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!