My boudoir maternity shoot & other stories.

I’m currently 26 weeks pregnant with my first baby and it’s all been such a surreal experience. In the next 14 weeks we get to meet this little person that the love of my life and I have created.

I was offered the opportunity to shoot my maternity images “boudoir style” at the Le Chatelat Boutique Guest House in the Presidential Suite with Keara from She Wolf Photography. I decided that the perfect debut for this beautiful gallery would be through my blog.

Celebrating my ever changing body

I’ve come to the stage in this pregnancy where I feel like I’m growing larger by the day. I must say that I think this baby has treated me well and that I’ve had a blissful experience being the incubator to my forever love, who is currently living and growing inside of me.

I felt especially honoured to be invited to this shoot to document this monumentus time in my life. What felt like a celebration of my journey into motherhood and a reminder to celebrate this stage of creation before we bring our little one earthside.

Being photographed in the nude

In recent years I’ve learnt to love my body for all that it is and all that it does for me. I was very self concious about my appearance growing up but all that is ancient history now.

I appreciated the photographer’s professionalism and overall celebration of me as a soon-to-be mom. I felt like an absolute goddess during the shoot and I’m very proud of the final images showing me bare and beautiful.

Embracing the bump

I’ve been rocking crop tops and exposing this glowing bump since the beginning. I’ve received mixed responses about my fashion choices but people have always had something to say.

I’m so proud of this journey and regardless of the unsolicited comments, whether negative or positive, I know what my purpose is and I feel so much gratitude for the friends and family who have supported me with positive vibrations.

Thank you for reading,

Love Gaby.

Manifesting my pregnancy and other stories

I’m in a postcoital headstand; with my head between my elbows and my feet against the wall for balance. According to the Flo app, I’m five days away from my ovulation date and my fiancĂ© and I had decided to try for a baby (or I’d finally convinced him to procreate with me #evillaugh).

Then on to the next step in my manifestation plan. I type the words implantation meditation into YouTube and choose one of the videos. A few weeks later, to my surprise, I missed my period. We decided it was time for a pregnancy test, so I peed on a stick and there were two blue lines. Now I’m 22 weeks pregnant and this shit is so surreal.

From two blue lines to a heartbeat

I sat on a chair with the positive pregnancy test in my hand, crying quietly. Happy tears flowed from my eyes and just wouldn’t seem to stop. I’d envisioned this moment in my head for such a long time that I honestly believe I’d willed it into existence.

At 8 weeks pregnant, Ashwin, my mother and I went to the first scan. What looked merely like a bean on the sonographer’s screen was our future. The strong thumping sound of our baby’s heartbeat had me crying once again.

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We’re halfway to meeting this person we’ve created and halfway through the clothes in my wardrobe that fit me anymore. The bump has begun to expand and my body seems to change a little bit every day.

I’m grateful to have been given this wonderful gift of motherhood and I believe that this baby is a product of my manifestation. Anyone who knows me well knows that I’ve always wanted to become a mother, so it’s a bit surreal now that it’s finally happening. I’ll be writing a lot more to document the process and intend to share my learnings through my experience.

Thanks for reading,

Love Gabriela.

Shave your head and grow an epic afro

It’s the 90’s and I have a head of long, luxurious hair that my mother had loved and nurtured and it showed. My hair was the envy of many but it wasn’t as important to me then as it is now.

Fast forward to varsity; I had been in charge of my own hair for a couple of years. Being experimental was fun but all the dyeing and heat damage was so evident. Looking back makes me sad to see how much I was ill-treating my hair.

Then the clippers came out

It was late 2017 and I’d finally decided that I wanted to go short again, as in #fadebetterthanyourboyfriends short. There I was, sitting in the chair at the barbershop. The buzz from the clippers vibrated in my ears and I felt this weird sensation on my head. My locks hit the floor and there was no turning back. I had a buzzcut.

Finding the beauty in the nakedness

Waking up the next day and facing myself in the mirror was difficult. Much like the scene from Nappily Ever After, when Violet discovers that she’s shaved her hair. Facing the world with no hair on my head humbled me. I felt extremely naked and vulnerable but I had to remember who I was and own the look.

Short hair taught me to love myself from scratch. With no hair to hide behind, no facade of femininity and no edges to lay. Just me, as I was!

Patience, self-love and growth

Growing an afro takes courage. Somedays you get into fights with the nest that has formed above your head and it’s discouraging. Take a deep breath and remember the following things.

  • A wide-toothed comb
  • Condition, condition, condition
  • Protective styles are your best friend
  • Oils are a must (Amla, Coconut, Castor)
  • Bone Strait after conditioning (Tried and trusted by our mothers)
  • Finger detangle
  • No heat
  • No overwashing

Hair will teach you patience and love. Treat it well and it will reward you with the dopest afro you’ve ever seen.

Good luck with your poof,

Gaby

To coloured girls from the kasi

I’m a ’91 baby, a coloured girl from the flats of Eldorado Park. Coming from where I came from sort of seems surreal now as I look back with my mind’s eye. There isn’t anything inspiring to see when you look around the hood now besides generational poverty, drug abuse and oblivious teenagers chilling without a plan.

Create your own opportunities

We have the chance to curate our own stories on digital spaces. Online, impossible is nothing and opportunities are endless if you have a great idea. The only thing is, we have to create these opportunities for ourselves.

Use the internet to learn new things. The web is churning out endless information on all sorts of topics as you sit and read this. Let your desire to be successful span as far as your imagination will take you and most importantly, be relentless.

We often get into a pattern of letting rejection or negative energy stop us. Find a dream you’re are passionate about and don’t give up!!!

Remember, life’s a process.

I thought that by 27 I’d have all my shit figured out and boy was I dead wrong. I needed to remind myself to focus less on the big wins and more on the day to day steps I was taking to achieve my overall goal.

Push yourself to do try things that scare you. Take that trip, apply for that job, write that blog, start that Youtube channel, go for that audition. It’s true that in order to go somewhere you’ve never been you’ll have to do something you’ve never done. So invoke your inner bad bitch and do the things that make the things happen babes!!

… and another thing! Remember to stay in your own lane, what other people are doing doesn’t concern you.

Focus, distraction is the enemy!

You have to align your intentions and actions in order to manifest the life you deserve! Ashwin (my fiance) helps me keep my eye on the prize because he’s so driven. Surround yourself with people who have a vision because when your circle is succeeding then you probably will be too.

The hood might not be favourable to the growth of a young brown woman, but it can not be an excuse to not become all the things you’ve dreamt of becoming.

Be consistent and remember to do at least one thing a day that helps your future dreams come to fruition.

Your dreams are valid!

Love Gaby.

Product Review: Dettol Soap ProFresh

I’ve struggled with the BIG B.O (body odour) for the longest time. I’ve always been into physical activity and the gym is great, but it can also feel a bit gross with all the sweaty gym enthusiasts touching equipment, gym mats and the water dispenser. So using the right soap is important.

This goodie bag was a sign

To my excitement, I received a hamper with various soap bars from the Dettol Profresh range. The bag also included a yoga mat, skipping rope and water bottle. I took this as the world trying to give me a sign.

To be quite honest, my gym routine had been slacking for several months and I wasn’t in the shape I once was. I scurried home with my goodie bag in tow and rolled out the mat, ready to tackle a workout I’d searched for on Youtube. After 45 minutes of gruelling cardio, my gym clothes drenched in sweat and me gasping for air, I decided to take a shower and try out my new soap bars.

Re-energize is my favourite

I tried the Dettol ProFresh Re-energize bar first. It was zesty combined with Dettol trusted protection from germs. My skin tingled with refreshment as I showered like it had literally been re-energised and afterwards, my skin felt so soft and smooth. I didn’t sweat as much as I usually do during the day, even during the hottest days this past December.

Here’s to a consistent workout routine and healthy, glowing skin in 2019 with a soap that can be used by the entire family. Gentle enough to cleanse and strong enough to protect. Yaaaas!!!

I’m broody and it hurts

I remember being equal parts lover and fighter from a very young age. My toys mostly consisted of babydolls and guns, so I was either changing napkins or in a pretend shootout with criminal assailants, sometimes even running with a plastic rifle in my hand with a baby on my back. Becoming someone’s mother has always been a part of the plan.

Stalking babies on the socials

I’ve always known I’d want to have my own family one day but I didn’t think I’d be on Instagram stalking strange women and their babies relentlessly.

I’ve been here (on my phone) for positive pregnancy tests, trimesters 1 through 4, pregnancy photoshoots, newborn photographs, “carried it for 10 months but it looks likes its father” memes, first steps, ABC’s and everything in between and I don’t even know these damn people.

Ashwin says he caught me looking in the mirror, sideways, with my belly poked out but I know he’s lying because I only do that when I’m home alone LMAO.

My sister is a mom

My sister recently went through pregnanacy and birth and meeting my nephew was so surreal. I’d known this little spirit and felt him move inside of my sister’s belly, so seeing him here in real life is always a beautiful experience. He’s just the right amount of perfect.

… but he’s fucking with my vibe. It’s like he needs a cousin and my womb just feels so ready to present him with one.

I have names picked out

I knew the level of broodiness I was experiencing was tipping the scales when I had the names picked out with certainty. I say her name out loud in conversation, describing the traits I think she’ll exhibit. She’ll have her father’s eyebrows and my curly hair (and rhythm) fingers crossed. She’ll be cheeky, ridiculously smart and the most beautiful girl in the world.

I heard the name in a song and funny enough, the name means patience (because I feel like I’ve been waiting and preparing my life to accommodate her). Ashwin has names for a boy (which we don’t 100% agree on) but I’m not even pregnant yet so we have time.

My uterus is screaming

If my uterus had vocal cords, that bitch would be screaming GIMME. I’ve literally (without any shame) written “My ovaries are scraming” under pictures of my friend Kim and her son Kayron. My friend Nomsa brought her son Qhawe to the office recently and I swear my womb started cramping.

I was surprised by the pain I felt in my lower abdomen and brushed it off to be something else but then my nephew was born and when I held him for the first time I felt the same thing.

It’s actually an unpleasant feeling like an emptiness just lingering like a gaping hole that needs to be filled. I burst into tears about the subject because everyone seems to have something else they think I should be doing before becoming someone’s mother.

There are literally pregnant women everywhere. I know this because I see that waddle at the mall, at the grocery store, while getting my nails done, at the pool, on Instagram and dammit I WANT IN.

Here’s to fertility in 2019

I feel like having a baby now is feasible but society is telling me that I need more to achieve. To all the moms and aspiring mothers, past or present, I wish you positive uterus vibrations. Here’s to a fruitful 2019.

Photography, growth and being yourself

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It’s the 3rd of January and I’m prepping my gear for a photo shoot. Lmao, the gear is my Nikon Coolpix camera which I had purchased five years prior with the intention to create more. Our location was the picturesque Klipriver Nature Reserve, south of Johannesburg and the model, my forever muse and sister; Lauren.

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My sister picked me up and we drove to the location. In order to get to the site I’d imagined as a backdrop we had to hike a few kilometres into the wilderness to a stream of water under a wooden bridge. Lauren got into her first look and pow babes, it all came together like peanut butter and jelly.

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My sister was fighting a war with her skin. She’d been experiencing breakouts of aggressive eczema all over her body. This affected her outlook on who she was and forced her to reevaluate who she was and what lessons were to be learnt. My sister had battled with acne from a very young age and it had always affected her confidence.

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I asked Lauren if she had anything to say about what she was feeling at the time and she said this;

It was like a way of coming out with confidence. I truly believe that my skin was physically manifesting the unhappiness I was experiencing. I was dedicated to being a braver and better me. My skin wasn’t completely healed but I wanted to celebrate myself, scars and all, it was still me. I’m proud to look back on the pictures to see how much I’ve grown and how far I’ve come.

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Looking back, I realise that the trying times didn’t only affect my skin but my body too. At the time the images were taken I was the thinnest I’d ever been. My skin condition limited what I could and couldn’t eat. Looking back at the pictures, I admire that body, I’m surprised by how thin I could get. I wouldn’t want to be that skinny ever again but it was very empowering being the social construct of beauty, even though I was battling internally.

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If you look at the pictures you don’t see the struggle I was suffering at the time, you see a glowing goddess. The contrast is amazing, that so much beauty can be created out of so much pain. 

I wasn’t necessarily feeling the way I looked, but my sister captured me in the best light.

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Editors note:

Go out and create. Stop sleeping on yourself and the talents you possess, but most importantly, learn how to love yourself every day.

I took these images and they took me 10 months to edit and another month to post this blog.

It’s hard being a creative because we seek validation from other people to validate that we’re worthy, that our work is impactful, that it’s even worth pursuing your dreams. I don’t care about that anymore. Here’s my shit, take it or leave it, babes.

Thanks for reading,

Love Gaby.

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