September 2022-April 2023
"Motherhood—a baptism that washes away all you thought you knew about strength, patience and unconditional love. A glory that showers you. Here I was, stripped and undone, all to be reborn again.
And oh, what a sweet chaos it is. To hold the rivers from my bleeding body and liquid gold. To swell as far as Saturn’s rings. To travel the stretch marks down my breasts, my hips, my thighs. To be anointed your mother."- excerpt from my book Beckoning of the Wind: An Ode to Motherhood
As I sit here assembling these visual captures of my motherhood experience, collected over the span of some months, I am in deep awe of the stories that these moments tell. I questioned myself, heavy, wondering how I would carry out such a project—being the studier and the studied.
I had to sit with myself in a way that I hadn't ever really done before. Much of this project was traveling deep into my bones and catching but only a shutter of a moment to encompass how I see myself and my motherhood experience through my own eyes. There were a lot of ups and downs through this journey.
What I found was hard for me doing my self-portrait study (much of which was done on film), was that a lot of those actual raw moments of motherhood that I wanted to capture myself in... I couldn't. I had to recreate the sentiment of them. They weren't snapshots of candid moments, but rather staged recreations to show what I felt in that moment to the best of my ability.
I'd find myself laying in my son's bed, breastfeeding after he'd woken from a nap. We'd just be staring at each other and his little hand would brush across my cheek or caress my arm and I'd think to myself, "Oh... this is a moment." And many times I'd almost jump up to grab my camera until I realized that in doing so, I'd disrupt the very happenings that made it so. Then I'd just sit in stillness, taking in the space my child and I shared—and I'd revisit the moment, hoping that I could display exactly what I'd felt through recreating it for a visual capture.
I admit, I spent much of my time trying to create beautiful visuals to represent my motherhood—but the photos that hold the most special place in my heart are the raw, uncut moments where I simply set up my camera and let it capture what was actually right in front of its lens. When I didn't take the time to get dressed or to clean up before taking a photo. It is those raw moments of motherhood that truly speak to the entirety of the experience.
seems as though i am gripping at the hems of time, trying to find stillness in these moments with my sweet boy. yet, time is lightning speed—the mere unseen between the god winks. and it does not want nor need such hiatus. time only desires that we take every moment and find salvation in it. so here i am, trying to process what has already passed us by so quickly—and allow this love to marinate my soul.
"motherhood is spiritual"
my maternal love will be his mother earth. his terrain. his moon. his stars. his sun. and all the oceans, rivers and whispers in between. i am the birthmark of my son’s beginning. a part of him will always live with me. and me, with him.
i never knew that something could consume me so much. that something could stretch me so wide and alter the very structure of my bones. but mothering has. and it continues to do so. the first year is a baptism. it is all a baptism. and here i am. drifting the oceans, making love of all the currents that this journey brings us.