Background: A photographer born in Oklahoma but currently living in Galway, Ireland, with my husband and two children.
Has your perspective and point of view changed since becoming a mom? And if so, how? My point of view has always been in capturing the beauty in the everyday mundane. With motherhood, I like to add in "keeping it raw." There is so much power in the raw honesty, the beautiful reality of this sacred time. From sticky kitchen counters where memories and jam sponge cakes are made, to the delicate intricacies of stretch marks on my softer mama body.
What do you find most rewarding about motherhood? The most rewarding thing about motherhood is knowing that I'm doing everything right by myself and my children when I follow my instincts. Mothering my babies has transformed me into a woman I'm proud to be.
What do you find the most challenging or surprising? The most challenging thing about motherhood is not having my tribe in the flesh. I didn't truly realize how isolating and lonely some of these days can be.
How do you store/organize/display/showcase your photographs? I try to create yearbooks for each of my children every year. It's never enough though, is it? I'd like a full gallery wall of images.
Any recommendations for moms trying to capture those beautiful moments? Get in the picture, mama. Set up a tripod and remote, ask someone to take your picture with your kids. Even if you don't love the photo, your children and grandbabies will cherish them years to come. (And you will, too).
Any situation (good or bad) where you wish you had your camera? I wish I had pictures of my births. My first birth was in the hospital and they didn't allow even a photo of me holding my daughter for the first time. It still upsets me to think about. My second birth was a home birth, all caught on video on a tripod in the corner, but I do crave to have beautiful images of those transformative moments.
What makes you feel beautiful as a mother? I feel beautiful because I am. My body is incredible, powerful, fierce. I am beautiful because I was once a fresh newborn cradled in my mother's arms, every ounce of perfection and adoration. I am beautiful because I realized that innate perfection of myself when I cradled my fresh newborn daughter in my arms. And so the cycle continues on. I choose to honor this side of myself so that my daughter never loses sight of her own beauty.
What advice can you give other mothers who might not feel beautiful in their bodies? Dear mama, begin a conversation with your body. One of love and friendship. Think of the people in your life that you love — would you ever judge them as harshly? Would you ever tell them ugly things about how they looked? Would you love them any less? No. A thousand times no, so please, dear woman, do not save this harshness for yourself. It is unfair to all that love you, to those that call you 'momma' and, most of all, it's unfair to you. So begin right now, today. With love, gentleness, forgiveness. Honor the divine being that is you. The space you take up on this earth is a thing of intense beauty.
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything and why? I don't think I would have done anything differently at all. I have always followed my heart. I believe in big dreams. I am living mine. It's humble and sweet, what more could I ask for? (OK, maybe for plane tickets to be cheaper so I could see my parents and brothers more often.)