I can tell a lot about how motherhood has changed me from comparing these three photos, all taken one month before I gave birth to our three children.
2003 – Expecting Charlie
The first photo was taken with our first ever digital camera, which we had just purchased to record Charlie’s entrance into the world. Hilariously, we used it those first few months as if it contained film, and I crack up going through the photo archives seeing only one photo per shot.
My husband Chris snapped this one of me after work, wearing my spiffy fake-blouse-under-the-sweater maternity shirt from one of Liz Lange’s first collections for Target. I cannot believe I wore that with pride, in public, to the office. I paired it with a stretchy non-maternity skirt that was similarly cheesy, having see-through diagonal detailing that required the wearing of pantyhose beneath to work. The horror. However, I was 28 years old, so it was kind of hard to look that terrible. My first-time preggo tummy is riding high and tight, something it would never do again in future pregnancies.
That faraway, dreamy look in my eyes means I have absolutely no idea what I am in for. Either that or I was distracted thinking about whether the periwinkle blue that I had Chris paint the nursery (I couldn’t do it of course, the fumes! the baby!) truly did match the bedding from BuyBuyBaby and the curtains from Pottery Barn Baby.
2006 – Expecting Eve
This picture was taken on a Saturday exactly four weeks before my due date after having my hair cut and colored. I left two-year-old Charlie with Chris and enjoyed a solid two hours of peace and primping, knowing full well that I would not see a salon for weeks, months, years after the second baby’s arrival. I have finally invested in some supportive maternity jeans. My turtleneck (probably another Liz Lange Target buy) makes me think of Love, Actually, but at least I have ditched the fake shirt number.
The thinly-veiled anxiety in my eyes is the look of a first-time mom whose life is utterly controlled by a tyrannical toddler. I remember feeling about one million percent more nervous about my precious Charlie than about the birth of the baby. Would my in-laws get to the house in time to watch him when I went into labor? Would he miss me when I was in the hospital? Would he adjust well to the baby? Could he visit me in the hospital? That boy was my world, and I was having a hard time getting my mind around the concept that there would be another whole person entering the picture soon that I loved just as much. Because that was just not possible.
2011 – Expecting Alice
Unlike the other awkwardly posed, side-angled, chicken armed pics, in this pic I am outdoors, facing the camera with my huge belly unflatteringly displayed. It was taken during a fabulous hike around Great Falls with my family. My hair is not coiffed, I am not wearing a stitch of makeup, nor am I wearing a single maternity clothes item beyond a pair of 7 for all Mankind maternity jeans that cost more than my entire 2003 total maternity clothes budget.
I look so relaxed and chill in this photo. I am more confident in my life and in my baggy, saggy pregnant skin. As a working mom and a stay at home mom of a seven- and five-year-old, I am clearly just happy to be out with the gang on a sunny spring Saturday, away from the computer and constant chauffeuring.
In this picture, I have an idea of what to expect, in that I have been through the baby thing twice before. I know that the transition of welcoming another child to our established family will be easier than I expect, and yet more stressful that I can conceive. I am doing whatever I can to remain calm and healthy — meditating, doing breathing exercises, actually attending my pre-natal yoga classes — things I never before thought about in the month leading up to a birth. Here, at nearly 36 and with many mom friends, I am realizing that I completely lucked out having two easy vaginal births the first times. For this upcoming birth I am much more focused on keeping that track record and therefore keeping my recovery time as short as possible. With three children, there will not be a lot of time to hang out in bed.
Most importantly, I am laughing into the camera at Chris with a “Isn’t life wild?” smile that can only be gained with years of parenting experience.
I know that no matter how much I worry or plan that our world will be rocked, and I will roll with it.
How have your expectations of motherhood changed? Join the #NakedMoms conversation and leave your thoughts below or in a comment on another #NakedMoms post!
Every month, I write about topics revealing the truth about motherhood with 12 other writers. Follow the hashtag #NakedMoms, and check out the links below from the other moms and find out which stories resonate with you the most!
Motherhood and Expectation by Laila at Only Laila
Motherhood As Told By Selfies by Thien-Kim at I’m Not The Nanny
Motherhood and Expectation by Vaneese at Mommy Works A Lot
Motherhood and Expectation by Jessica at A Parent In America
Motherhood and Expectations by Stephanie at When Crazy Meets Exhaustion
My Motherhood Journey In Photos by Joyce at Mommy Talk Show
Expecting Motherhood: The Pregnancy Principle by Makeba at MelisaSource
Awestruck and Anticipation by Brandi at Mama Knows It All
#NakedMoms: Motherhood & Expectation by Heather at Diary of a First Time Mom