When Natalie told me that she wanted to have her maternity photography session done at the beach in December and wear an open belly summer dress, the first thing that came to my mind that I had to share with her was: "it's going to be freezing, especially in the water." I was a little nervous for her. I wouldn't want a pregnant woman to catch a cold. We talked it over for awhile and she went ahead with booking a beach maternity photo session with me. I agreed to it as long as she brought a blanket with her and some warm clothes - those were my conditions LOL.
She was very ecstatic about the shoot as there was some history between her and her boyfriend Phill involving the beach. I must say, she was such a trooper through the entire session even when posing in a wet gown getting hit by the cold waves. Her positive attitude and laughter were such an inspiration and gave me the energy i needed to make this one of the best shoots I could look forward to working on.
Additionally, she was happy to write about her journey coming to motherhood shared alongside her beautiful portraits shown here, starting from the moment she found out she was expecting. As a result of our efforts, I hope you enjoy the final product as much as I do!
Turns out I was pregnant...
" I was terrified. As much as you hear what a blessing a child is, no way do you have the ability to fathom what an incredible, beautiful thing you are about to embark on. So I'm sitting there, in the bathroom, staring at two little pink lines, terrified. I was 37 years old, there was a part of me that thought I had missed the boat, so to speak. I had absolutely resigned myself to being the cool aunt to my 2 yr old nephew; forever ready to be the someone he could sneak cookies from, build forts with, make funny faces at, until I could give him back to his parents. So I think it goes without saying my little bundle of joy was unexpected.
I met Phil through my best friend. I used to call him the fridge crush boyfriend. My friend had a picture of him and her on her fridge for years and so that's how my crush started. Me and her would drink wine together and while pouring our glasses in her kitchen I would stare at the photo. We'd joke back and forth about it until one day, I finally got to meet him. I adored him immediately. It wouldn't be a few years after that until we met again. When we found out I was pregnant, while my head may have been spinning with a bit of fright, his was not. He was thrilled.
The love began the minute I was handed a bloodied, wet baby after delivering. She was so tiny and fragile and awake. It's hard to believe that your own child is going to love and trust you when you feel so timid to take them on. But they do. And then it's routine, and in taking care of them, the love just keeps growing. I've never felt so attached to something. I've never felt so in love. That quote by Elizabeth Stone is true "Making the decision to have a baby is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body."
I go back to these moments a lot. These are the moments that changed my life forever and I am so grateful for them. There is no way to describe this experience without sounding cliche, because all of it is true. Babies are miracles. This was my miracle. This will be the greatest thing I've ever done and the hardest. After a lifetime of thinking you've figured yourself out, it will force you to look at yourself in new ways, redefine who you thought you were, make you better than you thought you could be, test your patience, make you cry at 10am on a Tuesday for no reason, and find adventures in 2am feedings as you make your way through the darkness with your toes. You'd never know the strength you've got for all of it 'cause it's so very worth it. And I'm only on week 8.
I have days where imagining myself pregnant seems like a far distant memory. The transformation of my body through this whole process was incredible and something I found fascinating. There is no control in it. I had to let my body do it's thing and trust in the process. While I enjoyed this transformation and was experiencing a wonderful, healthy pregnancy, I actually fought Phil on getting maternity photos taken. But on his insistence, we began searching for photographers. I realized how important it was for me to capture this part of my life. I may never be pregnant again, I certainly won't be this young again, but I will never forget the experience of me and my partner giggling while sitting in sand on a cold Los Angeles morning trying to capture my rounding belly. Ani made me a goddess that day. All draped in dripping wet fabric, on top a rock, with waves splashing around me, I felt beautiful. I can not wait to show my daughter her life before it even began. "
The next step was telling my boyfriend. I wanted to wait until I had an ultrasound picture to show him. But I wasn't able to schedule one till two weeks after. It was the hardest two weeks of my life. I felt horrible for not sharing the news but I really wanted him to SEE the little human growing in my tummy. When I told him, just like me he was shocked. I mean we really weren't expecting it. I think it was surreal. But of course once those fears subsided we were thrilled.
Once I found out the baby's gender I had two onesies costom made. One read "I've waited my whole life to meet you daddy" and the other had a cartoon Darth Vader and little princess Leia that read "daddy's princess." I placed them on our bed one afternoon with an announcement board that read "baby girl arriving October". When my boyfriend got home and walked into the room his mouth dropped. I will never forget his face and his excitement, it was priceless.
When we told our families they were stoked. Especially my family because this baby would be the first grandchild.
It was around 7 months when my tummy really popped! And around the same time I really truly started to feel my baby move and that was aconstant reminder of a little one growing inside.
I'm a Virgo, and naturally a nurturer. So being pregnant just came natural I think. I took care of my health and always prioritized my baby's health. I loved being pregnant.People are extra nice to you, they open doors for you they let you cut in line, it comes with good perks :) And of course the extra extra care from my boyfriend was a big plus.
Nearing the end of my pregnancy I started to consider professional maternity pictures. The only reason why I second guessed it was because by then I felt huge, honestly even ugly. Don't get me wrong I was happy my body was nurturing a baby but let's be honest as women we're always concerned about our weight and how our bodies look. I asked my family and close friends what they thought and they all strongly suggested I should take professional maternity pictures. I decided to do my research and came across Ani Portraits. I read all the good reviews and I decided to call her.
When I met Ani she talked to me about the process and really calmed me and put me at ease. Her words where touching and very assuring. The day of my maternity photoshoot I was excited yet a little nervous. I actually did nude silhouette pictures. Ani just made me feel soooo pretty. By the end of my photo session I was really feeling myself, and felt beautiful even with my big belly. Now I look at those pictures and I am soooo glad I decided to take them. They are the most precious memories I have of my little angel before I met her."