Monday, June 5, 2017

May Self Portraits

My son had to remain in the hospital for several days after he was born. Those were difficult days, but there were also moments of incredible sweetness when it was just he and I alone in the quiet night. 

After losing a baby to miscarriage at 13 weeks last year, I was determined to savor and document this pregnancy in a way that I have never done before. So I began my own personal maternity self-portrait project. This is the third in the series so far and the first to include some of my other children (the youngest two of my five). 

My daily struggle... 
I can never keep up with him. I want to. I want to have a clean house, for me, not because it is an expectation. I want to be more patient, most days I'm not. The guilt piles up every night as I lay his beautiful little head in his crib. He is so forgiving, and loves me even when I lose it. Sometimes I think, I know, he deserves a better mother than me. Motherhood can feel drowning to my inner artist. Some women balance it well, internally it is the toughest struggle for me. The toddler phase is hard. It is impossible to describe the extreme feeling of love I have for him that grows every day while simultaneously pushing me to insanity. So here I sit, feeling overwhelmed but also knowing that everything is ok. He won't be this small forever and one day I'll wish I could revisit this moment and have him destroy my house just one more time.

My annual birthday portrait- this year i was 28 weeks on my 31st birthday.

I knew for awhile I wanted to do a photo like this. My little boy is Beau and he is our fourth, and last, so I want to document everything I can. I love this spot in my kitchen because it showcases some of my favorite things... pretty window light, the handmade wind chime my 8 year old made for me, paper flowers gifted to me last Mother's Day, little clay animals made in art class, my aloe vera plant that has grown massive and often topples over into the sink - ha! From the very beginning, Beau has been so observant and followed faces around the room wherever we go, so when I saw that I got this shot of him looking up at me I totally melted. Love that boy. 

This image. I have struggled with self acceptance since my first, who is now 5. My youngest is 1. It just clicked one day. I'm healthy, there is NO reason to not love this body that I know live in. I'm able to run around and play with my two healthy kids. This belly carried and nourished them. This body brought them into this world. The strength of my body, and the scars I well as the extra weight, are a constant and wonderful reminder to me of what I have and what my body can do.

The image is a composite of me with each of my kiddos. I do simple, backlit shots of myself with each of them every May...they're now 5,3, and 19 months, and I have a feeling I will only be able to convince them of this for the next few years.

I was a little nervous about trying to capture it all myself since I decided to not hire a photographer for a Fresh 48, but I think it turned out alright. :) Can't wait to capture more moments with this girl.

{12 days postpartum} I debated sharing this photo, but I took it this past week as part of my 365. I wanted to remember how raw and real postpartum feels. Tiny baby, leaky boobs & stretch marks. Sore, exhausted and so in love. This is the third baby I've given birth to. I've had 2 miscarriages along the way and lost one of the twins in my last pregnancy. I sure wish I had gotten to experience these moments with those babies and I'm so grateful to have carried this sweet girl for nearly 41 weeks.

This is the last 64 ounces of breast milk that I donated, making my total donation 1,000 to two different babies.  This was such a labor of love for me and I am so glad I was able to help out two other babies!

The pitter patter of little feet
Leave behind something so very sweet
A precious treasure for me to keep
The memories of your tiny feet.

My husband almost always does bedtime. He's gone for most of our waking hours, so he really makes an effort to be the one to put the kids to bed, not only to give me a break, but to visit with them. I'm often working on my laptop on our bed at that time and he sends them to me after they're pajama-ed and clean with brushed teeth and sleepy eyes. I love giving them one last hug and kiss before sending them off. I set up my camera outside this evening and asked my husband to snap a few pictures of us saying goodnight. This picture was taken through the window of our RV turned tiny home, which we've been living in for the past year. We will soon welcome our 3rd child and learn about tiny living with a preschooler, toddler and newborn!

Saturday, May 6, 2017

April Self Portraits

This right here is why I do it. This moment. 
My three children beside me, and in my lap a book of our entire year in photographs. Our treasured memories and something I am so very proud of. Behind me, a gallery wall of some of my favourite portraits. When I walk through the front door and into our home it is the first thing I see. It makes my heart burst and I am filled with such pride. As we flip through the pages, day by day, they get to see how I have journaled their childhood. How I really see them. I'd like to think it fills their hearts with Pride. Id like to think it shows them a whole new level of my love for them.

We welcomed our daughter on Tuesday and brought her home today. I can't wait to edit some pictures and keep capturing all her sweet details.

In my self portrait, I love how she is so much like me with her personality, but looks exactly like my husband.  She is perfectly made up of the both of us.

Waiting for my little ones to come home.

This image is one I was dreaming about for 13 months during our TTC journey after the loss of my daughter at 15 weeks in January 2016. Our much wanted rainbow after the absolutely worst storm of our lives. I wanted something as unique as this baby is and what better way to announce a baby than something as fun and unique as art! 

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

March Self Portraits

She's so excited to be a big sister.  She's always telling baby brother how excited she is to meet him.

We’ve been trying for our second child for 5 years now, except it got to be too much and too far from how we felt a child should come to be….so we stopped trying.  And we were pregnant 2 months later.

"Today I felt like taking a no makeup self portrait. I've been thinking a lot lately about how one of my greatest wishes for my daughters is that they feel comfortable in their own skin, and learn to love themselves enough to be able to forget about themselves and focus on others. I don't want their worth to be tied to a flat stomach, long lashes, perfect skin, or number on a scale. I want them to take care of their bodies because they love them and want to feel good and be healthy. It scares me that I can't protect them from all of the outside influences that tell them they have to be pretty and skinny to be "enough". But I do have control over what I model for them, and hopefully that counts for something.
So I'm working harder to love my body and be kind to myself. Embracing my no makeup face seemed like a good first step. Makeup is fun and I've grown to like it even more in the past few years, but whenever I'm with someone who is completely confident wearing no makeup it is so freeing! I feel empowered to love and accept myself, just the way I am. And side note, this is the only one out of about 300 shots that I actually like. Self portraits are HARD!"

"Sweet baby Jorgen, if you are indeed my last, everything will be documented."

"My mother passed away two days ago from uterine cancer. The organ that brought me life has brought her death. The night she passed away I was doing some work on my computer so I could have some free time to go see her the next morning again. I was working and the song that she sang to me as a child when I was very upset popped into my head as clear as day. I haven't thought of that song in a long time. It was around 7:22 pm.

"Baby mine don't you cry
Baby mine dry your eyes
Rest your head close to my heart
Never to part
Baby of mine"

About twenty minutes later her hospice nurse called me to tell me she had passed when they turned her to clean her. I asked for her time of death... "It was 7:22 or 7:23." Thank you mom for your last gift of comfort for me. In the end you just wanted me to be ok.... "Never to of mine."

My husband took this photo of me and my little guy in the bath. I set the exposure and told him my vision and then hand him the camera. He knows how to change the focal point and always does a great job! I'm thankful I have him to take photos of me sometimes too!

"He will always be my baby. The first face that I saw. I'm trying to cherish these last three weeks with my only child, before he becomes a big brother."

As many of my friend and family know, I've been on a strict Paleo diet since last spring. Here is a little secret, pregnancy took over and I can't leave the milk alone. It is a major craving for me that I just can't fight.