Dear (insert your name here),
You are a loving, dedicated mom and you spend ALL of your energy, plus some, caring for that beautiful family of yours. Your life is demanding, chaotic, and it's hard to find time for yourself. Sometimes you cry because you are so tired of laundry, dishes and needy children, and other times you cry because those kids are growing too fast and you desperately wish there was a pause button. You love that family with everything you are.
You know your kids are only little once, and you really, really want this precious time documented. You want to have beautiful pictures of their sweet little toothless smiles and dimpled hands to hold and look at when they are grown. But, you dread getting in front of the camera yourself. You might have some extra weight, hate your hair right now, or feel like your clothes aren't cute enough. Maybe you recently did something incredible like giving birth to a baby, but still feel like a swollen oompa loompa and don't want that documented. You aren't sure what to wear, and feel awkward in front of the camera. You don't want to see yourself in a photograph because you are terrified to face those imperfections staring back at you. So, sometimes it's easier just to avoid pictures altogether.
I get it. I COMPLETELY get it. I have felt aaaallll of those things. Those feelings are very real, and very scary.
But please let me tell you what I see when I photograph you. Where you see an imperfect body, I see a strong, capable, beautiful body that has created and housed another human being, given birth, and spent almost every minute since caring for that child. What an amazing, selfless thing! I see your arms envelop your crying child and make everything right, your toddler bury his face in your chest, and your husband lovingly glance at you. I see you constantly putting your family's needs before your own. I see that to your family, you are EVERYTHING. You are the center of their world. You are beautiful. You are more than enough.
Let me say that again. To your family, you are EVERYTHING.
When I see you worry about the way you look, my heart aches for you. I know those feelings all too well. We, as women, are so hard on ourselves! But I want more than anything to give you my "outsider" perspective. And that perspective is full of so much love. Your worth is no way dependent on the way you look, and those "imperfections" matter so much less than you think. I know they feel like the world to you, but other people don't even notice them. What they notice is the wonderful, interesting, loving, beautiful person that you are.
I beg of you-- please be more gentle with yourself.
And please, get in those pictures! Play with your kids, kiss your husband, let go of your worries and laugh. Try to relax and be your wonderful self. I promise that someday you will treasure those pictures, and those memories. Looking at them will bring you right back to this precious time in your life. Because not only are your kids changing, you are changing too! Your story matters as much as theirs does.
And if you don't want to do it for yourself, do it for your kids. They deserve to have pictures of you tickling them, and smothering them in kisses. Visual evidence of your love to carry with them, and show to their own kids someday.
Whatever you do, please don't let society's definition of what you should look like rob you of precious pictures with your kids. Be visible, and document your own story. You deserve it.
All my love,