If I'm being honest, I have a love/hate relationship with selfies. That relationship didn't change when I found out I was pregnant, either. And since the first trimester is the goddamn worst, I didn’t want to document that hellscape for posterity. The last time I was pregnant, though, I changed my mind. I took selfies, pregnancy announcement photos, and even pictures of my positive pregnancy test. I’m glad I did, too. You see, I learned that there are photos you must take in the first trimester of pregnancy, or you might regret not having them later. Trust me.
Now, I know the the first trimester isn't really indicitive of the iconic image people conjure up when they envision a pregnant person. I also know that the first trimester is goddamn miserable, so feeling "camera ready" is pretty impossible. Between morning sickness, exhaustion, and weight gain, I damn-near hated the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. And since I'm someone who has almost always hated the way I looked — pregnant or not — the first trimester was brutal for my self-esteem. I inexplicably gained weight right away — like, before I even saw my midwife — which didn't make things any easier, either. When I looked in the mirror, I did not see a pregnant goddess. Instead, I just saw a chubbier version of me.
So, I decided I wanted to re-claim the experience as something wonderful. I didn't have to be beautiful to be positive and, in the end, embracing the suck was freeing. I made the choice to take photos of myself, and allow other people to take photos of me, during the first trimester, and it helped me throw things into perspective and accept my situation for what it was: temporary. And honestly, I don’t want to let the memories of my first trimester go. They’re part of the first chapter of my life as a mom, and my babies' lives, too.
The "Pregnancy Test" Picture
Pregnancy tests are pretty amazing when you think about it. I mean, we now have the power to pee on a stick that has the potential to let you know your life is about to change. So I absolutely felt the need to take a picture of that thing I I peed on.
The "Before" Picture
The first trimester is the perfect time to take a "before" shot to start an amazing photographic progression series to document your baby bump and your journey to becoming a mom. Seriously, take the before shot. You won't regret it.
The "First Prenatal Appointment" Picture
I’m not a sentimental person about most things, but I'm definitely a softy when it comes to experiences. So you bet your ass I totally took a picture of myself in a hospital down waiting to get a Pap smear at my first prenatal appointment.
The "Pregnancy Boobs" Picture
The two times in my life when my breasts looked straight-up amazing were when I was pregnant and when my milk came in. So I am far from ashamed to tell you that I totally took pictures of my glorious first trimester boobs. You know, for future reference.
The "First Ultrasound" Picture
Seeing that tiny little jellybean, with their little fluttering heart on the screen, was pretty much one of the most amazing experiences of my life. I’m so glad I have photos of my first ultrasound, so I can remember that moment forever
The "Family Reactions" Picture
I’m so glad I grabbed my phone and snapped a picture of the look on my older kids' faces when they heard that I was pregnant. Priceless.
The "First Maternity Outfit" Picture
There’s something both cool and annoying about the first time that you have to put on maternity pants because your pre-pregnancy jeans don’t fit anymore. This last time I chose to re-frame that moment: instead of an indication that I was putting on "baby weight," it was a sign that my future baby was growing.
The "Pregnancy Announcement" Picture
It doesn't have to be a professional photo shoot, either. Hell, mine was actually taken with my phone set on the kitchen counter. So no matter how clever or laid back that announcement is, you should totally take a pregnancy announcement photo. Yes, even if you are the only one who ever sees it.
Check out Romper's new video series, Bearing The Motherload, where disagreeing parents from different sides of an issue sit down with a mediator and talk about how to support (and not judge) each other’s parenting perspectives. New episodes air Mondays on Facebook.