The Just So Designs Mothers Project truly started when one of my sweetest clients, Melanie, suggested I read an article in the Huffington Post about mothers not getting into pictures with their kids. Mothers who felt too self-conscience about their extra baby weight or some other flaw they saw in themselves to have a photograph taken with their children. They were missing out. Their children would grow and change and it was a real loss to not have these photos…. I started to encourage my clients to get in the picture. Mothers with small children, mothers of high school seniors…all mothers.
The project has grown and evolved in amazing ways over the past two years. If you have been following the blog, you know that my high school friend Heather was my inspiration for the second part of this project—focusing on Mothers whose children have special needs.
This past week I photographed 3 remarkable mothers with children who have special needs…Each with their own story. I thoroughly enjoyed meeting and getting to know each one. I look forward to posting about them in the coming weeks. As I was driving to a session yesterday in the late afternoon sun, it struck me that I feel as if the project is beginning to come full circle. I also photographed other clients throughout the week (not for the project)…those mothers had their own stories as well. One was a generational session which included a young daughter, mother and grandmother. Another was a beautiful mother of 3 who wanted me to photograph her children in front of a special tree in their yard. She went on to explain that she and her family had planted this tree in honor of their baby who died 1 day before she was delivered. As she spoke, my eyes instantly filled with tears.
The journey we take as mothers is unscripted and unpredictable. The road is often rough and we may stumble along the way. There are so many shining moments that we all celebrate. There are also many quiet, solemn moments that remain unspoken. It made me think about how every mother (every person) has so much going on inside that the world around them doesn’t know about. I was touched that she shared this intimate, personal tragedy with me. I saw her as a beautiful and capable mother of three sweet kids…which she is. The idea that she struggles through the pain of the loss of a child overwhelms me.
And as I write this, Melanie, the mother who unknowingly started me on the journey two years ago sits beside her daughter’s bed at NYU Hospital while wires and monitors follow her brain activity for seizures. Her beautiful, spirited young daughter is suddenly struggling with a form of epilepsy. It’s not fair. It kills me to imagine how tired, worried, and scared this mother is. She is also full of love. And I believe she thankfully has a network to support her and her family.
Today I’m more energized than ever to share the stories of mothers through words and images. Please support the mothers around you as they support their children. Thank you.