Maternity

All the Things That No One Says | Anchorage, Alaska Maternity and Newborn Photographer | Moss and Myrrh Photography

Gus + Tom + Anne Marie

I can’t believe it’s been almost 2 YEARS since I shot these sessions and yeah, I’m just now getting around to editing them. This wasn’t your average session..many moons ago I did a model call for a mother that would be interested in documenting an entire year of her life before and after baby. I didn’t want this to just be pretty pictures, I wanted it to be real, REALLY real, and honestly? Uncomfortable. Not because I enjoy making anyone uncomfortable (just kidding, I do when it comes to this subject..ha!) but because I feel like a large part of motherhood and the process of being a mother is kept quiet. While I may not ever be a mother myself, I do work with women on a constant basis..women who are in their most vulnerable state, completely exhausted both mentally and physically. I hear their pain and I know it exists, but those thoughts/words are too taboo to be said out in the real world.

The words/thoughts I’m referring to are the ones that make people squirm. You see, there is this idea that you must ALWAYS be grateful for the child you are pregnant with. You must ALWAYS feel an instant connection. You must not speak words of regret, wishing for something other than this, or dreaming of a life without this little life, because why? Well, they’re precious gifts, aren’t they?! No way are they exhausting both mentally and physically. No way do they literally turn your life upside down and completely change EVERYTHING. No way are they human beings themselves with their own intricate problems. No. Way.

Women are seen as some sort of devil if they feel anything beyond complete and total love and well, it’s bullshit. Life is not black and white and so many dynamics are coming into play here.

ANYWAY, back to the project (so side tracked always), I wanted to work with a woman who was willing to talk about all the “bad”. I wanted other women to hear her words and know that they aren’t alone, their feelings are valid, they are NOT crazy or wrong. Anne Marie met me a coffee shop and instantly, we connected. She told me all the “bad”, how she didn’t feel a connection to this human growing inside of her. How she also suffered horribly from depression + anxiety without even being pregnant, so this was a whole other level. She was scared of the future. She was scared of how this baby was going to change everything. She was scared.

And so I knew, she was the one. THE ONE. But then..life it can be an ironic asshole, can’t it? And so it was. I got a text from Anne Marie on a very cold winter day telling me that baby Gus was here! Of course, he didn’t come “as planned” (hate that term, there is no plan, the do what they want) and Anne Marie had to have an emergency cesarean. All I could think and worry about when I read that text was her mental health. We both agreed that the birth of this baby would probably be what gave her a sense of reality, that this was real, this baby was hers. It was SO hers it came right out of her vagina..but it didn’t. Add the physical healing on top of the mental junk and yeah, I worried about her. I got to her for a newborn session (we live eons apart..just kidding, an hour and a half) at around 3 weeks I think? Maybe 2? I have no clue anymore, but she was exhausted. Maybe she seemed more exhausted to me because I’m used to moms putting on a front for me. They want perfectly beautiful pictures. Anne Marie knew I didn’t want that though and she didn’t either, this shit was real. So, she she showed and told me her most vulnerable. She continuously suffered with mastitis. I mean, CONTINUOUSLY. Eventually, she had to stop breastfeeding all together because it never ended. She showed me the beautiful cut across her belly where this little human emerged. She told me about her exhaustion, anxiety, and depression. “Luckily” (because this isn’t lucky, this is how it’s supposed to be) she has an amazing husband who is as supportive as it gets. He knows/knew her mental illnesses well, he knows/knew her boundaries.

This is where I dropped the ball though and I’ll forever be guilty. I think the darkest times after a baby are well, after the baby..like sometimes months. Once you get passed the newborn phase where it’s pretty cut and dry..eat, sleep, poop, die from exhaustion, repeat, you have to learn how to mold your entire life around this tiny human being. I really wanted to document that with Anne Marie because I knew she’d be blunt and tell me truly how that was going for her. Irony of all irony though, my husband deployed and then my mental and physical health fell apart. I lost all my motivation for this project and then I got so physically ill (literally random exorcist vomiting) for months that just the thought of driving over there was too much for me.

That’s life, though. It’s like, “oh, you want to document an entire year of a woman struggling through mental shit while also trying to love a new human?”, “here is a steaming pile of your own shit to struggle through..enjoy”. And so that’s how it went and I never got back over there in the timeframe I wanted to.

I DID get to document them a couple of weeks ago as a family with a TODDLER, though. Per usual we talked about things no one wants to hear. Gus is a wildling and Anne Marie has a grin that spans her face whenever she looks at him. You can tell she is head over heels in love with this boy (and Tom too, of course) but he did change everything. He did throw a wrench in their future plans. They do think about all the things they’re missing out on. And before you start shaming them in your head, stop, come down off that horse Karen (sorry, to all the Karens reading this). YOU ARE ALLOWED TO HAVE THESE THOUGHTS. It’s okay, it’s okay, it’s okay. Enough with the perfect parent BS. Enough. You’re allowed to have regrets, be exhausted, and dream of what your life would’ve been without your kids. I’m not judging you and if anyone else is judging you, they’re lying to themselves.

Life is not black and white, your thoughts/feelings and “what if’s”? They’re perfectly valid. I have them, you have them, we all have them. So anyway, to the mama reading this that thinks she’s alone in these thoughts, you are not. If you ever want to write a long email and confide in me everything you think someone else will judge you for just to get it out there, do it. I’m here, always. Oh, and I love you and you have a whole team of people that love you..even if you can’t feel it right now.

Last thoughts..postpartum depression is REAL. If you see someone that is struggling, please reach out. We have got to do a better job of listening and supporting women. Life and community are not what they once were. This isn’t a 50’s sitcom. There is no longer a village..there is a woman sitting alone in her house with social media being her main form of human contact. She’s lonely and all she wants is a break, a shower, some real food, someone to talk to about all the above shit no one wants to hear. Offer to make them dinner, fold their laundry, take them to the doctor (for that medication that is also so taboo) WATCH THEIR BABY, so they can go take a shower and be a human for 5 seconds..anything to make them not feel so alone.

Anyway, here are some pretty pictures. There are NIPPLES happening in this newborn session so if you can't handle BREASTS, don’t scroll down..also, I don’t know how you got here since I openly show women giving birth, but that’s for another post.

Enjoy. xx

P.S.- Anne Marie, I love you. Thank you for your vulnerability and mostly, thank you for being a friend (cue Golden Girls music). I’m so glad I know you and we (+ Tom, can’t forget Tom) can have way too serious conversations in your kitchen about way too serious matters. You’re amazing in every way.

The Lemons Family || An Alaskan Maternity Session || Anchorage Maternity Photographer

The Lemons Family || Anchorage, Alaska Maternity Photographer

The sweet Lemons family was fairly new to Alaska when we shot this session. I wanted to take them somewhere easy but still give them those mountain views. Eagle River never disappoints and there's always plenty of opportunity for the littles to play! Skipping rocks, picking flowers (including their roots), hoarding rocks, picking berries, questioning whether we can eat *that*..that's everything these sessions are all about. No posing necessary, just genuine interaction and connection. At the end of this session the oldest said to me, "what? we're done? I only saw you take one picture!". Yesssss, stealth mode over here. Ha! Seriously, that's the BEST compliment. I don't want you to know I'm working, I want you to be in the moment with your family and these guys rocked it! 

So, so, excited to shoot a Fresh 48 for these guys once baby decides to make their arrival. <3

Maternity Session in the Mountains of Hatcher Pass

Confession: I used to hate maternity sessions. Well, not hate, but they most definitely were NOT my favorite session. Why, you ask? I don't know what to do with a pregnant belly. Lol! That's the truth. There's only so many poses you can do with mom's hands on her belly. There's only so many you can do with dad hugging on mom. It was impossible for me to get any variety in those sessions and so, I dreaded them. Now though, that's a totally different story. Lifestyle sessions give me the freedom to actually enjoy every session I do, even maternity. Give me littles + a pregnant mama + mountain views and I'm a happy camper. <3 

Here's another local + fellow photographer I'm sure many will recognize. I'm not going to lie, it is insanely intimidating photographing other photographers. I'm already anxious before any normal session, but shooting another photographer makes me sweatttttt. It never fails though, I always have the best time and end up staring at their pictures for days. <3 

Anchorage Newborn Photographer | Complimentary Maternity Sessions in 2017 | Moss and Myrrh Photography Anchorage, Alaska

Maternity and Newborn Lifestyle Photographer | Anchorage, Alaska | Moss and Myrrh Photography

anchoragematernityphotographer

As many of you know, in December I offered a complimentary maternity session for every birth, fresh 48, and newborn session booked by December 31st. I got huge response from that special and booked many sweet arrivals for 2017! Because of the awesome feedback I got from you guys, I will now be extending that offer through the rest of 2017. Woo! I know that many of you have to choose between maternity and newborn portraits, I'm hoping this puts an end to that and allows you to get this beautifully short season photographed as well. This is my gift to you. 

In order to take advantage of this special, you MUST book your birth, fresh 48, or newborn session at least 3 months in advance of your due date. Why? It's hard to schedule last minute sessions between already scheduled sessions. While I hate for anyone to miss out on this opportunity, I also have to be realistic of my own schedule and what's fair to clients that did book in advance. So, if you're wanting a maternity session with your package, don't wait! 

anchoragematernityphotography

Also, session fees have been updated for 2017 along with a few other small changes. There will now only be two packages to choose from for ALL sessions (excluding birth). There is no need to choose your package in advance. Everyone will be required to put down a $150 deposit and then final decisions will be made at your viewing appointment. Keepsake boxes are being upgraded to a better quality box and I will be limiting the prints to 10 deep matte prints of your choice. I love the look and feel of these matte prints! I was beginning to feel like I was losing quality with the mass amount of prints I've been giving. Don't worry though, if you'd like to purchase a regular set of 4x6 or 5x7 prints from your entire session, that option will still be available. The second package option now adds on a beautiful album at half price (if bought a la carte)! I think albums work so well with my documentary work, I want you guys to have these in your homes!

You'll also notice that I've taken down extended family documentary sessions (3+ hours). I've decided that these will only be available during certain times of the year as they require a lot of attention which is hard when I'm booked full of births, fresh 48's, and newborns (where my heart is). So, be on the lookout for when those open back up!

As always, if you have any questions or would like to get your due date booked, please feel free to contact me! 

 

Complimentary Maternity Session with Fresh 48, Newborn, or Birth Package | Anchorage Lifestyle Photographer

Hands down, maternity photography is often the most "forgotten" session. You're so excited for your baby to arrive, and so very uncomfortable, that you often end up ditching the maternity session all together. This "in between" is so, so, important. After this 9 month season, your life will forever be changed.

This is worthy of being documented. 

From now until December 31st, you'll get a complimentary Maternity Mini Story with any Fresh 48, Newborn, or Birth Story you book for due dates January through May 2017! These sessions take place in your home or outdoors. These are lifestyle sessions with minimal posing.

The Maternity Mini Story

45 minute session in home or outdoors

10 Digital Images of your Choosing

Print Release

($350 Value)

Name *
Name
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Phone
Due Date
Due Date
Session *