I took a little journey to the unknown
And I come back changed, I can feel it in my bones
Lord Huron, Meet Me in the Woods
There are just some things you think you know, but can’t really understand until you go through them. I’ve mentioned this a couple of times, but sometimes you don’t even know what is unknown until you realize you don’t know it.
Right. I’ll wait for you to read that again so it makes sense.
Take pregnancy, for instance. You think you understand the mindset of a pregnant woman, because you’re a woman and you’ve read books and articles and seen videos and stuff. But there are lots of aspects you don’t understand until you go through it yourself, which is unfortunate for someone who provides services to pregnant women.
I learned a couple of important things while I was pregnant, like the fact that not everyone enjoys being pregnant. Even less is the number of women who enjoy what they look like pregnant. (If one more person told me to send them a photo of myself while pregnant, I thought I’d reach through my phone and hurt them.) It’s pretty important to me for maternity clients to feel comfortable and relaxed during a shoot, and not focused on how they think they look. It’s on me, as the photographer, to make sure we reach those goals. Now that I’ve been in those shoes, I have a better idea of how to approach that. And since I swelled up out of those shoes somewhere around month 8, I have a better idea of how not to approach it, too.
Another challenge for pregnant women that I didn’t recognize until going through it myself: they might not want to pay for a newborn photo shoot AND a full maternity shoot, especially considering how temporary the maternity part is. It feels wasteful of both time and money. That’s why I’ve included maternity sessions as an add-on for my newborn packages, for pregnant ladies who want both sessions but don’t want to lay down all their baby shower cash on photography. (Side note, a newborn session gift card is a fun baby shower gift that a group of friends or family members can go in on together.)
After my experience in the third trimester, I’m also editing my site to indicate which weeks are ideal for maternity shoots. While I previously thought taking maternity photos in weeks 32-36 was ideal, once I actually hit the far end of those weeks myself, I was in no mood to stand around and take pictures. I found that for me, I was most excited for photos, and felt best, and had a defined bump without feeling overly bloated, in weeks 28-34. Obviously everyone is different, but that was my experience.
My kid was born in January, and that led to a whole other list of unknown things, which can be found here.
In the meantime, what are some things you thought you knew about pregnancy that ended up surprising you? Share them below.