It’s like a boudoir session, but rather than being photographs of brides for grooms it will be photographs of mothers to gift to themselves. The session focus is the woman’s feminine, sensual, authentic beauty- no Photoshop, no overtly sexy “glamour posing”- but very intimate photographs that celebrate the beautiful truth of a woman.
I can absolutely see babies and toddlers being included in these sessions but, unlike family sessions, they won’t be the focus. After all, our story of motherhood wouldn’t exist without them! That said, it is equally important to refrain from allowing our children the entire stage of what is ultimately a conversation about our identity. Similarly, while a mother might choose to share photographs from this session, the principal goal will be a printed photograph, in her home, for her (unlike family photographs which are frequently generated entirely for presentation to the outside world.)
To this end, I am offering Self Love Mini Sessions in January. You can find all the details here but, to summarize, in January there is an opportunity to experience this type of session at a mini (read: substantially discounted) price. As we enter the gift giving season, and you shower your loved ones with presents, I hope you’ll give this gift to yourself.