Being pregnant to me felt a lot like standing on a precipice - I did not know what was to come, but I knew that it was something amazing, something obviously life changing, and something exciting, but you just don't know how much you are going to love this little one, you actually can't imagine it until you are holding them, because you have absolutely never felt this way about anyone before. Pregnancy and parenthood is a wild ride. All the quotes you read about your heart walking around outside of your body are true, but for me it was more like when Dr. Seuss says about The Grinch that "his heart grew three sizes that day".
That's what I love about maternity photographs. They capture who you are then, who you were, in the last moments before you change and grow three sizes of heart and get inducted into the club that you never knew was sort of the most amazing club ever. Well, that and that I think the pregnant form, as I am sure I have said here before, is amazingly beautiful. It's the expectation, yes, but it's also knowing how amazing the human body is and the beauty of growing a life inside of your body. Like, what? That's crazy that we do this thing. And, it makes you glowy and beautiful, even if you don't always feel that way.
When I met this little family, since I am a shallow and small woman, I was so excited, because THAT. DRESS. RIGHT? I LOVE it and it is perfect perfect for maternity photos. It was even more lovely in the gorgeous location we chose to shoot these photos. And, because the woman wearing it was so beautiful and lovely too.
I give you these gorgeous photos, in this gorgeous location, of this gorgeous form and dress and phew, life really is beautiful.
Couldn't help but get creative in such a spot. This location is SO gorgeous.
So in love with this location!
Congratulations! Can't wait to meet your little one.
Ages and ages ago, the mama in this family emailed me to ask if I did birth photography. I mean, she wasn't pregnant, she was just asking. I love when that happens. I had been thinking that I would love to try my hand as a Philadelphia birth photographer for ages. Philly is such a great town for all things birth: we have great midwives, great birth educators, great lactation consultants, many of whom I know or maybe even used myself. Also, I love photographing itty bitty babies, and birth is the most amazing thing ever, so how would that not be fantastic?
As luck would have it, this mama DID eventually get pregnant. And, when I spied her announcement on Facebook, I sent her a message, we met (with her husband too) and decided YES!
Christy Santoro of Motherland Midwifery and her assistant Janean Sexton arrived as I did. Birth doula Valerie Monroe was there to support Mr. About-To-Become-A-Big-Brother, who offered me soup when I got there. He did. Best kid ever.
Mama was upstairs, laboring on a birthing ball while knitting and playing with her dogs
Yes, you read that right. She was just workin' on a hat, y'all. I labored by laying on my couch crying. Not this mama! I was awed by her in every way. And her husband, oh lawdy. He was the most intuitive, supportive, loving birth partner around. What a zen, centered event that this birth was.
It was a pretty fast labor, I think I was there for a total of five hours from walking in the door to going home. This was pretty much the most amazing thing I've ever witnessed. I didn't see my own son being born, obviously. Mama and Papa welcomed this wee one, Baby Carrot as his older brother called him in the womb, into a space with so much love, with so much respect, gentleness and support.
There were some quiet moments, when there was a little break in the contracting and business of being born. The photos that follow here were shot at 8pm in October in a room lit only by the midwives' headlamps. If you notice some grain, they were shot at ISO 25, 600. Yes, that is a thing.
I love this one. I love this face. I love what this feeling feels like - the joy of becoming a mother. Love it, this one is for all the marbles, I think.
And then it was quiet. For the drinking in, for the realizing, for the comprehending.
I felt like the luckiest person in the world. I photographed two of the most amazing, brilliant, calm and knowledgable midwives do their thing. I photographed a loved and much-wanted baby come into this world. I photographed a boy transformed into a brother, and I photographed two people become parents again, and create a new circle in their family.
Here is Baby Carrot being weighed.
Making things official.
Welcome to the world, Baby Carrot. I am so glad that I was able to document your journey earthside.
When Velvet initially contacted me to schedule a maternity session, we discussed doing an edgy, urban maternity session. I had grand ideas for shots in front of a graffiti wall in Philadelphia. (Anyone want to do this? I'm full of ideas!) A few weeks later, she wrote me back with a new idea - a horse farm. Initially, I worried that I might not be able to produce a horse farm for us to use. Then I got resourceful, when I remembered that the greatest little horse lady in Pennsylvania has been a friend of mine since I was babysitting her oldest child when I was eleven years old. She had an orange Camaro, let me listen to Michael Jackson's brand new album, Thriller, and I watched little baby Shash while she rode horses. When I contacted her, she was a GO! So, we headed up to Chunk O' Heaven Horse Farm in Newtown Square, where Mindy Chernoff is not only a skilled horseman but a spiritual advisor as well.
We looked over all of the horses, and selected one to use for the shoot. Only problem was, this one chose my client. The horse seriously came out to her after we'd chosen another horse that we were going to use. The other horse really didn't even look over at us, but Vitonne was smitten.
I have to stop this little love fest to mention one thing: I'm scared of horses. Like, terrified. I don't want to get stepped on, bitten, or, well, breathed near. These things are DANG BIG and could put a hurtin' on little old me with a quickness. That created quite a few laughs when I was trying to back away from the horses (uh, note to self: electrified fence). Mindy tried to tell me to be calm and breathe. Not really my thing. But, man. Velvet sure does know how to be around a horse. She was so gentle and still, and the horse was looking at her with love in his eyes. So was her husband, actually. She's pretty engaging - beautiful, quiet, sweet, quick with a laugh. Watching how enamored of her the horse was was a pretty incredible thing to do. He kept pointing his head toward her belly with such tenderness.
I feel really honored that I got to help create these photos - it truly was a group effort with Mindy's amazing coaching, Velvet and Page's incredible calm, and me documenting it all. These are some of my favorite maternity photos to date - these clients were the best! I have to say, even the horse part was kinda fun. To schedule your own maternity session, even with horses, click here.
There's also a lovely little video you can watch here.
Somehow, even though my son attends school with this little dude, somehow I had never met him. I would have remembered his gorgeous brown eyes, and his adorable little laugh. I'm sure he would have engaged me with his cute-as-a-button repartee and knowledge. Because, he did all of those things and more (think: sweet showings off of talents) at the session we did with this darling little family expecting their fourth any day now. This guy charmed me from the start, itchy bugs and early morning notwithstanding. He was like a little man who'd had his coffee already. Love it.
Isn't he so so so cute?
So, when his mama walked up in THAT GORGEOUS PURPLE DRESS, I was like, "Yes". I love when someone comes in a fabulous dress for photos. I was the worst dressed pregnant woman EVER. I never looked sassy and only wore like, gross fuzzy yoga pants. So, a form fitting, jewel toned dress? I am loving you, lady. Cause you've got the sass! (and wishing I looked that good not pregnant...)
Such a sweet family. They were having the best time - making each other giggle and generally just hanging out. And, I don't know which I like more, the silly look I captured on Brother's face or the gorgeous light behind them.
Mama and I were both loving this funky little pile of sticks we found. It's a cute little pile and it worked so well at this fabulous location. The light here was just making me happy all day! And, doesn't she look like a movie star?
So, now, the next time I see Brother at school, I hope to get one of those winning smiles and maybe an anecdote or a command performance.
Thanks, Spectacularly Cute Family. Can't wait until your little one arrives!
If you are pregnant and you want to schedule your own session, click here.
So, dogs. I don't know how many of you readers follow me on Facebook, but I've confessed that a horribly geeky trait of mine is that I am a dog savant. Pretty much, I recognize every breed of dog and can often figure out mutty combinations, too. The reason for this is that as a child, I was obsessed with dogs. As luck would have it, I was born to an avowed hater of animals, but dogs in particular. Isn't life cruel? My mother would tell me, "When you're a big lady, you can get your own house and get yourself a dog". And instead of a dog, do you know what she gave me? Dog books. Lots and lots of dog books. I did get myself a dog when I was a "big lady" and haven't been without at least one at all times since, but that's another story for another day. The reason I tell you this is to say that I am pretty much a dog lover. Yet, when I went to Nikki and Chris' house, I was a little intimidated by their sweet boy. And, uh. You would have been too. Sweet Lincoln probably weighs more than my big, muscular husband. Maybe my husband and I combined. Okay, maybe not, but that is one big dog. So, when I walked in and he sort of came up to my shoulder, I was a little intimidated. But he is a big baby. He won't let Nicole out of his sight. He cried outside the door while I was photographing her! But still, I wouldn't dream of messing with her with that big boy around, sweetheart or not.
And look. <3 She loves him as much as he loves her.
And then there's Chris. Nikki and Chris are so, so crazy about and perfect for each other. You can see the love in their eyes when they talk. So incredibly sweet. I cannot wait to meet their little boy in a few short weeks! Love. <3
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