When I first got pregnant, I thought that I really didn’t want maternity photos. I’m one of those lucky pregnant women that have swelled since the first trimester. I haven’t gotten to wear my wedding ring in so long… I cannot WAIT to put my wedding rings back on again! But overall, I just do not feel pretty. I know, I know, every pregnant woman says this… but it’s real ya’ll. so very real. I cannot say thank you enough to all of my sweet friends and my sweet family that tell me how beautiful I look every time I see them – sometimes that means multiple times in one day – but it still does not change that I feel huge and my once boney, size 4 fingers and distinguished jaw line are covered in fluid and look more like sausages and chipmunk cheeks. All that to say, I was not really feeling the whole maternity picture thing.
Somewhere along the way I changed my mind. I don’t know if it was the little flutters that I started feeling. The teeny tiny onesies we started receiving. The nursery we started working on. The adorable socks we started collecting. The infamous shape my belly started forming. Probably a combination of all of these fun things… but I decided it was going to happen. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t just go all the way to the super tight dresses, sheets draped around mom and pulled tight, or exposed belly photos… I was definitely more drawn to the middle zone – a more engagement/anniversary session feel with my hands on my tummy.
Back in November is when all of this mind-change happened. As I began preparing for my January wedding, I decided that was the best time to have these taken. So I called on one of my closest, most genuine photographer friends from Nashville that I have worked with regularly. Her name is Erin Turner and her business is Erin Turner Photo. I am a stage or two of life in front of her, a.k.a I am having a baby at the same time she is graduating college, but we still get along so well and have so much in common. She is one of my favorites and if there was ever another photographer I trusted, it is her. So we decided the day after my last wedding of the season, we would go up to the Smoky Mountains to take maternity photos.
This was all decided in November, but for some reason I didn’t start thinking about an outfit until 9 days before… go figure. I reached out to her and asked if there was anything specifically she loved to photograph. Colors, prints, dresses, vests, hats, etc… Immediately she started sending me outfits ideas from Pinterest. Then as I started looking to piece that outfit together, she even sent me links to places online that carried similar looks. Luckily, I ordered the dress from Pink Blush and it came in in time! Then I pretty much went on a rampage through knoxville to find a charcoal gray, long cardigan. Along the way, I found 4 other color cardigans and bought them all in hopes that one of them would work if I couldn’t find the charcoal gray one. Funny story – I ended up finding the charcoal gray one at Costco with another pregnant lady giving me a tour of her favorite grocery store.
Then the day came to take the maternity pictures… and it SNOWED!!!! This was completely unexpected and now that it’s February and 60 degrees outside, I’m kind of thinking it might be our ONLY snow of the season, despite the groundhog verdict. This was SUCH a blessing because 1) I LOOOOOVE snow, especially in pictures, 2) that means it HAS to be cold, and for all of you loving this 50-60 degree winter we are having, my swollen hands and feet love it more when it actually gets in the 30’s… don’t hate me. So we drove to the Smokys. Right past Gatlinburg is the Sugarlands Visitor Center where the two main Smoky Mountain roads branch off and lead you to the beauty that is the Smoky Mountains. With the snow fall, both of these roads were completely shut down. So the pictures that you see here weren’t even technically in the national park. They were literally yards past the last red light in Gatlinburg pulled over on the side of the road and hiked back to the Little Pigeon River. As disappointing as it was that we couldn’t get back into the mountains a bit more, it ended up being a huge blessing because we already kind of ran out of sunlight and we didn’t even spend time driving back into the mountains.
We took turns shooting. I would shoot Erin and her cool-as-crap videographer boyfriend, Michael, then she would shoot Dustin and I. We would take all of our winter wear off and hand them over to Michael when we were posing then they would take all their winter wear off and hand it over to Dustin while they were posing. There was only one time that my feet started hurting from the cold so bad that I forced us to go back to the car to warm up for like 20 minutes, but other than that, it was SO amazing. Also, I have to say, I just have to be a pansy because Michael had sperry’s on with no socks and didn’t complain one single time. I felt bad, but then remembered I was 32 weeks pregnant wearing little booties with heals the day after shooting a very long wedding and realized my body was definitely trying to tell me that I needed to sit down for a minute.
It’s taken me way too long to share all of these, but I’m excited to make it happen before Baby Grayson comes. I’m so thankful for Erin and everything that she does. She posed us, took these, and edited these and I’m so in love. Yes, I can still see the thickness around my cheeks and chin and fingers, but now, I think more about how excited Dustin and I are to welcome baby Grayson and less about how I look. Thank you Jesus for re-adjusting my perspective to what matters more. and thank you for amazing friends like Erin.
[added paragraph] I wrote this entire blog post Wednesday night in bed. On Thursday morning, all before lunch, I was scrolling through my insta-feed and saw three of my most precious brides who are pregnant post photos of themselves and comment on how big their cheeks were. Mind you, they didn’t comment on anything else, but specifically pointed out their cheeks. While I was looking at the photo, I thought they looked gorgeous and didn’t see ANY difference in their cheeks at all. Amazing how Jesus works isn’t it? What are the chances that I see three posts about the same thing I’m battling with (after not seeing any the rest of my pregnancy), and me think they look beautiful and not any different??? The Lord knew I needed some personal reassurance… He knows what I need and what you need all the time. and yes, I’m tearing up with happy tears while I type this. So incredibly thankful to serve such an amazing God.