Sunday, 20 April 2014

16/52 : Celia


52 Portraits - the Motherhood series. 
A portrait to celebrate motherhood, once a week, every week, in 2014.

Celia is one of the most kind and sincere people I've met. Upon meeting, she is at once so generous and warm that you feel like you've known her for years. Celia met her husband Geoff in London fourteen years ago. In 2004, they married in her home of Brazil before moving to his home of Australia. It took them three years to conceive, during which time Celia was told she would never have children. Needless to say, when they found out they were pregnant with Luca, now five and a half, they were over the moon. 

While Celia studied advertising at University and plans to return to study psychology, the pull to stay home with her young son was strong. After such a hard fought journey, she wanted to be able to savour every single moment. A decision also heavily influenced by the fact that she didn't have her extended family nearby.  She tells me that being Luca's mother has been the most amazing, overwhelming and rewarding experience of her life. It's hard work but every day with Luca reminds her to live in the moment and be grateful.  

I asked Celia if she wanted to share any particular advice on motherhood with E&J readers and true to her nature, her response was articulate, thoughtful and honest:

"I don't think I have any advice to give to Mums/women as I truly believe that we all have our own journey to travel. I think is important to do what makes you happy and follow your heart, only you know how you feel and what rocks your boat. So, in my opinion you have to do what makes you feel good and consequently you will be ok with your choices and challenges that life presents at you. Easier said than done, I know but is part of the journey, I believe."

Participating in the 52 Portraits series project led by Jodi at Practising Simplicity

You can view all of my portraits from 2013/14 by clicking on the 52 Portrait Series links in the right sidebar of this page.

Belinda x

Monday, 14 April 2014

15/52 : Deena


52 Portraits - the Motherhood series. 
A portrait to celebrate motherhood, once a week, every week, in 2014.

'I love it when you talk nerdy'

I've just spent a weekend at the Hunter Valley with friends. As we pottered about the cabin early on Sunday morning, Deena made this statement with a slogan tee. It's cute because it's true, she does love it when you talk nerdy. Dee works in Graphic Design and User Experience. Balancing part time work and motherhood isn't easy but you only have to ask her about work to know she clearly loves her job. She's an early technology adopter and is genuinely excited about making digital information usable, meaningful and enjoyable.

Deena and her husband Gavin both hail from England originally but travelled halfway around the world to meet here in Australia. They married in 2005 and together are raising two 'tornadoes' James and Harry. We spoke over the weekend about the pressures on expat families living abroad without the benefits of having their support network nearby. In a few weeks time, Dee and Gav will move their young family back to England. The prospect of being closer to their extended family and slowing down their schedules to make room for each other and their aspirations as a family makes it easy to appreciate why they've made this decision.

Deena is kind and refreshingly honest. When I asked her about motherhood, she told me that she's highly unorganised, a terrible cook and feels like she's working out this whole parenting thing on the fly. But despite feeling like she doesn't have the authority to provide advice on motherhood, her boys are oblivious to all that. When they rush to show her a turtle or the bugs they've just caught, when they're covered in mud and grinning from ear to ear they remind her that it's ok to not have all the answers. Those simple things are whats important to them, and that's what she loves most.

Participating in the 52 Portraits series project led by Jodi at Practising SimplicityYou can view all of my portraits from 2013/14 by clicking on the 52 Portrait Series links in the right sidebar of this page.

In case you're wondering about the inspiration for this year's Motherhood portrait series, you can read more about it here.

Belinda x

Sunday, 6 April 2014

14/52 : Hiam


52 Portraits - the Motherhood series. 
A portrait to celebrate motherhood, once a week, every week, in 2014.

It's ok to not have all the answers. It's ok to work it out as you go, make a wrong turn or two. It was always meant to be this way. I love talking with Hiam. She is serene. Conversation is easy and often insightful. She smiles alot and she has an authentic, humble quality that instantly disarms.

After eight years, a formidable laser disc soundtrack, a good dose of humour and a baby boy, Hiam and Joe were married in 2006. They were in their early twenties when they became parents and were admittedly naive to what it really meant. But they knew one thing for sure. They knew that if they were together, everything would be just fine.

Joe, and their son Ryan, now twelve, are Hiam's whole world. It really is plain as day to see the three of them together. Soon this beautiful team of three will become four. Hiam tells me that the most surprising thing about motherhood was how tough it can be sometimes. No one stage is easier than another, there are just different challenges. Like most mothers, Hiam says she found it hard to let on about the toughness of it all. It felt like she had to keep on, having people think that it's all smooth sailing. It's not.

Together Hiam, Joe and Ryan have lived all over the world. Hiam approaches change with a sense of optimism and opportunity. I get the sense that she can do this so confidently because of her two great loves by her side. She and Joe grew with Ryan as people, as a couple and as parents. Nothing makes her happier than to see the boys messing around having a laugh together. Those beautiful, peripheral moments so vividly defining all that they mean to her.

Participating in the 52 Portraits series project led by Jodi at Practising Simplicity

You can view all of my portraits from 2013/14 by clicking on the 52 Portrait Series links in the right sidebar of this page.

Belinda x

Monday, 31 March 2014

13/52 : Marie


52 Portraits - the Motherhood series. 
A portrait to celebrate motherhood, once a week, every week, in 2014.

Marie and my sister have been besties since childhood. A talented art director, Marie is creative, funny, down to earth, incredibly thoughtful and loyal. She is a beauty inside and out. 


Five and a half months ago, Marie and her husband Daniel became parents for the first time. A beautiful, inquisitive, happy girl named Penelope. At thirty, they were the first of their friends to become parents so it's been quite a learning curve. Marie tells me it took her the first three months to really embrace motherhood and accept all the changes that came with it. After Penny was born, she felt overwhelming social and personal pressures to return to the person she was pre-motherhood, both physically and mentally. She's since acknowledged that after such a life changing experience, it's perfectly ok to have a scar. To skip going for a run in order to spend precious moments with her growing baby girl. To prioritise her time focusing on the things she is most passionate about - family, friends and being creative.


Whilst becoming parents has without doubt, been the best thing to happen to Marie and Daniel, Marie admits that her toughest adjustment was having to become completely selfless. Life was no longer just about the two of them. This realisation has in turn given Marie a deeper appreciation for her own parents and all they have done / continue to do for them. Knowing now that this profound desire to be completely selfless for her daughter will never leave her.

Participating in the 52 Portraits series project led by Jodi at Practising Simplicity

You can view all of my portraits from 2013/14 by clicking on the 52 Portrait Series links in the right sidebar of this page.

Belinda x

Sunday, 23 March 2014

12/52 : Kelly


52 Portraits - the Motherhood series. 
A portrait to celebrate motherhood, once a week, every week, in 2014.

Meet Kelly. Gregarious and down to earth, wife and mother of two cuddly kids. I mean, have you ever seen such a smiley totem pole?! As cousins, Kel and I share wonderful childhood memories - lounge room concerts, make up and hair crimping, family road trips all encapsulated in the warm hue of nostalgia. But it was in our early twenties, as flatmates, that our friendship was fortified forever. Earlier this year, Kel and I travelled to Cambodia together with work. I can admit I struggled after a challenging first few days. Just as I started to feel overwhelmed, very out of my depth and rather alone, she was there with a glass of wine and a shoulder to lean on. I honestly don't know what I would have done without her. She may be petite but Kel is a force of heart.

The path of motherhood is never easy but Kel is quick to tell me with such gratitude how much her children have taught her. How they've made her look at the world differently. How they constantly challenge her to consider her own beliefs and most of all, how they remind her that in every moment of darkness there's always a ray of sunshine waiting to break through. 

Participating in the 52 Portraits series project led by Jodi at Practising Simplicity

You can view all of my portraits from 2013/14 by clicking on the 52 Portrait Series links in the right sidebar of this page.

Belinda x

Monday, 17 March 2014

11/52 : Nicole



52 Portraits - the Motherhood series. 
A portrait to celebrate motherhood, once a week, every week, in 2014.

When Nicky met her husband Dave fourteen years ago, she knew instantly that they were meant to be together. They married three years later with hopes for a large family. While Nicky currently works part time in early childhood education, her passion lies in children's literature. She dreams of one day bringing her ideas for children's books to life.

I met Nicky through Sarah who thoughtfully suggested we meet. You see, for those of us whose journey to motherhood are somewhat fraught, it can make such a difference to know you're not alone.

Nicky and Dave became parents to Frankie in late 2012, after nine years of fertility treatments, special diets, herbs, teas, 'relaxing' holidays and exploring every whim and theory available. As Rich and I go into our fifth year of trying for a baby of our own, we share many of the same experiences. I'm so grateful to be getting to know Nicky, she's incredibly down to earth, generous and kind. Something I noticed about her the moment we met is the way she looks at Frankie, her gaze is so full of grace and peace. It stops my heart. It gives me hope.

In Nicky's words, telling me about when Frankie was born:

"Gosh there's no words. There was a very long time I thought I'd never be a mum, my body seemed to keep failing me but once we worked out how to heal the problems, Ta da!!! Now every day with Frankie is a blessing."

Participating in the 52 Portraits series project led by Jodi at Practising Simplicity

You can view all of my portraits from 2013/14 by clicking on the 52 Portrait Series links in the right sidebar of this page.

Belinda x

Sunday, 9 March 2014

10/52 : Sarah


52 Portraits - the Motherhood series. 
A portrait to celebrate motherhood, once a week, every week, in 2014.

Sarah and I met at work, eight or so years back. They were the days of legendary office pranks and crazy overseas junkets business trips. Or long lunches that would move onto a karaoke bar (Rock DJ by Robbie Williams. Every.Time) then dancing in town till the sun came up. Not even a broken ankle and crutches would hold her back. She's great fun. Sarah has a brilliant sense of humour and can tell a good story. Even the most ordinary of tales, told by Sarah, can everyone in hysterics. Sarah adores her husband and their three beautiful young children. I asked her for her thoughts on motherhood, true to form her response was searingly honest;

"I think what stands out the most for me is, I was totally unaware how fiercely you could love another human being. I remember when I was pregnant with Lilly, I was genuinely worried that I wouldn't love her as much as Molly because I didn't think it was humanly possibly to love another person as much as I loved her. Of course, as soon as Lilly arrived, my love for her was just as strong. And the same again with Charlie. Somehow there was enough room in my heart for all three. Still to this day, it never ceases to amaze me how strong your love for your children is. You would literally do ANYTHING for them."

Sarah is genuine, thoughtful and incredibly loyal. She's been there for me with unwavering support over the years. She's one of the best chicks around and I'm lucky to call her a friend.

Participating in the 52 Portraits series project led by Jodi at Practising Simplicity

You can view all of my portraits from 2013/14 by clicking on the 52 Portrait Series links in the right sidebar of this page.

Belinda x
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