My Sacred Mother project which began last year has also extended to post-partum moms. I wanted to look at the maternal psyche after the birth of their baby and do artistic newborn photography. These images are inspired by Rineka Dijkstra who did a series of women immediately after their have had their babies, umbilical chords still attached.
I included a series of images from our session so you can see the different tries I made to capture this time. Enjoy!
1. Tell me a little bit about yourself, Mike and how you met. Why you decided to have kids. Was it an easy process?
My husband and I met during a trip to Texas doing relief work along the coast after Hurricane Ike. When he walked in the room, he caught my eye. Little did I know he had seen me speak at an event a year earlier and had wanted to meet me then but didn’t get the chance. When he saw me, he knew exactly who I was and he wasn’t going to miss his opportunity to connect a second time.
I’d never believed in love at first sight, and though we didn’t get much time together that week, we both knew there was something electric between us. At the end of the trip, he and I both went home to our roommates and told them we’d met the person we would marry. Our relationship began soon after that and we were married 6 months later. We joke that we hardly knew each other when we got married (we literally got engaged during the same week I first met his family). But the night of our engagement, we went to dinner at the Space needle and had “the talk”. We had a very direct conversation about our hopes and dreams, where we would live, what we would do, what challenges we anticipated in our relationship, and how many kids we wanted. We both said we’d always wanted 3-4 kids. And that was that.
Here we are now, 7 years later with 3 boys and still a whole lot of love, adventure and faith carrying us through. It may not have been our perfect timeline, but at this point, we wouldn’t have it any other way and we are grateful for the opportunity to walk life out with these three little souls.
2. What is your secret to a good relationship?
I’d say a secret to a good relationship is
to never stop dating each other.
I’d say a secret to a good relationship is to never stop dating each other.I know it sounds corny, but we got pregnant with our first son 6 months into marriage (not exactly the plan), so we decided we wanted to make sure our connection stayed strong and started doing the “date night” thing. On most Friday nights for the last seven years, we’ve had a blast hanging out with each other, connecting, going to shows, grabbing a beer, taking an interest in each others’ interests. It’s not typically fancy, but just a reminder that we actually enjoy each other outside the grind of home-life. And having that strong connection with your spouse goes a long way in creating a stable, nurturing environment for the kids.
I’ll add another thing, always live in community! We are big on community-living, so pretty much from the get-go we’ve always shared our home with other folks, whether it just be hosting friends, or having long-term housemates. The bonus there is that you can easily arrange live-in baby-sitting! And what a sweet gift to show our sons the benefits of shared living spaces.
And lastly….the secret to any good relationship, be it with your spouse or your child, is communication. For us, it seems to get better and better with time, so for any young couples out there struggling with this, HANG IN THERE, don’t walk away from the table! Keep pressing in, it’s SO WORTH IT!
3. Tell me about why you decided to be my Sacred Mother and why you trusted me with this artistic newborn photography.
I loved Jennifer’s intentionality around her work with women and their families. It’s not just about photographing baby’s first sweet moments, but about the impact and emotion these new lives bring to their families, specifically the mothers. I was so moved by her photos with her own son telling their journey to get to one another, I was sure I’d love the chance to collaborate with her on capturing my experience as a mother.
I loved Jennifer’s intentionality around her work with women and their families.
I am a birth doula so I love all things pregnancy, birth and babies. Personally, though, my birth experiences have shaped me in powerful ways. My first baby came to me via c-section without ever going into labor and it felt somewhat defeating. Against the advice of many friends and family, I chose to have a homebirth (H-VBAC) for my second son and it was one of the most transformative experiences of my life (I then went on to have my third at home as well). Because of my birth experiences and motherhood, I am a stronger woman but also more tender and intuitive. I wanted to capture this paradox in an image that I could look back on when I was long past the postpartum haze of breast-feeding and diaper changing. An image that would remind me of who I am now, who I have become and why I am grateful for this insanely demanding and rich life as a mother.
4. Please feel free to include anything else you like that is interesting about you or your parenting philosophy to teach us more about you.
I’m passionate about the empowerment of birthing women (which is why I’m a birth doula), racial justice and I have an obsession for walking labyrinths as a contemplative practice. I am also part of a local initiative called Moms Who Brunch (www.momswhobrunch.com) aimed at bringing diverse moms from all over Seattle together for good food, encouragement and strengthened connections as moms and women. Also, check out my blog at www.MoyoMojo.com