This post is dear to my heart because it's a short story of one woman's strength, loyalty, compassion and most of all, love. Being a Mama of two babes I know how hard it can seem some days. Raising little humans is no easy task, but this Mama makes it look like a piece of cake. Of all of her redeeming qualities I'd have to say I admire her tenacity the most. She puts her everything into life, love and raising babies. Even when things seem like they're at their worst, she still has a smile on her face. She still offers herself to you, if needed. I watched her struggle and come through on the other side, shining like that super moon we saw last night. What she stands for, who she strives to be, the mother she is, the friend she is... I'm so very proud to call her my friend, my sister, my tribette (or triberina, Hartman:). I'm not quite sure if I've ever photographed a more beautiful pregnant Mama. We had a ball and I literally could have stayed there photographing her all day long. Here's just a few of my favorite images from that session.
And then there's birth. If you follow me or know me then you know about my passion for birth, for women. When she asked me to capture her labor and birth I was beyond excited. I knew it was going to be magical. Being surrounded by some of the women I admire most in birth, in motherhood, in life, it was like a mini-dream-come-true. Her labor was fast, not as fast as her first, but still only a few short hours. If you have children, if you've ever had a short labor/birth or know someone who has then you know how difficult it can be. Sure, short labors are great, because they're short, but short can also mean intense, like really, really, i-n-t-e-n-s-e. I had a short labor with my second, almost 3 hours, and in comparison to my first 12 hour labor, the latter was actually more difficult. The pain is the same, it's labor, but with a short labor your head doesn't have time to catch up to your body, for some women it can be likened to being thrown into a tornado. All of a sudden it's game on, when just moments ago it was 'eeehh, labor is just taking it's time'. Well, this Mama made all that tornado twirling look like a piece of cake, she made it look beautiful even. We knew she was working hard, even though she didn't show it. Her face was calm, her body was calm. The room was as if it were in a time warp bubble where the only sounds where that of labor, and words of love coming from women who's voices can sound like angels when needed. When the time came for Miss Hazel to make her way Earthside, the room was practically sparkling with love. I was so overwhelmed with the love that filled that space, I was crying my eyes out and praying that I was getting some images that were in focus! As it turns out, I got the shots, and oh my goodness every time I look back at them I cry. This, people. This is friendship. This is women supporting women. This is the beauty of birth. This is our Tribe.