Growing up, I learned many life lessons watching my family as well as others around me. I was told that pregnancy was something beautiful and miraculous, and I saw how drugs and alcohol can affect people and those they loved and who loved them back. Recently, my life was touched by someone who experienced both of these things at one time; pregnancy and an addiction to drugs and alcohol. Her addictions greatly affected someone she loved very dearly, her unborn child. Not everyone has to see the miracle of pregnancy be so tarnished by drugs and smoking and alcohol, but instead are fortunate enough to see happy pregnant women, who understand how beautiful pregnancy is and willing to sacrifice their old lives and ways for something new and life altering with smiles on their faces.
I have come to a point in my life where I am engaged to be married, moved away from home and live with my fiancé, and am starting a new, adult life. With all of this happening, I have been able to see children very clearly in my future. While I know that will be a new and exciting adventure to embark upon with my soon to be husband, it is an adventure neither one of us are ready to start. There are certain aspects of our lives that we are not ready to relinquish, and those aspects are selfish ones. Being raised as I was, I know that if I were to become pregnant now, I would give up those aspects, but it would not be of pure joy, it would be because, in a sense, I have to. In her essay Photography, Susan Sontag (1973) states, “Through photographs, each family constructs a portrait of itself-a kit of images that bears witness to its connectedness” (p.4). With my life changing so much and so soon, I have realized that so many women’s lives change in this way, when they are so unready and unwilling to say goodbye to the lives they have been living up to that point. I wanted to capture the essence of pregnancy, the beautiful and the ugly lives women choose to lead during that miraculous time in their lives.
The following compositions are photos I took of pregnant women I know, and of the lives they are living while they are carrying their unborn children. Some of the pictures give off a very dark and sinister vibe as you see some of these women make choices that harm the one they should love most of all. They should show you that not everyone finds the same things to be beautiful and something worth leaving old habits behind for; while other women find their pregnancy to be something so wonderful that is worth giving up everything for.