It is not often that one gets to act as both support person and photographer at a birth. But when little Tasi entered the world on 27 September 2014, I got to experience this.
Usually at the births that I attend, I respect the birthing space that the labouring mumma has created and go to great lengths to remain in the background, taking a very “stealthy” approach. I try to capture and document the emotion, and feel it myself, but don’t “participate” in what is one of the most sacred and precious moment that a family will ever experience together. However, little Tasi’s birth was different. Tasi’s mum is my sister-in-law, who is from Samoa and who doesn’t have a lot of family here in Australia. She invited me into her birthing space, along side of her mum, and her aunty, and as Tasi entered the world at the RBH Birth Centre, he was surrounded by so much love and feminine energy!
It was lovely to be more hands on than usual, and it really gave me some great insight into the support that midwives and doulas provide during the birth process. Knowing that I have given birth 5 times myself, in facilities much different to the traditional hospitals her mum and aunty had birthed their own children in back in the 70s, Audrey looked to me for support too.
I think we made a great team, and I must say that I am the best ice getterer I ever met, making sure that she always had a fresh cube to suck on between back rubs, motivational pep talks, and of course photo taking! Of course, as I was the photographer, I am not in any of the photos myself, so lets just call me the “ghost doula”.
Here is a selection of my favourite images as Audrey prepared to welcome the little man earthside who would make her a mummy for the very first time.
Just over 2 years ago, I received a call from one of my lovely clients, who knew about the work that I do for Heartfelt. It was the most heartbreaking call as she told me of her sister who was about to meet her baby boy, Daniel. A baby who had already been given his angel wings and would never have the opportunity to enjoy the wonders of our world. Of course, I rushed to their side and captured their most treasured moments with their little man before they said their final goodbyes.
A year later, they emailed me to say that they were expecting again! I couldn’t have been more excited for them, and crossed all of my fingers and toes that this bubba would arrive into their arms safely. And she did. Her shining crown of ginger locks paving the way for a baby girl so full of personality and laughter! Aleigha was definitely the colour that they had hoped for in their lives. She was 4 months old when I photographed her, and she had me mesmerised!
They say that a “Rainbow Baby” is a bubba who is welcomed to a family after a loss or still birth of the baby before. They are named such because “After every storm, there comes a rainbow”.
After a few weeks of trying to work out a way to capture the joy that a rainbow baby brings to a family, and many hours of hand dying fabrics to create the “flowers” that I envisaged, this is what I came up with. As most of you who follow me will know, I have given myself a mission to only produce images that make people smile. There is too much darkness and grief in the world and I don’t want to perpetuate that. So, I’ve taken a theme that could be convey tragedy, and I’ve put my own spin on things.
The writing on the background says “After every storm, there comes a rainbow”, and was hand written by Daniel and Aleigha’s mummy.
And so, here it is, my tribute to the joy that rainbow babies bring to the world, and dedicated to Daniel, and Aleigha and the colour and beauty they have brought to their family’s lives.
Yesterday was a day of nostalgia. I found myself looking back over the past 16 years and thinking of the road I have travelled. The reason for my reflection? This boy. The one I call “Jabelone”. (He used to say his name as “Jab-in”, and it kind of evolved from that).
Today, marks 16 years since I met him for the first time. It was the day that I became a mother. It was the day that I changed forever. It was the day that I felt I finally had a place and a purpose in the world.
This crazy, talented, amazing, driven, ambitious, intelligent, over achieving boy. The one who tinkers constantly in his workshop and is obsessed with “gadgets” of every kind.
This boy. Who came out stargazing – face up and ready to take on the world. This little blob of a Michelin baby with rolls to challenge even the wrinkliest of Sharpei puppies. The look in his eye that he had been here before and a firm sense of independence that had him pushing me away when he was 10 months old and demanding that I feed him a bottle when I wasn’t anywhere near ready to give up the joy of breastfeeding.
This boy. The one who has been by my side through two marriages, and two marriage breakdowns. The one who has been my strength each time I welcomed another ray of sunshine into our family.
This boy. The one who knows me better than anyone else on the planet. The one who thinks just like me, so much so, that we often finish each others sentences or voice each others thoughts.
This boy. The one who is so driven, and so intense that he is at times his own worst enemy. Who sets himself goals that may not be attainable, and yet never gives up. The one whose intelligence is only outweighed by this drive.
This boy. The one who is growing into a man before my very eyes and who I fear for every day as I realise that he carries the weight of the world on his shoulders. Who doesn’t know how to relax, who doesn’t know how to let down his guard. The one whose ego often gets in the way of his rationality and who won’t ever admit to being wrong.
This boy. He is the one who made me a mother. He makes me laugh, he makes me proud, he makes me infuriated and frustrated and drives me crazy with his insatiable need for information and with his all too detailed technical (ie GEEKY) conversations!
This boy. Like all of my babies, he is my heart. Together with his four brother and sisters, they each share an equal but different place in my heart. They each have different talents, strengths and weaknesses, and every day they all make me proud.
This boy. My pride and joy. My “Jabelone”. My trailblazer. My baby boy.
I can barely contain my excitement to be typing merrily away on my blog right now! Those of you who follow me on Facebook will know that in December last year, almost 4 months ago, my website was vaporised! Well this morning, I decided to think outside the box, and managed to restore the entire thing in about 30 seconds! Un-freaking-believable!! I spent hundreds of dollars on premium hosting support, begged friends to help, spent hours staring at the screen trying a gazillion different options and then all of a sudden, this morning, an epiphany! And here we are!
Granted, not *everything* is working perfectly again just yet, but at least people know that we exist again now! Yaaay! Thanks heavens for small mercies!
So, onwards and upwards, and lots more posts to come. I’ve been dyyyying to chat to you all.
And in the meantime, this is an occasion worth celebrating! Chocolate anyone??
Well, we got lucky at the wedding I photographed a couple of weeks ago! Spectacular weather, beautiful light, and blessed with our very own Ferris Wheel temporarily located directly in front of the reception venue! Their gorgeous day was far from traditional with a ceremony on the beach, followed by a great big party at the Shearwater Resort, at Caloundra.
Here is a sneak peek for Jessie & Jessica aka Mr & Mrs Rosewarne, of just some of the fun from their big day!