Too many times have I thought how overweight I am & how I don't want to be in my family pictures.
My husband often looks like a single parent...
How many times I have heard this same line from my clients? FAR TOO MANY!
WHY do we do this to ourselves? Our kids don't care! They will care when we're gone and they don't have any pictures of us with them.
I birthed 5 children in 7.5 years. Want to know the toll that took on my body? An awful one. Especially with number 5 being a TEN pound, four ounce baby. I developed hypothyroidism which makes it super hard to loose any weight. I try: I eat healthy, I workout. I don't drink any soda or sugary drinks. I take my medication every day to help my thyroid be normal... but nothing has helped. I can play the pity myself game everyday, all day, and hate my body. My nose is too wide, my face is too round, my arms are thick, my hair doesn't 'do' because it can't hold a curl or anything of the like since it's so thick....I mean I have a TON of reasons that I could go on and on about NOT liking my body.
But the reality is - my body is AMAZING. It BIRTHED 5 children! I mean I grew them from un-seeable things for 37-42 weeks...5 times!
You may not know this but it's not only overweight (truly overweight) people that don't want to be in their family pictures. I asked my Facebook friends:
"why don't you like to be in your family pictures?"
here is what they said:
~ Post baby weight, RBF and inability to pose
~ Thinking "Is that what I REALLY look like?"
~ Left over baby chunk
~ Not seeing how beautiful the photo is because all my focus is on my flaws
~ Being so pale
~ My face looks old....I need a better skin care routine.....bruises on my body due to medical conditions I shouldn't care to explain and they make me look ugly.
~ I don't have anything nice to wear
~ Nervous about finding the right photographer and their ability to help them look good
**6 friends, in 25 minutes commented that their main issue was their weight.**
As a photographer I cannot count the number of times I have had a request to photoshop someone skinnier, to loose the double chin, make their arms skinner, fix this - fix that... We even get request to fix their CHILDREN. Man.... if that isn't saying something about society today... but thats beside the point. I'm happy to fix blemishes (something thats doesn't make us who we are every day) like acne, a bruise, a cut, etc... but to change who you are, the essence of what you look like at this moment, is to change a memory and I am not about that. Honor who you are at this moment, we do not get these moments back.
See, you're not the only one, and neither am I! Just because I don't like my body/how I look to myself definitely doesn't mean I'm not going to be in MY families picture! A lot of people know my family's history - our 3rd baby, Caralynn, died when she was 3 months old. We didn't get any family photo except for a cell phone/my mom's tiny point and shoot. She never left a hospital aside from being transferred to a different one, so all we have are pictures in the hospital/hooked up to a ton of machines.
Now, in our family photos, we represent Caralynn with a teddy bear. Teddy wears my favorite headband she wore, the dress that she should have worn going home from the hospital, and socks are part of what she wore at her funeral.
This photo was taken yesterday by Kemis Irenee Photography.
What you can see from this picture is a loving family of 7. Happy, smiling, children; a family that has been through so much in 11 years. Parents in love. And a beautiful setting.
What you can NOT see from this picture is... a mother insecure with her body. A dad that is worried about everyone looking, smiling, and how his age has given him wrinkles. A daughter worried about the hair on her legs or that she HATES wearing dresses (but will for me). A son who hasn't figured out how to not awkwardly smile. Someone that doesn't sit still. Or the fight that goes into keeping all the kids clean and looking great for pictures.
But this ^^^ is what EVERY family goes through! Hidden worries and insecurities. Because even as a child, they worry or don't like something. You're not alone. I'm not alone...
WHY should you be in your family pictures? Because everyone has a number. And we don't know what our number is. We don't KNOW when our last day will be. You never, ever know when tragedy will hit your family. Regardless of how we feel about how we look in pictures, it is how your children and family will remember you... happy, smiling, in love, this moment, this time in your life. And it's also how YOU will remember your family. Your children. This is your life. We all need to be more accepting of who we are and just love ourselves for it! Also, it's for the whole future of your family, and their family, and their family.... you, one day, will be a Great, Great, Great, Great Grandparent!
On the days we don't feel beautiful but need to capture the memory, these are the most important. My favorite session to do, in the whole world, is a 24 hours new- in hospital session...Why? And I've said this a thousand times to a thousand people.... this is DAY ONE. The first day of your child's entire life. There's literally only ONE. This is the first day that everyone meets baby. This is the first day you look into those cracked open, dark eyes and literally melt. This is the day that you know you would literally die for your child.
I've even done adoption first day/homecoming sessions, and those are equally as amazing! You can literally FEEL the love coming - no - BEAMING from the family as they bring their new child home.
Birth Session In Hospital Session Adoption Homecoming
Photo with my youngest by Hawraa at Sweet Charms Photography
Personally, I know I need to lose weight. But my kids will never be 3,917 - 3,412 - 1,776 - & 1,203 days old again. So here I am. In my family's pictures... and about to PRINT them and put them all over my house.
Images by Sweet Charms Photography and myself; Jeni Johnson Photography