Hints and Tips for Maternity shoots

There is something to be said about the endless possibilities of maternity photos. They allow your 9 months of miracle-baking to last a lifetime and will help you to remember the true, raw and natural beauty of your body for ever. Our bodies will never stop changing throughout our lives, but the idea of capturing such a powerful period of time is truly something else.

I self-run my own maternity photoshoots as I would find it difficult to be as comfortable with a photographer as I do myself. This is such a personal time, and I like to imagine it as an activity that me and squish are able to do together since we are both working the camera.

Trust me when I say that taking maternity photos is a fun experience, but also trust me when I say that if you are doing it yourself, you will have a giggle a few times at the awkward poses you make trying to make the bump look more flattering. I noticed this at my earliest “shoots” where I was not used to the bump in any way whatsoever and it was very evident in the pictures I took… just look….

20 weeks

I mean, hello… dear caught in headlights much?

So what are some tips on posture and body positioning for a maternity self-run photoshoot?

The “Thigh Swivel”

I find that sometimes when taking a picture of myself front facing can lead to a slightly chubby façade. I obviously do not like this, but one thing I found that combats this for me, is the “Thigh Swivel”, which is basically what you do to make yourself appear slightly slimmer but doesn’t denounce your gorgeous bump- it actually shows it off more, which is what we really want in our maternity photos.

Notice how in these pictures that one side of the thigh is being shown more than the other? It oddly draws your bottom half in which can give the illusion of a slightly larger bump but a leaner stance. Also, excuse the camel toe in the middle picture, I am aware of this but I love the way my body looks so not caring over here!

“The Bump Cradler”

We have seen (and drooled over) Khloe Kardashian’s gorgeous maternity bumps where she cradles her delightful baby girl (and oddly enough, she felt she had to defend her poses and explain why she felt the need to cradle the baby… I mean really? Can’t we just let a mama-to-be decide her own photograph poses please?), and there have been countless other gorgeous maternity photos where the mama-to-be holds onto her stomach which can project her Mother Bear instincts in protection, her love for her soon-to-be child, and the excitement of the fact that she just can’t wait to hold her baby in her arms for the first time. 

I know that I cradle my bump in practically all of the pictures I take of myself. I find it to be comforting and a lovely touch, as well as the fact that it can highlight the true size of my bump. 

maternity photos

I just love to feel that she is within and its such a special moment. You can cradle your bump in whatever way you wish, but I would always suggest having a hand touching the diagonal side of your bump to give it dimension and the other hand over the top of your bump and across your diaphragm. I think this allows anyone to see the true size of your belly and you are also showing your nurturing angle. 

“Tilt-a-head”

You will notice in the pictures on my Maternity Shoot Inpo page that my head is always tilted one way or another. I find that keeping your head dead straight is never an option if you want a flattering picture. The main reason I do this in any pictures, let alone Maternity pictures is because I am extremely lucky in that whenever I gain any type of weight, it goes straight to under my jaw. Yupp, I’m talking 5 chin Emma over here. 

Its not an option for me to keep my head in a naturally straight position for photos, unless I want to show off my extra chins. 

So what I do is observe in the mirror before taking any pictures, which angle works best for me to show a more profound jawline- and its always by tilting. It will feel natural when taking the pictures! But the reason I suggested this is because, I know that many mamas-to-be are suffering from increased water retention and it can make our faces appear slightly more puffy. And while its not a problem to capture the rawness of pregnancy in our maternity photos, it might not be one of those side affects that we want to capture for a lifetime. 

You should try to tilt your head in different angles during your self-run maternity photoshoot. You are bound to find an angle that works for you!

Looking down can symbolise your protective gaze of your baby-to-be, looking up might show a more “holy-esque” angle. 

Dressing for the occasion

I know that there are thousands and millions of mamas who have taken the most stunning maternity photos, drenched in silks, laces and gorgeous floor length gowns, but there are also mamas like me who likes to keep things simple. Don’t get me wrong, I will be taking these stunning pictures too in mountainous areas but only when I am a bit further along and the bump is more pronounced. In the meantime, I am using the smaller bump as a means to prepare and get ready for the bigger and more production-y photoshoots to come when I am 30+ weeks pregnant. 

For the period of about 15 weeks to now (24 weeks), I have been keeping it simple and fresh by wearing very little but trying to maintain a classic vibe. For the shoot that I did at 20 weeks, I used some coral coloured crepe fabric and fashioned a bandeau (which I tied into my bra) and skirt (which was tucked into my undies) and exposed my belly. The colour complimented my skin tone and with the warm overlay I edited the pictures with, It really made the colours pop in my opinion. 

In my most recent shoot, I decided to keep it simple again with a black crop top and undies, but added a little pattern by tying a gorgeous head scarf around my noggin. It added the extra something that this photo otherwise lacked against the dark background.

Is that all?

Well I would say that this post will be updated as I continue throughout my pregnancy as there will be many more shoots to come and that I would love to share with you. Hoping to ensure the grandeur improves as well as my camera skills- lord knows I am no photographer. But for now, these are the main tips I would suggest for your maternity photos and I hope you enjoy them!

Good luck, and be sure to share the results with me!

 

A Miscarriage scare… sudden bleeding and cramps don’t always mean a miscarriage!

A miscarriage scare

I only knew I was pregnant for a week before I had a miscarriage scare. I bought some Folic acid tablets, broccoli, so much other healthy superfood that you’d think I was Pop-eye the Sailor Man. I even started my Amazon wishlist in the hopes that I would stock up with everything I needed before the bambino would arrive. I started a new pinboard on pinterest to get my much-needed research done!

I was prepping myself for the excitement to come and napping during the day. This pregnancy was going to be taken very seriously as I wanted to make sure I gave my baby the best chance to develop as possible.

Miscarriage scare

The symptoms of my miscarriage scare

I was becoming complacent to the fact that I was pregnant and expecting a child mid 2018 and I was preparing my mind for the chaos to come when at work I felt sudden extreme stomach cramping. My thoughts were that this sucks! The great thing about being pregnant was the lack of periods and thus the lack of cramping (I get extremely bad stomach cramps that literally floor me during my time of the month)- why did I get the short straw? Then I suddenly felt it… (sorry if you are squeamish, I would leave now as this is going to become too much information soon). I felt that horrible feeling of my period starting extremely heavily and blood essentially pouring out of me. It was very disconcerting especially since I didn’t have any warning signs of my period coming and that was when it hit me… that this was not a normal “period”.

“a clot the same size as the palm of my hand had sunk to the bottom of the toilet…”

I quickly ran to the bathroom at work and sat down on the toilet before I felt something falling out of me and making a quiet splash when it landed (no it wasn’t poop- this is a serious topic so please just bare with me!). I didn’t think much of it but after peeing, I wiped and found there to be a fleshy clot sticking to the toilet paper.  Now, I have actually experienced something similar to this before in 2014 but I had no idea that it might be related to being pregnant as the thought of being pregnant never crossed my mind at the time. I wiped a few times and I was bleeding ridiculously heavily- panic began to set in.  I looked down at the toilet, without even touching concern of the unhygienic factor, I threw my hand right in there and swirled through the dissolving tissue to see the most disheartening view of my life. A clot the same size as the palm of my hand had sunk to the bottom of the toilet. This was what fell from me and at the sight, my heart sunk to the bottom of my stomach.

I had to go to a director’s meeting literally 3 minutes after a miscarriage scare and act like nothing happened…

The worst thing about this was that I was at work and I was literally just about to go into a 2-hour intensive business meeting with the company director. The pressure to keep composed was too real as I was sure that I had literally just miscarried my baby that I had already grown so fond of. Holding back the tears was hard enough but not carrying out my urge to walk out in a dramatic fashion was even more difficult.  I stuffed the dreadful image to the back of my head quickly and went into the meeting. You might call me heartless, but I felt at that point and time that my heart had just left my body and left me exposed and terrified.

After the meeting I came straight home and burst into tears within my partner’s arms. This was confirmation that my body was rejecting even the most innocent of things. My body betrayed my love, hopes and dreams and I immediately ran down the rabbit hole of despair.

I convinced myself that I didn’t know the outcome yet and I had to wait until my midwife appointment which was thankfully the next afternoon. I tried to suppress the feelings until then.

Heading to the Midwife!

Heading nervously towards the midwife practise down the road, I was eager to find out what advice they could offer me. When I got there I was seen 20 minutes later. The wait was agonising. It was the first thing I blurted out to my new midwife and the sweet lady tried to comfort me and advised me to phone the EPA unit of my chosen delivery hospital straight after our booking appointment.

I decided to call the EPA unit straight after the appointment but was left with no answer or a busy line. It was so stressful and the fact that I couldn’t get through made it even worse.

I tried calling about 75 times that evening before it became too obvious that they were closed.

I decided to call again the next day and I finally got through. I explained the situation to the midwife on the phone who urged me to come to the EPA unit the next day after hearing what happened. She was also convinced it was a miscarriage but didn’t confirm this on the phone. She also advised me to try another pregnancy test in the morning and if it was positive I was to still head into the unit whereas if it was negative then I should cancel the appointment as it was confirmation that the baby had gone.

The day of either doom or haven

The next day sprung up and I woke up at the crack of dawn to head to the grocery store to buy some more pregnancy tests. I traipsed back home exhausted but quickly as I was rather desperate for my first morning pee. Quickly I unwrapped the test and peed on the stick for 5 seconds. It was almost an instantaneous positive reaction. What was so odd to me was that I actually felt a bit disappointed and because of that, I felt tremendously guilty and like I was a terrible person. I felt like I got given the chance to get things fixed before we thought of having a baby and that this was a false alarm pregnancy.  I relaxed myself thinking that my HCG levels would not have returned to normal yet since the miscarriage so it was likely that I would still test as positive for pregnancy even if I had miscarried so I took the test with a pinch of salt.

I went along to the hospital and got seen by a couple of lovely midwives before I got my scan taken to ensure the baby was still there. This was the worst wait ever and I was only offered relief after the freezing cold gel was squeezed all over my lower abdomen and then smooshed over by the scanner. They never tell you how uncomfortable this feeling is when you have to pee, but take my word for it. I carefully watched the midwife’s face to see her reaction when looking around my womb for the signs of life. Relief washed over me when she finally said “Oh goodness you have a baby with a heart beat! Congratulations!” I thought I was going to pass out! How is this baby still there after I bled that much?

The baby was still there… still alive!

miscarriage scare

Even the midwife was shocked and had said that she was expecting to have to do some internal examinations and bloodwork to ensure I was still healthy following a miscarriage.

Even though I was feeling relief earlier when I thought I miscarried, I suddenly realised how happy I was that I had just found out my body was accepting this tiny blip of a baby.

The midwife turned the screen to face me and showed me around my own womb as if I was a tourist. She pointed out the fact that it appeared I had twin egg sacks and one was now empty whereas the other was full of a baby.

What was the cause of my miscarriage scare?

She suggested that the bleeding was as a result of the second baby having not been strong enough to continue developing and having miscarried, but it could have been a multitude of things. My body tends to do this strange thing where odd occurrences happen for no apparent reason and it leaves us all with somewhat of a question mark. She then printed out a couple of pictures for us to keep. I felt like I cheated the normal pregnancy! Most people don’t get their scan until 12 weeks of being pregnant, but here I was at 6.6 weeks viewing my little egg sack blip. It was awesome to peek into that secret little world within me.

So relieved, I went back home and we celebrated by eating broccoli and drinking ginger tea! We were back on track and I had some catching up to do with my folic acid pills and research. When I was given my midwife suggested reading books, I couldn’t bring myself to read it until I knew the situation for certain. That night I spent hours making up for lost time by reading books and my pinned articles from other Mum to be blogs. I stuck the baby scan up to the kitchen fridge and everyday since I have looked adoringly at it.

Have you had a miscarriage scare? Don’t fear the worst immediately! Head to the midwife or call the hospital for professional advice before jumping to conclusions

What is so odd to me now is that my whole body is giving this baby its all, working overtime and producing the baby’s vital organs, skin, hair and nails, a brain to store memories of a lifetime and the chance to learn how to love and I can’t even feel it happening. How can all the change going on inside your body be happening without you even hearing or feeling it? Without you even being able to even understand how complex the process is. It’s a strange experience! We are so much smarter than we give ourselves credit, ladies. Building a baby from scratch is just insane but we do it naturally, how awesome is that?

So the message here is that, if you have bled heavily at the same time as experiencing sudden and extreme stomach cramps, it can be tempting to point it towards a miscarriage (and it is a very strong possibility that this is the truth of the situation), however please do not immediately jump to conclusions.  Get yourself an appointment at your delivery hospital, talk to your midwife and seek professional advice immediately. While we are smart enough to produce a baby naturally, we need the professionals to confirm scary situations like these for us, otherwise we would drive ourselves crazy when we don’t even have to. Finally, do not lose hope!

If you have unfortunately suffered a miscarriage, please know that you are never alone. You might feel like it at the time as you have just effectively lost 2 hearts within your body at once, but you also have proven to yourself that your body is stronger than you might have originally given credit. Your baby will always be with you and you have been surrounded by its light when trying to mentally recover. My heart goes out to anybody who has experienced a miscarriage and I would urge you to seek help if you are really struggling with coming to terms with it. I am also always here for support if you ever need it from somebody you don’t know- I live to help others feel better.