9 years ago I was 22. I was in college, I was happy and working and felt whole. I had been in Louisiana just a few months shy of two years when I discovered I was pregnant. I found out very early on, four weeks in. I was sick, so sick. I experienced a myriad of feelings, excitement, nervousness, disbelief, everything I felt any woman, at any age would feel upon this big discovery. But my primary feeling was anxiousness. I knew I'd have to tell my parents & I knew they wouldn't be happy.
Upon divulging my new, big secret to my family, I felt such a sense of shame. It was suffocating how much shame I felt. There was no celebration; there were no plans being made for a baby shower. There were no mom/daughter shopping dates for little person things, there were no dad-to-be and grandpa putting cribs together, and there were no photos.
There were no photos......
If anything haunts me, it is that I did not document my pregnancy. I didn't get dressed up and put on a gown, get my hair and make-up done and traipse in front of a camera to have such a beautiful and special time captured. I was so ashamed of being young, black, unwed & pregnant. Was there anything worse? If there was, I didn't know it. I hid in my room for most of my pregnancy and watched tv. Never even dreaming of documenting such a shameful event. So I didn't. And it is one of the single regretful decisions I ever made.
You may be wondering why nine years later I am still dwelling on the photos that never were. Today I stumbled across a photo on Facebook that brought everything flooding back. An LSU student, I have no idea who she was, asked my sister if she thought I would be interested in taking a couple of photos. I had no idea what it was for other than it had something to do with twins and pregnancy.
They're not the best quality, but I am so thankful for my sister and that LSU student. She captured something for me that I was not brave enough to do for myself. Aside from these and a few other cell phone images, I have no documentation of my pregnancy.
Thus my love for maternity portraiture arises. If I had to select one singe part of my career as a photographer that I love best it would hands down be capturing the beauty and essence of an expecting mother. I am completely enamored by the strength and resilience of pregnant women to carry and birth beautiful beings with such grace. I love being a witness to the growth and am honored each time I am asked to capture such an experience.
Here I am, a proud, brazen mother of a brave & bold 8 year old. I may not have had my photos & my decision to have no more children may prevent me from ever doing so, but I have dedicated my career to making sure that any woman who wants to document her pregnancy can do so beautifully and affordably without shame.