My best friend in the entire world and her husband are expecting their first little one to arrive within the next few weeks. I know she is going to be the most beautiful baby girl and is going to brighten so many lives with her radiant spirit. I have been in awe of Kelsey as I have watched her transition into this next phase of her life. She has done it with such grace and confidence, it has truly been inspiring.
She's shared enough with me for me to know that there have definitely been some ups and downs over the past serval months. Me being my photographer self, I encouraged her to document this incredible time of transition through photos. I was expecting her to go out and find a professional photographer to take them, but what Kelsey + Eli ended up doing was so much more powerful.
Kelsey Says | I knew that pregnancy would be a huge transition, but I was not anticipating the intensity and depth that it has brought physically and emotionally. Who knew that you could feel so many emotions at one time! Excitement, fear, joy, anxiety, uncertainty, and so much love. I was obviously aware that my body would go through a big change, but watching the process unfold was more taxing than I expected. As women, we are given such strong “shoulds” about our bodies. Even though I’d come to a place in my life where I felt accepting of myself, it was still hard to not resist the weight gain, stretch marks, and re-shaping of a body I’d come to know so well. I’d fluctuate between feeling so empowered, in awe, and grateful to be able to create a human practically out of thin air; to being ashamed and frustrated at what I’d see in the mirror.
I decided to get henna done on my belly to honor both my sweet little girl for being a rockstar grower, as well as to honor my body for what it is able to do. I’m so glad that I did. Seeing the nature mandala that SarahKate Butterworth created reminds me of the amazing task that I’m unconsciously trekking along every moment of every day. I knew I had to take pictures to remember this important time of transition, especially since I was finally feeling at peace with all the changes that were taking place.
Looking into photographers in the area, I became defeated. As a young couple, we couldn’t find anyone who would do a shoot in our budget. It felt awful that I wouldn’t have professional pictures to look back on this time of empowerment in my body, before my life was completely turned upside down (in the best possible way). My husband, Eli, had been planning on getting a nice camera for the baby’s arrival and convinced me that he was his family’s well-practiced “family photographer” growing up, so he decided to order it a month early to set up a maternity photoshoot for me.
One Saturday, about 35 weeks into the pregnancy, we spent the morning playing around the house with maternity poses and our new Canon XT. I had looked up some inspiration photos and shared them with him so that he’d have an idea of what style I was most drawn to. From there, we decided that he would lead the shoot but I’d jump in if I had any spur-of-the-moment ideas. Working together in this way made the shoot feel professional, but knowing that the father of the baby in my belly was the photographer brought a huge sense of playfulness and ease. It was easier to be totally natural and joke around throughout, which I think can be felt when looking at the pictures. It was kind of like a really sweet, intimate, and fun date!
We worked together to edit the photos in a free app that Eli found. I'm so so happy with how they turned out. Eli did such a great job of capturing the awe, raw beauty, and sweetness that our baby is already making me feel. It was so incredible to share this journey with my husband, especially seeing that he was just as excited about the pictures as I was! I’m so happy that we decided to take a leap and create these memories together that we can look back on for the rest of our lives.
Henna: SarahKate Butterworth