Lauren Ferris
JoAnn Marrero
Gabrielle Olya
January 25, 2017 10:39 AM

Lauren Ferris did not want the typical maternity shoot.

The Connecticut-based fit mom, 29, shot a series of photos of her second pregnancy at a CrossFit studio, joined by her 2-year-old son Connor and her husband, who is also a CrossFit enthusiast.

“CrossFit is something I’ve done four to five times a week for the past five years, and I did it all through my first pregnancy,” Ferris tells PEOPLE. “I thought, if I’m going to do it through another pregnancy, I think it would be really cool to have pictures and memories of it.”

JoAnn Marrero

So Ferris enlisted photographer JoAnn Marrero to capture her pregnancy in the unique setting.

“I wanted to capture Lauren’s personality and her lifestyle,” Marrero tells PEOPLE of the beautiful monochromatic images she shot. “She and her family live a healthy, fit life, and she loves going to CrossFit. I want other people to see the raw beauty in being pregnant and how helpful it is to stay in shape not only for wellness, but for stress relief, shorter labor times, easier pushing, emotional wellness during childbirth and a much quicker recovery.”

JoAnn Marrero

It was important for Ferris to include her son and husband in the memories as well.

“Ever since I was cleared to come back to CrossFit after I had my son, he has been coming with me,” she says. “He usually comes with me two times a week, and he loves being at the gym just as much as I do. It’s kind of a family thing. My husband also CrossFits, and my son’s usually there and pretending to be lifting too.”

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Ferris is now 35-weeks pregnant, but she still continues to do CrossFit four or five times a week.

“It’s amazing how much you can still do,” she says. “I don’t lift super heavy and there are a few things you really can’t do, like anything on your back or ab exercises, but other than that there’s slight modifications here and there. As long as I feel good, I do it. I listen to my body — I think that’s really important.”

JoAnn Marrero

The engineer mom says working out through her first pregnancy had real benefits, so she wanted to be consistent with her second pregnancy as well.

“Working out helps give me energy, keeps me in shape and keeps my muscles strong — and I think that really translated to having an easy labor and birth as well,” she says.

JoAnn Marrero

Ferris admits that some days she doesn’t feel like working out, but stays motivated knowing how good she will feel when she’s done with a CrossFit session.

“I know if I can just get myself to the gym, once I’m there, all the coaches and all the other people there encourage you to get through your workout,” she says. “I know in my head that when I do work out, I feel so much better afterwards.”

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