One thing I hear a lot from, let me add, "beautiful", mamas or mamas-to-be is this: "I am unattractive", "I have gained too much weight", "My skin is all messed up because of all the hormones", "I am not photogenic", or some variation of these. AND, because of this, "could you please not include me in the photos, and just focus on [baby/grandparents/dad]".
Let me start of by saying, "I understand!". I have been there. I put on lots of weight too; I felt horrible about my looks postpartum; my skin was so horrible at one point that a random lady on a street handed me the contact info of her dermatologist. Yes, that happened. But I never stopped taking pictures of myself, or having them taken.
Here are my reasons:
1. Capture it while you can; that time will never come back:
Let me share a story. As my delivery date drew closer, I started making more of an effort to look nice - hair always done, nails painted, and all of the good stuff. Why? Because I may go into labor anytime, and I wanted to look good TO MY BABY when he arrived AND look nice in my Fresh 48 photos. I can hear all the second and third time mamas laughing right now! Yes, this first time mommy did not know what was coming her way. My husband would remind me that our baby wouldn't know how I looked. Well, call it hormones or mommy brain, that was me.
The day arrived, or should I say, days arrived: my labor was four-day long, with multiple issues, and despite enduring all of those not-so-fun things, I was rushed into an emergency c-section on the fourth day. Needless to say, when my baby arrived, I looked all kinds of messy: hadn't showered in five days, not a single hair in place (heck, I had vomit in my hair, and other bodily fluids here and there), not able to sit or walk decently, and surviving on prescription drugs. To top it all off, I developed a secondary infection after delivery, and my photographer cancelled (more on that in another post). Thank goodness for the hospital's contracted photographer, I still have some captured memories of that first day. The photo in this post is by Bella Baby Photography. I was feeling miserable, my face is swollen, no make-up, and in my opinion I look h.o.r.r.i.b.l.e.
But, I printed this photo and it is proudly displayed in one of the largest frames on my photo wall.
Why? I may think I don't look good, but this is one of THE most precious times of my life. I do not see why I should not have it captured AND displayed. It brings back all the memories of that time, those before, those after, all!!
Some people tell me when they see this photo displayed in my home, "You look just fine!". Some of you may think that too. I don't think so, but that brings me to my second point.
2. We are naturally inclined to be more critical of ourselves, including our looks:
Have you seen the amazing video Dove made for its campaign titled "Real Beauty Sketches", showing how we are actually more beautiful than we think. If you haven't, I highly recommend you do right now:
The above video is essentially a comparison of how you perceive your looks and how a stranger does. The one below, grab a tissue, compares how you view yourself and how your child does.
There are plenty of other such videos showing how people, especially our children, don't care about the minor flaws that we feel are so huge, huge enough to warrant not capturing memories.
Now, the questions for you are: Do you want your children to grow up not knowing what you looked like when you cared for them while they were infants/toddlers? Do you want them to grow up and not have enough photos of them with you? Do you want to pass away leaving behind very little memories of yourself in the form of photos and videos? Nobody likes to talk about death, but it is a fact of life. There will come a day when nothing will be left of us, but some photos, and memories in the hearts of our loved ones.
Please, do not avoid being in the photos. Use your camera (no need for a fancy one; I am sure your phone has a decent camera) to take photos of your family WITH you. And please please please, PRINT and DISPLAY those photos in your home. Your children will thank and love you for this.