When my oldest, Alexa, was about 3 years old, we were going through old pictures of my husband and I while we were dating and then our wedding and then when we had Alexa. After about 45 minutes she started to get frantic and looked at me and said, “Where is mommy”? I looked at her puzzled and said, “I’m right here silly!” and she said, “NO” and pointed at the monitor “In the pictures, WHERE IS MOMMY”. I was dumbfounded, my heart sank, I felt sick to my stomach and on the verge of tears. She was right, I was no where to be found. In those first 3 years there were thousands of pictures of just her, with daddy, the dogs, grandparents, friends and maybe 2 with me. I had one belly shot of me pregnant with her and you wouldn’t have even known it was me. If I were to die that day, my presence would not have been documented. It was like I didn’t exist. I know that’s radical because we have memories and love and so on, but physically I wasn’t captured. The even worst part was, I’m a professional photographer!
So, why was I missing from all of these moments in life? Like many women these days, it was my body. I’m not going to lie, I’m fat. It’s ok, I said it. I didn’t want to be photographed, I didn’t like how I looked. When I looked in the mirror all I saw were my flaws and why would I want to capture that? And when I started to think, I also started to ask Alexa questions like “What do you love about yourself?”, “What do you love about mommy”? And after a few months things started to change. I started to view myself differently. I stopped hiding. Oh it was hard as hell at first to let people take my picture, let alone look at it but I cringed, sucked it up and did it for two reasons. One, I want to make sure I document my presence in my childrens lives for them. They deserve images of me with them, loving them, playing with them and celebrating life. Two, I wanted to start building a healthy body image for my girls. I didn’t want them to focus on how they look but who they are. But I also wanted them to respect their body and how powerful and incredible it is in any shape and size.
I started to think, If I were my girls how would they see my body? What are parts of my body that are incredible?
- They would see soft brown eyes with lines of love and laughter around them that have watched their every movement since conception
- Lips that have tenderly kissed their foreheads, cheeks, hands and feet and whispered dreams into their ears as they drifted off to sleep
- They would see strong shoulders that have carried them for hours on end wrapped in fabric and love
- Breasts that were round and full and fed them and provided comfort and a safe play to lay their head when they were sick or tired or just needed me
- A soft round belly covered with tiger stripes I earned as they grew and and somersaulted in my womb, a constant reminder of the power of my body that grew two pieces of my heart
- Feet that were strong and carried my body back and forth as I paced them in womb and in arms
They would see their mother, who was a piece of their heart living on the outside. A woman who was soft, and round with curves that would comfort and envelop them and made them feel safe. They would see only beauty and perfection.
And so slowly I started to respect myself more and see my self in the light that my children, husband, family and friends saw me. It wasn’t what I looked liked but who I was that was important. I am beautiful and perfect in my own way and the best gift I can give my girls is to teach them to love themselves for who they are by leading by example. So I no longer hide from the camera. I look up and smile and let my heart shine through because that is how I want to be seen and remembered.
I believe in Love at first sight- I met my husband on his 18th birthday and the rest is history
I’m passionate about a women’s right to birth without fear or pressure whether that is at home or in a hospital, I’ve done it in both places.
I have two beautiful girls, Alexa and Arya, 5.5 years apart. I believe each of my daughters was sent to me to remind me of a piece of myself I have lost along the way, it has been exciting journey to rekindle those parts of “ME” again.
We live on a little River in Southbury, CT with our Rotti Beagle mix, a Crazy 1 year old German Shephard and a fat cat that won’t leave the basement, he might be to fat to climb the stairs.
I love a good margarita on the rocks with Salt but ONLY if my husband makes it with hand squeezed lemons, limes and homemade simple syrup, any other margarita sucks.
I listen to “pitbull” in the car with my daughters, they have no idea who Raffi is but Alexa knows most of the words to “Calle Ocho”
I’m the girl who will love you fiercely but is not afraid to “tell you like it is”, if I do, it means I actually care about you!
I love my girls but there are many days I don’t like them or want to be around them. Yep, I just said that, its normal for you to feel that too!
I believe that mothers a given a handbook when their baby is born, its called “intuition” and it will never lead her astray.
I am a photographer who helps women “Celebrate the Courageous journey of motherhood”