TL;DR - force yourself to get in front of the camera

Throughout the last month of my pregnancy, a series of mishaps led me to believe the universe was simply telling me not to take maternity photos. After the third time my plans to take photos were derailed, I decided to give up on the idea altogether. Thankfully, I have a sweet and persistent husband who convinced me that our future selves would be very disappointed in our current selves if we didn't at least take a couple photographs of me being [very] pregnant with our first child.

So on the morning marking my 39th week of pregnancy, I rolled - quite literally - out of bed and put on a little make up and did my hair (for probably the first and last time in months). I threw on my favorite cozy sweater dress, and had my husband help me wriggle into a cute pair of boots, which I was relieved to learn still fit me... hooray for escaping third trimester swollen feet! Other mamas out there will understand my excitement at this particular form of a win.

Equipped with my camera, the confidence that only red lipstick can provide, and a tripod, we made our way downstairs to the courtyard of our apartment complex. After shooting a couple images, I looked at the screen and almost cried (not really a big deal, I pretty much cry at everything these last couple weeks).

"That's what I look like?" I asked my husband. I almost gave up on the photoshoot right then, feeling shocked at the difference in what I saw on the camera screen versus how I think of myself. After being reassured that this is, in fact, what pregnant women are supposed to look like, we went on taking photos.

And man am I glad we did.

I am not going to miss waking up to pee five times a night. I am not going to miss the rib cartilage on my left side popping in and out when I move too suddenly. I am not going to miss the heartburn, or waddling, or shortness of breath, or any other typical pregnancy woe. But soon I am going to hold my first baby in my arms, and all of these discomforts will have been worth it.

I am grateful for this experience, and I am grateful for having a supportive and loving husband who convinced me to document this memorable time in our family.

The next time you're feeling self conscious about stepping in front of a camera - whether it is for a professional photoshoot, or an iPhone snap on a family outing - please shut out that inner critic, and celebrate the memories that your loved ones want to capture with you.