The story behind snuggle sessions....
I have 3 beautiful children (I know all moms think that their children are beautiful). I love them like crazy ... keyword "crazy." More like they sometimes drive me crazy. My journey to motherhood was not easy. After multiple miscarriages years ago we decided to take a break on ttc (trying to conceive). When we began again I couldn't get pregnant. I suffered from endometriosis and adhesions. My doctor once told me that endometriosis doesn't cause infertility, but many people who have fertility problems find they have endometriosis. So is it the chicken before the egg or the egg before the chicken?
Right when I gave up on having biological children, I found out I was pregnant. I was probably more nervous/scared than excited. I remember the day I finally had the courage to set up the crib. I cried like a big baby because of my fear of losing this new child in my womb. Every yucky symptom of pregnancy was actually a little blessing to reassure me that this baby was growing strong.
When Abigail was born I was determined to nurse.
Back story: I had a breast reduction when I was 13. Yes, you read that correctly, 13. Breast cancer runs very strong in my family. My mother had it twice. So having the surgery helped reduce my risk. However, many of my milk ducts were cut so I would struggle with my milk supply due to this.
Abigail was born and she struggled to latch. On top of that I got diagnosed with hypertension and had to actually be on bed rest after she was born. So add stress on to reduced milk ducts and you get the picture. I was married to the pump and non stop feedings trying to build my supply for 6 weeks. I tried the sns, but she would scream when I tried to use it. The neighbors probably heard me crying when I finally had to make the decision to stop.
My second was born and he was a sweet little boy named Emory. He latched on great and my supply was a little better, but they couldn't get my blood pressure under control. They had to put me on meds that weren't safe to nurse so I only got to nurse him for 3 weeks.
My third child born just 5 months ago was a sweet baby girl named Naomi. She did great nursing. Thanks to my awesome IBCLC Stacy with Bestfeeding Lactation Services, I was able to hand express colostrum from 36 weeks on (permitted by doctor). I had enough to bring with me to the hospital that I didn't have to do any supplementing while we were there. I produced so much more and was able to nurse her for 3 months. I still had to supplement, but I did produce more. However, once again my blood pressure went haywire and the stress of figuring it out dropped my supply so low that I lost my chance to continue nursing. Also, I was told I had high cholesterol and had to go on meds for that. Yay me!
So, long story short... not really, I feel a bit inadequate about my motherhood skills. I know that may sound ridiculous to some, but to those of you who have been there you probably understand (unfornately). The personal shame game began along with the jealousy of seeing other women nurse.
I am a very modest person and with the added emotional hurt I have from my own experience of nursing I've always struggled to photograph women nursing. However, I was recently able to photograph a woman who had made it over a year of nursing and was getting ready to leave her sweet baby girl for the first time for 4 months! We did a few shots of her nursing at the end of her engagement session and I simply fell in love with the emotion I saw and felt in those images.
At that moment I decided I needed to offer these sessions so mother's have something they can look back and cherish forever.
Snuggle sessions are meant for mom or dad. They are not specifically breast feeding images. I wanted to open it to others who couldn't breast feed. I remember, and still do, how it felt to see these wonderful bonding images and never feeling like I could participate. This would once again confirm the lie I believed about being less of a mother.
So schedule your session to capture a moment with your little one or even not so little one. These are meant to be beautiful images that capture the relationship you have with your child (whether young or old, mom or dad).
*Not family sessions. Limited to 1 child/1adult.