Spending her days suspended in mid-air and hanging upside down, acrobat Michelle Arvin is not your typical expectant mom, so she didn’t want typical maternity photos.
She definitely didn’t get them.
That’s Arvin at about eight months into her pregnancy, doing what she does best at Circus Warehouse, a New York training facility for circus stars, where she is a managing partner, aerial performer and instructor.
The pictures were taken in early July by her friend and photographer Rachael Shane, who embraced the challenge of snapping maternity images suitable for a high-flying mom.
This is Arvin’s first child and she is also the first member of the company to get pregnant, so no one knew how she would adjust. But she was determined to keep training even as her belly grew.
“I was definitely hopeful that I would be able to and I’m grateful that I have been able to. I’ve been really lucky,” Arvin, 39, told TODAY Parents.
For the most part, she kept up her normal routine with some modifications. Balance wasn’t as bad as she thought it was going to be as she got to know her new body, Arvin said. Other familiar exercises that might make non-acrobats queasy were still a breeze, even with baby on board.
“Going upside down is totally fine. That’s one of the few things I can still do,” she noted.
“Obviously, my partners had to do a little bit more heavy lifting… (but) I like to think that I was helping everyone get stronger.”
Arvin is planning a home birth and her midwives have been supportive of her training throughout her pregnancy, she said. They advised her to keep doing it as long as it felt good, so Arvin only stopped her routine at about 39 weeks into her pregnancy. She is expecting her baby any time now.
“Everybody’s really excited about the newest acrobat at Circus Warehouse,” Arvin said.