Part I: The Photos of Jennifer Maya Luz Pliego
Part II: My photos: It’s Not a Preggers Fetish, I Swear
Contest: Do you have a memorable pregnancy story? SMITH and the delicious pickle maker Rick’s Picks invite you to share your tale of this time in your life in 100 words or less. You don’t need a bun in the oven at this moment, just at some point in your life (and a photo to prove it). Three grand prize winners will be featured on a nationally distributed line of pickles, the aptly named Slices of Life—“the pickle of pregnancy.” Seven runners-up will win a Rick’s Picks Pregnancy Pack and a copy of our new book, Not Quite What I Was Planning: Six-Word Memoirs by Writers Famous & Obscure. Enter here!
For seven years, Jennifer Maya Luz Pliego has been photographing women in various stages of pregnancy. As both a mid-wife and massage therapist, Jennifer’s view of the female body is intimate, unique and engaged. Here she presents her photos and her own subjects’ words from a series she calls “Dar a Luz,” or “Bring to Light.”
Aline and Sergio, 2004
This time has been about me, but also about my family. In so many ways it is about them: my parents and Ricardo’s parents. They are overwhelmingly happy, so it makes whatever discomforts I feel, whatever fears that I harbor or whatever insecurities I have, fade.
Of course, we are happy too, but for us it is more complicated — for our parents it is just this big party and that helps us to stay strong as we step up and into our new role as parents.
Birgit and Maxine, 2001
Every time I think about motherhood I have a different thought. There are so many levels. It is so simple and so complex. It is both the hardest, most underpaid job I’ve ever had and the most wonderful job I’ve ever had.
Pregnancy is just the beginning of the experience. In a sense, it is the closest I will ever be with my child and yet I can’t wait to meet her and watch her be an individual. I await all the changes that come with that: her needing me and not needing me and letting that be a part of the job.
Diana, Canyon and Skylar, 2001
I am having problems with my husband. He has not been present at all during the pregnancy. He had strong feelings about it and so did I. I don’t know what will happen with him, but I am determined to have a good life — with or without him.
I am in school and will continue part time even after the baby is born. I am lucky, Skylar has been great. She is so grown up for her age. I sometimes feel badly for this; she has so much responsibility for such a young person. I try to be there for her and will continue to after Canyon is born, but there is only so much a child can handle, so I hope things stabilize soon.
Delphin, Tom and Daniel, 2003
I can’t believe I am carrying a child. The events that have happened since I came to the US from France have happened so quickly. I was working as a nanny in Westchester and I met Danny at a party there. He wasn’t looking for love and neither was I, but when we met….
I feel so fortunate. Sometimes, I think it is a dream; this can’t be my life. I have such a wonderful husband and we are both so happy to have this child. I’ve been lucky, we’ve been lucky, to find each other and to begin this life together. It is a new life for both of us. A life that neither one of us ever thought that we would have.
Hilde and Paris, 2003
The feeling of life kicking inside of me put so many things into perspective. I learned about a new kind of love; it is a love and a bond with something that is not fully formed.
As my body changed, I was surprised how good I felt about those changes. I had anticipated feeling restrained, heavy and confined — in a state of inertia. I had prepared myself for that space, so when it wasn’t like that, it was so easy — pure gravy!
I am able to listen to my body in a new way and accept the changes that occurred as a natural part of the process. I get new cues from my baby every day. You have to be flexible; the process can’t be changed. It is happening in my body. It is a mind-boggling miracle.
Kate and Gareth, 2004
Pregnancy is fascinating, but it is almost impossible to describe. I can explain it through sensation—like the memory of the skin over my belly stretching in the third trimester or how good and how strange it feels when Matt touches my belly, especially now that I’m so close to term. When he touches me and the baby, several things come to mind: it is like through his touch, I can be more aware of our child, too, and I love that feeling of closeness, and then that it is a transition that will be finished soon. We will move into another kind of life together.
I love my belly now—I never thought I would feel this way. It has always been a source of anxiety, a measure of my beauty, a reference to my weight, etc…. Now, as I gaze at my navel, it is not about me any more. There is a whole other presence developing inside. I’ve learned to love my stomach. It is a source of joy.
Rachel and Henry, 2003
Whatever job I had before, even though I enjoyed what I was doing, I could never really commit to it because I knew that I wanted to be a mother. Now that I am a mother, I feel complete. I am totally fulfilled. I am even happier that I get to share parenthood with a partner that I love.
Pregnancy for me is an incredibly personal experience. I don’t share that with my husband even though he is every involved. I am aware that this is happening inside of my body and that gives me a unique experience. This part is insular. I feel that it is private. I have always taken good care of myself and felt like I was important, but in pregnancy this is vital. I am important in a different way. I am the vessel for this child.