pregnancy

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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A Healing Pregnancy & Birth { Motherhood Stories / Miscarriage }

Women’s bodies are incredible. Each and every one of us, you and me, grew inside the womb of a woman. Our bodies are vessels of life. Not only designed to sustain life within for the 9 months of pregnancy, but also to nourish young nurslings until they are able to feed themselves. And even for those women who have trouble conceiving or breast feeding, that intense desire to nurture, to raise, to help heal, is unmistakably female. We are the mothers of the human race. An incredible honor, duty and responsibility has been bestowed on us. It should be celebrated. It should be praised. It should be our glory. Whether you have given birth, or not. Mothered, or not. Assisted in rearing, or not. Our bodies are a symbol of life, nourishing, and healing.

Unfortunately, we are living in a world where being a woman is of little value. Our bodies have been distorted by the media, stripped of their dignity and used to sell material things. Sexualized and villainized to the point that the mere sight of a child at her mother’s breast causes scandal. So much distortion of our self image has been spread into our consciousness that most women have come to fear pregnancy and birth, the very moment our bodies perform the most incredible miracle we could witness.

My heart had been full of fear and hurt, too.

Despite my second pregnancy producing the most amazing and beautiful healthy child. My heart was still mourning my first pregnancy, which ended in miscarriage. Not an uncommon occurrence, but somehow it cut deep into my soul. My heart was still trembling with flashbacks of being in a cold room feeling helpless, naked, and completely heart broken, as nurses inspected my emptying womb.

A healthy daughter came into our lives soon after, as I became pregnant again within a few months. And every single day of that pregnancy was a struggle with fear and uncertainty… but after her birth, all was forgotten. The joy she brought me was enough for me to put aside my past experiences and enjoy being a mother. It would only be about a year after her birth, when the desire to grow our family started to take hold, that I realized how broken I truly felt.

The thought of being pregnant again brought me to tears. I was terrified. Despite dreaming of a larger family, I felt incapable of surpassing my hurt.

I begged my husband to consider adoption. I didn’t know what else to do. And for a while, this was my plan. To push for adoption as the only means to grow our family… Out of fear.

But as destiny should have it, I soon found myself pregnant again, and absolutely scared out of my mind. I could barely fake a happy face. Because despite my wholehearted desire for another child, I was petrified in fear. But there wasn’t much I could do about it now. I was pregnant and sentenced to 9 months of being a human incubator (as I liked to call it… as I felt).

Despite my fears, I was stubborn. I wanted a different experience for this pregnancy. I didn’t want to relive the cold offices, the intrusive tools, the constant invasions of privacy… So I searched out a home birth midwife. And I am so incredibly thankful I did.

My midwife would always assure me that my body and my baby would know what to do. She would, very seriously, explain how “the nature” would know what is needed. She made me trust my body to do what it was meant to do. I felt safe in her care, and that was important… To trust my care giver.

Of course, after a miscarriage, it is difficult to trust. I felt like my body had betrayed me and my unborn child, discarding it unfairly. And I felt like my care providers, at the time, did little if anything to help heal me, after assisting my body in finishing such an unforgivable betrayal. As if they had been in it together, to destroy my child and break my spirit.

Through my pregnancy, I started to look for female idols, goddesses, and sacred mothers. My favorite figure, by far, was that of Mother Nature, a metaphor I had grown familiar and comfortable with. A force that drives this planet, this earth. The creates life, creates beauty, that nurtures, and provides… But Mother Nature can also be a violent mother. Hurricanes, earthquakes, tsunami are all part of the incredible and deadly forces of nature… Part of the life cycle…

I pondered on this image for a long time. If I was to see myself as part of the divine, as having a strong spiritual identity, as having my spirit and my body coexists harmoniously. I had to learn to accept, and embrace, that just like Mother Nature, a mythical and spiritual portrayal of our earthly home, my body, my temple, my very human self was also both capable of creating life, nourishment, and beauty, as well as great hurt and destruction. One aspect does not need to overshadow the other.

Does the horror of an unforgiving tsunami deny the vast beauty of the ocean?

Does the destruction of hurricane change our perception of the soothing summer showers?

And I suddenly felt the realization that my body was an extension of Mother Nature. Part of it’s creation, but also part It. With the power to create, to nurture, to provide… and to destroy. I may not fully understand the reasons why nature can be so violent and seemingly unjust at times… But I cannot deny that the same earth that shakes and brings down buildings also provides us the land to build anew.

It took me 3 years and two successful pregnancies to make peace with my body and amend my view of pregnancy after my miscarriage.

It took a loving supportive husband and family. It took an incredible, understanding and receptive care provider. It took falling in love with two beautiful children.

I had my second daughter in our home. It was a wonderful experience to be able to stay home, together as a family, to experience the incredible, magical, and powerful experience that is childbirth.

And somehow, after it was all said and done, after the nausea, after the ergy burts and energy drains, after the emotional roller coaster that is pregnancy, after all the check ups, after the labor, after holding my baby, after re-learning to nurse, after managing the first few days of being a mother of two… I can finally say, I am no longer afraid.

I can finally see the beauty in pregnancy again. The magic. The reason why women glow.

We are such incredible creatures, so amazing and strong and powerful. Don’t let them lie to you. Don’t let them make you think you are weak, or sick, or delicate, while pregnant. Don’t let them make you think labor is scary, or painful, or routine. Don’t let them tame you during labor. Don’t let them tell you what you need or don’t need, what can or can’t do. You know what you need, you know what you want. You make them respect your body. It is sacred. Labor is sacred. Don’t let them strip it of it’s beauty and dignity.

This pregnancy saved me from not understanding this. It guided me towards the truth. The incredible truth that we women are being denied every single day. That our bodies are incredible and POWERFUL. That we grow new lives within our wombs, nurse children with our breasts, and give birth through with our vaginas. And our bodies are not dirty. They are not weak. Our bodies are sacred. Our bodies are AMAZING. Our bodies deserve respect and honor.

Whether you are a mother or not, remember this truth. Your body is an incredible symbol of life on this earth, an extension of Mother Nature, and a force to be reckond with.

And THAT is the lesson I needed to learn… That I was not broken. That having had a negative experience does not need to cancel out how truly amazing, beautiful and magical pregnancy, labor, and mothering is.

{S}Hero Liliana

Photo by LilianaBeatriz.com
Photo by LilianaBeatriz.com

 

If you are interested in Liliana Beatriz Fotografia, visit the website here.

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