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A picture’s worth

Sara Jacobson Before & After pregnancy and weight loss

Here we go, the dreaded “body image” post. Anyone who knows me is aware that I hate having my picture taken. Scroll through photos I upload on Facebook or Instagram and you’ll notice there are very little of yours truly that aren’t candid or professionally taken – and even those are scarce. To say I’m not photogenic is an understatement. My “picture smile” threatens to eat my face and it’s a blessed miracle if my eyes aren’t sealed shut.

It goes beyond simply taking a good picture. As someone who has struggled with body image issues and disordered eating, a picture is just another way for me to self-critique what I designate as my “problem areas.” A little in the lower belly. Thighs that no matter how much I run or squat, always seem to touch.

It’s because of these issues that I rarely, if ever, allowed myself to be photographed when I was pregnant. I scrolled through all my pictures during that time and counted 4 that are actually considered “belly” pictures. And maybe there are 10 pictures of me total during those 10 months. I posted one belly pic on Facebook during my entire pregnancy – and it was one that was carefully orchestrated (all black, specific camera angle). In an era, of iPhones and Instagram, I think most people would agree that is practically unheard of. I wish I was confident enough for those glowing maternity pictures, but the whole thing sounded way more stressful than it did enjoyable.

Fast forward a year and I’m making progress. I did a family photo shoot with my husband and son in January, the result of which is now hanging in the living room along with a blown-up image from my wedding day. I don’t critique how I look in those pictures, only how happy I was on those two days.

Because I try to have some hindsight, I took a selfie belly pic when I was about 39 weeks pregnant. I figured one day I’d want to remember what I looked like pregnant – not to critique, but to just remember. I’m glad I did. Last night I happened to put the same clothes on as that pic and thought it would be interesting to see how far I’ve come. And this time, post it online.

Sara Jacobson Before & After pregnancy and weight loss

When I put it on Instagram/Twitter, I added the caption: “What a difference a year makes.” This isn’t because I now resemble my pre-baby self more than ever, it’s because I’m getting better at being comfortable in my own skin – and actually willing to post a picture of myself 35+ pounds heavier than I usually am. Of course, it isn’t perfect (did my butt really get that big when I was pregnant?), but it never will be. And that’s OK.

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Lauren Stewart
By: Lauren Stewart

Lauren Stewart is a freelancer writer from Michigan. She enjoys writing about beauty, health and fitness! She is passionate about learning new ways to take control of her health and wellness and is a makeup and skincare junkie! You can contact her by emailing lrstewar@gmail.com.