I love having babies but I hate being pregnant.
There, I said it. I know plenty of women who adore every second they get to spend parading around with a bun in the oven. But me? Not so much. I find pregnancy to be at the best uncomfortable, and at the worst infuriating. And forget the horror of maternity clothes—none of my rings or shoes even fit.
Which is why I am pretty much obsessed with photgrapher Danielle's Guenther's new series, "What the BUMP!?"—an artful collection of photos that show just how real the pregnancy struggle can be.
"It's a serious job growing a human in there!" Guenther explains. "There are so many amazing aspects of pregnancy, but there are also so many difficult obstacles. I want to shed light on those, but in a lighthearted way."
Trying to unload groceries with a protruding belly that keeps you from being able to reach all the crap you dumped into the bottom of your cart?
So not fun!
Carrying past your due date? Ditto!
We can totally feel the pain of the model (a good friend of the photog's) in this shot called "OverDo":
Please note the bottle of labor-inducing hot sauce over there in the right-hand corner.
So did it work?
"I came over with every spice in the world (Tabasco included) and made her a 'bump cocktail,'" Guenther said. "She only smelled it...darn."
Still, Guenther said she got a text from the expectant mama just eight hours later saying she'd gone into labor... score!
Now check out this image, brilliantly titled "Morning Sickenss, 9-5":
But I think this chick's gonna need a bigger purse!
A mom herself, Guenther's knows a thing or two about finding beauty in chaos, and says much of her inspiration comes from her own experience being pregnant seven years ago, as well as from stories told to her by friends.
"All it takes is seeing ONE pregnant woman trying to do anything and it gives me ideas," she says with a laugh. "We are all in the same boat. We love it, and we hate it at the same time. It's a struggle, yet it's beautiful. I think as women, we find that it's our job to put on a happy face and present to the world like superheros and keep it all together while we grow a child....but sometimes we all just want to lay down, cry, hire someone to massage our feet, and eat 100 donuts."
I kind of want to do those things right now and I haven't been knocked up since 2005. But parenting comes with it's own set of challenges, right?
Which is why Guenther says What the Bump?! was a natural offshoot of her popular Best Case Scenario photo series, which showcases mom and dadhood in all its down-and-dirty glory, and a welcome relief from all the perfect-yet-almost-always-fake images of family life floating around social media these days.
As a blogger who once wrote about my kid eating chicken noodle soup with his bare hands while sitting criss-cross-apple-sauce on the family room coffee table, I can totally relate to images like this one:
But this one, titled "Hold on a sec..." is my absolute fave:
"It's so important to capture families in their everyday life, because after starting a family, your life seems to pick up speed forever," Guenther says. "I strive to allow every moment to reveal itself through the lens in an authentic or comedic way. After all, should we really take parenting so seriously?!"
Well, maybe just a little more seriously than this guy.