As many of my friends and family know, the last year of my life has been incredibly challenging both physically and emotionally; I’ve meant to write about a dozen blog posts with advice on how to get through an emergency c-section and hysterectomy, one to specifically thank all the amazing people who helped me get through that time, how to cope with losing a parent, how to run a business while being a mother, how to, how to, thank you, thank you…there is just not enough time to blog it all – and ultimately there is just so much to be thankful for, that I’m paralyzed by where to start. At the end of the day, 2014 was a year of gratitude. Through the physical and emotional pain, through lost time with my children while in recovery, and time with my mother cut short, I am more grateful for this life than ever before.
Which is why I have to share these images.
Mothers: photographing your life fulfills me, knowing all to well that every moment counts and each day is a blessing. These images I’m sharing of this strong, amazing expecting mother – and images of her with her husband and newborn girl – are some of my best work to date. Every interaction, every shot, every hug was meaningful, important and will forever be remembered…
This past November a friend of mine bought a gift certificate for her best friend who was expecting her first child. The gift she gave was the “Oh Mama”; this package includes both a maternity session and a newborn session for the mother. It is an awesome gift, enabling the mother – new or experienced – to have this short and incredible time of her life documented. In my opinion, it is the greatest gift you can give an expecting mother (aside from free childcare, a meal or a massage, obviously!). Sarah and Adam were soul mates. They met later in life and having this baby together was the culmination of so much love and determination. The maternity session took place in their home in early November, several days before she was scheduled to be induced due to complications.
Sarah was the most relaxed maternity client I’ve ever had the luxury to work with. She was comfortable in her home, comfortable in her own skin and willing to do what I asked so I could deliver the maternity art I wanted to create for her. Their home was impeccable and she and Adam easy on the eyes, but it was their kindness toward each other and the giddy excitement they shared as they anticipated their baby girl’s arrival that I will remember from this session. Sarah was one of those people you meet, and you feel as though you’ve known each other for years. She had a genuine smile and a surplus of energy. I’m an active person, but the way Sarah moved around the house, up and down off the couch and floor at 9 months pregnant made me seem lazy! Her enthusiasm and love for life was truly infectious.
I raced home after the session, knowing I would want to cull and edit as soon as possible. I promised the session would be online within 14 days, but I felt an urgency and posted their images within 24 hours. Special note: Although the images I created for Sarah were my favorite maternity work to date – and ones I am most proud of – out of respect for Sarah and her family I cannot post them here. (read more below).
I waited for Sarah and Adam’s response to the images impatiently, I’ll admit. I was so excited for them to see them! Little did I know that Gretl had made her arrival (only 36 hours after our session) on November 20th, 2014! Sarah and Adam had their hands full of their first and only child, the most perfect baby girl who completed their dream. We scheduled their newborn session for December 10th, and it couldn’t have come soon enough for me; photographing newborns, especially when I have photographed the maternity session, is literally my favorite part of my job as a photographer! (continued below)
I posted their images and again I waited to hear back. I wait with pure excitement – I imagine that they are just as excited as I am to receive the images. Sometimes when the baby is so new, parents can take a week or two just to login, as life with a newborn is so busy!
About a week later I emailed Sarah to check in and make sure she was able to login without any trouble. The next day I heard from her via email that there had been a tragic death in the family. My heart ached for them. Her cousin, a father of two, had died in a car accident. He had walked her down the aisle when she married Adam…
Two days later, I received a message that I will never forget. Sarah had died at work suddenly and without explanation. I read the message in bed with my 3 children first thing in the morning, and all I could do was sob. I looked at my husband, our three girls bouncing on top of us, squealing and tickling, our favorite part of the day. In a split second I imagined being there without him – or him without me; in the same moment I saw Adam holding Gretl, only 7 weeks old…without Sarah at his side. That moment will stay with me forever.
As you look through these images, hold this family in your heart. Then hold your husband, your wife, your partner, your children even closer.
And gosh darnit, have your family photographed.
A very special thank you to Millers Professional Imaging for the gift of this album for Adam. I met Vinee, a Millers rep, at the Inspire Photo Retreats this year in Portland, Maine. This story came up over dinner and without hesitation he kindly offered to help get this album into Adam’s hands, on behalf of Millers.
If you are interested in making a donation to the family, you can find the contact info at the end of this article about Sarah.