maternity

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. 

 

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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.




 

Birth, Breastfeeding

The Birth of Elliot | Columbus Ohio Birth Photography | Milk & Hannah Photo

I walked through the doors of The Well to meet Jessica for the first time.

She had e-mailed me near the end of her pregnancy and we squeezed in a "hello-nice-to-meet-you" before a "hello-I-will-definitely-see-your-vagina-hopefully-we-like-each-other".

I arrived early, found a table in the corner and slumped into the curves of a modern wooden chair stationed across a twin of itself. I said hello to the owners, and ordered myself a dirty chai smoothie-my very favorite-while I awaited her arrival.

She walked in glowing, Her spirit was so tall, so wonderful.
She'd didn't know they served coffee, and held a near-empty Starbucks still hot and sitting in her palms. (I liked her already.) Having reached her caffeine limit for the day-she grabbed a homemade vegan chocolate peanut butter bar sitting in a basket by the register. And as she finished reading the label, we ventured back to the table to see if we were a good fit.

We so were.

_______________________________________________

She labored quickly-mightily.

I arrived into her room right in the midst of her epidural- I excused myself to the waiting room while they finished up.

Beside the nursery a small slotted magazine rack was affixed to the wall.
The Boxcar Children squeezed in front of Time and Entertainment magazines.
I chuckled.

Her Mama and Daddy were perched on stools under the windows. Her father held in his eyes a weight of something only described as deep-deep love for his little girl

Once back in the room- her labor progressed rapidly, I began taking an account of the space around her. Accounting photographs for all the details lost while focusing on something much greater than the ticking and buzzing around her.

She was complete. She was ready. She grabbed some extra breaths and sent them to her baby.

Her mother spoke encouragement and admiration in Spanish. An intimate gift-only for the two of them- two mother's ears.

And soon enough--

an

She saw his sweet face- and he hers.

in awe of his beauty...

And as their skin meshed together under the warmth of white sheets...

They fell madly in love.

To my empowered, wonderful, kind, badass Jessica:

You are an incredible Mother.
Thank you for allowing me the honor of photographing the birth of your Elliot.

All my love.


 

Birth, In Home

The Christmas Lotus Home Birth of Giovanni | Milk & Hannah Photo | Columbus OH Birth Photographer

"Miranda's water broke."
The message flashed across my screen from Amy, Miranda's midwife, as the clock in the corner of my Macbook clicked over to 11:00pm.

She wasn't due for 2 weeks.
Surprise, anxiety, and ecstasy floated through my brain channels.

"Sleep fast." she wrote shortly after-and I closed my laptop.

Switching my phone to "Loud" I pulled Ruby against my breast for a last feeding and started a night of alternating between snoozing and waking to obsessively check my phone for an update-in fear I may have missed something.

The next morning at 8:00am, I awoke to check in with Amy.
We agreed to meet at their home at 9:00am.

______

I arrived at 9:10am

The first real snowfall laid atop the ground outside... as magical as it was to see--these two had something even more so together as she labored in front of the fireplace. The light from the Christmas tree twinkling behind them.

Two braided pig tails sat on her collar bones.
She wore her lover's blank tank top.
The way the fabric fell over her belly made me swoon.
 

Shortly after our arrival, and after a brief period of separating herself to connect with her body, intensity came quickly.
It was time to utilize the birthing pool that had been filling in the kitchen.
Continuous streams of boiling pots on the cooktop.

As she surged, Jesse, her partner, dipped white washrags into cups of gas station ice water, immediately placing them against the skin of her face. She was very warm, and very uncomfortable.

And ready to move on from the tub.
As she exited, another surge welcomed itself, her midwife held her up and danced side to side as it subsided.

She headed upstairs to sit on the toilet, just for a few, and on her way back to the birthing pool, she surged once again, and found refuge laid across their bed.

With her partner,
And her midwife.

A few moments later, she was back in the warm water refuge of the birthing pool. The second midwife of her birth team, Lora, had arrived - surrounded by candles, sweet Christmas music, and the light from the kitchen windows, she continued her wonderful, life-changing journey of motherhood.

Soon-the unpredictable journey of birth turned once again.
The birthing pool was no longer a space of comfort, and so up the stairs they headed, once again. To the master bedroom.

She was glorious. A site to behold. A goddess. A warrior. A pillar of boldness and of vulnerability all at once.

She was a story.
A metaphor of beauty and pain and strength.
Looking at her labor was to read a novel cover to cover-and to be honored to do so.
I was honored to do so.

As she laid across her lover's lap...

As she surrendered to her body and listened to it--

As she breathed in the air of the Winter winds outside.. letting them swirl in her lungs...

There he was.

 

Welcome to the world, G.
You are more loved than you could ever imagine.
And your mama?



You rocked it, M.
All my love.
 


Midwife: Amy Knisley / Well Rounded Midwifery
Midwife: Lora Hart / Ohio Home Birth
Birth Photographer: Milk & Hannah Photo
 Birth Pool: Waterbith Solutions