relationships

Maternity Photos

I knew I wanted to get some maternity photos done. I waited until the last minute (I think the end of November) and then realized…oh crap, I think I need to do some research on hiring a photographer! The type-A/planner in me apparently took a vacation once I got to the end of the 2nd Trimester.

I shopped around and got some quotes and chatted with a few different local photographers and in the end wasn’t super enthusiastic about it and was honestly feeling a bit overwhelmed. Suddenly I couldn’t make any decisions about anything. In the end we asked our friend Christi, who does amazing work and took our engagement photos, and she said she’d love to do them! I don’t know why we didn’t just ask her in the first place– pregnancy brain fog is such a real thing!

The day we had scheduled for the photo shoot…Michael got up early (he’s an early riser anyways) and then woke me up to tell me it was snowing. Um…what? Totally out of left field. We hadn’t seen any snow predictions in the news so it was definitely a shock.

What’s funny is that when Christi and I originally talked and planned the photo shoot, she wanted to go up to Mount Hood and take photos in the snow. I loved the idea, but didn’t want to take advantage of her time because it would be at least an hour to drive up there, set up, etc, then take the photos then an hour drive back. I felt like that made it an all-day function and I felt bad for asking anyone to sign up for that. So it’s kind of nice that it ended up snowing in Portland!

We decided to take advantage of it and go for the photos. It was snowing and occasionally rain/sleet was mixed in during the shoot. I am really happy that we decided to go for it and get snow pictures! They turned out so great. 🙂

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I totally understand that a lot of people think maternity photo shoots are kind of silly. They are definitely the “thing” to do these days. But I’m really glad we did it. I wanted to have some pretty pictures done by a professional to remember this magical time.

For so many years when I was obese I avoided the camera and then losing weight, still I avoided having my picture taken. Once I lost the weight I was much better about having my picture taken but it was still hard sometimes and in the beginning I would end up being overly critical of every photo I saw. As I got bigger during this pregnancy I started falling into that trap again. Instead of feeling magical and “glowing” I was critical of photos and focused on the extra weight, how big my bump looks, double chins, etc.

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My hope with doing this photo shoot was to kind of boost my body image in a positive way and help me focus on the magic and the glowing instead of being critical. I think Christi took some wonderful shots and I wanted to share a few of the favorites from that day!

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I love how they turned out. Christi took great photos and our friend, her boyfriend, Stu did the photo touch ups (that’s his day job) and we got the finished product about a week ago. I had some prints made for all the future grandparents and I had some prints made to put in the nursery and baby book. 🙂

 

Healing Your Body

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 “To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh

 

Recently I read an article that I posted to my Facebook group, and I wanted to write a little bit about it here, too. Here is that link: 5 Words to Heal Your Relationship with Your Body.

“I am enough.”

There’s a difference between striving to improve yourself, and beating yourself up for not being perfect. I fall into this trap sometimes. Sure I want to better myself, I want to lose weight, I want to be fitter and stronger and so on and so on…but at what point is it enough to just BE?

In the past 6 months I’ve been trying to lose some weight that I gained, was a little successful and had some setbacks, and numerous times I’ve had people ask me “what if this is just where your body is naturally?” I’ve pondered this and while I am not discounting that, I do think I can lose a little bit more. The hard part is trying to decide when to stop criticizing myself and when to accept that this is it.

Compassion.

I am definitely NOT compassionate to myself. Others, yes, myself, rarely. Over the years I’ve learned to back off with the gym if my body isn’t feel right. 7 years ago? I would have powered through whatever I was feeling and ignored the cues my body was giving me and beat myself up if I had to take a break. Maybe it’s age, maybe it’s having enough injuries over the years that I’ve gotten better at taking an unplanned day (or week) off if my body needs it. It’s hard having compassion for yourself.

The other component of being compassionate is to silence that negative voice in your head (we all have it). Some days that voice in my head is a lot louder than other days. Recently that negative voice was very loud when I was trying on my summer clothes from last year. Having to buy a bunch of new clothes was discouraging and I beat myself up about it for days. Was that helpful? No. But turning that voice off can be such a struggle sometimes.

Positive reinforcement word Compassion engrained in a rock
Positive reinforcement word Compassion engrained in a rock

Gratitude.

This was a hard lesson to learn but I’ve learned it. I think what really taught me this lesson was injury. I used to take my fitness level for granted. I’d forgotten how hard I’d worked to get there. It’s not like I went from 250+ to athlete overnight — IT TOOK TIME and EFFORT. And yet I still forgot how hard I worked to get there.

When I suffered from Runner’s Knee it changed my life and my outlook on things. It was very discouraging and depressing and it was the longest injury I’ve ever had. Two years. Two years of specialists, physical therapy, massage therapy, acupuncture, yoga, X-rays and MRIs. Nothing sucks more than not knowing from day to day, or even hour to hour, if your body was going to work right. What helped heal me was going to the Warrior Room. It got me back to running and I was never more grateful or happy in my life. I worked hard to get back to being able to run without pain and I do NOT take running for granted anymore. Even if I can only run 1 mile, it’s something and it’s better than nothing and I am glad for it.

 Gratitude

 

At some point, life needs to be about more than the number on the scale. It should be about living life, spending time with loved ones and enjoying things every day.

A friend was recently diagnosed with terminal cancer and the first thing I thought about with the news was that nothing else really matters in the big picture: just relationships and loving life. Not measuring your food religiously every day, or going to the gym to slog through a workout you aren’t feeling, or stressing about stupid shit…

Going on a road trip with a friend and sharing the memories; sharing an amazing dessert with your spouse on your anniversary; cuddling with your fur-babies on a lazy Sunday morning; sitting on the deck on a hot summer night listening to the frogs chirp and just relaxing. These are the things that matter, not being a size 6 in jeans. It’s a shame it often takes something serious or tragic to remind ourselves of what really matters.

This is work I need to do on myself. Love myself more. Be more kind to myself. Be more understanding. Accept where I currently am. It’s okay to want more and to want to be better, but not okay to belittle myself because I’m not there yet.

Hope everyone read the article and found something in it that spoke to them, too.