My third pregnancy felt never-ending.
My sons, aged four and two, were running me ragged, while the third was zapping my energy from inside. I had a host of unpleasant pregnancy symptoms and was melting in the heatwave.
Then my husband Simon had a brainwave – why didn't we book a session with a photograher? Not any photographer mind, but one who specialised in scantily clad pregnant women.
My body ached, my skin was blotchy and sleep had eluded me for weeks. All I could still fit into was an overstretched pair of jogging bottoms.
Did I feel like following in Demi Moore's footsteps? Did I heck.
But my husband would not let the idea lie and insisted that I look at the website of photographer, Cecelia Magill.
I was blown away. There on the site was an impressive online exhibition of pregnant women. These women looked happy, relaxed and gorgeous. But could I see myself among them?
The glowing stage had long gone and I felt full to bursting. Even at my most svelte, I would not have considered stripping for the camera. Plus the humungous undies that had been through three pregnancies and a zillion rounds in the wash were not really up to the task.
Nevertheless, Mr Enthusiastic kept up the pressure until I agreed to speak to Cecelia. Worn down, I conceded. We had a good chat and Cecelia said she generally meets women in the comfort of their own homes. When I asked about the nudity, she told me it was not compulsory.
I felt relieved and a little less resistant. Though I have always been camera shy, I liked the idea of a keepsake of the pregnancy, which would probably be my last. I invited Cecelia over, but made no promises about the birthday suit.
It was a Saturday, I was exhausted and the house was a tip. I considered cancelling, then Simon offered to take the kids out, leaving me to primp and preen. I figured that if my hair and face looked good, it may distract from the enormous belly and boobs.
Cecelia, who also works with The Birth Company, was warm and friendly, which did wonders for my nerves. After a cup of tea and a chat, we ventured in to my bedroom. Under instructions, I spread myself out on the bed as Cecelia took shot after shot, all the while assuring me that I looked lovely. Happy to believe her, I got quite into it until suddenly a mad impulse took hold.
"Shall I take my top off," I asked, barely believing my own ears.
She said it would make for some great shots, but left it up to me. Seizing the moment, I stripped to my underwear. She clicked away, then asked how I felt about ditching the parachutes and using my hands for cover. I wasn't sure they would stretch that far, but... ping... and it was off.
I glided downstairs as Cecelia kept snapping. Sunlight was streaming in, the backdoor was open and I was posing like a wannabe glamour model. Cecelia suggested we go outside, though to spare my neighbours the embarrassment I was allowed to get dressed first. While I did so, Cecelia battled her way through the jungle to a secluded spot at the back where we have an old hammock seat.
No sooner had I lowered myself into it, then the front door slammed shut. The boys charged outside, curious to know what I was doing and who this woman was. They twisted me around and swung me back and forth. Though hectic, it turned into a lovely afternoon, and all the while Cecelia was there recording those special moments.
Nathan was born three weeks later. The buzz and excitement of having a new baby took hold and the memory of that day soon evaporated. So it was a pleasant surprise when some time later Cecelia emailed me with a link to our own private gallery. The pictures were perfect, especially those with the boys and their bump of a brother. Looking back on it now, I'm so pleased that I did not give in to my instincts and instead allowed my husband to twist my arm. It may not always have seemed so at the time, but pregnancy is a magical time that we now have captured on camera for ever.
As well as pregnant women, Cecelia Magill photographs newborns, children and families.
Visit www.ceciliamagillphotography.com or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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