A couple years ago, my husband and I decided to try for our second child. I had the worst case of baby rabies! Before I had even conceived, I had gone out and started purchasing cloth diapers, and baby gear, and all sorts of things that I knew I would need. I even joined a pregnancy group for plus sized women, and started connecting with other moms that were pregnant or trying to conceive.
It was at this time I had this strong desire to know what I looked like when I was pregnant with my first child. I wanted to see a photograph of myself, and see what my belly and my body looked like. The memory I have of myself of course was awful, and fat, and gross – because that’s where I was mentally and emotionally at the time, and pregnancy was difficult for me. But I wanted to see a picture of me from back then so that I could look at it with new eyes, and a open heart, and form a new memory.
So I scoured my Facebook page, and I dug through my old files on my hard drive…and I found nothing. Not a single picture of me exists while I was pregnant with my daughter. I found a couple snapshots of me, my daughter, and my husband while we were fixing to leave the hospital after she was born, and that was it. I don’t really have any other pictures of her until she was about 6 months old.
When I realized this, it broke my heart, and I just had to sit and cry. I cried because I remembered just how dark of a place I was in during pregnancy, and during post partum. I cried for the lost memories that I can never get back. And I cried because I knew how much I hated myself then.
It is so important to me now to be in pictures. And I don’t just mean nice, gorgeous portraits (those are important too), but even snapshots with friends, with family, by yourself! Your story deserves to be told, to be recorded, and to be remembered. One day, maybe a week from now, maybe 50 years from now – you’re going to look back and you’re going to want to remember where you came from, and where you have been. And the people who love you will want to remember you too.
One of the greatest tragedies I’ve witnessed is when people come to my photoshop mentor, and ask him for help resizing or restoring an image for a funeral for a loved one, and all they have is a small snapshot. Of course that one image means more to them than anything else, but you suddenly are faced with the reality of how little just one image is to tell the story of someone’s whole life. Please friends, don’t let this happen to you. You deserve so much more than that!
I want to empower you all to tell your stories through photographs. Capture your anniversary, your birthday, your pregnancy. Celebrate a promotion, your family, a new amazing hair cut. Cherish YOU.
You are loved. You are important. You are beautiful. And you deserve to exist in photographs.