Categories
Oh Me, Oh Mãe

I Have A Lot Of Respect For My Body And What It Did

There are two images for this post, but I decided to not put them side by side, so scroll down to see the second, as well as an outtake and comments.

I Have A Lot Of Respect For My Body And What It Did

#IDidThisShoot11DaysAfterGivingBirth #ThereIsALotOfPressureForWomenToHaveTheirBodiesReturnToTheirPrePregnancySizeAfterBirth #TheUterusDoesReduceInSizeButItIsNotLikeTheBabyWillBeBornAndYourPingsBack #ItIsWeirdNotHavingAFullOnBump
#ICanSeeMyPubesAgainWhichIsFunny #AfterBirthTheUterusWasShrinkingAndTheMovementOfItMadeMeInstinctivelyAffectionatelyRubWhatUsedToBeMyBump
#IHaveALotOfRespectForMyBodyAndWhatItDid #IAmStillBleedingAndApparentlyICouldBeUntilBIs6WeeksOldIfNotOlder #ThoughIWasWorriedItWouldBeLikePeriodPainButItisNot #AGoodPerkOfPregnancyAmongstOtherThingsWasNotHavingPeriodPain #IHaveToBeCarefulWithMyStitchesButTheySeemToBeHealingWell #MyBiggestRegretIsNotBuyingAPortableBidetSoonerAsItLetsMeCleanTheStitchesWithoutNeedingToHaveAShower #IBoughtSomeReusableBambooPadsSoIAlsoCleanOffTheBloodBeforePuttingOnANewOne #IWasGoingToSayItIsNiceToNotWakeUpInTheMiddleOfTheNightToBeAbleToTurnOverAndToGoToTheLoo #ButIHaveNotBeenSleepingMuchWhichAccordingToMumFriendsIsNotUncommon #IAmWritingThisAtNearly2AMAfterBabyWokeUsUpAndIDecidedToPump #IAmExpressingAndFeedingWithBottlesMoreThanIAmBreastfeeding #HopefullyThisWillChangeAtSomePointWhenHerMouthGetsBigger #IDoTryToBreastfeedHerALittleAtLeastOnceADayButYesterdayIFailed #IKeepFeelingReallyThirstySoIBoughtSomeRehydrationTablets #ItIsProbablyDueToBreastfeeding
#TheyToldMeToDo10SetsOf10KegelsADay
#DoingSomeNowWhilstIThinkAboutIt #IHaveASoreFingerFromWhereIBurnedItOnSteamFromTheSteriliser #AndThenIGotAPaperCutOnTheSameSpot #IHaveChangedSoMuchSinceGivingBirthThough #IDoFeelMoreConfidentButIThinkItIsCausedByNumerousFactors #IThinkHavingAChildChangesYourPriorities #FeelingDownAndRubbishAboutMyselfSeemsPointless #IThinkThisIsTheHappiestIHaveEverFeltInMyLife
I Have A Lot Of Respect For My Body And What It Did II

Outtake

That’s my bamboo pad poking out of my underwear in case you really wanted to know…

Comments

I realise that my hashtags don’t talk about my linea nigra (the dark line running down my abdomen), which was one of the main reasons I took the close up photo. The pictures don’t really show how dark it is around my belly button. I quite like the line though (apparently it’s always there, but darkens with pregnancy) and how the two parts don’t line up.

The second image also references a couple of photos from my Waiting For Things In A Time When You Rarely Wait For Things project.

The linea nigra is definitely darker in the ‘I Have A Lot Of Respect…’ image.

This week I posted a couple of diptychs to Instagram, which represent my blog posts about B’s birth, and our hospital stay.:

5 Hours Before Giving Birth
24 Hours After Giving Birth

In hospital I took quite a lot of these bathroom mirror selfies. I was interested in how my bump would look after giving birth as I think about articles I’ve seen over the years shaming or praising women after they give birth. Kate Middleton comes to mind with her standing outside that hospital letting the world see her new baby for the first time whilst her post-natal body is reviewed, three times. I’m not about to turn this blog into a commentary on the royal family, but I can see why Meghan skipped the immediate photo call.

Like I said in the hashtags your body doesn’t ping back to how it looked pre-pregnancy, but from what I read years ago you’d have thought that it did based on the comments that are said about post-partum bodies. I think people are a lot more honest about these things now (or I’ve just been more aware of these talks over the last few years), and I hope my ’24 Hours After Giving Birth’ picture helps add positively to the conversation.

With the ‘I Have A Lot Of Respect….’ photos, they move away from the hospital pictures a bit as these are taken from the front rather than the side. I guess seeing my ‘bump’ from the front it doesn’t look like much, and actually by the time I took the pictures it had gone down a lot.

Reading the hashtags 5 weeks on it feels like so long ago.

I stopped bleeding a couple of weeks ago (I think) but I still have some aspects of lochia, which I learned about for a recent photo/set of hashtags.

‘#ApparentlyTheBleedingIsCalledLochiaIndItIsAMixOfBloodMucusAndTissueFromTheLiningOfTheUterus’

I feel awkward that I wrote about seeing my pubes again, but I was feeling very open after not long having 6 people staring at a baby coming out of me and numerous women touching my boobs to help me breastfeed. It is strange not being able to see your whole body though. In my birth story I talked about having to give a urine sample, but you just put the cup ‘down there’ and move it about hoping to get some in there. Whenever a midwife came to visit I had to pee on a stick so they could check for protein and maybe something else? This was also an exercise in peeing, moving the stick and hoping.

Some pubes are present in these photos and again I felt awkward, but then Pretty Gardens by Róisín Murphy came on. I’d never heard it before. I really like her music, but decided to explore more of her discography and it felt reassuring that it’s okay to talk (or sing) about these things, if that’s what her song is about anyways. ‘Look at me all naked, I let my pretty garden grow wild’.

‘#MyBiggestRegretIsNotBuyingAPortableBidetSoonerAsItLetsMeCleanTheStitchesWithoutNeedingToHaveAShower’ – A portable bidet was definitely something I should have bought sooner – it’s basically a fancier version of a squirty plastic bottle.

‘#IBoughtSomeReusableBambooPadsSoIAlsoCleanOffTheBloodBeforePuttingOnANewOne’ – The reusable bamboo pads seemed like a good investment (I also have reusable bamboo breast pads), as I was getting through a lot of maternity pads and I thought if I could be bleeding for 6 weeks then it was worth trying them. Plus I can use them when my period comes back, which I hope isn’t for a while but knowing my luck it could be imminent.

‘#IWasGoingToSayItIsNiceToNotWakeUpInTheMiddleOfTheNightToBeAbleToTurnOverAndToGoToTheLoo’ – I thought I was going to say well I have to wake up to look after B, but I said ‘#ButIHaveNotBeenSleepingMuchWhichAccordingToMumFriendsIsNotUncommon’. That does kind of sound like it’s because I need to look after B, but the not sleeping was due to just feeling high on life I think.

I talk about breastfeeding and bottle feeding in the hashtags, but I won’t say much on it as I have an image of me expressing so I will write about it more then. I’ve breastfed a lot the last couple of days, but I’ve mainly been expressing and bottle feeding. Her latch is definitely better now though, which I think is due to her mouth being bigger. Sometimes I don’t guide the boob to her and just let her latch on by herself now.

‘#TheyToldMeToDo10SetsOf10KegelsADay’ – I have an app now to remind me to do them. It’s just called Kegel Exercises. Everyday it builds up the amount you do. It’s great! (Again, I’m doing some extra ones whilst I think about them.)

‘#IHaveChangedSoMuchSinceGivingBirthThough’ – I have definitely changed a lot.

‘#IDoFeelMoreConfidentButIThinkItIsCausedByNumerousFactors’ – The confidence comes and goes though, just like before. A few days ago we took B out in her pushchair for the first time. As I’d done it once I’ve now done it everyday since and yesterday I took her out in it by myself. I also managed to do the lying down breastfeeding position last week for the first time. I’d only tried it once before and hadn’t attempted it for a few weeks. If I’d done it in the hospital I probably would have done it loads since. I’m also still not confident about sharing these posts on social media beyond Instagram.

I think hormones have a massive impact on confidence. I used to do improv comedy when I lived in London and some weeks I’d feel super confident and other weeks I’d be a nervous wreck. This week I’ve felt pretty confident with looking after B. Tiago left the house for work a couple of times last week, which he hadn’t done since before lockdown. Yesterday I was alone with her for the longest time so far (about 7 hours) and it was fine. It would have been a lot sooner if it wasn’t for the pandemic, so though I wish there wasn’t one, having T around more has been positive.

Still can’t believe I became a mother during a pandemic, but I don’t know any different and my past life seems like decades ago now.

I do love the word awkward I know, but that is how I feel about sharing the underwear pictures. I like the chosen one, but I initially went for the outtake as though the outtake is a bit too zoomed in for my liking I felt like the chosen one is a bit more ‘showoffy’. It’s more confident with the placing of my hands, though I like the oddness of them, whereas the outtake is a bit more shy.

I asked Tiago which one he preferred though as I was doubting my decision and he said the more confident one, so it confirmed which one I preferred. He said he liked it more though as it is more symmetrical. The top is more wonky in the outtake…

I am proud of my body. Our inbuilt knowledge and instincts are pretty incredible – with giving birth and I think this when I see B’s mouth doing its different ‘breastfeeding techniques’.

I still want to exercise more than I am though, as I did more when I was 37 weeks pregnant. A daily walk is great for my mental health and my confidence, but I also need to make more time for stretching. I try to do a bit whilst waiting for things – like the sterilising machine. Yesterday we did a baby yoga class and got all the way through, so that was great. Normally B starts to get upset around the bit that is more for the parents, but we do get recordings since they are online. I doubt that we would have ‘been to’ a baby class yet if they weren’t online, and I don’t think there were many online classes pre-Covid, but I could be wrong.

I still haven’t breastfeed in public, so that’s the next thing for my post-natal body and confidence checklist but I think it might happen fairly soon… Watch this space.


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Categories
Waiting

(Dragon Fruit &) Cut To Finger (7 and a half weeks)

This is a post about the fifth image from my series Waiting For Things In A Time When You Rarely Wait For Things where I documented my pregnancy from October 2019 to June 2020.

(Dragon Fruit &) Cut To Finger (7 and a half weeks)

#SoInMyUlteriorMonologueProjectThereIsAPictureOfMyHandsHoldingADragonFruitWithABloodyFinger #TheReasonWhyUlteriorMonologueIsCalledThatIsBecauseIWroteHashtagsLikeThese
#ButIDidNotAlwaysWriteWhatIAlwaysReallyWantedToWrite
#IAmWritingTheseHashtagsAWhileAfterITookThePhoto
#ThereIsNoDragonFruitInThisPicture
#ButThereIsTheCutFinger
#AndIThinkInMyEarlyPregnancyIHadAccidentsWithKnivesACoupleOfTimes
#AndThisWasTheWorstTime #SoInTheHashtagsThatAccompanyTheDragonFruitPictureIfIHadFeltAbleToTalkAboutMyPregnancyIWouldHaveTalkedAboutBeingMoreClumsyThanNormal
#IThinkItWasJustBecauseMyBrainWasElsewhere
#WhichItShouldNotBeWhenIAmHoldingASharpKnife
#ThinkingAboutBeingPregnantAndNotBeingAbleToBelieveItProbably #SoIHadStartedThisProjectButIWasStillWorkingOnUlteriorMonologueAsIDidNotWantToStopPostingStuff #ButIRealisedThatINeededToTalkAboutBeingPregnant
#SoUlteriorMonologueReachedANaturalEnd
#ButIBoughtSomeTimeOnInstagramByPostingArchivePictures #WhichIHadThoughtAboutDoingForAWhileButItGaveMeTheTimeToDoItAsILetMyPregnancyProgress #IThinkItAnnoyedALotOfPeopleByJustPostingArchiveStuff
#ButIHaveSoMuchWorkThatIForgetIHaveHalfTheTime
#SoItWasNiceToGoThroughItAll
#ButItTookALongTimeToDo
#WhichIsWhatIWantedButByTheEndIWasBeyondDoneWithIt

Ulterior Monologue

Usually I show outtakes, but the Waiting… one is pretty much an outtake from my series Ulterior Monologue, so instead here is the chosen picture for that project and the accompanying hashtags.

Dragon Fruit & Cut To Finger

#SoTodayMeAndTWereOutInTown #IWasFeelingRelaxedAndNotFeelingBadForTakingABreak
#ThenIGotShatOnByABird #GuessingItWasAPigeonAsItWasOneOfThoseSmallStreetsWherePigeonsHangAbout #AndItWasMassiveAndGrossAllOverOneSideOfMyCoat
#AndABitInMyJustWashedHair
#AndIHateWashingMyHairInTheWinter #ButIWasLikeAtLeastItWasNotFullOnMyHeadAsItCouldHaveEasilyBeen #AndTWipedItOffWithATissue #SoItCouldHaveBeenWorseAndIThoughtIsBirdShitSupposedToBeLuckyOrSomething #WhichIsObviouslyJustWhatSomeoneInventedToMakeThemselfOrSomeoneElseFeelBetter
#ThenAtHomeTWasMakingDinnerAndPuttingItOutOnPlates #WhichWereOnTheHobAsWeNeverSeemToHaveEnoughCounterSpace #ThenAPlateJustCracked #TurnedOutHeHadTurnedTheHobOnAccidentallyAndItHeatedUpThePlateAndItCracked #ItWasOneOfTwoBigPlatesThatWeOwn #AsIGotALotOfMyDadsParentsKitchenStuffWhenIWentToUni #AndIHaveManagedToKeepThemSafeSince2007ButNeverMind #TIsLuckyThatHeDidNotGetInjuredByItCrackingAsItWasLoudAndFlungApartABit #HeWasNotSureAboutEatingSomeOfTheFoodButIWasLikeAPlateDoesNotSplinter #ThenWhenIWasDoingTheWashingUpIGotABitOfPlateSplinterStuckInMyFingerDidINot #IWasPlanningToPhotographMyselfWithTheDragonFruitThatTBoughtYesterday #EvenThoughIDoNotThinkWeHaveEatenOneBeforeAndDoNotKnowWhatToDoWithIt #ButTSaidHeWantedToEatItTodayAndIWantedAPhotographWithItAsItIsUnusualToMeAnyways
#ToSomeoneElseItProbablyLooksAsOrdinaryAsAnAppleDoesToMe #ButIThoughtItWasGoingToBeABoringPhoto #AndItIsButTheBigBitOfTissueOverTheCutOnTheSideOfMyFingerFromTheCeramicSplinterHasJazzedItUpATinyBit
#OrAtLeastIThinkSo
#WellIAmHopingThatIsOur3ThingsOfBadLuckForTheWeek #AndIFound4OfThePlatesOnEbayForAGoodPriceSoNowWeWillHave5NormalSizedDinnerPlates

Comments

So as I explained in my Animal Hats & Cramps post, there was a bit of an overlap between Waiting… and my previous project (Ulterior Monologue). Reading the hashtags for the top image too I realise that I talk about it a bit there too.

(‘#SoIHadStartedThisProjectButIWasStillWorkingOnUlteriorMonologueAsIDidNotWantToStopPostingStuff #ButIRealisedThatINeededToTalkAboutBeingPregnant
#SoUlteriorMonologueReachedANaturalEnd
#ButIBoughtSomeTimeOnInstagramByPostingArchivePictures’)

I announced my pregnancy on social media when I was 20 weeks and it was starting to become obvious in my dance videos/I got bored of hiding my bump under big jumpers. I definitely bought some time, but was relieved when my archive posts were over.

Anyways, I did a photoshoot around a dragon fruit and cutting my finger, and in the UM hashtags I talk about 3 bad/unlucky things that happened that day. This includes getting a bit of plate stuck in my finger which is why I have tissue wrapped around my finger, though I didn’t talk about my recent (increased) clumsiness.

I talk about how I think it was due to my mind being elsewhere, though it speaks about accidental knife cuts rather than the injury being from the plate splinter. (When I first started to write this post I also thought the need for a tissue was from a knife cut). I wrote the hashtags when I was preparing to post the project on Instagram and decided to add the photo in – I wanted to post them in chronological order so it made sense to decide early on if I wanted to include an image from this shoot.

I vaguely remember writing them as I wasn’t sure whether or not to use the term ‘baby brain’. I really don’t like it, though I think me being distracted by daydreaming about being pregnant and becoming a mother is what probably led to me getting the injury. I like to think that I was pretty ‘with it’ after this incident, so when on a few occasions people accused me of being baby brained when I wasn’t I was annoyed…

(Okay, yesterday I walked into the living room to get the dummy that Tiago asked for and walked back into the bedroom with a tube of nipple cream. In my defence I walked there – the whole 5m – wondering if I should put some nipple cream on… I think this says a lot about not getting enough sleep/being sleepy. If a guy does something forgetful after becoming a father is he accused of having baby brain? Probably not.)

I prefer the UM image more though it wasn’t a favourite and it wouldn’t have fit in Waiting… I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do with the shoot, but I like playing around with hands and arms so it makes sense that I did something a little odd – the hand that isn’t holding the dragon fruit is definitely a bit weird. I think I took the Waiting one for myself as it has that pregnancy feel to it; a classic light touch to the belly, but nicely concealed. I definitely wouldn’t have put it in UM.

I could have perhaps been more inventive with the title of the Waiting image – (Dragon Fruit &) Cut To Finger (7 and a half weeks), whereas the UM one is Dragon Fruit & Cut To Finger. However I like that the similar titles tie the two images together as if you saw them side by side you wouldn’t necessarily think that they were from the same shoot – you’d probably just think ‘wow she’s clumsy’ if you knew that they were both pictures of me.

I think that’s about it.

I feel like talking about the whole project is a bit of an undertaking, but I’m determined to do it! 5 down, 79 to go!

My fear is that no one is reading these and I’m spending a lot of time/energy doing this blog, but I guess an audience doesn’t grow overnight.

I’m also awkward about promoting my posts across all my social media sites. The other week I wrote about how I would be better at promoting my work, but I still feel like I am bothering people. A lot of people use social media to promote their stuff and I’m sure there’s a good amount of people who don’t feel weird about it, and I don’t feel awkward for them so why do I for myself? That’s something that I can possibly post about more in the future…


Thanks for reading!

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Categories
Pregnancy

Exercising whilst pregnant

I had planned for this blog to be more than ‘just’ a place for posting my photography and video, so in this post I thought I’d share exercise videos that I did whilst I was pregnant.

(Scroll down if you just want to see my favourite YouTube pre-natal exercise videos and not read my preramble).

Tiago’s snap of me exercising a couple of weeks before giving birth. (Yes, that is my dress rolled up – I didn’t bother changing half of the time).

We moved to Liverpool at the end of 2018 and we signed up for the gym not long after. I didn’t like going, but watching Pointless (a TV quiz show) whilst using some equipment made it somewhat tolerable. Fact: I cancelled my membership after they stopped showing it on their TVs.

I enjoyed the classes, but I didn’t like that the ones I wanted to go to were quite late in the evenings and I felt like planning my time around an exercise class wasn’t that productive. I then got pregnant after I stopped going to the gym. I had been looking forward to answering yes in a class whenever they asked if anyone was pregnant, but never mind. Covid would have cut short that experience anyways with the closure of gyms…

When we lived in London I mainly did YouTube exercise videos, as the gyms close to me were expensive/I just felt like I didn’t have time to go to one. At one point I did go to a bootcamp in a park by me, but it would take up most of my day and after meeting Tiago (and making him go with me for a bit) I realised that that wasn’t how I wanted to spend a big chunk of my weekend.

I had planned to get into pre-natal exercise earlier than I eventually did. The intention was there, but the motivation was lacking. In the end it was hip/pelvis pain that made me start, as getting a maternity pillow wasn’t enough. I wanted to just workout at home due to the ease of it.

Stretching a couple of weeks before I gave birth.

Other pregnant people I knew wanted to wait until the pains got bad enough that they got referred for physio, but I didn’t want things to get worse. Surely with physio they would just give you stretches anyways, not some magic pill that would make the pains and aches magically go away? Covid probably put a stop to most face-to-face physio appointments anyways…

Warning: I’m just a regular person sharing what exercise videos I liked whilst I was pregnant. Talk to your doctor/listen to your body about what you can and can’t do. It’s meant to make you feel better, so don’t push yourself too much. If you can’t do the complete video without stopping that’s fine – I also used to get through a lot of water during them too.

In addition, I tried to go for a walk everyday (particularly once lockdown started). The earlier you start exercising in your pregnancy, the easier you’ll (hopefully) find it. As I got more pregnant I wasn’t able to do what I could earlier on, but it wasn’t such a shock to my body as I had been doing these videos for a while. It was funny doing them the first time and thinking ‘I can’t believe I’ll be that pregnant’, but before I knew it I was more pregnant than the teachers in the videos.

I also seem to be forgetting that dancing counts as exercise – here I am dancing the day before I gave birth!

One of the hardest parts of working out at home is just getting yourself onto your mat/into your space where you exercise with the intention to exercise. Having a baby adds another hurdle to getting there, so enjoy one less block whilst you can!

Anyways, here are the YouTube videos that I did the most whilst I was pregnant.


A good one to start with

10 minutes a day is a good start if you really don’t feel up to exercising. I think my morning sickness also made exercising unappealing. I moved to longer videos after feeling like I was just getting into the video, but it was over already.


Morning

In the beginning I’d exercise just once a day – usually just in the morning. Before long though I realised it wasn’t enough and I’d exercise in the evening too.

After doing the one in the previous section for a couple of weeks at least, I moved onto doing this one pretty much every morning (after letting my muscles recover from the first time).

After a while I got bored of doing it everyday, so I started to do it every other day (alternating the next two videos on the second day).

After a while I started to do the 3 videos on a 3 day cycle.

Then after no longer finding it comfortable to sit on a chair and sitting on an exercise ball instead, a friend recommended the video below, and it became a 4 day cycle.


Evening

In the evenings I started off doing the below video (there is a morning yoga routine, which seems the same so I preferred doing different ones).

And then I wanted to try other ones, so I did this one below occasionally instead.

Then I began to alternate them each night, but after a while I knew the routines off by heart so I started to watch TV and do a mix of the two videos from memory. I found myself doing a lot more than if I was doing one of the videos.

I feel like with the videos there should be two versions – 1 for people who have never done the video before/are doing it for the 2nd or 3rd time, and then there should be one for people who don’t need the explanations. Particularly with the pilates one as once I knew it by heart I would carry on and do the routine, occasionally skipping the video forward to where it was useful to be in time.

Also I would just add my favourite stretches that were missing from the video I just did to the end of my practice – and did extra kegels when I thought about it, particularly with squats.

One last video that deserves a mention as I enjoyed it, but then managed to forget about it…

What YouTube exercise videos do you like to do?

Wishing you happy and safe exercising!


Thanks for reading!

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Categories
Waiting

I Have Nothing To Show Yet (7 weeks)

This is a post about the fourth image from my series Waiting For Things In A Time When You Rarely Wait For Things, where I documented my pregnancy from October 2019 to June 2020.

I Have Nothing To Show Yet (7 weeks)

#ItIsColdNowSoIAmWearingExtraLayers
#IHaveNothingToShowYet #OrMaybeIDoButIAmSureIHaveLookedTheSameAsThisEveryTimeIHaveEatenForManyYears #IHaveLookedMorePregnantBeforeAfterOrderingAnIndianTakeawayAndNotBeingAbleToStop #AtChristmas2018MyParentsThoughtIWasPregnantAsIWasWearingBaggyClothing
#AndIChooseComfortOverFashion
#YouKnowMe
#ThoughIWouldNotMindLookingALittleBetter
#IJustHateClothesShopping
#AndNowIsNotTheTimeToStartGettingIntoClothesMore
#BecauseTheyEitherWillNotFitMeForLongOrTheyWillNotFitMeAfter #AGoodReasonForBaggierClothingThisWinterThoughIsToHideMyGrowingBoobs #IToldAFriendThatIAmPregnantAndSheSaidSheThoughtMyBoobsLookedBiggerAndThisWasTwoWeeksAgo
#IHaveAlwaysHadAWeirdRelationshipWithThem
#BeingToldInHighSchoolThatIWasTwoParacetamolsOnAnIroningBoard
#AndBeingUpsetButAlsoNotCaringAsIWasLikeBoobsAreJustForBabiesAnyways
#AndTheIdeaOfMeWithBiggerBoobsWasJustWeird
#BeingToldByGuysThatTheyUsuallyDateGirlsWithBiggerBoobs
#Lol
#ButIThinkBoobsBringAttentionAndIDoLikeToBeInvisible
#IReallyCanNotImagineMySelfHavingBigBoobs
#AndGoingOutWithThemOnDisplay
#NoOffenceToOtherPeopleWhoShowTheirsOff
#TheyLookGoodOnYouButTheyLookWeirdAsHellOnMe
#ThisPostHasTooManyBoobs
#NotSureIfIPreferBoobsOrBreasts #BreastsJustSoundsLikeMeatRightNowAndThatIsMakingMeFeelSickEvenThoughIHadMeatCravingsYesterdayAndIAmVegetarian #IThinkHowIFeelTowardsMyBodyDuringAndAfterMyPregnancyWillBeInteresting #ParticularlyAsPregnantIsSeenAsBeautifulAndMyBodyGrowingIsForAGoodThingButThenAsSoonAsYouGiveBirthThereIsALotOfPressureToBeAsYouWereAgain
#IJustWantToLookAfterMyselfAndMyBodyAsBestAsICan

A few outtakes

Classic standing straight side pose.
Back when I had enough hair to do this. Not sure why I decided to twist and grab my hair, but I was probably just trying to do a pose that wasn’t me standing still or slightly crooked.
Same again though this looks more like a camera test to me, but probably not. I don’t like the hand down low.
A bit more modelesque. I feel like I do this arm pose during a lot of shoots, though they get cut 99.9% of the time – or so I like to think.

Comments

This shoot is another classic example of knowing I wanted to photograph myself, but not having an idea in mind. First I took the first outtake (where I am stood to the side) and other pictures where I am stood to the front, then I did the chosen pictures.

I felt awkward about taking them then as I knew it was too early in the project for pictures like this, but my body was already feeling quite different to me and I wanted to document it. Looking at them now (and many other pictures where I thought I was starting to look pregnant) there really is nothing to see. So with the hashtags I wanted to shut down any comments about it by basically saying ‘yeah I know’.

The shoot then moved on and got a bit more posey.

In the chosen pictures it is a ‘breathe in, breathe out’ duo, though they pretty much look the same.

I used this ‘strategy’ before in my project Sofa Studies (see below), but that was more about social media and ‘perfection’, and how people breathe in a lot in their photos.

I need to stop using quote marks…

Reading the hashtags now, I’d forgotten that I’d told the paracetamol story within this project. I wrote about in my ‘What I Wore For My Four Night Hospital Stay After Giving Birth‘ blog post.

My boobs went up two cup sizes pretty quickly in the pregnancy, which was a bit weird though they had grown a lot since high school anyways. They’ve possibly grown again and I don’t hate them as that seems counterproductive, but it’s just odd seeing myself with bigger ones.

Can you tell I’m trying to avoid saying boobs 100 more times again? It’s weird having a project that talks about them a lot, but I guess I probably speak about them more in my motherhood project as with breastfeeding/bottle feeding expressed milk, a lot of the day is focused around my boobs and what they’re doing/producing…

Like I’ve said before I’m not going to be 100% awkward about it (talking about them) as my boobs are finally fulfilling the purpose that I have them for. The pictures that involve them aren’t meant to be sexual and instead are just documenting my changing body, but people will interpret them how they want. I’ve already been called a MILF on YouTube (I have a channel where I’ve been dancing – in an unsexy way – since 2013) and that makes me feel really gross. I am guessing it’s a joke I still feel bleh about it. That’s probably a post for another time…

The hashtags about boobs looking weird as hell on me still stand. I wear dresses and skirts, but I don’t consider myself to be very feminine or at least in the commercial sense/way that used to be pushed on us via the media. I bought some makeup a few weeks ago, as I haven’t worn it in a long time and that’s because I worry that by doing self-portraits people think I am super vain. So my thinking was that if I didn’t look after my appearance then people would think this less. With having a baby and because of the current global situation I’m not sure when I’ll be dressing up next though…

I also like to be invisible when I’m out and about, so by looking ‘bad’ I hope that people won’t look at me twice. Writing this it makes me feel vain as if I’m saying that if I made an effort with my appearance then I’d look amazing and people would look at me/throw comments my way. My thoughts and actions surrounding my appearance is something I need to think about more/explore within a project… But yeah I don’t think I’ll be wearing push up bras and putting ‘the twins’ on display anytime soon. Well I probably am displaying them more for baby feeding reasons, but that’s only been indoors so far.

The breasts vs boobs hashtag also still stands. I probably should use breasts as it’s more mature, but apparently I do prefer just saying boobs. It just seems more casual?

And finally the hashtags that talk about how I’ll feel post-birth about my body… I made a comment to Tiago this morning about the skin on my belly being a bit looser, but it’s not ‘as bad’ as I thought it would be and I’ve done 2 minutes of core exercise since giving birth. I was probably the fittest I’ve ever been when I was pregnant as I was doing exercise videos in the morning and evening, and then having a daily walk. At the moment I’m focused on making sure I go for a walk every day, but I need to make time for more stretching. The more you stretch, the more you realise you need to.

Final thoughts about the chosen images: They show nothing, but also a lot when you look at the series as a whole. It seems awkward to show them, but it’s nice to see my bump growing and without pictures like these there would be a noticeable gap in the project. That’s my interpretation anyways.


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Categories
Waiting

Morning Sickness Is Not Only A Morning Thing (6 and a half weeks)

This is a post about the third image from my series Waiting For Things In A Time When You Rarely Wait For Things, where I documented my pregnancy from October 2019 to June 2020.

Morning Sickness Is Not Only A Morning Thing (6 and a half weeks)

#SoTheSicknessComesAndGoes
#MorningSicknessIsSuchALie #IAskedTheDoctorIfSheHadAnyTipsAfterIFirstWentWhenIFoundOut #SheSaidThatMorningSicknessIsNotOnlyAMorningThing
#WellSheDidNotLie
#SometimesItIsTheMorning
#YesterdayICouldHaveBeenSickOverEverything
#LastWeekItWasMoreAnAfternoonThing
#ButSometimesItIsTheEvening
#SomeoneWasTalkingAboutWarmCamelsMilkTheOtherDay
#AndItWasMakingMeSoIll
#ThenILookedAtMyCollectionOfSoups
#AndJustReadingTheFlavoursMadeMeFeelIll
#ItIsSuchAWeirdThing
#IKnowThatNoOneReallyLikesToVomit
#ButIReallyHateIt
#IOnceProudlyCouldSayIHadNotVomitedInAtLeast10Years #AndThenMyHousemateMadeMeSuperStrongRumCocktailsWhenIWasDoingMyBA #AndThatWasGrim
#AndACharmingExBoyfriendTookPolaroidsOfMeByTheToilet #EvenThoughHeWasSickMostWeekendsBecauseOfAlcohol #IDoNotKnowWhatHappenedToThosePolaroids
#BetTheyShowUpIn50Years
#Anyways #YesterdayIHadStrongMeatAndFishCravingsEvenThoughIHaveBeenVegetarianForOverHalfMyLife
#CouldHaveEasilyEatenCodAndChipsOrATurkeyAndStuffingSandwich #ThoughIThinkTheyWouldHaveMadeMeSick
#SoLastNightISettledForAVeganFishFreeBurger #ItWasProbablyTheFirstTimeIHadEatenAFishBurger #AndItWasAlrightButIWouldNotBeInARushToEatItAgain

A few outtakes

A little bit more sophisticated than the chosen image?
Am I capable of being sophisticated?
Perhaps also a bit more sophisticated – if sophistication can include a bit of nipple? I don’t like when my fingers get slightly cropped out.
Perhaps a better image than the one I chose. I was going to say it doesn’t scream ‘morning sickness’ at me though not does the chosen one, but I feel like I do get a bit of ‘trying not to puke’ from it. Or maybe it’s because I want to get that vibe?
I think I’ll save comments about censorship for another post.

Comments

I feel like the running theme of this blog series is ‘maybe I chose the wrong photo?’ When is it too late to change the selected image? Is it ever too late? I guess it depends on where the photo has been. For me it doesn’t feel too late yet as most of my images have only appeared on my Instagram account and who said ‘what is posted on Instagram is set in stone’? No one as far as I’m aware.

I want to produce a book of this project so I guess it is good that I am revisiting each image and outtakes to have a think about if I did make the right decisions or not.

I chose the photographs based on how I felt at the time, but with the passing of time comes different responses to the images. Maybe I need to value what I thought when I was choosing, though at this point in the project I was not editing the pictures on the same day or same week as they were taken. I kept shooting and hashtagging, and I didn’t really look at them properly for a few months – there is a picture in the project that talks about finally getting round to editing the project. I realised what a mammoth task I was leaving for myself, so I spent some time editing it down (which is what I’m doing now with my new project and is why this post is a day later than I planned). After that I tried to edit the pictures down quite quickly, so I had space on my computer and so I wasn’t left feeling overwhelmed at a later stage with a baby in my arms.

Anyways, in these images I am ‘wearing’ a scarf instead of clothes. I can’t remember making that decision – I really need to start keeping a shoot diary – but I am guessing that it was because I worry about wearing the same clothes in all my photographs. I say this and some of my clothes have been in quite a few projects.

I had started to wear the scarf out around that time as it gets very windy in Liverpool, so it was probably lying around the flat when I was thinking about what to wear. I did do a project where I wore towels, so it’s not that odd really.

I guess with the chosen image I wanted something that wasn’t that flattering, due to the topic. In the outtakes I look a bit more ‘put together’, whereas in the chosen one with the way I am touching my chin and with my general expression you can tell things are a little off. At this point I wasn’t actually being sick, but the feelings were sufficiently unpleasant.

The meat/fish cravings were odd and I never had them again. I’ve been vegetarian since I was 15 (I’m 31 now), so it was quite bizarre though the fake fish burger seemed to do the trick. I haven’t eaten another one, but the burger place has only just reopened after being closed due to Covid. (A fun fact for you there – you’re welcome!) Maybe my body just needed a bit of protein and after this episode I did make an effort to eat more protein.

I’d forgotten that I mentioned an ex-boyfriend in the hashtags. The same moment came into my head last night when I started to put this post together and I thought about writing about it, but I already had. However I do now remember feeling awkward when I posted it to Instagram.

Why the need to write about it? I’m not entirely sure, but my work is therapeutic for me and has helped me work on various things like my confidence. It started to decrease when my family moved when I was 7 (to about half an hour away which isn’t much at all) and then it got destroyed in high school. In college I let my barriers down and cried a lot so my art teacher recommended that I go to counselling. I cried through all my BA assessments, so dating someone who did nothing for my confidence probably wasn’t the best idea but I also felt like that was what I deserved and I would never find someone else. Writing this whilst being married to a great guy, and with our month+ old baby lying beside me I’m starting to feel a bit emotional.

Breaking up with someone/being broken up with is always weird as you don’t know what will happen in your future. It’s nice when you can look back and be glad it happened as it led you to being with someone else (who hopefully really suits you) or maybe you’re just really enjoying being single.

I haven’t spoken to this ex in over 10 years and I doubt he will read it. If he does then I’m sure he will admit that he wasn’t the kindest person. I think he had underlying issues that he needed to sort out, and I genuinely hope he has.

Another moment that I am sharing because I just find it so bad that it is funny is that when we were out at clubs (can not remember the last time I was in a club), girls would come up to him and tell him that I was so ugly and that he should be with them and not me. He would tell me with a massive grin on his face and not say anything to comfort me/make me feel better about the situation.

A couple of other things: He was embarrassed about me meeting his family because I was vegan. I stopped being vegan (for myself after 4+ years as I didn’t want to be vegan anymore) and broke up with him a week later. I never met his family. Also, he told me if I cut my hair short he would break up with me.

When I finally broke up with him (and cut my hair shorter) people around me would tell me how much they didn’t like him, but they were worried it would push me towards him more if they told me how they felt. True, I am stubborn but in this case I was just unable to realise how badly he was treating me. I felt like I deserved it/I would rather be with him feeling bad about myself than single.

If you recognise your partner in what you read above, then know you deserve to be with someone better. You deserve more.

As always my blog post turned out differently to what I thought it would be, but I’m enjoying the journey and hopefully this may help someone who needs to hear it right now/when they read this post.

After all this sidetracking and distraction though I think I did choose the right image. The other possibility would have been the last outtake, but even with whole projects based around nudity you may be surprised to know how awkward I feel about nudity in my work. It’s something that I feel deserves its own post rather than a paragraph at the end of a long post that has already taken an unexpected turn, so I’ll put that on my list for a later date!

It’s on the list under ‘nudity/censorship/awkwardness’.

One last note: Though my work is usually about me, I have always hoped that other people would find something helpful in what I do. I guess with this blog I can go into more detail and write about things that have led me to making the work that I make. I have always worried that people find me narcissistic and vain, though my reasons for making my work are from feeling the complete opposite. Sharing this blog now feels really awkward, but I really hope it might help someone, either with a situation they are going through now or to help process something in their past. Some parts I have rewritten over and over again during the day, but I need to just let it go and live with it.

Something that I have been saying a lot lately is that when someone is mean to you, it says a lot more about them than it does about you. And this goes for how I have acted towards people as well. I am happy to admit that I am not ‘perfect’ – whatever that is – but I want to work on becoming a better person for myself and my family. Asking yourself why you do things and react the way you do – and really listening to yourself and the answers – is a good place to start.

Who would have thought a blog post about morning sickness could get so deep?


Thanks for reading!

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Categories
Pregnancy

Animal Hats & Cramps (6 and a half weeks)

The photo that I’m talking about in this post isn’t actually in my pregnancy project (Waiting For Things In A Time When You Rarely Wait For Things); it’s in my Ulterior Monologue project under the title of My Mum Bought Me A Hat When She Was On Holiday. I was pregnant at the time though and I had forgotten that I’d written pregnancy related hashtags for it.

The image with the pregnancy related hashtags:

I called the folder ‘Animal Hats & Cramps’.

#ILookSadInThePhotoBecauseIStartedToGetHorrendousCramps
#AndEveryTimeIDoItScaresTheShhhOutOfMe
#IThoughtTheWorstWasHappening
#SoIThoughtIWasPhotographingMyselfWhilstTheWorstWasHappening
#AndIKeptTakingPicturesAsIWasTooScaredToGoToTheBathroomToCheck
#AsEveryTimeIGoToTheBathroomIGetScaredOfWhatIMightFind
#OrWhatMightHappen
#ButAfterAWhileILetOutALotOfAir
#AndItMightHaveJustBeenTrappedWind
#SoIHadALittleLaughToMyself
#ButEveryTimeIGetAPainIThinkTheWorst
#AndOftenItIsTrappedWind
#ButIAmWorriedOneTimeThatItWillNotBe
#AndIDoNotWantToBeRushingToTheDoctorsOrHospitalEvery5Minutes
#IJustDoNotKnowWhatIsNormalYet
#INeedToCalmDownAndTryNotToStressSoMuch
#ThatIsTrue
#ButItIsEasierToSayThanDo
 

And the image with its original Ulterior Monologue hashtags – it shows it in a very different light.

My Mum Bought Me A Hat When She Was On Holiday

#IWantedToBuyAHatSoItSavedMeTheHassle
#ThoughIWasThinkingMoreOfAThickKnittedNavyColouredHatOrSomething
#ButThisIsTheKindOfHatIWantToWear #ButWouldNotBuyForMyself
#ButIfMyMumBuysItForMeWhenIAm31ThenItIsOkay #TheOtherDayIWatchedAll4EpisodesOfQueerEyeInJapanAndIWasThinkingIShouldStartDressingMoreBoldlyAgain #ButTheRealityIsIJustWantToBeDressedAllInBluesAndRemainAsInvisibleAsPossible #WhichMightSeemOddConsideringTheKindOfWorkIMake
#WhichIsMainlyPhotographingAndVideoingMyself
#ButIGuessIDoNotWantToBeCompletelyInvisible
#WhichIsPerhapsOneOfTheReasonsWhyIMakeWorkAboutMyself
#AsItIsTherapeuticForMe #ToBecomeMoreComfortableWithMyAppearance #AndNowWithTheseRamblingHashtagsIAmBecomingMoreComfortableWithMyThoughtsAndWords #AndIWantToBeVisibleOnSomeLevel
#ButOnOtherLevelsIWantToBeInvisible
#LikeWalkingDownTheStreet
#IAmNotSayingIAmACelebThankWhateverAbove #ButIMeanJustWalkingDownTheStreetWithoutAnyStrangeLooksOrBeingNoticedAtAllForAnyReasonWhetherItBeGoodOrBad
#IDoNotMindChattingWithRandomPeopleButSometimesIJustWantToBeInMyOwnLittleWorld #AndWalkAlongWithoutHavingToDealWithThingsLikeZebraCrossingsAndOtherAwkwardInteractions #ButAnywaysIHaveNotWornThisHatOutYet #AndIRealiseThatTheHatIsAnAnimalHatWhichIsWhatIMainlyWearInMyDanceVideos #AndIWearAHatInMyDanceVideosBecauseIDoNotLikeHowILookInHats
#AndIWasBulliedForAHatIHadInFirstSchool #SoItIsMyWayOfTryingToOvercomeMyPastExperiencesOfHatsWhichSoundsFunnyButIsTrue #ButIHaveOnlyReallyWornHatsLatelyInMyLivingRoom #SoIWillMakeAnEffortToWearItOutOnTheNextReallyColdDayAsIDoNotWantColdEarsOrAHeadache #IForgotToMentionWhatARidiculousSizeThosePomPomsAre
#MyMumSaidICanCutThemOffButIFeelBad

Ulterior Monologue is the project that I first started to use hashtags with. It was my response to my awkwardness of using hashtags and wanting to use more text with my images, but also feeling awkward about that.

The project was about wanting to be pregnant but not feeling able to talk about it. It started to come to a natural end when I found out I was pregnant, though there was some crossover with my new pregnancy project. I didn’t announce my pregnancy on social media until I was 20 weeks due to feeling worried that something bad would happen and not wanting to ‘curse myself’. It also took me a while to figure out what I was doing project wise and how to go about posting without revealing I was pregnant; in the end I went for the ‘post all the projects I’ve ever done’ archive approach on my Instagram.

I had forgotten about how I felt during this photo, but having never been pregnant before every little pain made me nervous. Pregnancy is thought of as a beautiful time, which it is, but I found it very stressful – even before the pandemic.

I never went to get the cramps checked out. It could have been wind (I think I had forgotten the scenario so I never had to share hashtags about trapped wind, but after having a baby you talk about bodily functions A LOT) or it could have just been my uterus stretching (makes sense as I was growing a baby inside it) or something else.

It is said that a photo says a 1000 words, but I don’t think a picture can tell you everything or even that much sometimes. Maybe a picture just makes you think what you want to think based on your life experiences and personality. Show a picture to 100 people and I wonder what they would all say and how differing the opinions would be about what the image is really about. Obviously it depends on what the image is of – show a picture of a cat and I’m sure there would be a mixed crowd of ‘that’s cute’ and ‘I hate cats’.

These two sets of hashtags really show two different sides to the image and if you only see one set then you miss part of the story. How would you know that I was pregnant and stressing out about cramps just by looking at a picture of me in a hat? It’s true I don’t look happy, but I’m not about to open the can of worms that is ‘why don’t people smile in photos these days?’ Does it really matter though about only knowing part of the story? I’d forgotten half of it myself.

Anyways, I think using hashtags with my work really brings another level to the pictures, though whether people choose to read them or not is their choice.

I love text with photographs and back when I used to go to exhibitions (used to because of Covid) I’d often spend more time reading the accompanying image text rather than looking at an image. I wonder if this will change when I finally go to a show again – will I want to hang around? Will I be able to with a baby anyways? Will I feel comfortable using a public toilet and changing her in one? How will I feel about breastfeeding in public or will I just choose to express and bottle-feed her?

We shall have to wait and see…

Categories
Oh Me, Oh Mãe

What I Wore For My Four Night Hospital Stay After Giving Birth

So when I was in hospital I basically wore the same dress the whole time. After getting home I washed everything apart from it as I knew I wanted to photograph myself in it, though now I have decided to keep it as part of my ‘archive’ (I feel funny saying that even though I have so much work).

Anyways, it seems weird to continue my pregnancy project now I’m no longer pregnant, so with motherhood I have started a new project called Oh Me, Oh Mãe. I came up with the title whilst I was still pregnant as a play on the phrase oh me oh my. I tried with and without a comma and I seem to prefer it with one.

Mãe is mother in Portuguese (my husband is Portuguese and our baby is British-Portuguese, or Portuguese-British depending on who you ask). You pronounce mãe similarly to my, though you can listen to the pronunciation here and tell me I’m wrong. Maybe it’s more like myy.

A funny coincidence was that I listened to Devendra Banhart a lot in hospital and it wasn’t until getting home that I realised he has an album called Oh Me Oh My… It seems meant to be, though I was a bit discouraged as Tiago (my husband) had never heard the phrase oh me oh my before and didn’t like it for ages. Now he gets it and I think it is here to stay. If you ever need an honest non-artists opinion on something he is your guy!

So… the photo and hashtags (yes I think I am still doing the hashtags for some stuff, but I seem to be experimenting with other writing styles on different pictures).

What I Wore For My Four Night Hospital Stay After Giving Birth #WeHadPackedTheBagJustInCaseACoupleOfWeeksPreviouslyEvenThoughWeWerePlanningForAHomeBirth #IThoughtAtLeastEverythingIMightNeedEvenForHomeWouldBeInTheSamePlace #IKeptSayingWeShouldRevisitThemButWeNeverGotRoundToItEspeciallyAsSomeThingsWeNeededForEverydayUse #SoWhenICalledTheHospitalToSayMyWatersHadBrokeTheySaidToBringBagsInJustInCase #WeSpentHalfAnHourRushingRoundButIDidNotTakeItTooSeriously #INearlyDidNotPackThisDressAsItWasWhatIWasWearingInBedWhenMyWatersBroke #ItWasALittleWetAndItDidNotSmellSoIPutItInMyBagThinkingIWouldBeComingHomeSoonForMyHomeBirth #WellObviouslyIDidNotComeHomeAndWasInHospitalFor4Nights #AndILivedInThisDress #ICouldHaveAskedTiagoToBringMoreThingsButByTheTimeIThoughtAboutItIKnewMyStayWasComingToAnEnd #OriginallyIWasInHospitalDueToProblemsWithBreastfeedingAndThenBabyBGotJaundice #TheDressShowsColostrumStainsAndThenMilkStainsAfterMyMilkCameInOnDay3 #ItWouldHaveBeenEvenMessierThanThisButOftenISatWithMyDressOffToDoSkinToSkin #SoManyWomenTouchedMyBoobsDuringMyStayToHelpMeTryToFeedSoIDidNotCareAnymore #PlusAround6PeopleWereAtTheBirthPlusTiago #ItWasWeirdToSuddenlyBeAroundSoManyPeopleAfterHavingNotSeenMyFamilyFor3MonthsDueToCovid #MyCurtainWasNeverFullyClosedAsThereWasALightSwitchJustBehindItThatTheHospitalStaffUsed #SoPotentiallyPeopleCouldSeeInButIReallyDidNotCare #AfterAFewDaysIThoughtIBetterWearSomethingElseButItWasTooHot #TheOtherWomenOnTheWardProbablyJudgedMeForWearingAStainCoveredDress #ButSoManyCameAndWentBeforeMe #IDidNotWearMyWatchBecauseOfBreastfeeding #ISometimesWoreANursingBraButInTheBeginningIDidNotAndThenIUsedBreastPadsOnceMyMilkCameIn #IHadMyEyeMaskOnMyHeadAllTheTimeAndEvenAfterIGotHome #TheJokeWasIWasNotSleepingThoughAndIStillAmNotReally #IBoughtItAsItWasOnARecommendedHospitalListButIAlsoThoughtItWouldBeGoodForHomeAsIFindItHardToSleep #ItWasProbablyTheMostUsefulThingInMyHospitalBagInTheEndAndIAmUsingItAtHome #AndThenIWasGladThatIWoreMySandalsAndNotTrainers #SoEasyToJustSlipO

A few outtakes

(Though I’m thinking maybe it could be a set of images, I don’t know?)

I’m calling this one ‘zombie mum’ – can you tell I hadn’t slept much in the week+ since she was born? I don’t think I really slept for another week.
A classic head to waist-ish shot.
Mmm armpits… though I like the closeup as it kind of looks like a face – two eyes on my boobs and a bit of roundness around my belly as a mouth.

Comments

The whole picture has a similar vibe to my 21st April 2017 (Today’s Look) picture, which I did think about when I was doing the shoot. Different flat and a post-birth belly instead of a hot water bottle, toothpaste stains on one and colostrum/milk stains on the other. With 21st April 2017… it was the first time that I’d wrote a long piece of text to go with a photo, which definitely started to help me feel more confident with my own words.

21st April 2017 (Today’s Look) from Don’t Take Me Out Of My Melons (2017-18).

Old top that I don’t like wearing in public anymore as it took me too long to realise that if I lean over I flash my bra/boobs, trousers that I wore out once in public but felt self-conscious wearing so they are now in the homewear only pile (with toothpaste stains as I can’t seem to brush my teeth without making a mess anymore), 2 pairs of slippers (one – my pair – not really visible, boyfriend’s pair visible), no makeup (haven’t worn any makeup since July, wore makeup twice last year – once for a costume party and once for 1 wedding out of 3 that I attended), brushed hair that I washed yesterday (it’s usually every 4ish days), hairy legs as I haven’t ‘dealt’ with them since February (I went on holiday to warmer climates) and a hot water bottle for period pain as I try to avoid painkillers as much as possible (except when it comes to tooth pain – wisdom tooth removal is not pleasant). 

Also hidden: Bracelet that I made when I was a teenager, a watch (boyfriend’s one that he gave to me after my similar one broke – which was identical to one I bought in 2009, my parents also wear similar watches), a bra (fairly old, I hate bra shopping so I usually just wear the ones that my mum gets me for Christmas), armpit hair (my skin is sensitive, shaving is too much work and epilating hurts so I’m going to try to embrace the neatly trimmed armpit hair look this summer whilst being self-conscious about it), 2 x temporary medicated fillings (I’ve never been to the dentist as many times as I have this year), permanent fillings (wish I had looked after my teeth better – can’t be bothered to go and count them in the mirror), pants (I’ve never been into small underwear, these ones I don’t wear very often but I need to wash my clothes – they are meant to be not be visible through clothes but I still see them under the new trousers I bought so I’m too self-conscious to wear those too), pubic hair (I’ve never understood the prepubescent look/can’t be bothered with more pain), menstrual cup (wish I had bought one years before I did) and a liner (because the cup still isn’t perfect).

I guess walking around loads in front of people in a massively stain covered dress is something I wouldn’t have done pre-baby, but since having B I have changed so much already. I plan to do a photo and text about that soon.

Well you probably won’t catch me walking around Liverpool in it either, but my clothes definitely have more stains on them and I care less. With this project I don’t want to change how I look before doing a shoot if I’m suddenly in the mood. So far that has meant mainly just not retying my hair/brushing it, and my hair misbehaving has ruined a lot of shoots in the past so I guess they’re going to be slightly irritating pictures (I call myself a lazy perfectionist – love perfection, but get annoyed trying to achieve it).

I love it when everything is in ‘the right place’ in a photo and you’ve just got a bit of hair that is doing its own thing, and continues to do its own thing no matter how many times you brush it, restyle it (I don’t style my hair – but I guess more retying it and trying a lower ponytail or something) or try to tuck it away (that is a common approach of mine).

It seems weird posting pictures where there is a big focus on my boobs and all the stains on and around them. I was feeling really awkward about the nudity in my pregnancy project, but since giving birth I also care less. My work is not sexual and my boobs are finally being used for the purpose that I have them for. I remember in high school being mocked for having no boobs (two paracetamols on an ironing board, haha) and me saying ‘well they’re only made for babies anyways’ whilst crying on the inside.

(I feel the need to say I can totally understand why people choose not to breastfeed/use their breastmilk – it is definitely a journey, and if you don’t have kids or don’t want them then enjoy not being covered in stains and having sore nipples).

Rewritten 2003 diary entry for my 2013 project Your Mind & Body Is All That You’ve Got II.

I feel like this sums up my feelings about my misbehaving hair and having no boobs – I was happy having none though (if people had left me alone about it) and I still don’t think having boobs suits me. Time was a club that I don’t think I ever went to.

(I just thought about that calculator thing where the answer upside down is boobless).

I was not sure whether or not to start posting this new project whilst I’m still trying to finish posting my pregnancy project on Instagram, but I think I need to get on with it otherwise I’m going to be months behind with posting it – and B is already growing so fast!

I think that’s it for now… Thanks for reading 🙂


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Categories
Waiting

I Can Tell My Body Is Already Changing (6 weeks)

This is a post about the second image from my series Waiting For Things In A Time When You Rarely Wait For Things, where I documented my pregnancy from October 2019 to June 2020.

I Can Tell My Body Is Already Changing (6 weeks) from the series Waiting For Things In A Time When You Rarely Wait For Things.

#WellWeHadBeenTryingToGetPregnantSinceTheStartOfTheYear #WeHaveAWeddingToGoToInPortugalInJulyNextYearSoIThoughtWeShouldPauseThingsForABit #ButTiagoSaidWeWereBetterOffTrying #AndToBeFairIThoughtICouldNotGetPregnant #EvenThoughIHadABloodTestAtOvulationOnceAndTheySaidAllWasGood #SoIDecidedIWantedToBeLessStressedOutInLifeSoIStartedToMakeAnEffortToBeMoreRelaxed
#WhenMyPeriodWas4DaysLateIKnowSomethingWasUp
#SoIBoughtATest #AndIForgotIWasGoingToDoOneSoIHadToKeepDrinkingWaterAndEventuallyIManagedToGetAResultFromTheDamnThing
#AndTheCrossCameUpPrettyQuickThen
#AndIWasNotThatSurprised
#IDidNotHaveMuchOfAReaction
#IWasJustRelievedToKnowICouldGetPregnant #AndThenIJustGotRealStressedAboutWhatIfThingsGoWrong #IDoNotKnowHowPeopleDealtWithPregnanciesPreInternet #AnythingAndIAmCheckingIsThisNormal
#AnywaysICanTellMyBodyIsAlreadyChanging
#AndIHaveBeenFeelingSick
#MorningSicknessIsALieItStrikesAtAnytime #ButItIsEarlyDaysForMeSoItIsNotYetThatBad #IKnowINeedToEatMoreCalciumSoIAmIndulgingInCheddarOnSandwiches #WasTryingToCutOutSugarButWasEatingChutneyAndPickleSoAmHavingMoreMarmiteThanThoseNow
#AndIAmGoingOffFoods
#LikeDaalOrDalOrDahlWhichWeEatAllTheTimeUsually #AndMyFavouriteLunchOfASpicyBeanBurgerWithGherkinsTomatoesAndHoumousIsNotAsGreatAsItUsedToBe
#AndIHaveEatenThatWeeklyForYears
#AndIMeanYEARS
#AndICanNotDrinkMostOfMyLargeCollectionOfHerbalTeas #AsEverythingHasLicoriceInIt #SoItIsRooibosAndHoneybushEverydayForNowUntilIFindOtherOnes

Link to post about the first image.


A few outtakes

Very similar to the chosen image except I’m looking at the camera.

With shoots I end up taking a lot of images and with most of them it’s difficult to edit them down as the differences are so subtle. In the beginning I take a lot of pictures to make sure that I am in the right position – as central as possible as I am usually central-ish in my images. Then once I find something I do a lot of little variations and take enough to make sure that I ‘have the shot’. Now I’m debating if this is better than the one I chose but I think looking off makes me look a bit more thoughtful whereas this seems more confrontational? Maybe I’m talking rubbish. I can’t believe my hair used to be this long…

Your typical ‘I’m pregnant and here is my belly and I’m looking at it grow’ shot.

The whole project is full of belly shots and I think I realised how ridiculous a shot like this would be in the beginning, though does it really matter? No. Even though I have done nude projects I do feel awkward about sitting around in my pants for shoots, though less so after having 6 people at the birth of my child, and having my boobs prodded and poked by lots of women whilst trying to breastfeed in hospital.

I was wearing the pants that I was already wearing for the shoot, but guessing I changed them to black for them to be less distracting. This was taken before the others shown here.

This seems a bit too adventurous and belly squashing for a pregnancy picture. Even though it took about 9 months for me to get pregnant I then was doing lots of stupid things like falling over for a video repeatedly as I think I could not believe I was pregnant. Perhaps I knew I would not be able to do these more flexible poses for much longer which is why I milked it as much as possible with this shoot.


Comments

A big secret (that isn’t so secret and especially not now) about how I shoot for my self-portrait projects – generally I have no idea what I am going to do for a shoot.

My first few self-portraiture projects (Reality of Youth Going Backwards In Vain, One Is Not Like The Other, The Many Faces of JFA) were very controlled; I knew exactly what shot I needed. Well to a degree I guess as there were test shots and location changes for Reality of Youth and One Is Not, but I had more of a clue than I did for a lot of projects afterwards.

With this shoot I had no clue and looking back for outtakes I can see that, though the theme seemed to be that pink top that my younger sister gave me and being sat on the floor.

I play around and then when I find something that I like I ‘riff on it’ – yeah like a musician or something.

In 2010 after my BA I was shortlisted to take a portrait for the National Museum Wales and National Portrait Gallery. I travelled from Birmingham to Cardiff for the interview and proudly talked about how I don’t plan shoots and you could just see in their faces how disapproving they were, yet I kept going on. The thing is at university me and my friend Sarah (who started and runs We Are Hairy People) did fashion shoots all the time when we were in the mood and we generally had no plan; we were always winging it. I’d photograph and she would model. We would just pull random clothes from our wardrobes and mess about with usually quite good results. I feel the need to pull a photo out, so let me have a look…

Here are a few pictures from 2010.

Sarah in a dress my older sister gave me with the neighbour’s dog on the other side of the fence – definitely not planned.
Sarah with a Christmas tree that was in her garden – it was May.
Sarah with her housemate’s drum cymbal.

I feel like this post is going a long way away from where it was supposed to be. I’ve talked a lot about how random and made up my shoots are, but then again with my pregnancy project there have been shoots where I knew what I wanted to show.

Don’t be fooled (especially if you want to hire me and now are thinking I’m too risky – come back!) I guess I do plan things to an extent… now I think I am just saying this so you hire me.

No, what I mean to say is I have planned shoots more so with this project. For example: I had a blood test, I want to show that etc. I guess there was a reason why I did improv comedy in London, as much as sometimes I lack confidence I like just seeing what happens and what I come up with.

I did mention in my interview that when I do plan shoots I never like the images, but I guess they provide a starting point.

With shoots if you don’t try then you don’t get – if I don’t do a shoot then I have no pictures to possibly like or dislike. If I do then I might have a shot that I can use or at least have an idea for something to recreate. With this project I took poses/shots that I liked and recreated them later on, especially if one was good but I felt like another one was better. Though towards the end of the project I got more indecisive and often chose two images from shoots – perhaps because I was running out of time to photograph myself pregnant.

Anyways, some of the hashtags are kind of similar to the first image from the series. I had planned for this to be the first image, but I then remembered that I had done the previous shoot and wrote hashtags for it. It was hard knowing what to write for the first one as a lot of it had already been said here. There was a noticeable difference within myself though, especially with feelings of morning sickness beginning to start. I had forgotten that I got food aversions that early.

Everyone always asks about cravings, though I had never really heard about food aversions. I seemed to hate everything I had ever loved – I was really upset about not being able to eat my favourite lunch that I had been eating for YEARS. At one point I could only eat pasta and vegetables for dinner, as everything else made me feel sick. Luckily I could start to eat different things just as the Great Pasta Shortage of 2020 rolled in, otherwise that would have been a very grim time…

It was hard to imagine myself ever being pregnant, let alone imagining myself pregnant during a pandemic, but I guess that’s something I’ll talk about again and again during these posts…


Thanks for reading 🙂

Categories
Motherhood

Hospital Times

Sorry I couldn’t be bothered to come up with a more fun title. Monster Hospital by Metric came into my head, but the hospital was great (well from what I remembered when I wasn’t sleep deprived). I Miss Your Bones by Hospitality also came to mind…

Well, because the diary with notes (in between [ ]s) format seemed to work alright for my birth story I thought I’d do the same for my hospital stay, though I was a bit tired so it’s very patchy and short. Since then I have stopped writing in my diary as I can’t be bothered, but I did buy a 5 year line a day diary. It’s actually 5ish lines, but once I get writing it’s not enough.

It’s weird how quickly the memories start to fade, but also because I was in hospital for 4 nights not doing much and not really sleeping, it felt like one long day to me.

My days did basically consist of trying to breastfeed, expressing, feeding B, trying to sleep, changing nappies, crying, talking to my husband, washing my stitches, replying to messages in the middle of the night as that was when I felt in the mood and yeah not much else. My daily highlight was ordering what I was going to eat for lunch and dinner (and eating), which was mainly butternut squash curry. Highly recommended if you ever find yourself at Liverpool Women’s Hospital!

On with the story…


Diary entry 2 days after the birth at 11:11am called ‘First full day’.

B and Me (painted her face blue as I don’t want to show her face).

Didn’t sleep much. Can’t really recall the night. Just a lot of trying to breastfeed.

[I was initially kept in hospital as B was struggling to latch on for breastfeeding. I think because of Covid they are hesitant to discharge women who are struggling to feed as there is less 1 to 1 help available.]

Being told to set an alarm for 2 to 3 hours to breastfeed. Slept for an hour and a bit at most.

Thought she would need more feeding so didn’t want to sleep but she just kept sleeping.

Been getting the hang of hand expressing at least.

Cannula that was put in exactly 2 hours before I gave birth. They didn’t rush to take it out, so I kept knocking it all the time. I might have a scar for a while, but I kind of like it.

Toast and jam for breakfast.

Breastfeeding.

Lunch.

Before I didn’t let my curry loyalty waver beyond the butternut squash one.

Waited for the [breastfeeding support] lady for hours. Was waiting for her to try feeding so didn’t sleep. She was good when she came though.

Breastfeeding, though how much feeding was going on I am not sure. I was probably listening to Devendra Banhart as I seemed to get really into him whilst I was in hospital.

Then B slept a bit. I had a 10 min nap. I thought it had been an hour…

Video called Nan and [younger sister] briefly.

Planned to nap but had a shower then dinner came.

Shift changed. They said they will monitor the feeding hourly. I need to sleep. She has been asleep for an hour now. I’m sat on my stitches. They changed the room around and have got me to sit on a chair instead.

Changed 2 pooey nappies today by myself. So proud. [I was super nervous about changing a nappy for the first time. I asked people to show me at least a few times before I did it myself…]

Yeah my day is just sitting around and trying to breastfeed. [And taking pictures of B and selfies].

Called Tiago a few times. He has been tidying the flat, food shopping and cooking.

Can’t be bothered to reply to so many messages. Will do tomorrow.

I got super into tracking things with the Huckleberry app, though I mainly just use it to see when I last pumped/breastfed now.

[Well, that was gripping wasn’t it?]


Diary entry 3 days after birth at 4.37pm called ‘Yesterday and today’.

Didn’t write yesterday. I probably won’t be able to remember everything.

The infamous butternut squash curry (and the apple and raspberry crumble I think).

Plans changed. Tried to get into a good routine of trying to breastfeed, hand express, sleep and repeat.

Then she got tested for jaundice and she had to start photo therapy. She hated the machine. Crying so loud etc. Had to take all her clothes off which she hates. Then I couldn’t comfort her etc.

B in her cool eye mask – I was forever moving it to sit properly.

I cried in front of someone who was sent to do checks on her.

The Beast

My milk came in so I started to use the big express machine.

[I called it The Beast. I could have used it for expressing colostrum, but I only found out once a saw another woman who had been in the hospital for a day. (You don’t produce much colostrum so with at home machines most of it will just get stuck in the parts rather than make it into the bottle).]

B in the machine. She was only allowed out to be fed or have her nappy changed.
Me trying to comfort B.

Breastfeeding still wasn’t happening. Got so tired. Students fed her from the bottle whilst I slept. [The breastfeeding support service] suggested giving her a bit of expressed milk first, then breastfeeding then expressing. I don’t know.

Video Call With Pai (Day 2)

I cried in front of someone else. B had a jaundice test at 10pm. It came back as below therapy level. It was repeated at 6am. She was taken out of the machine.

Proudly capturing an image my expressed milk. Looking at these photos I almost believe the light was blue, but it was bright white.

It needs to be repeated later.

I feel a bit abandoned.

I see people come and go. I hear people being checked on. No one has checked on me today. [I am guessing they assumed I was fine as I had been there for ‘so long’ and a lot of new women were coming onto the ward, so they needed to be sorted out which is fair enough.]

I don’t feel confident. I need a new plan of action [for feeding]. I feel awkward calling someone. A woman is say 2m from me and she can’t hear me crying. I just want her to turn around and check on me. Need to eat. Need to prep to feed.

It’s okay, you don’t need to tell me how beautiful I am when I cry.

Stitches hurt. No one asks me if I want pain relief.

[I thought about pressing my call button a few times, but I just felt awkward/uncomfortable pressing it. Occasionally I did press it, but then cancelled my request. I did also have times where I just didn’t care and pressed it a lot though.]


Diary entry on same day at 8.17pm called ‘Today part 2’.

Had an hour-ish nap. Cried again. Ate dinner whilst crying on the phone to Tiago. [So awkward, was trying to be quiet about it but I needed to talk to someone and get all the previous entry’s stuff off my chest.]

A woman called Cheryl came to weigh B. She said she had come when I was asleep so came back later. I said she should have woken me.

When she came back [after going to get her equipment] I said I wasn’t trying to be rude.

[I think I came across as quite aggressive as I had felt so abandoned and I spent a lot of time waiting for people to come to see me about things. Typically the one time I slept was the one time I missed someone.]

We talked about everything whilst I expressed. She said she would help me with breastfeeding and bottle feeding.

Use What Your Mama Gave You – A Milk Warming Rack.

B’s weight loss was 4 percent. 10 percent is bad so it’s great.

Expressed alright. Breastfed her well for 10 mins. Put her on the bottle for 20ml.

Feeling so much happier. Expressed my right boob for 20ml more as it started to leak and I love expressing ha. [I got really obsessed with how many millilitres I was producing and expressing made me feel like one day I would be alright with breastfeeding.]

Should nap now. I have an hour-ish before I have to think about it all again.

Yesterday I discovered the nursery across the corridor. I love washing the top of the pump and getting supplies.

[I didn’t wander away from the ward except for going into this room which had a fridge, a sink and breastfeeding supplies. It was was my little escape where I washed the pump parts, got more bottles, and cotton wool. It gave me something to do and I got really into it. I also had my set-up for nappy changing – tub for cotton wool, tub of water and tub for dirty/used stuff. When I got home I was stressed out until I set up something similar.]

B’s eyes got swabbed. [She had gunky eyes which is common with newborns. The gunk was sent off for testing. She still has gunk and the GP recommended doing tear duct massages where you rub the side of the nose.]

Feeling more confident with handling her now. [I really was scared to pick her up for a while, and worried about how well I was supporting her neck/head.’

Still can’t believe I have a baby. Can’t wait to see Tiago with her.

Love him so much. Can’t believe we’ve been apart for so long. I feel like my world is this room. [We had been together for the whole of lockdown and this was the longest we’d been apart, I also felt bad that he was missing out on B’s early days.]

Need to sleep. Want to chat to people but need to rest.

I didn’t sleep as much as the impression of wearing an eye mask most of the time gave off.

Diary entry on 4 days after giving birth called ‘Home Day’, but I did not write anything.

[I’m guessing I planned to but just didn’t get round to it. Will fill in the gap by reading messages that I sent Tiago. (This section ended up being the longest – I should probably go through and add in more information for the other sections, but this post is long enough and I’ve spent enough time writing it).

An early morning hospital bathroom selfie.

So at 3am I said ‘Jaundice score only went up a few points in 12 hours. And since then she has been feeding more. Midwife is just plotting it on a chart to see if we can go home today.’

Then 20 minutes later I added ‘So B needs to have a test. Will be sent with a courier at 6 and should get results by 9. Either way we are going home today. If the test results are ‘bad’ then we get sent home with folic acid that we need to give B.’ I love that I was getting told this info at 3am, but I guess they only told me as I was awake. In the end B didn’t need folic acid.

Not sure what the point of this was, I remember there being some point. My eyelids look a bit swollen so maybe it was that?

At 4.30am I could hear a man outside yelling Karen or something. No idea… Sadly he wasn’t outside our window as that would have been far too interesting/entertaining.

A lot of our conversations evolved around ordering stuff that we thought we needed. A room thermometer, a body thermometer, nipple compresses, anything and everything.

At 10am a woman came round who gave the usual discharge spiel – do 10 sets of kegels 10 times a day (I texted Tiago to remind me, though I just do them when I remember about them), use contraception as you are super fertile (hearing a woman opposite saying she had a 10 month old was enough for me to listen) etc.

I told Tiago not to rush to get out the door as I knew discharge would be slow and I was finally talking to some women on my ward. One wouldn’t order any lunch, so I told the staff on duty whilst she was in the bathroom and they arranged some food for her. [I wasn’t trying to snitch on her, she wanted to eat but wasn’t sure about hospital food and I knew another day of her just eating crisps wouldn’t help her heal.]

It was weird how I went from feeling super scared about being around strangers after 3 months at home due to lockdown, to kind of forgetting about the pandemic and just wanting to talk to everyone. Everyday different women were helping me with breastfeeding, so I was being very close to people (they were touching my boobs in order to help me). I had forgotten how social I could be and I think motherhood was already changing me for the better, though obviously I had had some wobbly moments which was mainly down to lack of sleep.

Last hospital supper – butternut squash curry and the jam sponge pudding. The pudding was recommended by an NCT friend, but for some reason I couldn’t see it on the menu until that morning. It was worth the wait.

At 1.15pm I said discharge was happening soon. I was going through my routine (expressing, feeding, changing nappy etc) in order to not ‘f up my progress’ and asked Tiago to bring my sunglasses as I hadn’t been outside in a while (my eyes are quite sensitive as it is).

I wanted a photo of where I’d spent the last 4 nights, though I’d already started to pack up. B, The Beast, Me, and my stuff.
Ready to leave. I never even used the tv…

Tiago arrived at 2.30pm. I rang my call button and a woman arrived to take us down to reception. There was more security than when we first came to the hospital on the first day and Tiago had to wait outside the building. I walked through to get him and said to the security guard ‘that’s my husband’ whilst pointing to Tiago and he was allowed in with the car seat with his mask on. We put her in the car seat and went to leave, then I remembered we had to sort out the parking so I ran to do that and then we left. I thought we might have to sign out or something so we went to the desk where Tiago had had to use hand sanitiser. They asked us where we were going. I said ‘home’ and they laughed as they thought we were just arriving at the hospital.

T & B catching up while I sorted out parking.

It was surreal to see Tiago again. I had been living in some weird universe where I was a Mum, in a hospital, surrounded by strangers and without the one constant person in my life. I hadn’t felt lonely though as I had B to focus on.

On my way out of the hospital I saw the Princess Diana bust that I had walked past when I first arrived. When I was younger I was told that I looked like her a lot (I had short hair for a bit which was when the comments were at their peak) and seeing that she had opened the hospital gave me some kind of comfort. It made me smile and I took a picture to remember it.

Princess Diana opened the hospital in 1995.

It was weird to be in the car during daylight – since lockdown I had only been in the car once, which was on the way to hospital at 2.30 in the morning.

We got home and after feeling in hospital that I couldn’t remember what the flat looked like, I quickly adjusted to being back it was the first time we had had a baby in there.

Carrot cake with message (and an affirmation card) from Tiago, at home.

Though I never planned to be in hospital initially (I wanted a homebirth) and my visit was nothing like I thought a trip might be, I think it was the best thing that happened to me. I had no recent experience with a newborn and was nervous about everything. Being there for 4 nights with no visitors I just learned as much as I could and came home confident with handling, nappy changing, expressing, bottle feeding and breastfeeding. I was then able to teach what I had learned to Tiago. I think if I had had a homebirth and been able to stay at home, early parenthood would have been a lot more stressful. My hospital stay was up and down, but I wouldn’t have changed anything.

Thanks again to everyone at Liverpool Women’s Hospital and Bambis (babies and mums breastfeeding information and support) for their care and help during our stay.]

(Turns out that I like to use the word whilst and that it is ‘largely outdated’ – never realised I that I use it so much.)


If you have any questions, please let me know in the comments below or via a social media message.

At some point I plan to write more about feeding as it is still a cause of stress (for me anyways). I feel like everyday brings a new combination of breastfeeding and bottle feeding (expressed milk). I guess it is just doing what works for us each day.

Thanks for reading, and please share it with anyone who might find it helpful 🙂

Categories
Waiting

The Day After I Found Out (4+ weeks)

During my pregnancy I made a project called Waiting For Things In A Time When You Rarely Wait For Things. It consists of 84 images, and I plan to post them all here on this blog with their accompanying hashtag diary texts, with the addition of outtakes and any comments I feel like making.

I hope that the project is of interest to people and that it may be helpful in some way – particularly to those who may be pregnant or someone whose partner/close friend/family member is pregnant.

As it will take me some time to post them all, if you wish to read ahead you can see the project on my Instagram account, though at the time of writing this I still have 16 images left to post from the project.

This is the first image from the series.

The Day After I Found Out (4+ weeks)
from the series Waiting For Things In A Time When You Rarely Wait For Things.

#SoIAmGoingThroughMyPicturesACoupleOfMonthsAfterTryingToEditTheProjectSoFar
#AndApparentlyIHaveBeenWritingHashtagsForEveryShootOnTheDayApartFromThisOne
#WritingThemOnTheDayIsMuchBetterButOhWell
#ILikeThatIAmWearingThisDress
#NotSureIfItWasAnAccidentOrOnPurpose
#ButItIsTheSameDressAsTheOneIAmWearingInMyPictureCalled
#ItSeemsLikeEveryoneIsPregnantExceptMe
#InMySeriesCalledUlteriorMonologue
#WhichIsAboutWantingToTalkAboutWantingToBePregnantButFeelingTooAwkwardTo
#TheDayBeforeWeHadGoneFoodShopping
#IHadBoughtCheeseThatYouAreNotSupposedToEatIfYouArePregnant
#AndTwoPregnancyTests
#IBoughtTheTestsAsIMyPeriodWasLateAndIWasHopeful
#ButBoughtTheCheeseAsIWasNotThatHopeful
#WellActuallyIWasConfusedAsItHadStartedAndStopped
#IOnlyHadATinyBitOfTheCheeseAsIWasLikeWellWhatIf
#AndThenTriedToDoATest
#ButForgotIWasGoingToDoOne
#SoIWasJustInTheBathroomForAgesDrinkingLotsOfWaterAndWaiting
#FunTimes
#ThenICameOutOfTheBathroomInShockIThink
#AndCalledTiagoIntoTheBathroomAsWeWereAtMyNans
#HeSaidHeDidNotEvenKnowWhatWasTheResultByLookingAtTheTest
#WritingThisNowIHaveABitOfABump
#OnTheDayITookAPictureOfMyBellyAndToBeFairIThoughtILookedABitPregnant
#ButMyBellyUsuallyLookedLikeThat
#AndNowIKnowMyFoodBabiesLookABitDifferentToABabyBump
#ButFoodBabiesWithABabyBumpJustLookLikeABigBabyBump
#AnywaysHereIWasAbout4AndABitWeeksPregnantOrSoTheFolderTellsMe
#IFindItOddTheWayTheyCalculateItAsPartOfThatIWasNotPregnant

A couple of outtakes


Comments

Photoshop froze during an image resize and showed this in the preview window.

I’m currently writing this with my newborn daughter (well she is a few weeks old now, when does a newborn stop being a newborn?) lying asleep on me, as represented by the picture above that I took with my phone that then got glitched by Photoshop.

In these pictures I am in shock at being pregnant, whereas now a few weeks into motherhood I am still a bit in shock that I am a mother. Writing a tweet yesterday that started with ‘Had to register my daughter for the doctors’ just felt bizarre…

Anyways, I took a pregnancy test whilst visiting family for a weekend and was not home until the next day. I did the shoot, but then didn’t look at the images for a while which explains not writing the hashtags at the time.

When I found out I was pregnant I was finishing off my project Ulterior Monologue, which was about wanting to be pregnant but not feeling able to talk about it. This was when I first started to do these hashtag diary entries, but with Ulterior Monologue I wasn’t always as honest as I wanted to be because of the awkwardness I felt around talking about wanting to be pregnant – which is where the project title comes from. I felt awkward as we had not been trying that long (it took about 9 months in the end to get pregnant and the doctors say it usually happens by the end of 2 years), but it was the only thing I could think about. We had just moved to Liverpool and I didn’t really know anyone and felt a bit lost. I was also trying to get over the stress of living in London and ended up signing for an online CBT course in anxiety not long before I found out I was pregnant.

With announcing that I was trying to get pregnant I felt like people’s comments would just annoy me and I knew people who had been trying for a long time to get pregnant, and I did not want to upset anyone. I was also worried about not getting offered jobs/being overlooked for work if people knew that I was trying to get pregnant, as they might have assumed that I soon would be.

I did do a couple of shoots after knowing I was pregnant that are part of that Ulterior Monologue; I guess because I knew I wouldn’t be sharing my news anytime soon and so I wanted to have work to post in the meantime. I ended up announcing my pregnancy (on social media anyways) when I was around 20 weeks pregnant and at the point where I felt like I wasn’t cursing myself by saying it out loud to a ‘crowd’. Until then I posted all my self-portraiture projects and video works on Instagram – I have a lot so it definitely passed the time, but I was so fed up of doing it by the end.

The hashtags mention wearing the same dress as an image from Ulterior Monologue which is called It Seems Like Everyone Is Pregnant Except Me. I don’t think I did this intentionally (like the hashtags say), but it’s a nice coincidence. It Seems Like…‘s hashtags talked the most about wanting to be pregnant, but still downplayed it.

It Seems Like Everyone Is Pregnant Except Me from the series Ulterior Monologue.

The next picture I took for Waiting For Things… was when I was 6 weeks pregnant and after that I really started to document myself – usually at least twice a week. I think being in disbelief and expecting something bad to happen was also a factor in the gap between the first and second images.

More on that picture in the next pregnancy post.