I am not a big fan of selfies, unless of course, it has to do with the miracle of carrying new life into this world and celebrating it with shameless shots of your ever-growing bump! You might feel totally out of your comfort zone, especially as a pregnant after loss mama, and that is to be expected. Few women feel at glamorous when pregnant (does anyone besides Gisele?), but the truth is a woman is almost never more radiant than when she is carrying new life. Regardless, the benefits below of documenting this time in your life have little to do with glamour and have everything to do with healing, self-care, and bonding.
1. Documenting this time in your life can be therapeutic and healing on so many levels.
In retrospect, you will be able to say, “I celebrated my pregnancy, as hard as it was…” Of course, there are SO many ways to celebrate your pregnancy! This is just one.
2. It gives you a chance to have something to celebrate NOW.
The thing I hear the most from pregnant after loss mamas (and something I often thought myself) is that they will be able to breathe/ be happy/ celebrate once the baby is alive and in their arms. I get it, I really do. I felt the exact same way, but give yourself the liberty to celebrate something before that milestone – that so often feels eons away.
3. Watch your growing belly.
It gives you the chance to see how it grows so quickly from month to month.
4. Gain your confidence back.
After experiencing a loss, confidence is often the first thing to do. Personally, I felt like my body had betrayed me and my first child. Unless you live with chronic pain and illness, or grow up close to someone who deals with chronic pain and illness, you instinctively trust your body to do what it’s supposed to do, especially during pregnancy. Documenting your pregnancy with pictures can help you restore some of that lost confidence and give you some visible markers of what your body can do, and has done.
5. Something to look forward to.
I started to really enjoy documenting my pregnancy with E, our last baby. I hardly had any preggo pictures with my first “rainbow.” That particularly made me sad, but it was very reflective of how I felt of the entire nine or so months – petrified of something going wrong, anxious, and leery of celebrating or being too happy about it or even crazier- jinxing it. I decided to make this last pregnancy one I would shamelessly celebrate.
6. Bonding with baby time.
If it’s one thing that pregnancy after loss moms feel, it is probably guilt. Guilty about being pregnant again “too soon”, guilty about buying something for baby, guilty about being happy, or relieved or whatever. Guilt, guilt, guilt. The relentless guilt often leads mama to distance herself from the baby, in a survival kind of way, but also in a I’m-not-over-my-loss-and-don’t-know-how-to-embrace-this-new-pregnancy kind of way too. Snapping shots of the two of you will give you some bonding time, if you are struggling with bonding with this new baby, which by the way, is totally and completely normal.
7. Your bump is freakin’ beautiful.
Has anyone told you yet? Because it is. It is an absolute wonder actually. Think about it. You are growing fingers, toes, a beating heart, tiny lungs, a human brain that will think thoughts and learn to speak one or two languages. Please dear mama, do not underestimate your beauty, your courage and all the magic that pregnancy (especially after loss!) entails.
8. Get gussied up!
Okay, so realistically you might not be in the mood for dress up and heels, but taking selfies once a month or once a week can give you an excuse to try on a new lipstick, shop for a new maternity shirt or try a five-minute hairstyle you spotted on Pinterest one afternoon.
9. If you plan on sharing your pictures on Instagram or social media, without probably realizing it, you are creating your community.
You are drawing people in, and sharing this time in your life will give you the support you need the most to celebrate this beautiful and intensely bittersweet time in your life.
10. You document things going on in your life, while you are pregnant, that you might otherwise not remember vividly.
Because I chose to take this picture above, I remember that I was exactly 16 weeks on the day my brother-in-law and sister-in-law tied the knot, a wedding that both my husband and I got to be a part of. It was a pretty special day for everyone. While shopping for a dress that was maternity friendly was not the highlight of my pregnancy, sharing that time with close family, and this sweet girl on the way was. So, so special.
I hope that if you’re not already, that you will join the parade of mamas documenting their pregnancies after loss. If you would like to share your bump, our community would LOVE to see them. Join us on Friday mornings on Facebook for our #itsbumptime thread, or tag @pregnancyafterlosssupport on Instagram!