photo+interviews

Divine Mother Amber { Motherhood Photo+Interviews } Military Spouse & Mother

Divine-Mothering Photo+Interviews

{ Divine Mothers of June Session 1 }

{ Amber }

Military Spouse & Mother

When I asked Amber about her journey as a mother, her experience was deeply tangled with her life as a military spouse.

“I never thought I would be raising my child away from my family… But I think that’s also a high point for me, because now I know I can do this… not alone, but away from my support.”

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“I never really saw myself in this situation, but we’re here and we’re doing it. We’ve been lucky, we haven’t experience long separations, but my husband did have a job with lots of TDY’s (work related trips). Right now he works 14-16 hour days.”

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“But I don’t feel alone. I’ve made good friends. This is just something we have to live throughout right now.”

As a fellow military spouse, it’s wonderful to hear the shining optimism in Amber’s voice. The long work days, constant separations, the moving, and the sheer uncertainty that rules the lives of military families is emotionally exhausting. Adding in the stress of motherhood can make for some cranky women! But sweet Amber is not one of them, well, at least not today!

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When I asked Amber about how motherhood, particularly during pregnancy, has changed her identity she told me.

“It’s not about me, I have to take care of someone else first. There’s a whole other life to take care of.”

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“It’s not your body, but it is…” Goodness, how that resonates.

She later emailed me to add, “I don’t think being a mother defines who I am, but it has made me a better person.” It really is a mothering truth. Loving someone else so deeply, changes you.

Beautiful Amber, I wish you a wonderful happy and healthy pregnancy. You are glowing with the amazing light of new life.

You are amazing.

You are beautiful.

You are truly divine.

Amber participated in Divine-Mothering Photo+Interviews of June Session 2, check out this blog post for more images of that session.

If you are interested in participating in this project, please check out the Divine Mothering Community on FB and click Events.

Photography by Liliana Beatriz Fotografia

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THE DIVINE MOTHERS OF JUNE SESSION 2 { MOTHERHOOD PHOTO+INTERVIEWS }

A sneak peak into the images captured on Divine-Mothering’s second event from the Photo+Interview Series.

“This session was a little smaller than the last and it allowed me to relax and really enjoy getting to know the women better. It was amazing. I felt like I made new friends. And the stories…

It was hard to keep my emotions in check.” -Photographer, Liliana Taboas from Liliana Beatriz Fotografia

 

Divine Mother { Amber }

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Divine Mother { Anna }

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Divine Mother { Antje }

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Divine Mother { Michele }

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And my highlight for the evening… What I hope will be a tradition to continue at the end of each session, a group photo <3

 

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Thank you, ladies, for participating! You are all incredible <3 <3 <3

I will be blogging about each of their mini sessions in the coming week and I absolutely can’t wait to share more.

If you are interested in the photography by Liliana Beatriz Fotografia, please visit her website here.

If you are interested in participating in one of the Motherhood Photo+Interview Events, check out our FB Page and click Events.

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Divine Mother Heather { Motherhood Photo+Interviews } Support Matters

Divine-Mothering Photo+Interviews

{ Divine Mothers of June Session 1 }

{ Heather }

Support Matters

I am so thankful Heather came to me to share her amazing breastfeeding support story with me. The stories of breastfeeding mothers are so varied when people see serene images of mothers nursing their young, it simplifies the story a bit. It must be so easy for her. She feels so confident. She must have had no issue. She must love breastfeeding. But women who have breastfed know better.

When I asked Heather about her journey I was pleased to hear how having the right support made all the difference.

“I was very hesitant about breastfeeding. I didn’t want to do it.

My husband is a nurse and he convinced me that I had to at least give it a try.

You have to try, he told me over and over.”

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“I was surprised at how naturally it came for us. It’s probably the most natural thing I’ve ever done. So my goal was 6 months.

Making it to 11 months for me is amazing.

I want to make it to 12 months and then I’m done.”

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“I’m so thankful to my husband for encouraging me to breastfeed.

I thought… If someone like me can decide to try it, anyone could.”

The most common complaint I have personally heard from mothers when it comes to nursing their children long term is the lack of support. Wether it be from their spouse, their family or in laws, once the support drops, many mothers start to doubt themselves and their choices. This leads, unfortunately, for many women to turn way from breastfeeding sooner then intended.

It was refreshing, however, to hear quite the opposite story for Heather! What an amazing partner you have.

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“I wanted to be a part of this.

I was prior enlisted for 10 years, and now being a mother, I have to learn to slow down.

I want to live in the moment.”

Heather, thank you so much for sharing a little of yourself with us. Your story is heart warming and I love that you wanted to dedicate these images to your husband for his amazing encouragement and support. He sounds truly awesome!

Heather, you are so amazing.

You are beautiful.

You are truly divine.

Heather participated in Divine-Mothering Photo+Interviews of June Session 1, check out this blog post for more images of that session.

If you are interested in participating in this project, please check out the Divine Mothering Community on FB and click Events.

Photography by Liliana Beatriz Fotografia

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Divine Mother Gabrielle { Motherhood Photo+Interviews } Empowerment, Breastfeeding & Identity Change

Divine-Mothering Photo+Interviews

{ Divine Mothers of June Session 1 }

{ Danielle }

Empowerment, Breastfeeding & Identity Change

There is something about Gabrielle that I find absolutely fierce. The self confidence she has almost clashes with the soft gentleness of motherhood. So it should come as no surprise to me, or anyone who knows her that her interview consisted of a single word.

“Empowerment.”

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For a moment, it seemed sufficient that just leave it at that. Because what else could this be about?

After all this movement couldn’t be possible if weren’t for women in search for empowerment. The female form has been demonized, sexualized, materialized, and dehumanized throughout the centuries. And while we’ve come a long way, women across the world are trying to take back their bodies and give them the respect, dignity and true meaning they deserve.

When I asked her to expand, she told me:

“I want empowerment for women struggling with their bodies.

It’s about being able to feel good about yourself.

Knowing that what you’re doing is important.”

Gabrielle, what you are doing is so incredibly important.

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When I asked her if she had support for her choices as a mother, it was not at all surprising to learn that she was the first in her family to do things differently.

“I was the first natural birth and the first to breastfeed.”

Gabrielle later emailed me with some further thoughts on her incredible breastfeeding story.

“Breastfeeding and motherhood has been a journey with its highs and lows. Poor latch, supply issues and diabetes have made my breastfeeding journey intense. It took a lot of willpower and determination to not just throw in the towel and buy some formula! After 13 months of exclusively pumping for my first child, I was determined to breastfeed my second.  We made it over humps, bumps and what seemed like brick walls to a now successful journey of breastfeeding.”

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She also opened up about her intense identity change when going form active duty military to mother.

“Motherhood has been the biggest sacrifice I have ever made in my life. Giving my military career to be “just” a mother was a journey that was very hard to acknowledge. Surrendering everything in my life to provide a sole focus to my children was never an undertaking I planned on. It was not my previously planned life path. Though my life has taken a course I never thought it would, I now have full acceptance of my role as a mother, wife and my postpartum body. My body now has curves for a purpose!”

Thank you, Gabrielle, for coming to this session and sharing yourself with us. Motherhood is indeed an intense transformation, not only physically, but mentally, emotionally. A total reinvention of self. And yet, know what you are doing everyday in tasks of motherhood and rearing and educating and nurturing, you are doing something so very important.

You are amazing.

You are beautiful.

You are truly divine.

Danielle participated in Divine-Mothering Photo+Interviews of June Session 1, check out this blog post for more images of that session.

If you are interested in participating in this project, please check out the Divine Mothering Community on FB and click Events.

Photography by Liliana Beatriz Fotografia

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Divine Mother Natallie { Motherhood Photo+Interviews } Self Love for the Next Generation

Divine-Mothering Photo+Interviews

{ Divine Mothers of June Session 1 }

{ Natallie }

Self Love for the Next Generation

“I’ve always had issues with my self image.”

Natallie is a beautiful mother of two girls who is now intent on making sure they are well on their way down the path of self love and self respect.

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When I asked her why she wanted to participate in this project, she replied that she wanted women to feel proud of themselves. These photo sessions are about “Being proud of who you are as a mom.”

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Being a mother of two girls, specially, Natallie wants her girls to learn to love themselves as they are. “I vowed to never say anything negative about myself in front of them. Nothing. I don’t want them to learn that from me.”

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“I don’t want them to think… that their mother, the person that to them is so wonderful and special… that if she thinks something is wrong with her, then what’s wrong with me?”

Natallie, you are an incredible mother. The seed of self love that you are trying to instill on your daughters will surely take root. And hopefully, it will take root in all those who read this. Because the truth is that we learn this self hate. As we talked about this subject I myself remember the time of my life when I began to understand the narrow construct  of what is considered beautiful in our society.

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The only way to combat this narrow view of beauty is to challenge it. And that is what we are doing here. Challenging what is considered womanly, what is considered feminine, what is considered appropriate, what is considered sexual, what is considered natural, what is considered beautiful.

Natallie, you are so incredibly beautiful. Thank you for participating in this photo series and sharing yourself with us. I hope that you continue practicing self love toward yourself not just for the sake of your girls who admire and emulate you, but also to show yourself the kindness and love you deserve.

May we all remember to be kind to ourselves.

Natallie, you are amazing!

You are beautiful!

You are truly divine!

Danielle participated in Divine-Mothering Photo+Interviews of June Session 1, check out this blog post for more images of that session.

If you are interested in participating in this project, please check out the Divine Mothering Community on FB and click Events.

Photography by Liliana Beatriz Fotografia

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Divine Mother Annie { Motherhood Photo+Interviews } Letting go of Guilt

 

 Divine-Mothering Photo+Interviews

{ Divine Mothers of June Session 1 }

{ Annie }

Letting Go of Guilt

I had my three year old daughter with us at the studio during the interviews. It wasn’t ideal, but as a mother, sometimes you just have to do things with your little entourage, or not do them at all. But I got quite the kick out of her reaction to Annie and her twins. She practically shrieked with delight “Mom! She has TWO babies! Did you see? Two babies!”

“I actually have three.” was Annie’s cheerful response as she motioned towards her oldest daughter, who was still younger than my own.

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When I asked Annie why she wanted to come to this photo session she answered with so much enthusiasm. “I participated in the group breastfeeding photo, and the experience was really amazing. I was wearing the twins and the online response was so positive. I had strangers messaging me asking me how I wrapped them, and cheering me on. It was awesome.”

“It’s hard to remember sometimes… that what we’re doing is awesome. I want to remember, it’s easy to forget.”

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It is definitely easy to forget. Between the crying, diaper changes, cooking, cleaning, sleepless nights, and on and on, it is hard to see much glory in the day to day work of being a new mother. And add in twins and a toddler? Annie, you are my hero!

“But I can do the diapers, it’s really not such a big deal to add in another change. But emotionally it’s hard for me… I have a lot of guilt.”

When a family goes from having a single child to multiple, there is always a lot of uncertainty as to how the older child will feel. Will they feel neglected? Pushed aside? Will they like their new siblings? Will they get along? Will the fight? There is always a transition period for everyone involved and it can be a nerve wrecking time for everyone.

“I’m trying my best every day and I wonder… if it’s still enough.”

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Oh Annie, of course you are enough. Your whole being a light with joyful love and warmth for your children. Keep remembering how incredible you are, how much love your heart provides daily, how much your body gives to all your children. It’s amazing how much of ourselves we give as mothers.

Thank you, Annie, for coming and participating in this project. Thank you for sharing what little is left of yourself with the world and giving mothers a voice to connect with.

You are amazing.

You are beautiful.

You are truly divine.

Annie participated in Divine-Mothering Photo+Interviews of June Session 1, check out this blog post for more images of that session.

If you are interested in participating in this project, please check out the Divine Mothering Community on FB and click Events.

Photography by Liliana Beatriz Fotografia

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Divine Mother Alexevys { Motherhood Photo+Interviews } Breastfeeding Awareness

 Divine-Mothering Photo+Interviews

{ Divine Mothers of June Session 1 }

{ Alexevys }

Breastfeeding Awareness

When I asked Alexevys why she felt compelled to come to my Photo+Interview, she told me she wanted to help normalize breastfeeding.

“Breastfeeding still feels taboo in my country (Venezuela) and in the states (USA). I want to help change that.”

Coming from a conservative Latin country myself, I understood what she meant. While she expressed complete support from her family, the discomfort at the sight of a child at one’s breast is still palpable.

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She also opened up a recent negative conversation she had with another mother. The woman had expressed a condemning attitude towards breastfeeding photos, particularly those done in outdoor settings, claiming there was no need to flaunt breastfeeding, or glorify it.

Can’t say Alexevys and I would agree! Considering what Divine-Mothering has been up to…

“I don’t know why she felt that way… She breastfeeds too.”

It’s the greatest mystery to me why mothers choose to do this. Why women put each other down, judge each other, pit themselves as enemies in eternal competition instead of creative a tribe, a sisterhood. Because when we fight amongst each other, we only continue to perpetuate all the negative stereotypes about women. The cattiness, the disloyalty, the distrust…

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Towards the end of the interview I asked her what she thought her family might feel towards these photos.

“My husband is one hundred percent supportive, he will love them. My family… I don’t know… It will be an interesting reveal.”

Alexevys, thank you so much for sharing yourself with us so we can help normalize breasfeeding. Congratulations on your journey, reaching the 12 months of breastfeeding milestone that still out of reach for most American mothers.

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CDC reports that only %27  of infants are breastfeeding at 12 months. Despite the strong recommendations otherwise for all healthy mothers who are able to breastfeed their infants.

“The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that breastfeeding continue for at least 12 months, and thereafter for as long as mother and baby desire. The World Health Organization recommends continued breastfeeding up to 2 years of age or beyond.” CDC.gov

Alexevys, you are so incredibly beautiful. Thank you again for participating in this humble project to get women’s voices out in the open!

You are amazing!

You are gorgeous!

You are truly divine!

Alexevys participated in Divine-Mothering Photo+Interviews of June Session 1, check out this blog post for more images of that session.

If you are interested in participating in this project, please check out the Divine Mothering Community on FB and click Events.

Photography by Liliana Beatriz Fotografia

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Divine Mother Eva-Maria { Motherhood Photo+Interviews } Self Love, Infertility & a Journey through IVF

 

Divine-Mothering Photo+Interviews

{ Divine Mothers of June Session 1 }

{ Eva-Maria }

Self Love, Infertility & a Journey through IVF

I started each session with one question. And that was “Why did you decide to come out today?” I wanted to hear about what was motivating women to take off their clothes and pose knowing there would be no retouching, glamour posing, or special hair and make up. I wanted to know, why women, mothers in particular, were so determined to share themselves with the world.

Eva-Maria responded with “I have been struggling with myself, and I finally came to the conclusion that I should cut myself some slack.”

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She continues “People tell me all the time how quickly I have recovered, or how slender I look so soon after having a baby. But the truth is, these people don’t know how frustrating it feels, when none of the clothes I own fit anymore, when my hips all of a sudden feel as wide as the channel of England, or how devastating it is when you loose tons of hair everyday due to hormone changes. After 40 weeks of beautiful skin and a wonderful birth my skin decided to tear about a week postpartum, leaving tiny little stretch marks – I can’t say I was prepared for that at all, I had already considered myself lucky to get away without stretch marks.”

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Eva-Maria also opened up about her struggles with infertility and her journey through IVF in an email after the session.

“Nothing will eat away on your soul like the unfulfilled wish for a child.

There were several occasions were I just wanted to stay at home and feel sorry for myself, instead of surrounding myself with my friends that were pregnant, or had babies. But I FORCED myself to go out there and feel happy for them. I did not want to become that person that start wishing ill for others, just because I cant have what they have. Even though, I understand that feeling, the logic in me finds that behavior quite childish and mean. So I chose happy thoughts for others and to surround myself with good energies.

The IVF cycle itself is painful. 3 needles every night for weeks and weeks, hormone roller coaster rides, stomach cramps, headaches, nausea, growing about 20 golfball sized follicles in me and then having them removed under full anesthesia. But multiply all the physical pains to get a good picture of the anxiety of the outcome, the 2 week wait, the hoping, the preparing for all options – a crazy time! It can break you, or it can make you very strong – yourself and your relationship.

I kept my sanity with the preparing of fresh organic vegan foods, yoga and being around people I love. Or even an occasional glass of wine. I believe, that only if mind and body are working together, there is a chance of an embryo nesting inside of you.”

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I loved that she even shared some advice for those who have friends and loved ones going through infertility.

Sentences to avoid when talking to an infertile couple:
“It will all work out” – Aha, how do you know?
“Life can be so fulfilled without children” – True. But learning to accept and move on is a yearlong, if not lifelong, challenge.
“IVF? So soon? Don’t you feel you are messing with God’s plan?” – No.

Best thing to say to an infertile couple:
“I don’t know what to say. This is just a real shit situation.”

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It was a true pleasure to meet Eva-Maria and her daughter and learn about her journey into motherhood. Even more wonderful to know that she was able to conceive the child she had been dreaming of, I know for many this is not the case. Eva-Maria is also proud and grateful to have experienced a safe, natural, and relaxed home birthing experience. Something that I know to be a privilege to experience.

Eva-Maria, you are so stunningly beautiful and your child is gorgeous, what a blessing it is to see you both together and smiling and filled with warm loving light. Thank you for joining me on this journey of discovering self love and appreciation for the temple that is our female form.

You are amazing.

You are beautiful.

You are truly divine.

Eva-Maria participated in Divine-Mothering Photo+Interviews of June Session 1, check out this blog post for more images of that session.

If you are interested in participating in this project, please check out the Divine Mothering Community on FB and click Events.

Photography by Liliana Beatriz Fotografia

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The Divine Mothers of June Session 1 { Motherhood Photo+Interviews }

A sneak peak into the images captured on Divine-Mothering’s first event from the Photo + Interview Series.

“I don’t think I can’t do these images justice, with my own words, because they are simply too special to me.

As I went through the photos, I knew I had captured something beautiful. However, once they started coming together in the editing room, my heart just exploded. There is something so equality delicate and tender as well as powerful and fierce. That inner light is so evidently percent present.

Every one of you is so incredibly beautiful, each mini session so unique and exquisite. But I think I was able to make my vision a reality, and capture what, in my eyes, is being a divine mother.” -Photographer, Liliana Taboas from Liliana Beatriz Fotografia

Divine Mother { Eva-Maria }

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Divine Mother { Alexevys }

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Divine Mother { Danille }

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Divine Mother { Annie }

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Divine Mother { Natallie }

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Divine Mother { Gabrielle }

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Divine Mother { Heather }

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I will be blogging about each of their mini sessions in the coming week and I absolutely can’t wait to share more.

If you are interested in the photography by Liliana Beatriz Fotografia, please visit her website here.

If you are interested in participating in one of the Motherhood Photo+Interview Events, check out our FB Page and click Events.

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Humanize. Normalize. Celebrate. Share away!

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