This month this (Seattle) Maternity photographer asked another client who has come to me for both her pregnancy and family photography. I love to be able to build on the relationship and to see the family grow into a beautiful sacred unit. Her story is inspiring and her photos are stunning. I was really able to co-create with her. Meet Monique.
1. Tell me a little bit about yourself, David, and how you met. Why you decided to have kids. Was it an easy process?
I am originally from London, England and we moved to Seattle in 2015 when I was 4 months pregnant. I left a high pressured job in London as a University Administration, to be become a full time Mum and to start my own photography business, which has always been my dream. I first met my husband in 1995, but it was not your love at first sight high school romance. He was a shy teenager that stared a lot but said little and I was dating someone else and thought he was a little odd! We became friends but lost touch when we both went to University, until we met again at a friends birthday 7 years later. He had changed a lot, and this time, I was the one to do the chasing! He proposed 4 years later on a moonlit beach in Australia, it was perfect – there were even shooting stars!
After we were married, having kids had never been a priority, I was very career driven, single minded and it never felt like the right time. As I hit my mid 30s I realized that I wanted to be a Mama, and although I was nervous at the thought, I also couldn’t imagine growing old without a family. A year later I was diagnosed with fertility problems and it was only when I thought wemay never have a family that I really realized how important becoming a Mama was to me. 2 years later our son was born, and the struggle seemed to make it all the more special.
2. What is your secret to a good relationship? OR what is your secret to happiness? OR how do you want to guide this little person in the world?
I don’t know that I have a secret to a good relationship but, my husband always tells me that we work because I’m a talker, so I guess that’s my secret. I have never been able to let issues fester in our relationship, and so I always meet the hard conversations head on, it doesn’t mean that it isn’t still hard but its easier when you’re both on the same page. Its so important to me that Sebastian grows up in a family where its ok to talk about your feelings, to be happy and sad and angry, that we love each other as a family because of those things not in spite of them. For me, our relationship is so much more important now than it ever was, because its not just us, its him learning from us. I should say, that doesn’t mean we’re always happy but I think thats the point, realizing its still good even when you have to work at it.
3. Tell me about why you decided to have professional family or maternity photographs, and why you trusted me to take these special photos.
I first came to Jennifer for a maternity session. I loved being pregnant, and photography is a huge part of my life, so it seemed natural to get professional photographs. I came across Jennifer’s work while searching for a photographer and instantly fell in love. The use of light, the emotion, the elegance of the pregnant body, I just knew I wanted to work with her. I felt unbelievably comfortable at the session, which surprised me considering how little I was wearing! I immediately booked a family session, and I knew that Jennifer would be able to capture some amazing breastfeeding images. It was really important to me that I could remember our nursing journey, especially as I never thought I would nurse before Sebastian was born. The supportive and open attitude to breastfeeding I have encountered since moving here has really helped continue our breastfeeding journey into toddlerhood, something I am not sure I would have achieved back in the UK.
4. Please feel free to include anything else you like that is interesting about you or your parenting philosophy. AKA books you read, or like whatever.
Becoming a Mama has been the single most amazing and empowering experience of my life, it has also been the hardest. I had no idea that raising a child in a different country, would be so isolating and liberating all at the same time. Most of the time I don’t notice huge differences but a few things really stand out for me. The first is the maternity/paternity leave here, which I’m sure is no big surprise, but I am an honestly in awe of women here who work until they are literally in labor and are back at work within weeks of giving birth, somehow managing to exclusively breastfeed through pumping. Back in the UK you can normally take up to a years leave and can now split this with your husband. Seeing such a stark difference truly made me appreciate how lucky I was to be staying at home with our son and helped me to refocus my energies on those tough days, remembering that I really was lucky and it isn’t just a given here. Also, I really love the positive attitude people have here. This has 100% guided my parenting approach and philosophy, I have become a lot calmer and more positive/optimistic since the move. I have taken a much more gentle, positive parenting approach than I think I would have back in the UK. I tend to gravitate towards, Magdalena Gerber, Janet Lansbury and Dr Sears books for my parenting guidance, its a hybrid
mix and I am definitely a believer in following your intuition over everything. I truly believe that a Mother’s intuition is always right!
For more Mother of the Month posts with fresh photography and inspiring stories, please click here.
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