Last October, I did a half-day documentary family photoshoot with Jen and her family of five. Since then, she has been sharing some of her favourite photos from the session on her Instagram account along with why they mean so much to her. Jen is absolutely amazing with words so I’ve been wanting to publish some of her posts for a while now.
Sometimes, we get so busy being a parent and doing all of the things, that we forget (or don’t have time) to slow down and take it in. I believe that photographs allow us to revisit times we may have not realised were important and precious at the time.
Photos with ME in them, being a mum
“How many of us here are the main family photographer – avoiding the other side of the lens because we hate seeing ourselves in them or we’re wearing some old t-shirt not worthy of a photo or we have no makeup on?? Me too.
With the boys turning 7 & 5 recently it reminded me again just how fast the time whizzes by. Do I want them looking back at family photos with me missing? Do they care what my hair looks like or if I’m wearing some thrown-together thing? No. So when we got the chance to work with the lovely Johanna, I jumped at the chance! Johanna came to the house for a Day In The Life shoot – just capturing us on a normal day doing our normal thing. No big effort, no grand gestures. She captured so many little moments – the ones so normal and fleeting you barely even notice them happening.
When I’m old and the kids are grown up and I think back to now, what will I remember? It won’t be the day trips or holidays. It will be the way their little hands felt in mine. Walks together in the local woods, or stopping to squeeze pudgy baby cheeks. The joy on little faces when they make a big splash or find a ‘good stick’.”
Photos capturing the bond with my baby
“I once read a post on an online breastfeeding support group which asked the question: ‘… but how do formula-feeding mothers soothe their babies?’ The poster of that question was (as she is entitled!) feeling proud of her ability to, and love of, breastfeeding and was pitying those of us who could or did not (not so entitled).
I told her, right before I finally left that online group, that formula-feeding mothers had no problems whatsoever in soothing or comforting or bonding with their babies. My comment was met with defensive anger – but I was already gone before I saw too much of it.
So when I saw this photo that Johanna captured during our recent Day In The Life Shoot – it genuinely brought a tear to my eye. The bond, the magic that can be achieved regardless of how you feed your baby.. to think that this might be pitied by some … and to think that for a long time I doubted myself and felt and carried guilt and even a shame around my failure to be able to breastfeed, for reasons that aren’t even nearly in my control. I didn’t know that then but I do now.
I love this photo and all that it represents in my experience of motherhood. My last baby, and only now a sense of peace around that whole experience… captured so beautifully by Johanna. And she had no idea that all of this was behind that one little click… or maybe she sensed it and that’s what makes her as good as she is 🥰”
Photos representing a chapter in our life
“After Alex was born I was sure I definitely didn’t want to be pregnant again! We were feeling incredibly lucky with our two boys and thought that chapter was closed … but life had other ideas. Turning 40 & ticking biological clocks & unused embryos = an emotional mix of big decisions!
We gave the treatment one last go, fully sure it wouldn’t work, but at least we could say we gave it everything before we moved on. Even the test at the end of the dreaded two-week post-treatment wait wasn’t sure it was gonna work, but a day or two later there was no doubting that pink line.
And that pink line is now a cute, drooly, smiley teething bundle of absolute joy – and that’s what this picture represents for us. The final piece to our puzzle, the last chapter in the story of our IVF & infertility, winning this battle not once but three times over, when we thought we’d never win it at all.”
Photos as a reminder of who I am
“Do you ever just have a moment of – ‘Who Am I?!’
How and when did I, a 30-odd-year-old (😆) become a mother of three? Three little people exist because of us… three little people depending on us… not only that but then I remember I’m in my forties…! How is this possible when I still don’t even know what I want to be when I grow up?!
If you ask me when ten years ago was I think around 2008. I looked at the Spotify charts just before writing this, just to see who I recognised. Elton John, Ed Sheeran, and Adele, thankfully, but also We Don’t Talk About Bruno because the kids have been singing it NON STOP since they watched Encanto over Christmas 😆
Puts a new spin on ‘down with the kids’ and not in a cool way 😄
So when I look at this photo it reminds me that although sometimes I don’t recognise myself… I am this person and not only that, I am so beyond grateful that I got everything I ever really dreamed of, in the form of these three amazing little people.”
Photos capturing my children’s personalities
“I adore this photo of Alex, taken by Johanna a few months ago during our Day In The Life photoshoot.
Apart from being a stunning photo, it just captures our little Alex so well. Lost in his imagination; it’s rare to find him any other way – half the time I don’t know if the things he tells me happened in real life or on an adventure in his head! – the child radiates energy, fun and colour and he oozes happiness like the colours of a rainbow 🌈”
Photos capturing sibling relationships
“A Day In Our Life – the next images I want to share from our shoot with the very lovely Johanna are these two of Rian which I absolutely adore.
I love them because they really managed to capture two very precious sides of him. That first shot really reminds me of how he’s moving away from being a ‘little boy’ – my first baby, unsure of himself and yet the sweetest, softest soul, trying to figure everything out as he seems to get more grown-up by the day.
And the other shot here – a side we have loved to see come alive – being a big brother to Dara. Of course, he’s already a big brother but this time I can see how it has contributed to him really starting to grow up – he was still a baby himself when Alex was born. The delight he takes when his baby sister does something new for the first time – how he minds and cares for her – the sheer delight on her little face in that second photo says it all.
The one who made me a Mam and who teaches me something every single day- I’m told regularly how he’s ‘spat out of me’ – and yes I really have met my match when it comes to his ability to argue back! – but wow am I so unbelievably proud to hear him call me Mama every day.
This shoot has given us such precious images of our family and every photo tells me a story – I genuinely couldn’t recommend it more.”