Dear Beautiful Mama,
This post has been years in the making for me and get ready because it is going to be a long one. For the last 2 years, I have had the immense privilege of photographing all kinds of mamas. I have photographed them in full make up and their best dresses, I have photographed them in the moments after they have brought a new life into this world. I have seen them in struggle as their little ones show up to a session cranky and tired. I have watched them as the close their eyes and slowly breathe in the sweet scent of their babes. And EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. I am in awe.
I am in awe of what we are and what we represent as women. It has been the greatest blessing to be able to use my camera lens as a way to look at what we do as women and mothers from an outsider's perspective. As a mama myself, I find that we so often get caught up in the fray, in the expectation of what we are supposed to do, or be, or sound like, or look like as we do our best to handle it all ( because let's be real. We DO IT ALL!).
But let me get real with you guys for a second. You know what I also experience every single session with a lovely mama? Every single mom makes a comment that I dread. That one comment never sounds the same but it always means the same thing and it breaks my heart every time I hear it. Every mama has some comment about the concerns the have about their appearance in their photos. "Hopefully, you can photoshop me a few pounds thinner." "Man, I wish my hair was just a little less frizzy today." "I hope this dress doesn't make my tummy look chubby." No matter how many times I hear these comments the sadness of it always hits me the same way.
And I totally get it, because honestly I do it too. I see your stunning red hair and wish I had hair just like that. I see your petite figures and start to feel subconscious of those 3 (ok it was 4) tacos I had at lunch. I see that precious new baby in your arms and I long for one more chance to do it all again with my little ones. Its heartbreaking but it's what we do. But I have learned something in watching each of you from behind my lens. I have learned that its all in our heads. All of it. Our kids don't care if our hair was a little frizzy today. They just want to hear us laugh and get to play with us. I promise you those 5,10,20 extra pounds don't change a single one of the million reasons our partners love us. The only person who cares about it all is us.
So let me lay some truth on all you mamas out there. I am going to tell you 100% honestly what I see when I photograph you. You ready?? I see the way your face lights up when you look at that little babe that looks just like you. I see way your husband's face softens every time he looks you in the eyes. The strength that radiates from you when you have just gone through the raw beauty of childbirth. I see they pride on your face when you watch your kids play. I see the peace that comes over you when you rest in your partners arms. That's what I see. In fact, I never see the things you point out to me that you are worried about. NEVER even after you mention it. Because what I see is so much more powerful. I see what you represent as a woman and a mother. I see your strength and the beauty that you show when you don't realize I have my camera on you. I see the way you lead your family with poise and I see the love you so freely share with others.
So today my one request is that you take a moment as often as possible and try to see yourself the way I see you through my lens. We are in this together mamas. Let's be kinder to ourselves. We both know that we deserve so much better.