When I was a little girl, I dreamed of being a mother. I was sure that there was no way I would ever be able to have children because I wanted them so badly. I would later learn that becoming pregnant, carrying babies and birthing babies was just something that came easily to me. I was good at it and, call me crazy, I actually enjoyed laboring and delivering my babies. So much so, that I birthed #2 and #3 at home to preserve the natural process of bringing babies earthside.
After I had my second baby, my first homebirth, I knew that birth was what I needed to do. One way or another, I needed to be a birth worker. There is nothing greater in the world than to witness the miracle that is a woman utilizing the power inside of herself to bring her baby into this world and to be a part of the very first moments of someone’s life. The first time they open their eyes, the first breath they take, the first time they meet the voice they’ve been listening to for nine months… these moments will stop you in your tracks if you pause to realize the magnitude of what this all means!!
This is the first moment on their forever. They know nothing but this very second.
Here’s the thing, though. Nearly 8 years ago I had a brand new baby girl and a nearly 2 year old boy. My husband was working insane over time so that I could be home with our kids as much as possible. When I really sat down and began to think about being a doula it wasn’t practical at all. What would I do with my kids when I was at a birth and my husband was working? I put my dream in the closet and focused on nursing babies and diapers and park playdates and waitressing part time. It was at this point that my mom downsized cameras and gave me her Canon Rebel. I didn’t do any learning about anything aside from shooting in AV mode. I didn’t invest much time, I just did what I could.
(It wasn’t much haha. SOOC – August 2008)
Fast forward five years. It had been about two years since I had even taken a photo with my big camera. I had been surviving solely on whatever low quality cell phone camera I had because it was taking everything I had not to drown in life. We found out we were expecting our third baby, we moved into a different house, one of my very best friends, Meghan, started getting into photography at the same time that life seemed like it was turning around. When I’m happy, I am creative and so I started using my camera again. I had another amazing homebirth, upgraded to the 6D and decided that a photography business would be my end game goal. I knew at this point that I wanted to photograph birth. There is no greater emotive photography than birth photography.
In July 2015, I attended one of my best friend’s births. It was amazing to be there for her as her friend, support and photographer. Helping someone birth their baby with one hand, meanwhile trying to capture her child’s first breath with the other hand wasn’t as challenging as I expected it to be. It was actually just incredible. My fire was growing stronger, but, at the same time, it was getting shoved in that closet I spoke about earlier. How could I possibly photograph births? Especially now, with a toddler, a first grader and a second grader and a husband still working a gazillion hours a week to keep me home as much as possible?
My solution to this issue was fresh 48 sessions and authentic organic newborn sessions.
Skip ahead again to February 2016. I lost our fourth baby. (I know, I say it a lot, but Sawyer is literally changing my life, I think… I hope). Everything that I believe defined me as a woman was ripped away from me in one single day. I was forced to turn inward and decipher who I was, what defined me as a woman, as a mother, as an artist. At this point, I had already committed to photographing Meghan’s birth. We were due about 3 weeks apart and had planned for her to do my photos and me to do her photos. I also begged another friend who was due in between the two of us to let me photograph her birth. I put a giant ad on my Facebook page to gain portfolio for my fresh 48 & newborn sessions. I basically decided to offer whatever it would take to ease my aching heart and build a portfolio for a solid future.
“…the moment one definitely commits oneself,
then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that
would never otherwise have occurred…
Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it.
Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.
Begin it now.”
-William Hutchison Murray
I have this giant plan… it’s almost desperation… to be at as many births as possible and photograph the beginning of life for as many babies as I possibly can. I am pretty sure that I am going to begin my doula training as well. I know this isn’t photography related, but this post is about dreaming and that’s what I’m doing!! I don’t know what kind of demand there is for birth photographers in my area, but I’m hoping that by word of mouth with professionals that I work with, it will pick up. I figure that, at the very least, if I can offer two different birth services, I broaden my chances of being able to be where I love, in the birthing room, as much as possible.
And just to throw a wrench in the mix, we just took the first step of our journey to (hopefully) having our fifth baby.
“Surrender to what is.
Let go of what was.
Have faith in what will be.”
For now, I’m opening that closet door, I’m unpacking my dreams and I’m doing what it takes to live them. I’m letting go of the fear of failure, I’m letting go of sadness and regret. I’m having faith that everything will fall into place.
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for,
the conviction of things not seen.
-Hebrews 11 : 1
Don’t leave your dreams in the closet. Live them!