Women can be so terrible at giving themselves the credit they deserve, and I’m sure I’m not alone in feeling that way as I sit here wondering what to tell you about myself.
So, I think I’ll just say, I get it. I may have walked a different path to you, but I think that being women and mothers is something that links us all together – the red thread, so to speak.
I’m thankful to have carried three babies in my womb. I’m thankful to have felt the joy and excitement of growing new life.
I’ve birthed three babies, with three very different experiences. I’ve had the “movie birth,” with legs in the air, push push push, blood everywhere – what just happened? I’ve had the birth where my hopes and dreams were dashed, my baby taken from me and brought back hours later – but “at least you have a healthy baby.” I’ve had a homebirth, where I felt like I was able to reclaim some of my power as a woman and mother, power that had been stripped from me, by birthing my baby straight into my own arms.
I’ve experienced the highs and lows of motherhood and parenting young children. I’ve cried in the shower, I’ve baked cookies, I’ve eaten chocolate in the pantry, I’ve felt my heart melt, I’ve sat in the car taking deep breaths before I go inside, I’ve homeschooled, I’ve been a school mum, I’ve travelled with 3 kids in a caravan – simultaneously thinking “this is awesome” and “get me outta here.”
It’s a wild ride, that’s for sure!
Somehow, amongst all that, I’ve made sure that I’m not “just” a mum (not that there’s any “just” about it, but I’ve personally felt there is more to me than my role as a mother). I’ve attended almost 100 births, including one when I was 39+4 myself, and one where I wore my 8 week old baby on my back. I’ve taken my kids to netball games and bagpipe band practices, and I’ve gone on multi-day hikes.
It can be all too easy to feel like we are “just” the cleaner, “just” the cook, “just” the household manager and taxi driver and lunchbox packer, and so on. It can be all too easy to remember the times we nagged, or yelled, or cried, or willed away the hours until bedtime.
We need to see for ourselves that we are fun, we can be silly, we do love our kids and we are amazing women doing our best, that we love our children, and that they love us, too. It’s about creating opportunities to just be with each other, enjoying each other’s company and making some memories.
Being in photos has helped me see the best in me (even when I’ve put on 20kg and once had to get my husband to cut my hair because I hadn’t brushed it for too long – yes, seriously).
Taking photos of others and helping them see how strong, beautiful and amazing they are has been something that has helped me see that in myself, too.
Jen has been capturing birth and families since 2010.
She has invested in photography education through one-on-one mentoring, photography workshops and retreats and online courses and is constantly pushing herself out of her comfort zone to learn and grow as a person and as a photographer.
Jen has attended almost 100 births, including midwife and doula-assisted homebirths, birth center births, water births, private and public hospital births, high risk births, inductions and Caesarean sections. She also completed her certification as a birth and postpartum doula, and childbirth educator, in 2012.
Jen has also supported families through loss. She is a Stillbirthday doula and a volunteer for Heartfelt.
Jen is an award-winning photographer, receiving an Honorable Mention in the International Association of Professional Birth Photographers awards in 2016, and winning the Midwife category of the Australian College of Midwives Birth Photography Awards in 2018. She is also a photographer for the Australian Breastfeeding Project.