How underwater maternity photos helped me enjoy my pregnant body

Posted by  | Photography by Amanda Emmes
How underwater maternity photos helped me enjoy my pregnant body
All photos by Amanda Emmes

Hey, it’s me, Megan Finley Horowitz, your former Managing Editor of this site for a billion years. I’m back with a fun thing to show you guys — my underwater maternity photos. If you’re a long-time reader you might be thinking, “Wait, what? Maternity photos? But weren’t you happily child-free? Didn’t you earn the nickname Baby-Hating Megan? And weren’t you the one who literally wrote the post entitled Why I’m not having kids?” To all that I say… yes. That’s me. And, well, this is also me now…

How underwater maternity photos helped me enjoy my pregnant body

That’s why I decided to book an underwater maternity session with Maui photographer Amanda Emmes. As a pregnant child-free person I’m sure you can imagine that I find this whole situation to be… weird. I’m in a position, and my body is in a shape, that I never thought I’d be in. It took a while for me to even admit it publicly. And then one day I thought, “You know what… as much as this sucks (the discomfort and the exhaustion and the general weirdness of incubating a human) I should probably document this time in my life. Because I NEVER plan on doing this again. This will be the only time my body will ever look like this.”

Why underwater maternity photos?

Because any time I have my picture taken my brain is all “Have my arms always been this… weird!? Why are my hands so flappy? Is THIS what my smile feels like? HOW DO LEGS WORK!???” Amplify those body issues by, well, two, when you’re pregnant and your body is not your own, your center of gravity changes, you’ve gained weight in places you aren’t used to gaining weight, and there’s a fucking human being kicking around inside your mid section.

How underwater maternity photos helped me enjoy my pregnant body

But from a previous underwater photography experience I had, I remembered that there’s no time for negative self talk and body image issues while you’re in the ocean! It’s all “just hold your breath and point your toes” and let the water do the rest.

And the result is all this mermaid awesomeness…

How underwater maternity photos helped me enjoy my pregnant body

How underwater maternity photos helped me enjoy my pregnant body

How underwater maternity photos helped me enjoy my pregnant body

Did anyone else feel weird about having maternity photos? How did you get over the awkwardness of having your photo taken?

Comments on How underwater maternity photos helped me enjoy my pregnant body

  1. So Megan is all “I’m offbeat and child-free and here’s how to tell people you’re that too,” and now she’s a “pregnant child-free” person, which is the ULTIMATE of all offbeatness… Please tell me there’s an article I missed, or one coming up, about this situation?

    Megan, we miss and love you…. and I think I might be following in your footsteps, so I kinda feel weird about how to respond to things when they’ll come up, like all the smug, “I told you so, you’d do this when you felt ready, and you just weren’t with the right person, and aren’t you glad you let me talk you out of getting your tubes tied, and your psychiatrists was right about adoption anyway, and and and…?” I’ve identified so strongly with child-free for my entire life, and now things are changing and, yeah, none of this may be the same for you but you have inspired me to share myself as always <3

    • Hey! SO, I’m happy to report that when I was dead-on when I wrote my response to this question: What to say to a formerly child-free person who is now pregnant.
      And maybe it was because most of the people that know me, had read that? Or maybe I just have some kick-ass understanding friends? Or maybe because I looked properly panic-stricken and torn when I told people I was pregnant? But I never got the smug “told ya so’s” that I was dreading. (Although that dread has also kept me from writing that article that you feel you may have missed. Because, yeah, I still haven’t written it. But I know I should. But, like, how do I write about something I haven’t even made sense of yet?)
      Anyway, that’s why I was able to write this instead, because I can at least work on accepting the changes to my body even if I can’t quite accept the change to my lifestyle yet. That’s still a work in progress. And I have (holy fuck!) 4 weeks to get my head around it now.

  2. I follow Megan on Instagram and I’ve been just totally blown away by this shoot, it’s so gorgeous! I hope if I ever defect from the child-free camp I can pull off something as awesome 😉

    Seconding the notion that I would love to hear more about going from a child-free person to a soon-not-especially-child-free person!

    • If you defect from the child-free camp, you just might HAVE to do something awesome and creative with it to make it more bearable. 😉

      And yes, yes, I totally need to write more about this weirdness I’ve found myself in. I agree. I kinda explained above why all of a sudden I have no words for myself. But I’ll use the last few weeks until my life blows up in my face to try and write something coherent.

      • I’ve transitioned to the “okay, yeah, I could be a stepmom, if the kid was past the shitting-his-pants age, I think” camp over the years (and after dating a guy with some really cool kids.) But I think I’m still too germ/emetophobic to deal with the first part, haha.

        Best of luck with everything and here’s to an easy-peasy delivery!

  3. Creepily admitting to lurking on your insta and really appreciating the nearly parallel journey as I am someone who was not quite childfree but child agnostic and am now 37.5 weeks pregnant myself. You’re definitely not alone in all of the fear and ambivalence (I also refer to having a baby as throwing a bomb into my life). Good luck!

      • This is also me! I’ve been following your journey on insta, pretty agnostic about kids before I got pregnant, kind of never thought I’d have them and now I’m 28 weeks and HALP!! I’ve been so reassured by you expressing your worries to the world.

      • Checking in post detonation. The first few days are hard in a way that you cannot adequately describe to anyone (try describing the color blue!) but it is beyoooooond worth it. Every cliche has turned out to be true. TAKE THE HELP OFFERED. Being able to sleep for a few hours knowing baby is in safe hands is worth its weight in gold.

        You can do this!!

  4. These are so gorgeous. I really regret not doing maternity shots. I meant to, but then the baby came four weeks early and that was that. So I don’t really have any documentation of how I looked towards the end of my pregnancy. We haven’t decided yet if we’ll try for more, but one selfish reason I kind of want to is to have a better pregnancy experience, and do the photos, and maybe have the birth experience that I want instead of the one I didn’t want. (Sorry to sound like I’m fear-mongering to the pregnant lady, cause that’s totally not my intent – my water broke and the baby was breech, so I skipped labor and got a C-section. Someone told me that it sounded like her dream birth!)

    My daughter is 16 months today. I didn’t expect how much fun it would be this early on. (Really, once she was about four months old and able to respond to us – and reliably sleeping through the night! – it started to be fun.) But the older she gets, the more fun it is.

    • I’ve actually heard this story from a few friends. They had some traumatic birth experiences and we talk about maybe having the second as a way to heal from it. So I get it. It’s a THING.

      Also, I’m happy to hear that it’s actually FUN! A friend of my husband’s said that once they’re out of the fleshy lump stage, they can actually be pretty great! 😉

  5. Love you Meggy! You and Mike totally made this session all your own – hair whips and all! Feeling beyond lucky to have worked with the both you and and to have witnessed such radical parents-to-be! Sending you guys & the Offbeat Home ohana much love & sunshine from Maui! Come back soon with your lil one – I just can’t waaaaait 😉

  6. You look stunning! These photos are oozing with magic, you look like a sea goddess. I’m sure you’re not feeling that on land these days, totally understandable given how pregnant you are, but you look amazing. Good luck with your new adventure!

  7. First these pictures are beautiful and I AM SHOOK

    Second, I was you! Telling people I was pregnant was so hard for me because it was just a weird identity. I still feel more like a parent then a mom, if that makes any sense, and I have a 9 month old!

    Also my kid is so fucking cool and I’m so much more appreciative of my body now after being pregnant

  8. These photos are awesome. It ALMOST makes me with I did pregnancy photos, but I took the longer more time consuming route of photographing myself every single week. It was fun lining up all the photos and seeing my belly grow.

    I wasn’t a child-free lady, but I could picture my life swinging either way. I can say I am TOTALLY not a baby person. What I can say is that there is some truth to that whole baby crazy brain switch that happens AFTER giving birth. I found myself wanting to poke my head in every stroller I saw, newborns looked so cute, and now, I look at those old newborn photos of other kids and think “that baby is wrinkly and ugly” (If you think I am a monster, I sometimes look at pictures of my baby and thank god he is much cuter now)

  9. These are some of the most stunning portraits I have ever seen, maternity or otherwise! I am a (probably, but-very ambivalent-about-it) child-free person myself, and have always found pregnancy off-putting. Yet, these photos truly helped me see beauty in the pregnant form. Thank you, thank you, thank you for your boldness! It has given me some hope that, should I ever change my mind about parenthood, I too could find a way to embrace it.

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