Maternity pictures

We've wanted to take my maternity photos for quite some time, but the skies have been grey and cloudy in our neck of the woods, day after day, when the sun was setting, so we kept postponing it until we could get that ideal soft, glowy light.  I wouldn't advise other women to wait until their 39th week to take maternity pictures.  Of course, there's that risk of not even making it to 39 weeks and then if you do, you just might feel so fat and swollen, the last thing you want to do is pose for the camera.

But then again, maybe doing my hair, and putting on makeup, and wearing a dress made me step out of my self-pity and into embracing the beauty of late pregnancy, as least for one evening.  Pregnancy has been such a paradox for me.  One day I feel so disconnected with my body and I have no idea what it's doing and the next I feel beautiful and in awe of what this body of mine is capable of.  Unfortunately, our culture seems to tell only one side of this narrative, focusing so much on the negative and "gross" parts of pregnancy.  If you tell a friend how much you love your body or that you actually like parts about being pregnant, you're likely to get an eye roll or a stare of unbelief.  This is why I love the trend of maternity photos in our generation.  They can make us appreciate the beauty of this whole process and the incredible power of our bodies.  It's a great way to bring about the other, positive side of the pregnancy narrative.

So even though I'm at 39 weeks, my toes look like baby sausages, by body is puffy all over, and I feel more immobile than ever, I'm still thankful that I can look at these pictures and see myself as beautiful.

A big shout-out to my husband, Eric Kreutter, for taking these photos, for having lots of patience, and for making me feel beautiful when I am all too self-critical.

P.S. I thought about posting a bloopers reel of really bad photos, but decided not to do that to myself.  There is a reason photographers go through the photos themselves and choose the best ones to show you.  Maybe some day I'll pull them out for a good self-deprecating laugh, but I'm just going to stick with the positive for now.

Edit: Ok, Eric talked me into posting just one blooper, totally unedited.  Enjoy.

maternity blooper


People often ask me if I’ve had any cravings in pregnancy and, knowing they are referring to food cravings, my response has always been, “Actually…not really.”  Although this is true when it comes to food, what I don’t mention is that I have had many cravings, just not culinary ones.

I’ve tried to listen to these cravings, nonetheless.  Some are new and some are not surprising, but I trust them inherently and have tried to hold a sense of curiosity about where they will lead.

I have craved…

...water.  I hardly ever swim, but I went to the pool a couple times a week in my second trimester.  There was something about immersing myself in water that felt natural and soothing and I couldn’t ignore it.  Sometimes I wouldn’t even swim.  I would just float, look up at the sky, and appreciate the water encompassing me.  Staying in my family's cabin on our pond has been a major bonus.

…books.  I spend some time in the mornings and evenings reading, and usually some stolen moments throughout the day.  Although this isn’t so unusual, I have sped through more books than normal and can’t help but buying more!

…pottery.  I haven’t thrown pottery since high school and even then, I took only a couple of classes.  But for some reason, I’ve badly wanted to get my hands on some clay and mold it into a form.  I finally found a pottery class at a local high school and although the teacher isn’t very enthusiastic about helping a newbie and I’m the ultimate novice, my craving is being fulfilled.  The first class left me frustrated and I thought twice about going back, but this week I tried to let go of expectation and just focus on the feel of the clay, the spinning of the wheel, and how the form changes under the pressure of my hands.  Being present in it was somewhat hypnotizing and it was just what I wanted.

…breath.  I catch myself wanting to breathe deeply.  The best way I can explain it is I have wanted to drink in air, even to chug it!

…knitting.  I finally picked up knitting again for the first time in years and I carry my projects with me nearly everywhere I go, sneaking in a few stitches or rows in car rides, during coffee house chats with friends,  and while watching TV or listening to a podcast.


Call me crazy, but I find these cravings as strong as I’ve heard other women explain their food cravings during pregnancy.  I’m as ravenous about finishing a book as some women are about a peanut butter sandwich with pickles.  Instead of sending my husband out at midnight to pick me up something from Taco Bell, I stay up half the night just to complete part of a knitting project.

I’m not sure what will happen to these impulses once the baby comes, but I have appreciated the opportunity for the creativity and health they have brought into my life during this season.

Our next big adventure...

My husband, Eric, and I have taken several adventures together - from the traveling the Middle East, all throughout East Africa, and across America, exploring this world lets us also explore ourselves.  And next year, we have another huge adventure planned - one very different from setting off to a far-away place.  It is one of the most common, but life-transforming journeys of all time, so we've been told...

Next April, we're going to have a baby!

Remember that trip we took to Congo earlier this year?  Well, we spent one night in Rwanda before crossing the border into Congo and that night we found out the news for ourselves.  I felt blessed to have a week apart from my every day life, disconnected from the digital world, and relaxing amidst the stunning Congolese scenery.  It gave me a chance to process this big news, to reflect on what this new life will mean to me, to us, and what intention I wanted to take into the next 9 months.

The Journey of Birth is one of going deep within oneself, trusting the inner process, surrender (doing nothing), transformation, and bringing forth life from the temple of one’s own self.”
— Baraka Bethany Elihu,

I came back to Kampala knowing that not only was a new physical life gestating inside me that I'll soon give birth to, but a new identity for me as well - that of a mother.  Since that time, I've had a strong desire to wrap up in a cocoon and let this newness develop.  I've wanted to withdraw inward and start to carve away all that is unnecessary in my life.  It's been a great time to reflect on what is truly important and to make steps to keep those things close to me while peeling off what is redundant and not needed.

I have craved solitude and easiness of life.  Of course, the many physical changes have made me very tired and hungry, so I've just craved the time to give myself what my body wants - rest and nourishment.  I haven't exactly kept this promise of inward retreat to myself like I thought I would. The last few months have been very busy and I haven't had the time and space to wrap up in my desired cocoon, but the intention is still there, which is a big reason I needed my Weekend of Solitude - so I could come back to that hope.

A little tadpole - our 7 week ultrasound

12 week ultrasound

So, here we go!  We have this new, exciting adventure looming in front of us and there is so much to think about, to plan for, to contemplate.  There are things to learn and fears to face, but I anxiously await it all and I can't wait to take Toto* on our many adventures to come!



*Toto means "baby" in Swahili, a name we've decided to call the baby until the arrival, since it's much more affectionate than, "it"!