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How to Slay your Maternity Shoot!

The VERY FIRST thing I’ll say about a maternity shoot is that it should be fun and a celebration of your baby(ies.) I let myself get wrapped up in an idealized concept of how things could be until life smacked me and I was told she might need to be delivered early.

My pregnancy has always been designated a high-risk pregnancy, and I have had increased monitoring the entire time. When I was told that she was not growing sufficiently, they were suggesting that she would need to be delivered at 36 weeks and all of the time that I thought that I had left in this pregnancy, suddenly disappeared. I had planned to have these glorious maternity pictures in this beautiful blue gown, standing in this lake that I had found when I turned 30 years old and everything would be symbolic about this. But by the time I got over my self-esteem issues and my changing hormonal mood shifts, I no longer fit the dress that I bought.

I remember reaching out to my incredibly understanding photographer, who is also a friend of mine, and metaphorically crying on ger shoulder. She helped me come up with an alternative. We tried to find a new dress, but my money was low after already buying three so far. I just wasn’t happy and I was ready to scrap the whole idea, BUT, this is my first (and likely,) ONLY child and I felt terrible at the thought of not doing anything to celebrate he arrival. This was a true, “This isn’t about you,” moment. I went to my closet and found a sewing dress that I had purchased to wear to my sorority’s Boulé four years ago. The dress was too big for me to wear back then and I never had the heart to discard it still I retained it. Little did I know that it would fit me perfectly for this occasion!

So, my very basic rules for mailing this process are:

  1. DO NOT STRESS. This is a very que sera sera process. Matter of fact, I’ve found that all of pregnancy is “whatever will be, will be.” You have no control over your body anymore, it’s no longer your body, it’s community property.

  2. Lean on/into your friends. Both my stylist and my photographer are my friends. They understood exactly what I was feeling and really helped me to just relax about this. Whitney of Crown Salon Studio took care of my hair and offered to do my makeup because the week before these pictures, I honestly couldn’t have lifted a makeup brush if I tried but was starting to succumb to depression I hadn’t felt in a while. It was a miracle when, the day of these pictures, I began to feel like, “YEAH, I got this,” and did my own makeup. The enthusiasm I felt was what really made the experience because I had physically been so run down that I truly couldn’t manage until that day.

  3. Then, EL Blevins ( was able to help me pose and find what worked on the day of. she really made all of the difference and, I believe that what she sees through her lens is a gift. The right photographer can make or break your pictures.

  4. HAVE FUN. This is an amazing time in your life. It might not feel spectacular every moment, TRUST ME, but, I’m grateful and I love my daughter. Every kick or creepy movement tells me she’s real and here to stay. I’ve made no secret about this pregnancy being very hard on me, but I’ve had my friends every step of the way.

Beauty can come out of ashes.


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