Meet Damaris. We first met when our daughters were in preschool together. They now go to different schools, but we have remained friends and have had many heart-to-heart conversations on motherhood over the years. She is incredibly grounded in her Christian values and beliefs which influence everything she does. She’s one of those people who exudes a nurturing warmth, making you feel comfortable and cared for in her presence. Formerly a professional photographer herself, we have traded sessions shooting for each other before. When I told her about my idea for these motherhood sessions, she was stunned–she had already been thinking about asking me to shoot something along these lines for her! I felt excited and validated in learning that I’m not alone in this desire I have to document motherhood!
This time I included an interview before the session to add to the experience. I figured it would allow the mother to reflect on her experiences, desires, and vulnerabilities while providing some of her own words to augment the pictures. Damaris said this process “was great. It really helped to prepare me to be in the right mindset for the session. To just let go and relax and just be in the moment.” As her photographer, it helped me zero in on what was most important to her to have captured. She also requested I shoot some rolls of black and white film, as she wanted that raw, grainy, timeless quality.
Here is the result.
Why did you become a mother?
Because I desired a little child I could love on and bond with.
How has life changed for you since becoming a mother?
It has naturally made me selfless as so much of my time and energy is poured onto my girls. It has meant I need to lay my dreams aside for a time to raise them.
In a sense, my hopes and dreams have changed. I still desire to be an entrepreneur and contribute to changing this world. But over time I’ve realized that raising my girls is part of that plan. Every minute, every kiss, every decision I make directly influences them. Raising the girls to be loving, godly women is party of my contribution to this world.
What was the biggest surprise to you about having children?
The sleepless nights. The worry. The responsibility. But also the love – the immense love one could feel for another.
The desire to see my girls blossom and succeed and love is unexplainable. Seeing the similarities between my girls and I and my husband is also one of the neatest things ever.
What do you love most about being a mom?
The pillow talk, the kisses, the love, the smiles, the giggles, the girl-time, teaching them to love and be compassionate. Learning from them how to love and be compassionate. Learning from their wisdom and wittiness.
What makes you most nervous?
The pain that life could bring them.
What does a typical day with your kids look like?
We wake up and make breakfast, set the table, brush the girls hair, send them off to school. After school they come home and we sit on the deck and have a snack, talk about our day and I read to them.
They do their homework and then we meet in the kitchen to make dinner together, then they play their instruments.
In the evening we get ready for bed. We sit in bed together and read a Bible story and pray together (my favorite time of the day). I hear their wisdom and their understanding and learn from them and vice versa.
What are some of your favorite things about your kids?
Their smiles, their silliness, their wittiness, their jokes, how they make us laugh. They’re quite wise and I love hearing how they hear God’s voice in their lives.
What is the best part about being their mom?
Watching them grow and mature in all areas. The questions I get to answer about life and relationships and God.
What do you want to remember about this stage of your and your kids’ lives and your interactions with them?
Laughing together, cuddling, chatting, loving one another.
How do you want them to remember you and their childhood?
As joyful, peaceful, gracious, loving. I want them to remember our laughs and fun times. I want them to remember that I loved them unconditionally and that they could come to me for ANYthing! I want them to remember that above all I shared God’s love with them.
How do your personal or religious values impact your role as a mother?
Significantly!!! It’s the foundation and basis for how I raise my children – to love Jesus!
What makes you a good mom? What are your strengths as a mom?
I think that having 2 girls makes me a good mom – I’m not super patient as I don’t do well with chaos or a messy house so more would be hard for me. I like to stay organized and plan things out. Having 2 girls is sooo fun! I know girls as I had 4 sisters and I get them so I think that the experience helps me.
How would you describe success in your role of motherhood?
If my girls know that I love them no matter what and that God, their Creator loves them even more, then that’s a good thing.
What was Damaris’ reaction?
“I’m emotional about the images. I’m taken aback and left breathless by the artistry of the images. They’re so real, so raw. And it amazes me that through the lens such rawness can be captured and yet can look so beautiful. Motherhood is 24/7. And it’s not always beautiful. You don’t get any breaks, you’re always a mother and though sometimes you wish you could for one day just have the simpler life, by viewing these images you’re reminded that the calling to be a mother is the highest calling possible here on earth. And it reminds me of the awe and wonder it is to raise daughters. Their innocence, beauty, joy and heart all jump out of every image.”