I’ve never been one for taking selfies. Yes, the odd group shot here and there, but I don’t think I’d ever done a true solo selfie before I fell pregnant. It just wasn’t my thing, it always felt a bit contrived, not to mention that it would be unfair to force a close up photo of my face on to the public.
But since I fell pregnant in February last year, I’ve taken more selfies than I care to admit. Although I do admit it, because if it weren’t for me taking pictures of myself, adult Max could well doubt whether I’m his Mum at all, such would the lack of evidence have been.
And I certainly don’t think I’m anything special here, as the more I speak to my friends the more I realise that my husband is about average on the scale of giving a shit and not giving a shit about having sentimental memories of this phase of our life. This isn’t a husband-bashing post by any means, it’s the way he is, the way many of them are, but I think many women could relate to what I’m feeling here.
It’s something I now remember my Mum always commenting on on family holidays – “can someone take my picture please or no-one would ever know I was here” – and as a kid I didn’t understand it but now, even moreso since having Max, I completely get it and I feel bad that she went through all of those years of having to ask to have a picture taken with her kids, or with her husband, or just her being her natural self in a beautiful or special place.
Because no-one likes having to ask to have their photo taken, no-one I know at least. I want to look back at photos with Max, and pictures of my pregnant self, and see the real emotion in my face and remember what I was thinking and feeling in that moment. That’s impossible to capture when you’ve had to ask someone to take a photo and you’ve plastered a forced smile on your face with a dead look behind your eyes as you forget everything you were feeling and focus on suck up your double chin and getting your best angle.
On a more practical note, why can’t men get the hang of taking a minimum of ten rapid fire photos in one go and then letting you choose the best. Don’t take one photo then hand the camera back because I assure you I will hate it. And if I have to ask you to take the picture, don’t then stand your ground shouting ‘SMILE’ at me until I give up on all attempts at looking natural and admit defeat by staring dead pan down the lens, wishing I hadn’t bothered.
If I insist you don’t take my picture because I have no make up on, or feel fat, or have just given birth, do it anyway. This Facebook post by Little Boo-Teek is spot on – I even sent it to my husband but it made no impact whatsoever – and is basically a succinct version of what I wanted to say in this post.
Just as I sat to write this post we had a moment which perfectly summed up my feelings on this subject. I spend every day with Max, giving him tummy time and trying everything I can to get him lifting his head and do a baby push up. I persevere, stay patient and nurture him, as I’m supposed to do as Mummy. He’s just done it for the first time (I cried) while playing on the floor with his Daddy. I was straight down there taking photos and filming the whole thing, with Daddy in the background. Don’t get me wrong I’m over the moon that he did it and am not even bothered that he did it for the first time while playing with my husband and not me, but that snapshot of a milestone, that memory that meant so much to me, will forever be captured without me in it.
I guess that’s the story of a Mother’s life and I need to get over it, but is it really too much to ask for them to pick up the camera and take a few snaps without being asked? I might have felt like a whale at the time, but even now I look back on those photos I took of myself in the mirror during pregnancy and think they’re amazing, not because I look great but because I’m growing our son and it’s a pretty incredible feat of nature when you think about it. I just wish the look on my face wasn’t obscured by an iPhone, and wish there was at least one that my husband had chosen to take because he thought I looked beautiful.
I’m sad that we have no photos of my husband and I with Max when he had just been born. I have no photos with my newborn baby where you can see my face. I looked horrendous of course, but now I’d give anything to see a picture of my face after meeting my son for the first time, because I know it would have spoken a thousand words and would bring back all of the feelings I had in that moment which will soon be forgotten. If ever there was a moment I wish he’d wanted to capture, it was that one.
So I’ve become a Selfie Mum because if I hadn’t, I wouldn’t have any pictures of my son and I together. They might not be natural but they’re something I can look back on and can share on social media to show how proud I am that this is my little boy and look how god damn gorgeous he is.
So please, if you’re reading this, just take the photo. In fact, take ten.