Are you brave enough for a pregnancy portrait?

Would you have a photo or painting taken of yourself in pregnancy?

If so would you dare to bare or would you stylishly cover yourself up?

It is a fairly divisive question – with some mums seeing the beauty of the pregnant body, whilst others will cringe at the concept of recording their altered body states at this time.

I knew in my fourth pregnancy that it would be the end of my childbearing era and realised how sad I was to know that I wouldn’t carry a child within me again.  And so I decided to commission a life drawing of myself at 38 weeks. I researched for a long time to find a local female artist that was comfortable with me stripping off, and could also make me feel comfortable enough to do so!! I won’t tell you how much my partner laughed when he found out that she actually specialises in painting horses – he always said I was an old nag!

Now don’t get me wrong – I am not particularly fond of my own body, I have lumps, sags and cellulite like most women, and all the usual pregnancy discomforts were making me like my body less and less as the pregnancy progressed – but I knew this was my “last chance” to capture the moment and I figured I didn’t have to display the result, I could keep it hidden away if I wanted to;  and that is exactly what I did!

This portrait has been tucked away safely in my loft for the past ten years until…..

I was getting out the Christmas decorations this weekend and came across it, sealed up in brown paper like a hidden secret – I had forgotten it existed until I peeped under the wrapping.

And my immediate reaction was surprisingly gentle to myself – I admit that it is only because ten years have passed that I can look back on it and smile with sheer gratitude for how fantastic my body was carrying yet another child safely into the world – (not to mention the gratitude that the artist didn’t include my stretch marks!).   When I gifted this to my husband at Christmas just weeks following the baby’s birth I was worried about his reaction.  But as it turned out he stepped back to look at it before saying “Wow! That is stunning! You are always so beautiful in pregnancy but you usually insist on covering up!”

I guess that ten years on as a Doula I see more naked pregnant bodies than most – so I can finally appreciate the “wonder” of my own femininity more easily now?

So having smiled and taken a quick picture I wrapped it back up again – for my kids to discover in horror in a couple of decades.

And in case you are wondering, Yes I realise it is now online “Forever” – but I hope that I might inspire just a few women to “be brave” – set up their cameras and capture their own pregnancies to look back on in time….

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