Amy has grown to become a good friend over the past months. We had plenty of time to get to know each other during her 90+ hour labor and birth. Before that, we chatted and laughed while I snapped shots of her beautiful round belly. You can see more images of her stunning birth and read all about her lovely, miracle of a birth. In the meantime enjoy these maternity pictures in all their gorgeous glory. Be sure to leave a kind word for her in the comments section below the images for her and her husband to read and enjoy.
I have said it before, women are probably the most beautiful when they are pregnant. What an incredible gift it is, to be able to connect so deeply, so early on in our children's lives. Our bodies were so wonderfully designed to grow and birth new life, it makes no mistakes. No matter how big you get, you are beautiful. No matter where you come from, your pregnant belly is perfect. No matter where you choose to birth your child, you are an amazing mother. Every mother deserves to be loved, but especially while pregnant. I hear it all too often; as long as the baby is healthy that's all that matters. I am here to say I respectfully disagree. You cannot have a healthy baby without first having a strong, healthy mama. Take care of yourselves mamas, you are precious cargo too. Though I know as mothers it is all too easy to put everyone else first, take time to nurture yourself.
The premise behind this lovely project was to shine a light on us mothers in our childbearing year. Pregnancy lasts nearly a whole year, and in that time we change and grow so much. We are also so diverse, and I wanted to showcase that here. There is never one way to look, think, act in any situation you encounter as a mother or in life for that matter. Pregnancy and birth is no different. Each of these women have a unique story and plan set in place for their birth and the future of their family. Each of them beautiful. With the ever increasing battles in the mommy wars we are fighting, steps we take through our pregnancies should not be one of them. It is hard enough to be pregnant, for the first time, or tenth time, without adding more stress to our plates. We need to love ourselves, and love one another. We are really in this together, and should stand together.
I loved capturing these moments between these ladies. Some meeting for the first time, swapping birth stories, pregnancy woes and laughs. It was a good time, amongst even better company and I am excited for our next chapter in this project. If you are interested in being apart of this or future projects, please contact me here: http://www.capturedbybrezi.com/contact-me/
Demetra from A Mother's Choice and Crystal from Active Peace Maternity and Massage are two lovely birth professionals that will be facilitating in these Pregnancy Project shoots. Offering advice, discounts and more, that are exclusive to the ladies participating. Also find me on Instagram @Capturedbybrezi. Use the tag #beautyinpregnancy and show us your lovely baby bumps!
You ever miss something or someone so bad that it hurts? My children aren't even out of the house or anywhere near grown up yet, but I somehow miss them. I miss my baby babies. Tiny toes, and fingers. They still have small features that I could just eat right up. But I know one day I'm going to miss them. They'll be gone, and forever in a loving memory. They will have little ones that dirty their windows, drive them mad, and make them swoon over their tiny toes. I love these little beauties more than they will ever imagine. I love these dirty windows.
As soon as my overnight lens rental package came to the door, I quickly signed, unboxed and popped that puppy on. I rented a Sigma 24-70mm, 2.8 for a couple photoshoots that I have coming up this weekend, and I was so excited to take it for a test run. Oh! It did not disappoint. I have a love affair with Sigma lenses, I swear to you!
Of course, what better subjects to test this bad boy out on than my very own little ladies. Just look at them. . .
The other day I photographed a lovely little family for a nursing mini lifestyle session. It was a total blast. This little lady is about the same age as my youngest, and was so adorbable! She has the brightest eyes I've ever seen, they were a joy to photograph. She acted much as a 1.5 year old little girl does. Cute, all over the place, adventurous, and loving. I enjoyed smiles, giggles and hugs from her. Baby hugs always make for a great day, wouldn't you agree?
Reading and nursing with mommy, such a special age.
Daddy's little love.
The best of friends.
Mommy reads some of the very best stories.
Toddlers hardly sit still for very long, but the moments that I was able to get of her nursing are quite special. This "Nursing" session, quickly became a "Lifestyle" one with some nursing sprinkled in. It was actually more fun than I had anticipated. How could it not be, she is too sweet!
Girls will be girls. This sweet little pup, was the sweetest and a great model!
She has some of the bluest eyes! Love.
1- Fountain of information and resources
My doula and I chatted about breastfeeding, the best yoga positions for the third trimester, herbs, food, even sex at our prenatal appointments. Good doulas are not only an amazing resource for information for just about anything you could think of, but she often times becomes one of your very best friends. An amazing friend always makes you feel heard, supported and loved. I know my doula certainly made my pregnancy and birthing time an incredible experience.
2- Helps your partner not feel helpless
Doula's are often times looked at as being a replacement for your spouse. On the contrary, doulas are quite possibly the opposite. Doulas can actually be more of a support to the husband or other labor partner there, than the mom. They are there to support the family as a whole, and most of the time that means making sure the other labor partner feels involved. A lot of husband's can feel quite helpless as they are trying to support their wives through one of the biggest days in their lives. Doulas, while have become close with the laboring mother, cannot replace the love and familiarity of a husband's touch.
3- Don't have to worry as much about your birth plan being followed
If you have hired a labor doula, you can rest assured she is going to make sure you get what you want. I have seen some amazing fathers push for their birth plan to be read and understood by the whole birth team. However, seeing the one you love in transition can be hard. That's when your doula can step in and be the voice of reason. She can make sure you are not being bullied into anything you truly don't want or need. In contrast, she can make sure she catches the anesthesiologist before he goes on break because you just cannot wait another minute. She's there for you.
4- She's there for you when you need the most support
Being in labor land can be euphoric and distracting all at the same time. You are highly suggestible, and if you are not feeling supported, you can be diverted from the thing that you have been planning for months. Now birth plans are meant to be held lightly, as they are rarely followed to a T. However, your doula is your number one supporter and your number one advocate. She will be there from the beginning to the end, and even in the weeks to follow. She will see you through it all, with understanding, compassion, and love.
I love doulas. I have aspirations to become a doula. When I first heard of doulas, I thought that it was kind of unnecessary. I even had those feelings linger into my second pregnancy, which was the first pregnancy that I actually decided to hire a doula. I told my husband that I wasn't sure if it would be worth the cost, but if it was going to help me in my dream of having the perfect home birth then I wanted to do it! It was oh so worth the money and then some. I don't regret my decision at all. The only thing I do regret, was not hiring one for my first birth. My first birth was slightly traumatic, and would have gone a whole lot smoother if I had a doula on my side and in my corner, fighting for me.
I asked a couple of lovely women in the community their thoughts on hiring a doula, here's what they had to say..
"When I found out I was pregnant, I'd never even heard the word doula before. When I first read the description of one, I knew I had to have one! When my labor wasn't progressing during my home birth, my doula slept on my couch so she could monitor my temperature during the night. When I had to transport to the hospital, my midwife became my second doula and when she had to run to another birth she sent another midwife who pressed on my tailbone during the worst labor pains I experienced to give me some relief. I've never felt so supported and surrounded by feminine power in my entire life. My doulas gave my husband and I the space and assistance we needed to have a more intense connection with each other during my labor, and for that I will be eternally grateful!"
"The Mostly Mindful Mommy"
"I wasn't even going to hire a doula with my first pregnancy, but my childbirth educator took me aside and told me she thought I could be a good match with this Christian doula-in-training who would be able to work with us to make it affordable. The doula and I met and immediately hit it off. She was like a dear sweet mother to me while my own mom was several states away. She stayed at my side and gave so many uplifting words and prayers during the birthing. After a less than ideal birth, I saw the value in what she had done. We ended up paying her more than what she had asked! I told my doula that I absolutely would have hated the birth if it hadn't been for her being at my side. She assured me that my next birth wouldn't be like that. To this day, I am pretty certain I wouldn't have ever had another baby if it weren't for her. The things she said to me and the way she helped me process that birth after-the-fact was so important!
Today, I have three children. I went on to have two totally amazing, healthy, mountaintop birth experiences assisted by doulas. The second birth was such a tremendous high, it inspired me to become a childbirth educator so I can tell everyone about how great birth can be.
I would never want to give birth without a doula. My wish is for a doula for every woman that wants one."