Introducing Ana, our September Mother of the Month. The fine-art black and white baby photography we did together is both quiet and sensitive, classic and traditional. There is one image that is my absolute favorite. It is transformative and powerful, and speaks to her comments on breast feeding. Which one do you think it is? It was a pleasure to work with Ana and her husband to capture their new baby.
Para español, haga clic aquí
Tell me a little bit about yourself, your partner and how you met. Why you decided to have kids. Was it an easy process?
My husband and I met in 2008 in Minneapolis. He is the best man I know. He is a strong, logical and often pragmatic man with a goofy side that makes me fall for him a little bit more every day. I am more on the intuitive, curious side. I think makes us a good combo, we complement and challenge each other regularly.
As a Latina who was born and raised in central Mexico, I come from a very closely-knit family. Our typical family day involves enjoying a meal together, followed by several hours at the “sobremesa” (time of conversation after a meal), talking about life’s adventures as we enjoy a competitive game of Cuban dominoes. Similar to my family, Jeremy grew up in a loving and strong family, where his mom was the pillar and matriarch of his family. Even though I had only known Susanne for 6 months before her passing, I saw in her an exemplary mom: strong, hardworking, sweet and compassionate.
Jeremy and I started trying for a baby about 2 years ago. It was not an easy process. We heard it would take about a year to become pregnant, but as months passed by, our disappointment grew bigger every time I announced a negative test. We tried keeping a positive mindset, but we were going through a series of stressful situations that made things hard – He was finishing up his MBA as a full-time student and was tied up at school regularly. Our dog Benny got sick and ended up passing of liver failure, and only a few weeks later we had to get our home ready for sale, pack our bags, and move to Seattle. After about a year, we didn’t talk about the fact we weren’t getting pregnant anymore.
They say there is no perfect time to have a child, but I know that God had a plan for us. Jeremy and I have always had a strong relationship and we have had each other’s backs for the past 10 years, but we were having an especially hard time adjusting to our new home and figuring out where we stood as individuals and as a couple. After seeking some help and having thoughtful conversations about our future, we decided to be more intentional about our relationship and put in the work. A few days after that conversation, we found out we were pregnant – So many emotions came to surface, but predominately our hearts were filled with joyful anticipation and hope for the future.
What is your secret to a good relationship?
There is no magic key to a good relationship, but there is tapping into the love you have for your partner and the highs and lows you have endured as a couple. Praying for one another and praying together, has helped bring gratefulness and intentionality into our days. We also use the app ‘Lasting’, which is a coaching/marriage counseling app that gives you tailored feedback based on your strengths and personalities, and let’s you compare assessments with your partner for discussion. We have learned a lot from each other through it.
Tell me about why you decided to have professional fine-art baby photography, and why you trusted me to take these special photos.
When it came time to find a photographer, we chose to work with Jennifer because we loved the genuine moments captured in her work. We also fell in love with the timeless feel of black and white photography, but what really sealed the deal was getting to know Jennifer in her studio- She took the time to get to know our story, asked what our expectations were and helped guide a detailed plan for our newborn session.
Tell me what the experience was like to work with me, and anything special that you came away with or learned? Anything that I did that made this a special experience?
The day of our shoot, Jennifer gently guided us through how things would go- which background and outfits we would use first, when to incorporate grandma, we talked about our props etc. Her space was accommodating (she even had a nursing pillow, diapers and a changing station!), she was flexible, extremely confident in her work, warm and the right amount of energetic – for us, we felt the latter made a huge difference. Jennifer’s energy was contagious, which gave us the boost we needed to create some beautiful images after more than a few sleepless nights.When it came time to select our prints, Jennifer excelled at helping guide our selections and share her opinion from an artistic perspective. The arrival of our little boy has meant everything to us, and we now know that God’s timing was perfect, and we are so happy to have that time captured in these beautiful pictures.
Please feel free to include any other theme you are interested in at this time in your life.
At the time of this writing, it is National Breastfeeding month, and at the moment, I am exclusively breastfeeding our little man. I joined a La Leche League prior to my due date, and the meeting was insightful, but I didn’t gather enough information to understand the intricate art that it is to breastfeed. I felt like I could do it all after giving birth to my baby and I knew it would be hard, but man, it takes SO-MUCH-MORE-WORK than I thought it would. I kept thinking, how labor was so much easier, because it ends, but breastfeeding is ongoing, for several months.Breastfeeding is truly a beautiful thing, but it can be painful until you and your baby learn the correct latch. For the first couple weeks I was in the most pain I have ever experienced (even more than giving birth without drugs). There were so much frustration, uncertainty and self-doubt – Was my baby getting what he needed to thrive? Was I producing enough? Was I strong enough to get over the fact I needed to hook myself to a machine every 2 hours? Would my boobs ever stop hurting?Things are a lot better now and I am enjoying being able to nurture my baby anywhere we go (YAY for public breastfeeding!) but it doesn’t mean it is always easy. I choose to give my baby what I think is the best possible source of nutrients, and I am trying to be the same mindful mama I was through pregnancy and the birth of my baby. Praise God our little man is steadily gaining weight. I am grateful to my family, friends, the incredible rockstar mamas from my PEPS groups for providing the support I need to be able to accomplish my breastfeeding goals.
Motherhood is transformative, and it has given me a new perspective in life. I have so much more respect for all moms and dads out there. Being a parent is not easy but knowing we can do hard things from a place of love towards our children is very rewarding. Ana
To see more featured women, please visit Mother of the Month.