Personal

Birth, Personal

The Bathtub Birth of Smith Stone | A Columbus Ohio Birth Story | Milk & Hannah

I can still remember Nicole’s DM on IG last year.

She was moving to Columbus from Seattle and wanted to connect - she also let me know they’d JUST started trying for a second child and would be hiring me at some point during their time here. I was all over it - a huge fan of her work “Miracle Mamas” - a support group for moms with addiction. She’d be here 4 weeks later, sitting in my living room with her son. But two weeks before that, I’d get a photo in my messages of a positive pregnancy test. My woman was moving to Columbus and she was doing it pregnant.

Over the coming months we developed an old soul type of friendship. One that picked up quickly and without effort. We bonded instinctively and effortlessly. Late nights in her attic surrounded by vintage clothes, trips in the Audi going…under?… the speed limit (always under the speed limit, Noah). Photo shoots in my master bedroom and lots and lots and lots of thrifting. As her baby grew, so did our friendship.

On October 24th, 2018 the texts came in that she was having contractions.
A group message with her partner, Noah, her midwife, Rachel, and I kept the updates scrolling. But only hours into the journey, her water broke.

I grabbed my gear, called them in the car, but I was on my way.

Knocking once with no answer and then twice, I opened the door to a silent first floor. Steps into their dining room and her howls echoed down the staircase from the second floor. I bounded up the stairs to see a warrior woman laboring in the bath. Noah holding the shower head over her back, her sisters standing over her in town from the West coast.

20 minutes later, Smith arrived in the bath tub.

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Nicole,

I cherish you. In a life where random interactions with strangers happen every single day, it feels way more than a coincidence that our lives really connected.


All my love,
Hannah

 

 

Midwife: Rachel McCloskey
Secondary Midwife: Lora Hart
Thank you for being such incredible providers,
and for always including me in birth spaces as part of the team.
I appreciate you both so, so very much. <3

Personal, SelfLove

Self-Love in Motherhood : A Milk & Hannah Photo Mission | Columbus OH, Birth and Motherhood Photographer

Mothers who are critical of their bodies breed daughters and sons who are critical of their bodies.

Mothers who love and respect their bodies breed daughters and sons who love and respect their bodies.

How you choose to talk about your body and how you treat your body--will affect so many more people than just you. 

 

------

A main mission for Milk & Hannah Photo is to encourage radical self-love. 

It is the reason that photographs include nipples and butt cracks. The reason that stretch-marks aren't photo-shopped away. I won't remove wrinkles, or fine lines...whatever the fuck those are. I don't ask you to smile, and I won't ever "take off ten pounds". I don't choose the best angle for your chin at your birth, I choose the angle that shows you while you work your ass off to bring a baby into this space.

The way your stomach skin curls or doesn't curl. The slight dark circles under your eyes. . The stretch-marks on your thighs. The +20 pounds or the -20 pounds. The defined calves or abdominals. The slick or frazzled hair. The frown, or the laugh, or the hiccup, or the yawn. Your breasts and where they lay across your chest, a little lower than before or just as high as they were.  Those things need to stay in photos. 

Because they're YOU. Right now.
and they're beautiful.


And talking about WHAT OUR BODIES ARE isn't a BAD THING. We're allowed to talk about our bodies RIGHT. WHERE. THEY. ARE. and EMBRACE that without GUILT or SHAME. We're allowed to talk about stretch-marks and sagging breasts and vagina lips and blood and mucus and extra skin. We're allowed to talk about growths and bumps and bruises and leaks. And we're allowed to say those things and not feel a tinge of "I'M LESS THAN."


We are what we are.
Inside and out.

And loving yourself, right where you are... it can change the entire world. It can breed a new world of people who love themselves and encourage other people to love themselves. 

And that is power.
That is worth working towards.

From a by-product of a line of women who were too critical... I implore you to change the world... and to love you.




 

Business, Personal

2017 + a NEW Milk & Hannah Photo | Columbus, OH Birth Photography | Milk & Hannah Photo

 

On September 25th, 2014, I watched Asher take his first breath pressed against his mother's skin.

 

On March 5, 2015, I witnessed the birth of Paxton.

 

Luke, on June 21, 2015.

 

Then Finley, on July 12, 2015.

 

Stacey, on the 11th of October,

 

and Penelope, on the 20th of December the same year.

 

Izabel started off 2016- I watched as she was welcomed into her Mama's tender and loving arms on January 7th.

 

Followed by Ethney, the first baby at home, on June 28th.

 

July 28th, brought Hazel,

 

and Jackson on August the 3rd.

 

On September 28th, 2016, there was Arbor-

 

and Elliot stared into the depths of his Mama on October the 25th.

 

Charlie was welcomed on the 23rd of November,

 

And Giovanni rounded out 2016, at home, on the 11th of December.

 

I started this photography journey a wanderer. A dabbler.

Attempting to find my place in a sea of specialties.

I went on photographing families, children, bellies. Life. But something was missing.

I remember thinking about birth photographers Sarah Shambaugh and Lindsey Scholz's work and feeling a pang in my gut. Like "DAMN. That's mind blowing." But never having the guts to try it on for size.

-------------

When Drew's sister told us she was expecting, a rainbow baby so desired, so loved already- I mentioned the desire to photograph her birth. They live in Michigan, we live in Ohio, but I threw out the idea. Just "to see" maybe "add it to the list of work experience". She wasn't planning on hiring a photographer, we just so happened to be going in town near the due date. If it happened, it happened.

And we crossed our fingers.

Our trip date was already set for my husband's birthday- September the 25th.

At 9am on the 25th of September, Amy entered the hospital doors-preparing to birth a baby . We were in town. I was at the hospital. It was happening, and on my husband's birthday, nonetheless. It felt like---something far more than coincidence.

And then--she labored.

For once in my life--I felt like I couldn't stop clicking the shutter.

I couldn't miss even a second. Every piece of every moment was part of the story. Personal. Crucial. The layout of the room. The stork painting on the wall. The t-shirt her husband, Zac wore, and the way her hands clasped around a styrofoam cup of ice water. She looked so beautiful and yet- so vulnerable-and yet-so amazingly strong.  I was in awe. High. Shaken.

And then-- Asher was born.

I sobbed. I sobbed so intensely that I couldn't see my camera. The tears were hot on my cheeks and I was attempting with all my might to gain some ounce of control and yet I could not. The second my breathing was slowed, I looked at this woman, this sweet child, and lost it all over again.

That moment- that day?

Changed my entire life.

I knew right then what I wanted to do with my life.

I wanted to tell stories of Birth.
The Welcoming of Sweet Children.
Tales of the strength of Women.
The MIRACLE that is New Life.

I wanted to be the one that held a hand, that put hair in a top bun, that photographed your journey to Motherhood at it's peak. Conquering pregnancy's mighty summit. Becoming all at once a delicate and warring goddess of life-bringing force. That's what I wanted. That's what I want.

_________________________________

Since that September day, I've photographed 13 more birth stories.

Pax, Finley, Luke, Penny, Izy, Stacey Caroline, Ethney, Hazel, Jackson, Arbor Jane, Eliiot, Charlie, and Giovanni.

I've serviced Columbus, Lancaster, Reynoldsburg, Pickerington, Chillicothe, Ohio and Rochester Hills, Michigan.

And I've fallen deeply in love with my work.

I've continued to dabble, to wander.

But with the end of 2016 came the end of three pieces of what Milk & Hannah Photo was:



This year and beyond, I am focusing on the true passion and drive behind my business.


 Bellies. Babies. Birth. Motherhood. Life.

 

I'm focusing on telling authentic stories.

With the exception of my milk baths, I no longer offer any posed photography session. Everything is photo-journalistic and documentary based. Your story, exactly as it is.

 

I'm cutting out vows.

I am no longer accepting wedding or engagement clients. The 2017 weddings on my books are my last. I am honored and excited to be ending my season of wedding photography with such wonderful people.

 

_________________________________________________________


I knew what I wanted to do 2 years ago, but I was afraid.
Afraid to fail, afraid of regret, afraid of change...

It took me awhile, but I listened to the calling on my life. I stopped doubting and starting trusting. There is a journey set for every single one of us. A journey far greater than we can imagine if we have the gull to work hard, the ambition to keep moving, and the guts to fail and then get up to fly.

I am honored that you're here with me. That you're reading this.
I'm thankful that you're along for the ride as 2017 shapes into what I've wanted since that stork-painting-styrofoam-cup-of-ice wonderful, life-changing, breath-taking day of photographing my first birth.




Ready for all the babies, all the bellies, all the Mama's, and all the births--


Hannah
 

Lifestyle, In Home, Personal

Visiting The Jennings' | Canal Winchester, Ohio | In-Home Lifestyle Session, Milk & Hannah Photo

I stopped to hang out with the fabulous Liz Jennings of Liz Jennings Photography and talk business. She's a Lifestyle Newborn and Birth Photographer in Canal Winchester and an awesome friend.

I wasn't planning on taking any photos, but the light was awesome and the colors drew me and so... on-the-spot lifestyle session happened and I captured some of my favorite images ever.

If you're interested in booking something like this, feel free to reach out.

Hope you enjoy these moments, too.