Throughout the past couple of months I have been fascinated by the motherhood journey. When a woman becomes a mother she births not only her children, but a new version of herself. She is no longer who she was before. Though pieces of her remain, the core of her breaks down, changes, grows. After noticing this in myself I took a deep look into how my friends have journeyed through motherhood. During small moments that we’ve shared together I’ve taken mental pictures of my beautiful friends and when I had a free moment I would jot down my thoughts and memory of our encounter. I’ve titled this series of essays Portraits. Though I’m no photographer I decided to use my own medium to capture these intimate moments. I wanted to gift my friends a snippet of a their motherhood journey through something a little different than a photo. Something more. Something timeless. Something written. Something they can cherish and look back on and read when they’re feeling like the weight of motherhood is heavy. Something to remind them of the amazing change and growth they have gone through and to remind them of how blessed they are to be a mother.
If you are featured in these portraits I thank you for allowing me to share. I hope you know what a beautiful soul you are and what an inspiration you are to me ❤️ I want you to know that during these moments that we shared I was absolutely listening to you. More intently than you could imagine. I was observing in complete admiration. You were just nursing, or wrangling your little one, or preparing a meal but all the while I was learning and appreciating who you are, both to me and to your children.
With love ♥
She waved through the front window as her young daughter trailed behind her. A smile lit up on her face as she opened the door. She invited a hug with an outstretched arm. She often approaches me and all those she cares for with an outstretched arm. I’ve come to know it is a symbol of her openess. Her love for others is always ready to be poured out of her. It is generously gifted to those within her reach.
Her sweater looked warm. It was the kind of cozy sweater that made you certain fall was near. Like cinnamon and pumpkin spice were in the air and the leaves were just beginning to fall.
“We’re still in our jammies.” She said gracefully. Seeing a friend in her pajamas after bringing a new baby home is always a moment I cherish. I’ve had several of these moments with friends and even did so myself after bringing Felicity home. They are my favorite memories. Sure I love when we’re able to dress up and have a girls night out but I’ll never remember the dress they wore those nights. The jammies though. The messy hair, the friend in the doorway inviting you in despite the fact that they are wearing pajamas. The authenticity in it, there’s no greater way to show your friend they are a true friend than to open your door to them in your pajamas.
Motherhood was written on Jenna’s face. She whisked up the stairs in response to her baby’s cry. She was in those early days of motherhood where a nursing tank and warm sweater is all that’s needed for your body to be at the ready for your baby’s needs. She was a host for a new infant. To soothe, feed, snuggle and love on. But she was also so much herself. A woman. A mother. Her dark hair was loosely pulled back. Strands of hair falling as she looked down at her infant daughter. Motherhood. It shaped her. I’d only known her from a time that she was pregnant with her first daughter. Before the spit up, before the sleepless nights. Before a little girl called her mommy she always had a smile on her face. A smile that sent rays of sunlight through a room. A smile that inexplicably made its receiver feel welcome, loved and cared for. A smile that I can compare to no one else’s. A smile that was perfectly matched to her outstretched arm. These are the things that I know her daughters will come to remember. Their mother’s openness and generous love.
She nursed her babe by the window and carried on our conversation. Her infant was content. Her 3 year old daughter Leea played with Felicity. Leea spoke to Jenna as children do, asking questions about where her favorite toy was or for us to join in and play a game with them. Jenna and I tried desperately to carry on a conversation of our own. Both of us knew that intimate conversations between friends on a whim were a thing of our pasts. Motherhood. We both adapted. We responded to our three year old daughters while simultaneously remembering what the other had said previously. We shared a longing to carry on a conversation just long enough to feel like we had some adult interaction.
Motherhood has shaped my dear friend Jenna. It has made her more driven possibly than she was before. She is continuing a legacy of health and wellness. She’d always carried herself with this great purpose but now, as a mother, I imagine it means something more. No matter how grueling moments in motherhood can be she presses on for her purpose is so substantial and it never rests. With ease she knows precisely who she is, her purpose in life, and she leads her daughters to find their same inner purpose.