Introducing RAW Motherhood | Allison

It is rare that we actually get to visualize what postpartum looks like.  There’s this huge disconnect between what we’re shown and what actually happens, what social norms dictate.  We no longer utilize our village, we no longer encourage a lying-in period, and we’re often left alone as our partners head back to work just a few days later.  I’m excited to introduce RAW Motherhood Minis, starting with my sweet friend.  (Please email me to set up your own session!)

Allison welcomed her second little boy on Tuesday, March 28th.  We made these images just five days later.  Being able to make these images - something a little taboo, unspoken - was incredibly special to me, both as a photographer and a Mother.  Being welcomed into someone’s space when they’re so vulnerable is a privilege, every time.

“A few days after I got home, i was asked to do a postpartum session. Of course i said yes! We as mothers don’t get to see this side of our journey. We don’t take the time. I was and still am recovering from my second cesarean. I feel useless, tired, sore, fat, lazy, I feel like I don’t contribute enough. The bills keep coming, my first son doesn’t understand, there are so many things that I feel guilty about. But this session showed me that I am strong. It showed me that I am a mother of two. I created this tiny human. I made him, that is amazing. We, as women, struggle with identity issues, we struggle with body image issues, postpartum depression, and so on. These pictures may offend some people and that’s ok because to other women it helps them to know that YOU are beautiful. Thank you #mommaktshoots for showing me how special I truly am.  This is me, and I love who I am.”

A Love Letter

Dear Maverick, Brentlee, Shaan, Declan, Ellie, Liam, Oliver, Ruth Ann, Violet, Henley & Charlie,

First of all, thank you, sweet little babies, for making 2016 so special for me.  I was part of your welcoming committee, in those precious moments where you were between two worlds.  I loved on your Momma and joked with your Dad, I slept on hospital floors and curled up in window sills, playing the most important waiting game I’ve ever played.  I photographed the swirl of your hair, sniffed your sweet little head, ran my finger down your round little cheeks, and fell in love with each and every one of you.

I learned so much this year.  The lot of you were my teachers, providing me with experiences that I wouldn’t have otherwise.  You have no idea how important these moments are - at least not yet.  I watched your folks become parents.  Each of you came into this world under such different circumstances, but the end result was the same : you were born to parents that love you with every single bit of themselves.

One day, you may be a little bit embarrassed by your images.  That’s okay.  Later down the road, you’ll come to the realization that what your parents did by hiring me is incredibly special.  When you look at these, know how hard your Momma worked for you.  Know that in those moments right before you arrived, your Momma was giving it her all - no matter how you were born.  Little one, she is strong.  Don’t forget that.  And your Dad?  He’s strong, too.  Don’t let the tough exteriors fool you, though, I saw more than one of them wiping tears away upon your arrival.  They will fight for you, tooth and nail.  I know this because I’ve witnessed it.  It’s something that doesn’t always translate well in photographs, but trust me, I know this to be true.

You are the promise that there is something right in this world, that good still exists.  This past year has been one that falls squarely into the ‘extreme’ category and in the middle of it all, you still arrived and reminded us that it’s going to be okay.  You hold the promise of a better tomorrow.  I can not wait to see what the future brings for you.

Your Rainbow-Haired, Slightly Wild Photographer

Ten Minutes.

Being a photographer, I’m privy to some of life’s most precious milestones.  I witness women transforming into Mothers, men into husbands, babies into children, teens into adults.  I celebrate the passing of school years, birthdays, anniversaries with perfect strangers who welcome me into their lives with open arms.  This job comes with a heavy sense of responsibility that I am well aware of, and I do my best to exceed the expectations that are laid out before me. 

I am lucky to be part of a tight knit group of ladies.  We’re all very different - we come from different parts of the country, our ages span a few decades, we’ve all lived wildly different lives and chosen different paths for ourselves.  We’ve settled into our little group with a snarky fabulosity that we all appreciate, giving us a safe place within each other.  Earlier this year, one of our own received devastating news about the love of her life.  We’ve rallied together to provide her with whatever we can, but you know how it goes : it’s never enough.

She came to Kentucky in May, and I hurried out to visit with her.  We stood together in a barn aisle and cried together - her heart aching because of the unknown, mine because I couldn’t fix it.  Life brought them here permanently over the summer and I promised her one thing : I would make photos of them when they got settled.  

I was on-call for a birth, so I was hesitant to schedule them.  My client ended up going postdates, so I checked in with her and asked her for more time.  She graciously gave it.  Then, on the morning of September 17th - it was gray and rainy and generally disgusting - she asked me to come.  I took the risk.  I headed the opposite direction of my notoriously-precipitous-third-time-Momma with a packed bag, unsure of what I would be able to do for them.

But together, we did it.  He wore a sweater that she knit for him.  We spent 10 wonderful minutes in their back yard, overlooking the rolling bluegrass that makes up their farm, in the spitty rain.  He was able to give her this wonderful gift, and I was able to be there for it.  Their love?  It is palpable - you can see it in the way that they look at one another, you can see it in their touch, their body language.  They needed little to no guidance from me.  And it was everything.

Today, I am thankful for that rainy September Saturday.  I am thankful for the lives that I am able to be a part of.  I am thankful for the people that allow me to step in and make something beautiful for them in a time where life is so gray and dreary.  Kim and Derrick, I am thankful for you.

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