In a week and a day, a Blue Moon approaches, and so does the birth of my baby boy. This pregnancy seems to have stolen the words from the tip of my tongue and severed the link between my thoughts and my fingertips. In general, my writing tumbles out in a rush and posts compose themselves. These days, I struggle to compose a grocery list, or to remember the name of the daily objects around me. Sentences begin and fade away, and blog posts don’t begin at all.
During the last months of pregnancy, it is hard to believe that being pregnant is not eternal but temporal in nature. I have faith that my ability to speak, and write, and leap will return in due course- but it is the sort of faith that seems faint and far off. On a daily basis, it really does feel like I will be pregnant forever. Perhaps this is part of the reason that I have almost no pictures of my previous pregnancies. During my first pregnancy, I did pour out my soul in words as often as possible. Knowing that I would be giving my first child up for adoption meant that I clung fiercely to every moment of that pregnancy, and the journal that I kept is vivid and powerful. However, I wasn’t posing for pretty pregnancy shots. Thankfully in the final week of my pregnancy I asked a friend to take one quick picture. I was in the middle of tearing down kitchen cabinets as we redid the kitchen in my parents home. I am wearing beat up mens cargo pants, a thin blue t shirt, and an awkward grin. I am so grateful to have that picture. For years, that picture tucked into the journal of my pregnancy served as a touchstone for me to look back and see that time, that pregnancy, that motherhood really did happen.
During my second pregnancy, I was struggling to adjust to a new marriage, new city, and entirely new life. It was winter and hard to keep moving when everything in my life had shifted so drastically, although thanks to my husband I kept dancing and through dancing found a new balance, even as the shape of my body dramatically shifted. Still I was submerged in myself somehow, and shy of the camera during that pregnancy as well. Again, at the last moment, I decided it was important to document my pregnancy. On the stone steps of an old church on Easter morning, less than 24 hours before giving birth, I posed for an awkward but beautiful shot of my belly in full bloom, complete with high heels and an Easter hat. Again, I am so glad I did. I have looked back at that picture many times, as the beginning of an incredibly joyful time in my life with my daughter Olympia. She loves the picture too.
And here I am, in the midst of the last week (or two) of my third pregnancy. Between running after my exuberant daughter and caring for my elderly neighbor, I have spent a great deal of this pregnancy profoundly exhausted. Thankfully I had enough energy to be sewn into a sparkling dress for a Samba performance at Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Hall in my second trimester, but in general I have felt wan and weak and tired and without words to write or a hint of the creativity needed to set up a photo shoot. But! Lately I have been inspired by the beautiful pictures taken by the lovely blogger Jenna, who is a radiantly beautiful pregnant woman. I look at her pictures and think dang it, I want some of that. Pregnancy seems eternal but is fleeting, and I know that in a few months and in the years to come I will want a record of this time with this child within.
I wasn’t planning on doing a photo shoot when I headed out the door hand in hand with my two year old yesterday afternoon, but I had just bought some huge bright turquoise colored earrings, and the shadows of late summer afternoon were slanting into evening in an alluring manner, and so I grabbed my camera and called my friend Christina and headed towards the old brick warehouses on the edge of the Allegheny River. I am a big believer in taking pictures in beautiful places while the light is doing interesting things. This makes up for my lack of actual understanding of how cameras actually work. I am just too lazy to figure that out, at least so far. For this Blue Moon Baby to be photoshoot, I thought that the former loading dock of a red brick former icehouse converted into studio space down near the river would be a great start. This space has caught my attention and held it every time I’ve walked by for the past three years.
It was perfect. If you, like me, feel shy and awkward about a third trimester photo shoot, I recommend: an enchanted spot. Find one that works for you. For me, adding huge earrings and heavy eye makeup was essential.
A rambunctious small child is optional, but will definitely help to keep the mood from getting too serious. At least, she will try.
You also want a kind, compassionate, and creative photographer to work with, like my lovely friend Christina.
Christina was a joy to work with. After we climbed down off the back dock, she agreed to slide down the gravel path to the rocky shore of the Allegheny, where the water laps against slabs of broken concrete and rusty nails- and that was where the light and the view became really magical.
This picture is worth a thousand words. I am so grateful to have captured that moment of water and light. It has reminded me that this waiting time is beautiful, and it lifts me out of the fatigue and the aches and swelling I feel and reminds me of the incredible beauty of pregnancy. For that, I am grateful.
For more pictures, click here.