How Losing our Baby Changed My Life, My Motherhood, and My Lens.
I sat there alone, on a disgusting park bathroom toilet. I held my camera on my knees. There was nowhere clean to set it down.
I hated my camera a little. It didn’t matter if it got ruined now anyways. I was having a miscarriage, what was the point? It seemed pretty stupid, actually.
There weren’t going to be any announcement pictures or ‘bump-dates’ to document. No birth pictures or newborn photographs to take.
There was so. much. blood. I eventually just had to get up, do my best to hide all the blood, and walk outside. I explained to the teenage girl waiting for me that I was going to need to reschedule our photography session.
I called my husband and he came to drive me home. We laid a towel on the passenger seat, I threw my camera in the back, and we went home to finish miscarrying in private.
But really, a miscarriage isn’t finished when the bleeding stops. It isn’t finished when what would have been week 20 comes and goes and there’s no gender reveal. And it doesn’t end on your due date when there’s no baby to bring home from the hospital. Miscarriage is devastating and it feels like it will never end.
Like many women, one of the main reasons I bought my camera was because my husband and I had decided to start trying for a baby. I wanted to get good so I could document my pregnancy and take pictures of our future kid.
After our loss we experienced month after month of negative pregnancy tests.
I felt angry and creatively unfulfilled, but I had a lot of unexpected extra time on my hands, so I decided to keep practicing.
I ate up anything I could about photography. I kept taking pictures of whatever or whoever would give me the chance. I knew one day I would have a baby of my own and I wasn’t going to miss or take one freaking detail for granted.
We don’t always get a straightforward answer as to why bad things happen or why we have to go through certain trials. But one thing I do know is that there are always glimmers of hope, grace, and growth in every hardship.
My takeaway from our miscarriage and fertility issues, among other things like my brother’s childhood cancer and my job as a nurse, is that I want to live an intentional life & take nothing for granted. I want to strive to be thankful every single day and enjoy all of the little things, because really, they’re the big things.
Around the time of our miscarriage, we made the decision to boldly live our lives and follow our dreams. We sold our 2000+ square foot home and started renting a friend’s room above their garage. We saved every penny we could and eventually sold everything we owned, packed into a rental minivan and moved 1000 miles away. We bought some land and spent the entire summer of 2016 building our home ourselves.
On April 30th, 2017, two years after our loss, I took my first picture of our brand new rainbow baby.
My heart exploded and my eyes filled with tears. Every picture I had ever taken was in preparation for this. For him. This is what that creative part of my heart was made for.
I didn’t hire anyone to come take newborn pictures. I took them myself. And I love them – they’re beautiful.
Every day since my son was born (and most recently, my daughter) I’ve taken pictures of them and of our family and I cherish every single one.
They’re good, too. They aren’t blurry, grainy pictures. Whether I use my phone camera or my professional camera, they’re images I’m proud of.
How Photography Can Impact Your Motherhood
Because I thought I may never get to have babies, I am so much more in tune to the everyday magic that is motherhood + childhood. Because I don’t know what God’s plan is or if we’ll be able to have more kids in the future, I soak up every second of every minute of every day I have with our son.
Photography is a way that we as moms can intentionally look at our everyday lives and say “I see you. I see these blessings, I see these days and these moments, and I am thankful for them, even the hard ones.”
Because of our story, I know what pictures I want to take. I know how important the details are and how precious this time is. I have the utmost appreciation for the mundane because it’s all I’ve ever wanted. Our everyday is my dream life.
The act of taking a picture causes us to slow down, to see and take the time to truly be grateful. It keeps our priorities straight and gives us perspective on what’s important.
My heart is for you to have images of your everyday that you take yourself, with whatever camera you have available to you, whether it’s an old iPhone or an expensive DSLR camera. I want you to see the beauty in your everyday, to live with intention and purpose. I want to empower you take images that you are in love with, that have value, and that tell your family’s story.
No one else is going to take these pictures for you. No one else knows what little details you cherish most or which moments are most precious to you.
When I first bought my camera, I had no idea what I was doing. I spent hours googling and YouTubing how to take a good picture. I taught myself everything I could and I continue to learn and seek out how to be a better photographer. I had no idea when I started that anyone can learn to take a good picture, even if they don’t have a fancy camera. All of the same techniques apply.
If you love taking pictures of your kids but you don’t know how to take quality pictures or how tell a story with your images, I want to help. I’ve created a free photography guide just for moms to help you get started!
I want the time you spend behind the camera to be worthwhile and produce great images and stories so you can spend the rest of your time living in the moment with your family.
Wanna go all in?
You don’t have to be a professional to take beautiful, story-telling photos. The Portraits of Us course will show you how.
Portraits of Us is a comprehensive online course that will walk you through every step of how to take pictures and equip you to take beautiful photos.