This maternity photoshoot was more of a “feel good” session and an excuse to get dressed up and look cute. I stopped caring about maternity photos after my second child. However, I wanted to embrace this fifth and last pregnancy of mine. It took two months from envisioning this photoshoot to actually executing it because I just didn’t have energy. Thankfully, Matsaya came to visit me and we finally got it done.
Someone told me that I had to dress like an adult, have my hair like an adult, only hang out with adults, etc. What does it even mean to have your hair like an adult? I turned 30-yrs-old this past April and haven’t even had time to really let that sink in yet. At some point in my 20’s, I realized that the reality of being an adult just meant that you lived longer and perhaps experienced more in life. You should be smarter, more refined, etc., but that’s not always the case is it? Put me in a room with younger folks and I might feel a little wiser. But, if you put me in a room by myself where I’m forced to take a good look of who I am, then what I see is someone who is still vulnerable, uncertain, needs guidance, and the list goes on. I still feel like a kid, but somehow with an adult perspective. I’m not one to care about maternity photos, but this is my last pregnancy so I decided to embrace it for a little bit. For my portraits, I wanted to express myself by embracing motherhood while paying homage to my childhood (the 90’s).
I want to share about the one thing that I get asked a lot about: stretch marks. There are things one can do in an attempt to minimize stretch marks. Yes, I do have some light stretch marks which are more apparent during pregnancy when my belly is large. You can see them in the photographs from this maternity photoshoot. However, they are barely noticeable postpartum after my midsection shrinks. I wonder if I could’ve minimized my stretch marks further had I been more diligent with taking care of myself. Keep in mind that stretch marks may have to do with genetics and how your body deals with stretching. Therefore, there is no guarantee that you’ll be successful and that is okay.
I was very diligent in applying a moisturizing cream on my belly with the first two kids. I specifically used Tummy Butter by The Spoiled Mama which is supposed to be rich in vitamins and nutrients. It was applied once in the morning and once at night. This product is on the pricier side and I think you could probably achieve similar effectiveness with a rich moisturizing cream from the drugstore. Honestly, I stopped applying cream with baby #3 and #4 because I got lazy. I did notice slightly more stretch marks on my belly with babies #3 and #4. Yet, I can’t say whether or not things would be different had I continued to apply cream diligently.
Water is good for keeping your skin hydrated and elastic and both are key for healthy skin in general. Did this actually help with stretch marks? I have no idea nor do I have documented proof, but I do know that water is good for your health and your baby’s health – so just drink it.
You can’t quite control the rate at which your baby bump grows, but be aware know that stretch marks can happen when you gain weight too quickly. This can happen anywhere on your body. I have a male friend who has stretch marks on his triceps due to a dramatic growth spurt in his younger years. Never “eat for two”. Overeating is never a good idea as you’ll end up gaining weight that may be hard to take off later.
Okay I didn’t actually do this, but my point is that there is no guarantee to how your skin will stretch. Embrace the reality that your whole body will change postpartum – whether it’s peeing every time you sneeze or suddenly having curly hair texture. In the end, just know that charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting. We all want everlasting youth, but none of that really matters. My hope is that you will be intentional about taking care of your own health and embrace the goodness that we’ve been blessed with in life.
Photographer: Whitney and Matsaya