I just spent a week in the Cooney Classroom Challenge digging a bit into why I do what I do. Each day of the challenge, I was posed with a question or a task and through this process, I reaffirmed my love for what I do, put it into words, and gained some momentum in pushing forward in this field.
So...why? Why do I focus my photographic efforts on the bump through baby phase of life? Why do I feel a calling to serve moms in other ways, outside of photography, as well?
There are a few reasons here. First up is the more personal back story. When I was 11 years old, I lost my mom to cancer. When I was 7 months pregnant with my first baby, I lost my mother-in-law to that same beast. Part of my healing from mother loss has been through various forms of art - most specifically music and photography. I have been on and off reading Hope Edelman's "Motherless Daughters" for years now and finally finished it in the last year, only to come to the realization that I am drawn to working with new moms because of my loss. Somehow, subconsciously, I've been pushed in this direction and I love seeing the path in front of me, now that I understand it all better. I believe that my role in experiencing all of this has been to learn that beauty comes from ashes. Maternal love is my driving force and I love being able to capture these tender moments for families to hold onto forever.
You might be thinking, okay, but there are moms everywhere, in every walk of life. There are moms at weddings! Why not weddings?
Here's the digging deep answer to that one. While I find wedding photos beautiful, wedding days themselves tend to be beautiful as well. While there's a love story on a wedding day, I also get the opportunity to capture that love story in the arrival of a baby.
Early motherhood is so different from a wedding day, though (yes, I see you nodding your head and rolling your eyes). First of all, a baby's birth day is not scheduled ahead of time. Even when it is, things don't always go as planned. It's messy, it's exhausting, it has its frustrations, and a lot of it is taboo...but...why? It's amazing. There's a beautiful story in every woman's motherhood just waiting to be told. We shy away from it, though. Even worse, we judge one another, tear each other down, and as a result, we feel some fear and isolation in our motherhood journeys. That's NOT okay! My motherhood is mine alone, just as yours belongs to you. The story that makes us unique in it all - that's where the beauty is and that's what should be celebrated.
So here's what I came up with in that weeklong challenge:
You might not see it yet, but early motherhood deserves to be celebrated. You see tired eyes, messy hair, an empty, but still round belly, and you probably want to see something different. I see a mom who’s too tired to soak in the beauty of this moment and a mom who is likely deleting photos of herself that she will miss. I promise you this: One day, you’ll look back at your photos from this most wondrous time and you will see nothing but a new mom experiencing unconditional love, through all of its mess and chaos. That bit of motherhood that is no longer, it’s exactly what you will want to see, feel, and cherish. When we work together, you will feel encouraged and loved in your motherhood journey and you will see the beauty in those raw moments. Mama, everything you are and everything you do is beautiful - 𝘺𝘰𝘶 𝘫𝘶𝘴𝘵 𝘯𝘦𝘦𝘥 𝘵𝘰 𝘴𝘦𝘦 𝘪𝘵.