Thursday 1 January 2015

37: Alexandra

Portraits : The Motherhood series.

Alex has always set about to define and meet her own standards of success. Creatively, professionally or otherwise. We have been friends for over 10 years now and she has always inspired me with her strong sense of self. She is fiercely independent, driven, erudite and charming. She’s passionate. Whether it's politics and world affairs, theatre, horses, clothes, colour, literature, music or vintage styling. She has a point of view, she’ll not dress down for anyone or anything and is flagrantly articulate.

Married to Richard and mother to Rebekah (4) and Scarlett (1), Alex has settled into a more relaxed approach to motherhood than she originally anticipated. She says she expected to be all about flash cards and learning but for her two young daughters, fostering free play and independence have proven the right fit for them all. Whilst Alex and Richard have happily adapted their lifestyle to include children, she readily admits to missing being able to meet her friends or take in a movie or dinner with Richard on a whim, without requiring pre-planning and the expense of baby sitters. The challenges she says, are outweighed by the simplest joys. Morning cuddles, the pride in reaching milestones like mastering the scooter or tying shoelaces and watching her family delight in life and each other.

Alex distinctly feels the pull of prioritising career and motherhood. She took a year maternity leave when each of the girls were born and when the time came to return to work, did so part time. The intent is to return to work full time when the girls are both in school. Despite the pressure to make the right parenting choices, all the judgements and competition, she tries not to give herself a hard time about it and focuses on the right choice for her family in due course. I asked Alex whether she had any advice for mothers, of course I knew she would. Here’s what she had to say:

"Remember that You are a good mother!!! Giving them non-organic carrots or letting them watch ABC 4 kids sometimes does not a bad mother make. Make time for your partner and that relationship and have sex even if your tired! Take full advantage of grandparents where possible."

You can view all of my portraits from 2013/14 by clicking on the Portrait Series links in the right sidebar of this page.

Belinda x

Monday 8 December 2014

36: Lucy

Portraits : The Motherhood series.

When Ollie (4) and Harry (2) were born, both boys immediately stopped crying when they were placed on Lucy's chest. Upon hearing her voice, they opened their eyes and stared intently back at their mother. This instant knowing caught Lucy by surprise, the bond of motherhood recognised immediately, forever seared into her memory.

As a girl, Lucy would often daydream about her future children. She grew up in a very loving and nurturing household. A strong maternal influence from her mother and grandmother and close bonds within her immediate and extended family. Her eyes light up when she talks about them. There was never any question in her mind about one day creating a family of her own but with her mother always having championed the importance of independence, education and travel before settling down, Lucy took her advice to heart. First completing a social work degree, followed by work as a nanny during a two year stint in London then retraining as a primary teacher upon returning to Australia.

Lucy met her husband Matt in England and together they settled in Sydney. They loved the inner city lifestyle, but when Harry arrived they made the decision to simplify and move their young family to the country. A move that brought them back to the community that Lucy grew up in and where many of her family still reside. Having family and support nearby as they resettle and renovate their dream family home has been a huge benefit. Her boys are enjoying close relationships with their grandparents and extended family, just as she did growing up. 

Hearing from readers never gets tired. It's still a thrill to know people read your blog and find your work meaningful. When Lucy first reached out to me she had such kind words of encouragement, I was truly touched. Then a little while later, a lovely twist of fate meant I found myself in her neighbourhood and graciously welcomed into her beautiful home. I absolutely loved getting to know Lucy and her family. She is down to earth, passionate, funny and generous. She's an affectionate and thoughtful mother to her boys, listening to their unique personalities and needs. Her biggest piece of advice being to enjoy your children. Motherhood is riddled with guilt, trying to meet expectations can be overwhelming. She has enjoyed reading to her boys every day since they were born, stopping to simply enjoy them and focusing on the positive has been incredibly liberating.

You can view all of my portraits from 2013/14 by clicking on the Portrait Series links in the right sidebar of this page.

Belinda x

Sunday 2 November 2014

35: Vesna

Portraits : The Motherhood series.

As you can see, Vesna has a smile that can light up a room. She’s gracious and has a great sense of humour. She also carries a fierce determination. Something she attests to the influence of her mother Sonia. Despite having faced a great deal of adversity in her life, Sonia has always found the strength, resilience and willingness to overcome and be there for her children. Vesna is passionate about her family and considers herself ’the luckiest person on earth' to have them.

As Vesna told me about her journey to motherhood, the lessons about the effects of stress, there was so much that I could relate to. Trying to do it all, meeting expectations, getting the job done. The catch is trying do it all, without acknowledgement that your whole body has to share the load. It’s not just about mental fortitude, the physical impacts can be both alarming and humbling. 

In keeping an open mind, doing alot of independent research and making educated decisions on what path was right for her, Vesna and her husband Russell were overjoyed to welcome their first child, a son Levi almost a year ago. She describes the moment of being embraced by her husband whilst holding their newborn son as an overwhelming feeling of unconditional love that she'll never forget.

You can view all of my portraits from 2013/14 by clicking on the Portrait Series links in the right sidebar of this page.

Belinda x

Sunday 26 October 2014

Radio Silence

Goodness me, it's been a while.

Sorry for the radio silence. I actually can’t believe it's been two months since my last post. The initial reason for the hiatus was a three week trip to the US. I had been trying desperately to have have some motherhood portraits lined up before I left so that the series would publish on schedule each week whilst I was away. But shoots fell through and plans changed at the last minute and when I finally let go of the pressure I was placing on myself, I realised that I needed a break from it all anyway.

The motherhood portrait series has been such a wonderful project for me. I’m grateful for the stories that I have been able to share. Honest portraits of women offering their unique and collective perspectives has made the series so rewarding. It's been the creative discipline I needed this year, a welcome distraction from bigger worries. But it’s certainly been alot more work than I originally anticipated, hence the lack of personal blog posts this year.

I feel like it's been an age since I had a conversation with you guys. I miss it. So I’m going to try and find a balance. I’ll continue to post regular motherhood portraits to finish what I started, but the weekly pace just isn’t sustainable for me anymore. I’d like some breathing room to simply write, take photos for the love of it and explore other creative ideas. 

I have more beautiful motherhood portraits to share with you and I’ll share more of what’s been happening around here too. In the meantime, thank you so much for your patience and support. It means the world to me.

Belinda x
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