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A rainy In-Home session in Sandy Springs | Fulton County


Mom holding smiling toddler

When I created the "CELEBRATE MOTHERHOOD campaign" I just wanted to raise awareness that being a MOM is a lot more than what you see on perfectly posed INSTAGRAM and other platforms. Every woman has her very own pregnancy-, birth-and breastfeeding-story to tell, and none of it goes as described in the books. There are so many moving parts involved and so many decisions have to be made.


"Being a MOM is the hardest job in the world..."


And especially when it is the first child and your only wish is to make everything right. But nobody does. Social media only shows perfect moments and fake smiles. That's why I was on the search for women who are not afraid to tell their truth and be honest about the hard work that motherhood entails.

YES, it is rewarding for sure...but the work can be exhausting and on most days unbearable.


Please read what Maria had to share about her experiences and scroll to the end of this page to see a few pictures of her gallery (we took soooooo many 😉)


"We named our baby boy, Aaron - it means mountain or being grounded, which is a beautiful reflection of my pregnancy journey. I suffer from high anxiety and I still remember those times during my pregnancy when I had panic attacks. The baby's flutters or movements would bring me back to the present moment and I was able to remain calm.

I call the days of my pregnancy ‘complete love’, I loved having him inside me and we communicated through touch and music. Everything about pregnancy and the amazing body transformation was a beautiful sensory experience for me. I prepared for his birth every day, staying physically active, reading up, preparing for natural labor, and a connected experience.


BUT...my birth story looked nothing like what I prepared for- it was probably the harshest experience that truth life could teach me.

I had an excruciatingly long labor that lasted for about 36 hours. Labor did not start naturally, and I was induced. I denied all pain medication. I used all my tools - music, walking, yoga, meditation. Every surge was a rhythm until it was not, because my body eventually tired out and I lost control of the rhythmic contraction. When I was fully dilated, I felt time just stood still as I was overwhelmed with emotions and eagerness to meet him, hold him, and kiss him. Pushing didn’t last that long, and he was out quite quickly. It was surreal seeing Aaron. He cried until he made eye contact - and I hope that that moment stays in my core memory.

I remember missing him inside me.

I had a third-degree tear. Aaron had jaundice and I blamed myself. Postpartum days in the hospital were rough. Looking back, I remember being fearful, anxious, worried. I held him every minute. Breastfeeding was a challenge because I didn’t produce enough to clear him of jaundice. I blamed myself for that too. I was reluctant to give him formula because I wanted to breastfeed, it was my dream while I was pregnant. Though I gave him the formula to clear off jaundice, I tried everything to get my production up. Pumping every awake moment, keeping him at my breasts…my family was worried for me. But I blamed myself for not having enough milk for my baby. I cried every day. I didn’t sleep, I had no appetite. I just held him all the time. I didn’t want to meet anyone, I didn’t want anyone touching him.

Then I was diagnosed for postpartum depression, was prescribed medication, and immediately sent to therapy.

But I continued to pump and bring up my milk production. I was finally able to get him to exclusively breastfeed. To this day, I see that as one of the battles I won during my postpartum. Connecting with Aaron during the battles of my postpartum was the silver lining. Observing his cues, learning his cries, and ‘communicating’ with him. We feel so connected to each other and I love being Aaron’s mom. There are difficult days and hard moments but we go through them with each other.

I have always believed that babies choose their moms, and there were times during my postpartum I wondered why Aaron chose me. I see the twinkle in his eyes when he smiles at me and that is the affirmation for me.

Being a mother is fulfilling but infinitely hard.

No one talks about the mental load of motherhood and the toll it takes to show up every day for our baby (babies). I have lost friends. Some family members distanced themselves while I was finding myself in motherhood. I don’t blame them. I am still getting to know my reinvented identity."


 

The next day after I delivered the beautiful Gallery I found an email in my INBOX that said:


"Hi Nina,


I cannot even begin to appreciate your incredible talent in capturing these moments of motherhood. My eyes get teary every time I look at these photos and I cannot stop looking at them. These are ordinary moments in my life today, that I wish I could just hold onto and never let go. And you have beautifully captured it.


Being Aaron’s mama is the biggest honor in my life, and I see it in the photos - the happiness of enjoying my baby, the grief of how fleeting the moment is, and my baby’s beautiful curiosity about this big bold world!


I hope the photoshoot fulfilled everything you wanted out of the Motherhood Project. It was great getting to know you.


P.S.: I think the rainy day really worked in our favor. Those shadows and moody lighting are everything!

Love it."

 


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