Berber Theunissen - Mulieris magazine
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Berber Theunissen

About This Project

In your photographs you often realize self-portraits, how has your way of seeing your body in front of the camera changed during pregnancy? When i was 16 week pregnant I took my first “babybump” selfportraits, I really thought my belly was already gigantic back then. Not knowing how it eventually developed. I really had my good and bad days, probably also because of the hormones, ha. I think I felt most beautiful when I was around 6 or 7 months pregnant. Before I just felt “fat”, I really had to get used to my changing body. I asked Boy, my husband, all the time if he still thinks that I was pretty. After 7 months my belly really started to be uncomfortable, baby Buddy really bruising up my ribs. – You photographed yourself before and after birth. What is the feeling you get regarding your photographs? Before my pregnancy I felt often insecure. Not feeling good enough, beautiful enough. After giving birth I felt so secure, never felt more secure in my entire life. It gives such a primal strength and primal love to finally hold the human being that has been created in your belly. Something I couldn’t imagine before… – What I admire in your photographs is that even though the pregnancy is viewed positively, you also do not hide the difficulties of becoming a mother. How would you describe your pregnancy path? Before Buddy, shortly before our wedding, I was once unexpected pregnant. Though it was not planned, there was no doubt whether to keep it or not. Sadly, this turned to be a missed abortion. It was such a horrible and sad experience. I felt devastated, extremely disappointed by my own body. Not only because of the miscarriage, but also that my body wasn’t ably to shred the baby to be itself. I had to take pills to get everything going. After that I was literally a hormonal mess. It took a while to be pregnant again. Looking back, I had a very good and healthy pregnancy. Only it was so hard to enjoy it, especially the first half. Like a dark cloud the miscarriage floated above it. 1 on 10 pregnancy’s ends as a miscarriage, so I know there are many out there who’d experienced something similar. Somehow there is still a taboo on the subject. I think a lot of people really underestimate the power of a miscarriage. – Your photographs are direct, true and at the same time delicate. Was it easy to overcome the first moments of the post-partum period? I wasn’t nervous at all about giving birth. I thought to myself, oh well there has never been one left. I do was a little bit nervous about the post-partum period. So many stories, so many opinions. Luckily I had the home birth I dreamed of. Buddy was relaxed and healthy, we’re really a dreamteam according to breastfeeding. Everything was good, Boy and I couldn’t be happier. Physically I also recovered quickly and well. During my entire pregnancy I was still going to gym a few times a week and I walked a lot with my dog. That certainly paid off.

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