“Some families are created in different ways….but are still in every way a family”
I’ve always loved that statement…even before my own family was created, it just kind of resonated with me. Being a newborn photographer I am super blessed to meet and photograph many families of all different compositions…you know the common running theme, the most important thing? Love…that’s it. It’s not how many parents or the gender of those parents or if they are raised by multiple family members. Each and every baby that enters my studio is surrounded by love and it radiates from every session.
Some of you may know, my story is a little different and my family didn’t come about in the traditional way. I was raised by a phenomenal single Mumma and I have two younger brothers. I’ve wanted to be a Mumma for as long as I can remember. Neither of my brother’s were in that big of a hurry and were younger, which of course meant they both beat me to it and I have six amazing nephews and a niece that have filled my life with so much joy over the years. But anyone who has ever yearned to be a Mumma will know…there is nothing that will fill that void. Also my work as a NICU nurse exposed me to the harsh reality that sometimes the journey to mummahood can be fraught with danger. I try not to have a skewed perspective but pregnancy and childbirth can be scary y’all and the reassurance that it will ‘just happen’ is not a guarantee. In my NICU work I saw Mumma’s fight for years and years to realize their dreams and sometimes to have it shattered and taken away from them anyway. I didn’t want to wait for too long…the ever biological clock looming over my shoulder.
In my early 30’s I promised myself that if I hadn’t met the right person by the time I was 35 I would go it alone. I met with a fertility specialist ‘just in case’ and they asked me what I was waiting for. When I said ‘Prince Charming’ they all giggled and assured me he probably didn’t exist, or certainly that I didn’t need to wait for him to be a Mumma. And I thought…you know what?….they’re right! And I guess the rest is history?
Anyone who has had IVF knows it’s challenging, and probably wouldn’t wish it on their worst enemy. It was definitely a challenging few years….financially, physically, emotionally…it takes all you have left. But luckily, most are rewarded and those rewards are insanely worth it! I remember after those first few appointments being sent home with a handful of ‘profiles’, told to stop and grab a bottle of wine…and ‘date’. Not the most romantic or traditional way to think about who will help create your family but it definitely made me giggle and made an otherwise fairly intense experience a little light hearted. I remember getting together with a few different sets of friend, a pack of post it notes and a few more bottles of wine. In the beginning I thought all that was important was finding a healthy donor but it was so much more complicated than that. And now that I sit on the other side of this journey with two healthy boys, I am glad we pondered those profiles so thoughtfully in the beginning. I chose an amazing donor, someone who didn’t want children himself, but was married and wanted other families to have the opportunity to fulfill their dreams. Both boys were created during the same cycle with the same donor, my first little guy put straight back into my tummy during a fresh cycle and my second little guy and some buddies popped in the freezer for the future.
In the beginning, despite being raised my an amazing single Mumma, I worried that my children would be judged from coming from a non-traditional family…I certainly got some disappointing opinions from strangers and friends alike but graciously as I’ve grown as a Mumma I’ve realized that other’s opinions don’t matter. And that families come in many different ways. I have always been honest with my boys as they’ve grown about how they were created. How they were chosen, rather than a given. I told my biggest boy as he grew, and we have continued the story on, that some families have two mums, some families have two dads, some kids are raised by their grandparents….every family is different, all you need is each other to make a family.
When we first started the story I told him he didn’t have a ‘daddy’ so we needed help from a Dr to get him in my belly and he came from an egg. As he grew he always accepted that story and would tell anyone, bus driver included, that he came from an egg! As he got older and we started working on getting him a sibling his understanding had grown immensely. We learned that men have seed and ladies have egg’s and they are mixed together to make a baby (thank heavens we haven’t got to the S.E.X talk yet cause I’m not sure I’m prepared for that lol!!!) I told him we didn’t have any seed so we had to get the seed from the Dr who put him in my belly and that that seed came from a man called a donor. We looked at photo’s of him and my big boy mentioned the similarities in he and the donor. He learned that if he wanted he could meet the donor when he was older (18) and from then on he’s just been added to our story. Last year we had the awesome excitement of virtually meeting some of the boys ‘diblings’ (donor siblings….so mumma’s who have used the same donor as us and have had gorgeous kiddo’s too!) across the world…and that’s added another chapter to our learning. I love that our ‘family’ is so big, that my boys have so many opportunities for relationships, for learning about themselves, where they have come from and who they are.
‘Easton…created and transferred on 11.04.11’
I always look back on these images with such awe…can you believe these amazing cells are now a gorgeous seven year old boy?
‘Emery…created on 11.04.11 and transferred on 20.10.16’
And a cheeky almost three year old?
I don’t have the greatest of pregnancies but I do adore these beautiful bumps…Easton captured by Leanne Brischetto Photography
And Emery captured so stunningly by Rana at Breathe Birth Photography
Now here is where I would insert the most gorgeous updated family photo of the three of us but sadly there isn’t one. I haven’t practiced what I preached and our last family photo’s were over a year and a half ago. I have all your same excuses, no money, no time, too flabby….life just gets in the way. I hear you all. But…I’m working on it and watch this space. I hope you are working on booking photo’s too. Especially after the past few scary months with this dreaded virus, being away from your loved ones, some losing family, missing special moments with those that are dear to you. Don’t wait.
In the mean time how gorgeous is this drawing of us that my sister in law had made for me for my birthday….
And if you are working on your story…creating your own unique family…get in touch, because I’d love to be the one to tell your story. I’d love to capture your new little love as they are welcomed earthside. I’d love to celebrate your little one throughout their first year.