Embracing Pregnancy Through Self-Portraiture

Posted: July 28, 2013

I am a mom of a two year old. Life is pretty full, with work and love. There are days when it gets very overwhelming too. One such day was when I realised that unlike the first time with all that hormonal induction and timed baby-making rituals, this time around I had gotten pregnant, just like that. Without a plan, without even the awareness that I was pregnant for three months before I realised it!

Such can be the life of a crazed mother of one and another-to-be. Such can be the life of someone who is trying to get to work, finish studies and get to a place of comfort with her career and personal life. Moments of stress, complete hilariousness, utter love and stupendous upturns, that’s what motherhood entails.

So life has been going on like that, I have been pushing every ounce of will within to really enjoy and be there for my baby girl and my work. Gradually though pregnancy got the better of me. The aches and pressure, the growing bump and ill fitting clothes really made me stop. Pause and reflect. I hadn’t been thinking as much about my unborn baby. I hadn’t been thinking about what it would be like to have a new member come into our family of three. I hadn’t been relating to my little baby bump with as much tenderness as I did the first time around. I was rushing to get things done before baby number two comes.  I had been pushing away this liminal stage that welcomes a pause and deliberation. That welcomes slowing down and self-love.

That’s when I took up an online photography course that encouraged a thirty day photo ritual-of taking pictures everyday of the same subject. I had already chosen my subject, my pregnant belly. It was my way of connecting with my body, my old scars and new ones, my growing bump and my growing waistline and all of that. It was my way to stop and appreciate the miracle in the small moments of connection.

As I moved along in the project something shifted within; my awareness perhaps. Every time I take a picture now, it a pause, an appreciation, a sense of wonder towards my body, and the growing baby inside. I am often moved to tears when I look at what I captured with the camera, yes, it’s my belly but the connection with who is growing inside, the love I feel for this journey I am on and the unmistakable gratitude and respect for my body, all of it shines through.

Here are some pictures that narrate the story of love, joy, emotion, and celebration.

Embracing Pregnancy

Taken on 5th July: I wanted to focus on my belly and my hands. This picture is a way of honouring the hands that do, rest and love.

Embracing Pregnancy -2

Taken on 7th July: Mamma’s point of view. I love the way the design on my dress adorns my bump.

Embracing pregnancy - 3

Taken on 8th July 2013. I was feeling particularly vulnerable that day. This self-portrait was a way to embrace myself and my unborn baby.

Embracing pregnancy - 4

Taken on 12th July: Wasn’t easy to grab at a 2 year old and stay still for a picture! I love that both my babies are in this picture. What a treasure!

Embracing Pregnancy - 5

Taken on 14th July: Reads: I love you dear little one, I love you lovely body!

Embracing pregnancy - 6

Taken on 21st July: Mehendi for my belly was a real celebration of the last few weeks of pregnancy and a celebration of the stretch marks from both my pregnancies.

When you focus on love, love grows. I continue to journey along, this practice of self-portraiture has been a treasure and will remain one for years to come.

 

Aarathi Selvan is a clinical psychologist, Mindfulness guide and a Contemplative artist. Trained in the

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