Cheese…how to smile for the camera and mean it. A commentary on…The Mom Stays in the Picture – The Huffington Post

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mobileweb/allison-tate/mom-pictures-with-kids_b_1926073.html Reading this blog post, made at the beginning of October, which is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, really touched my heart. As a woman, we all have “ugly moments” and shy away from the camera. As mothers, we seem to feel like we have more. We are so highly critical of ourselves, we will make any excuse to not be on the other side of the lens. I come from several generations of these types of mothers. My beautiful grandmother, my Nana, who just passed away just shy of 91, avoided the camera like vampires do garlic. My late mother, another beautiful and amazing woman, struck down early in life by breast cancer, hated getting her picture taken and would turn away, or hold a hand up “paparazzi style”. But I didn’t start out camera shy… In my younger years I would gladly pose for pics. You don’t seem to care about bad pictures as a child. It wasn’t until I got older and realized some family members were good, and some bad, behind a lens, did I become somewhat self conscious. Then, the process of getting older begins, getting married and having babies enters into the picture. Pregnancy pics are enough to make you want to be a hermit. Enter into it complications, chronic illness, swelling, and boom! Do not take my picture!!! Then comes the postpartum baby weight pics…just harpoon me. I had a myriad of other health issues added in the mix, Multiple surgeries, longterm steroids, chemo drugs, biologics, all make you look horrendous. So I began my own hide behind the camera trick. Worked great. But I missed out on capturing many beautiful family moments with my special family. Then my Grandfather passes. Then my mother is diagnosed with cancer. I begin to see that hiding isn’t the answer. I start making small appearances out from behind the lens. Then my second son is born. My health takes a dive, my mother passes, and I am facing another photo hiatus. Four years later, several near death experiences later, I meet a fabulous photographer who talked me into an empowering photoshoot. She made me feel beautiful despite all the scars and imperfections. I started posing for pics with my family and children…all the time. This about face in body image played a huge role in my role to be able to cope with my mastectomy. Now, anytime anyone asks to take a picture, I gladly smile. And if it involves one of my boys, I smile even bigger šŸ˜€

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