Photos by Kei Thomas
What is sexiness? Is it a look, an article of clothing, an overall vibe? It depends on who you ask.
To me, it’s confidence. It’s inner knowing. It’s the meeting of the emotional, physical, spiritual, and mental.
A few months back, someone flat out told me I wasn’t sexy and that I didn’t turn them on. (I didn’t ask so that made it extra weird.) Thankfully, that person’s approval was never a lifeline for me. Also, my highest self knew that it wasn’t true. I am sexy. Sexy as fuck, actually.
The truth is, sexiness is not defined by a singular thing. Sexiness is subjective and each person is in complete control of their idea of it. You can’t let someone else define it in full for you - it’s something you decide for yourself.
I don’t think pregnant women or mothers are given credit for their sexuality. Even though everyone knows that we embody sex. No sex, no babies. Period.
I think the aversion to sexy mamas is why some people gag when they see women like Beyonce, bbymutha, and Cardi B freely expressing themselves and talking about sex. They’re mothers, so they’re “not supposed to” shake their asses, enjoy sex, or share successful songs about sucking dick. Some would rather they be quiet and pretend like their children popped up out of nowhere. Only the product is to be mentioned, never the process.
Kei Thomas and I have worked together three times. He took my first, official maternity photos, shot my family and I preparing for my baby shower, and now this boudoir shoot. We are friends, and I think that shows in how he shoots me. Our sessions are executed with such care and a sense of excellence. I knew I wanted to work with him and I trusted him to capture me in all of my glory.
This shoot was something I wanted to do because I felt the need to honor this special time in my life. I’ll only have one first pregnancy and I don’t want to look back on it as the period when I gave up any power to become my child’s mother. If anything, I stepped into my power. I rejected sex when I felt like it, I wore cute nighties/went lingerie shopping, and twerked on occasion. I seduced myself by eating strawberries and chocolate. I made a saucy video. In short, I did the activities that made me feel like a goddess. Why not document that feeling?
I encourage moms and expectant mothers to allow themselves to not only be sexy, but to take photographs of their hottest moments. Society wants us to hide and that unfair desire is how they try to take our glow. But, I know that empowering ourselves through taking control of personal narratives is the ultimate way to combat that.
As far as preparation for the shoot goes, do whatever makes you feel free and comfortable. Pick your environment, go lingerie shopping, make a mood board. Just make sure the process is fun and stress-free. It’s optional, so there’s no need for pressure.
I’ve gained 30 pounds since becoming pregnant. My breasts aren’t the same size. I’ve had some issues with zits and hyperpigmentation. You know what though? I’m happy. I appreciate my body because although it doesn’t look like everyone else’s, it’s healthy and it’s the vessel that my child chose to inhabit for nearly a year. My due date is in the last week of August and on that day, I’ll be bringing a healthy, bright-eyed little girl into the world. How could I not love my body for allowing me to do that? These pictures are how I say thank you.
We should all thank our bodies for their capabilities.