We’ve all been there. All you mothers out there know exactly what I am talking about just by reading the title of this post. Mom Bod. It is possibly one of the hardest things to overcome after having a baby (at least for me it was/is). I remember vividly after having Ellie (my first) every single time I would go to get dressed I would sit on the edge of my bed and sob. Every. Single. Time. And my loving husband would come in and ask me what was wrong and I would tell him that NONE of my clothes fit. To which he would tell me how beautiful I was and how anything I would wear would look good on me. All that helpful stuff, am I right ladies? I quickly learned that tight fitted clothes were a no-go, maternity jeans were admissible, and the Juniors section was just a sad memory.
Then it comes time for family portraits, and you run and hide in a hole. Because you CAN NOT be photographed looking like this. You’ll wait until you lose some weight, hit the gym and tone up your body. For now just take pictures of my adorable little baby, right? Wrong. Time does not stop for you to hit your ideal weight or go back to your previous body. Your baby will grown and change and you will be nowhere in sight in all of their photos. It is a hard thing to cope with, and even harder to explain to someone who has no idea what it’s like. You expect that after you have this child your body is just going to morph back into it’s former self. Like Elasti-mom on The Incredibles. But then you are standing in the shower in the hospital bathroom looking down at your stomach and wondering if there could possibly be another baby hiding in there. You think, I’m going to go the gym everyday, wake up at 5 am and go for a run, I’m going to eat all Kale and Spinach and get back into tip top shape. But then you realize you have a baby and you don’t trust the gym daycare to watch your little one, you’ve been up five times in the last night and if that baby is going to sleep SO ARE YOU, and you are so busy trying to take care of your family that a week old pop tart that’s been sitting on the counter seems like a viable culinary option. I’m all for being health conscious and taking care of yourself, but when you have a baby (or two or three) to take care of; you quickly realize that your baby weight isn’t priority one. And that’s ok.
So what’s the point, you ask? Well – A. I want you to learn to love your body – in whatever stage you’re in in life. Be healthy, work on yourself, but don’t hate your body. It created life and that’s pretty damn special. And B. Do not, I repeat DO NOT, miss out on being in photos because of the way you look. Time is too short to wait and you can not recreate moments. Your children are going to want you in the photos, and they want to remember you how you were not as the person you wish you looked like.
To help you out here’s 6 tips for how to love your new body & look your best in your family portraits –
1. Go shopping! You cannot expect the clothes that fit you before to fit you now. You have a completely different body type and clothes are going to fit differently. Go to the store when you’re by yourself and pick out anything that catches your eye, then try them all on!
2. Only purchase YES outfits. If you try something on and your reaction is, ‘well…’ then the answer is No! You should never have to talk yourself into an outfit. If you don’t scream, ‘Yes, I love this and look awesome!’ when you put something on- then when you get home you are going to hate it even more. This is especially true in your photos. If you are not wearing something you are 100% comfortable in, then you will look even more uncomfortable in your portraits. If you are wearing something that you have some reservations about, then those things you don’t like the look of are going to be even more obvious when looking at a photo of yourself.
3. DO NOT buy for size; buy for looks. We’ve all done it. You want to be the smaller size so if you can squeeze yourself into it you instantly feel better about yourself because of the number. Numbers do not matter. At all. Society has placed such importance on getting down to that size 0 and it’s just not feasible for most women. Can I be completely honest here for a moment? Before I had children I was a Juniors size 7/8 and a Medium. After my 3rd child I am a Women’s size 14 and XL. When I first started shopping for clothes I hated it. I would pull the size 14 pants off the rack and think, these are HUGE! Then when I put them on in the dressing room they fit perfectly. Then I would instantly feel terrible about myself. We need to retrain our brains to learn that size is just a number. If you look good in size 5 jeans, then that’s great. But it’s just as great to look awesome in size 10 or 12. It’s about how you feel in your clothes and how you look. So find things that look amazing on you and forget what size they are.
4. Buy clothes that fit, not clothes that cover. This is similar to the above point. It’s easy to think, “well I am larger now so I’ll just buy a large size and it’ll cover everything.’ If you buy clothes that are too big then you are going to be swallowed up by fabric and it can actually make you look larger then you are. Learn to shop for clothes that fit you in the right places. If you stomach is a sensitive area for you then find clothes that fit in the shoulders and waist but flow over your stomach and hips. If you hips are something you tend not to like then lean more towards dresses that won’t cling to your hips but will show off your top. It’s easy to say ‘love your body’ but it’s human nature that there are going to be areas that we like more than others. It’s all about learning to highlight the things you like and de-emphasizing the areas you like less. For me I found trying on a lot of different style’s of clothing helped my to find the ones that worked best for my body type.
5. Get a hair cut! This is coming from a woman who used to get maybe a hair cut a year (especially if I was trying to grow my hair out). But I have finally learned the beauty of regular hair cuts. It doesn’t have to be anything drastic, just a trim will do. You would be amazed how much nicer your hair will lay when it has a fresh trim. You’re getting rid of your dead ends and livening up your roots. Also by putting some layers into your hair it will give to more volume. And highlights (subtle or bright) can do wonders to giving you a little something extra that makes your hair pop.
6. Finally – learn to let go, live life, and have fun. If you are stressing about little details instead of enjoying your family and having fun then you will see that. Your joy and happiness always shines through in your photos.
(side note: I am not, nor have I ever been great with fashion, hair, or makeup. It’s just not me forte. These tips come from experience as a photographer and in my personal life dealing with excess weight after having children. They are things that I have found to be true and help myself and my clients. They may not be technically accurate in the fashion world but I’m ok with that)