Recently, I’ve been trying to get in the frame with my kids. This is hard for me. I like taking photographs, not being the subject that is featured in them. I worry about my weight and am uncomfortable in my postpartum body. Getting in front of the camera makes me feel vulnerable and slightly uncomfortable.
As a child, I remember both my mother and my grandmothers asking not be photographed. Fast-forward thirty years and I know they were feeling much of the discomfort that I struggle with today. The impossible standards imposed on women by society that weighed heavily on my mother, aunts and grandmothers have been passed down to me.
Despite my discomfort with being photographed, I am making a conscious effort to insert myself into my family’s storybook. I want my kids to be able to look back at photographs and see that I was there too. I want photographs of me to trigger memories of their childhood. I want them to have pictures that remind them of how much I loved them when I am gone. Thirty years from now, I want their hearts to fill with warm nostalgia when they look at photographs of us all together.
With all of this in mind, I remind myself that my children are not going to look back at photos and think their mother looked fat or ugly. My children are not going to assign those those terrible labels that we as women often assign ourselves. I know this because I don’t look back at photos of my mother and think those things about her. Looking back at photos from my childhood, I remember the fun things we did together and how my mother, grandmother and aunts have had such a positive and profound influence on the woman I have become.
I want my my son and daughter to be comfortable in their own skin and never feel constrained by the narrow standard of beauty put forth by the mainstream media. I want my children to value people for who they are and not how they look.
I will overcome the discomfort I have with my own body. I am starting small by willingly having my picture taken. Instead of focusing on feeling uncomfortable in my own skin, I’m going to live in the moment and be ok with the new shape my body has assumed since giving birth.
Over the weekend I posted a photo of myself and Eloise to Instagram. It’s a simple snapshot of the two of us. I’m holding her outside on the front step of our house. The sun is shining and we are about to embark on a Sunday afternoon stroll as a family. I look happy holding my daughter in front of the first place she ever called home. I hope that one day Eloise will look back at this photo and love it.
Be bold. Get in the frame. Stop letting society police your body and tell you that you are not thin, beautiful or perfect enough to be in a photograph. Remember that you are your harshest critic. Your kids don’t care that you haven’t showered in two days or that you’re not wearing a bra. They don’t see that your hips are wider since you gave birth to your second child or that you have dark circles under your eyes from feeding that second baby late at night. They see your smile, your laughter and your joy. They see the way you look at them and they are reminded that no one loves them like their mother.
Need need help getting in the frame? I would love to capture your family’s photos! Let’s talk more! Get in touch and I’ll get you all sorted out!