It’s all online these days. How does it FEEL? Many of us have appreciated the convenience of online, the ability at least to keep opportunity open. There are some things that just do not equate online. Think of this when you consider your photography investment. A screen just does not replace warm, tender shared moments of tactile memories. Fill your home with photography on the walls, on the shelves and in your hands.
Mother’s you belong here. We do this, we can do this, if we choose; together. Even if you are physically alone you have the collective shoulders and hips of all the women of the world and those that have come before you- in birth!!!
International Day of the Midwife.
Here is my story about Brenda-
Brenda opened her doors and arms to me. She cared, she listened, she supported me. I lucked out- it was timing- most likely- but I was one of the first of inner circle people to hear that the midwifery unit was being closed down/ this was a “perfect” time for Brenda to retire. I actually cried. I visited her at her office and she too had tears in her eyes. It was a crazy feeling. But I was grieving the loss of her connection and the loss for Missoula- less options, based on the bottom line.
Here is my most beautiful story of Brenda:
I witnessed Brenda support birth in the most tender way- the most tender that I had seen up to that point in my career as a Birth Photographer.
Not only was Brenda present, throughout the birth, she was hands on. She used oils and massage stones on our mutual client. Brenda caressed. Brenda checked in closely- close in proximity, looking deeply into mama’s face.
What blew my mind was Brenda climbed into the hospital bed with her birthing mama client and comforted her, snuggled her, held her. I drew my breath in as I witnessed this. I would never be the same. I am so honored to have seen such beauty that day between provider and patient, between women.
What are your favorite midwifery moments? Please share and with permission I would like to share on my IG stories.
So the story goes that they liked me because of my birth work. Ok, well then I loved them at first breath of those words.
The next step of falling for this couple was, when the bride asked how I felt about taking some fun and creative nude engagement photos. Well, hello…you came to the right photographer. In a very open yet wild space, the couple undressed and embraced. Not much needed to be said. I mean, love looks so good in and on the skin. I know they will cherish those brave, vibrant, lusty photos for.ev.er.
lastly, the love continues ( but I gather, our adventure together won’t end with the wedding) ….the wedding was pure, simple, sweet. It was like they were made for the day. Everyone was cheerful, comfortable, TOGETHER.
Fresh, just minutes old. If you are a birth, baby, mama geek like me, you are going to be in love with your baby’s fresh head. They smell other worldly- and that totally makes sense to me. Be ready for a surreal, transformational experience.
Consider birth photographer with me, so that I can hand you back a concrete story. I have 9/10 mamas tell me they really couldn’t remember much, or that they had a blurred memory. 10/10 mamas see their birth story and are in awe of moments I documented for them, that they either didn’t know had taken place or just can’t wrap their minds around how I GOT THAT SHOT!
I am there for you. Mikaela Marie DiBerardinis and I vlogged yesterday about birth photography and one thing we talked about is how our services are more that just showing up on a spontaneous day at 2am and staying for an unpredictable amount of time ( which that in itself is epic) BUT that we also extend ourselves to being the solid care and peer to touch base with , once we are booked. I have clients text or call and chat about delayed cord clamping, new stretch marks, what they are eating, toddler angst, induction, emotions, and so on. We are part of your birth team. During birth, if applicable – we extend to chat with a nervous dad, or be a lesion to the nursing staff so that Dad can stay by mamas side. I have walked the halls with a client while her husband slept on the couch. I have sat with a mama and watched TV and shared birth/ mama stories- while she labored.
Then take all that- add on the gear, the back up gear, the ability to shoot in any lighting situation.
Then the willingness to hold space and reverence for life and death, and take all those stories home with us, in our minds, body, and hearts.
The service doesn’t end there.
24 hours later a handful of images are already edited and in your email so you can share with family and friends.
4 weeks later 100- 250 edited images are presented to the mama of her Birth Story-of a FAMILY STORY- to cherish and love for a lifetime.
2/3 of my clients become everyday friends- coffee dates, lunches, hikes. No matter what- I always remember you and I always remember your baby and your birth story. ALWAYS.
I think we need a jingle. A sign on or signing off. Also, let us know. What do you want topics do you want to hear us cover?
This is what 62 images look like. This is your story, your Fresh48. I come to your place of birth or home within 48 hrs. I am on a soft- on call service, so that I can be available within 48hrs of your baby being born. I offer an herbal or floral bath if you like. I provided the flower crowns you see in the image below. I worked with local farmer Jessi- Dancing Dog Farm, to craft and supply me with these arrangements. The bath is not obligatory, it is a service that I provide that you can take advantage of. The Fresh48 is relaxed in nature and REAL. I am relaxed about what unfolds before my camera. Your family can be quiet, shy, rambunctious, joyful, messy- priceless. I am there for all of that.
If you decide to love and want to invest in all of your digital files from the session. That will be 30+ images, in this case 62 digital files.
What will you do with them all? This mama actually invested in a number of 8×10 prints. So she will have a lovely gallery wall. What will you do with 62 files? I am obsessed with albums and keepsake unbound albums. These are art that you can hold and share in touch. I happen to sit with my kids and we read books, alot of books. So, it makes sense that we love to look through books with pictures, baby books, photo albums! My kitchen is one of the busiest spaces in my home. I have two walls dedicated to the art projects my kids create or bring home from school and photography- OF THEM AND US AND ALL THE LOVE OF FAMILY.
Bring baby in for a deeply nurturing session. This is a slow time. A time when it’s more important to delight in your exquisite newborn than anything else. I want to see you nurture. The way your hands delicately hold and cradle the small perfect babe you created. The skin, that’s new and the skin that has loved.
I choose to create art with my sessions. I really want you to work with me to create art together. What I will not give you is: pastels, mediocre and Jcpenny catalog. Don’t get me wrong I love Jcpennys- but the images that we visualize in the catalog- that’s not art, that’s not me or YOU.
Here is Missoula Montana, we have an amazing backdrop to work with and even the smallest of intimate spaces will hold us, just long enough to capture something truly stunning. I want to adventure and that doesn’t just have to do with outdoors. I do plenty of studio sessions and in- home sessions in Missoula. I want to adventure with you and your skin- your motherhood journey. When we talk and share- when you hear me- my motherhood stories- when we laugh together, the vulnerable slowly appears from behind the foggy veil of everyday. I get to see you, you get to feel me lOVE on you.
Megan Branz- she is a delightful mother of 2 now. Megan is up for anything, trusting me with a road trip, barreling up snowy mountains- then into the birth space- twice now! Megan gave birth at Community Medical Center for her first birth. Her second birth was a homebirth- attended by local licensed homebirth midwife- Ashley Hinton-Sharp. Megan’s births are pure magic to behold. She is strong and confident. Megan has shared her birth experience with me many times- she is empowered by them, ripped open, glowing. Megan caught her own baby boy just a few months ago, gently guiding him out from between her legs, into her arms- gliding back into the birth pool.
This is the place where in front of me, you are most wanted. I want to see your beautiful nurturing. Breast, bottle, skin to skin. All is welcomed. Gather with 8 vibrant women. Celebrate your journey. Shed before me and create intimate space with others to create memorable, empowered art.
You are invited to adorn yourself with Donkey Girl Design wardrobe.
Prints will be ready by Dec 23.
Give yourself and your babe a gift!
Pay via payment button below.
Or save $5 and pay via Venmo–
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Day to be determined. Dec 7,8,9
The umbilical cord… that beautiful lifeline between a mother and her babe, coiled strong, pulsing blood and life for only a brief period once the baby is earth side… deserves our attention and praise. The benefits of leaving this in tact after birth has been an easy one for me since day one. I’ve never worked under a midwife who felt it wasn’t the standard of golden care. I have advocated for clients to their OBs and even CNMs to leave it only to be met with opposition and have even seen some occlude the cord saying “yep, it’s in tact” but not allowing it to pulse to the baby. Times are changing on this tide though. Finally OBs, and CNMs are following better guidelines and we are moving towards a norm of letting that cord pulse or delayed cord clamping. Why would we even do this? My question is why would we ever have not done this? Some of benefits are things such as decreased rate of resuscitation. This is a no brainer for home birth workers. We resuscitate babies when needed but almost exclusively we leave that cord in tact while doing so. The oxygen rich blood is my personal “insurance policy” while I may be helping a baby along to take her first breaths providing oxygen rich blood to the baby during this time. It eases the transition in any baby, not just the ones who need some help. The iron stores are increases and a 50% decrease in anemia can be found in newborns. Increase in myelin for brain function, stem cells, red cells, immune cells are also happening in this time. There is a 30% higher blood volume found in infants… I mean it is their blood after all. A decreased rate of brain hemorrhage and a decreased need for blood transfusions are also found. Premature babies are needing these benefits even more so than a term babe!
This entire process takes approximately 5-15 minutes. When the baby is born, reach down and feel that cord, feel that powerful force coming through. Know you are not only allowing the natural process to take its course but also giving your baby a better start. These fleeting moments are for wiping your own brow, listening for the first cry, reaching down and welcoming a new person into your world… all as it should be in tact, together, transitioning to the next phase of your lives side by side instead of as one. Written by Ashley-Hinton Sharp- Licensed Homebirth Midwife.
Missoula Midwife- Ashley Hinton-Sharp- of Heart- Strong Midwifery
Once the baby is born she is still getting oxygenated blood from the placenta. The beautiful placenta pulses and continues functioning for 5-15 minutes on average giving time for our sweet baby to take her first breath. Once she does that – lung expansion occurs, fluid is pushed out of the lungs. the ductus arteriosis and foramen ovale shut and blood flows through a path of least resistance much like adult hearts. I call the going from fish to frog. This all occurs quite rapidly, the baby turning from blue to pink usually within a breath or two, sometimes longer. Often extremities can remain blue and it is of no concern. The flushing of blue to pink is magical thing to see. It happens as quickly as a rainbow appears or disappears. I will admit I almost never see the actual act of the chameleon like switch as I’m holding the job down on many fronts in this moment but if you are lucky enough to catch it…it’s quite amazing, a miracle. It is usually the moment where my own heart falls in comfort of reassurance, hope and promise.
Megan found me on Instagram- searching home birth hashtags for Missoula. When we consulted I was blown away by her fierce energy to have the birth experience she felt best for her self and her baby. She was this petite bubbly, messy bunned mama on the screen of my computer bursting with energy and chatter in the most positive light.
She was planning on a home birth. She talked with such conviction, such confidence, self love, reasonable expectations based on thorough birth research- I couldn’t help but be left with a tingling excitement for HER and myself- that I was being invited to witness her birth story.
I get to call Megan my friend. We have had countless birth aware and birth justice conversations over food and coffee dates. We have hiked together, laughed, cried, adventured, created art. I love her little family. I had the honor of photographing her first and now second birth stories. Megan is a lover, a lover of birth and women’s birth rights, lover of hard work, her husband and babies- you can see in her eyes and gorgeous dimpled smile she has a pure joy for life. She is a cup filler. Her children are lucky to have her. Our community is lucky to know her.
the birth scene in Missoula- in Montana ebbs and flows. the popularity of the most transformative day in a women’s life disappoints me. but when equality between the sexes is still a struggle – women’s birth choices, resources and support and overall reverence is minimal- then how can I count on the niche of Birth photography?
those that book, stay booked, INVEST and receive the visceral unparalleled gift of a BIRTH STORY– back into their hands, is a very small percentage compared to the population of expecting mamas. my clients would make a lovely case study.
I wonder if my clients have achieved within themselves and their relationship with their partner and the world- ownership of the concept of VALUE? Do my clients harness worth differently than others? Do my clients hold women and women’s health issues with a sense of utmost importance? Do my clients revere childbirth, life? Do my clients practice self love and self care dropping the binding restrictions of the culture at large? I can be most intuitive about these things but cannot rightfully assume them as facts.
What I do know about my clients. They never regret investing in me. My clients never regret having documentation of their child’s first or last breath. I know that my clients respect my on-call, my sacrifice, my skill, my eye, my heart, and my art.
I provide a visual connection to birth for a woman, her family, her baby and if she chooses her community.
I hand back to the birth warrior, raw visceral validation, a story to celebrate and heal by. Documentation to point ones finger at and see the shimmer in the growing babe’s eye.
I cannot simple define the why of a birth photographer; myself.
I hold space for the birth mama and family, I photograph in the most challenging of light on the most intense physiological female journey. Through my lens I look for the supple transformation of birthing skin, the endearing love of a partner and sharing of primal birth perseverance and surrender.
I am your storyteller. ~ Jenna Nord Birth Photographer-
Thinking about your senior photos?! Summer and Fall in Montana are a lovely time to book your session. It’s never too early. Fall is a popular time of year for senior sessions and capturing the autumn colors in Missoula. The calendar fills up fast. Upgrade your senior session with a family session. Your baby is graduating, update the family photos for your home.
I can’t wait to work with you, explore the Missoula landscape and create some art.
I am thrilled to work with Lisa Inman of Body Mind Balance. Brand photography. Who do you want to reach? What story do you want to tell and how do you want the people you tell to feel?
Almost a calendar year ago I had a great conversation with a birth mama client. She was telling me how she had recently referred my services to a friend of hers- a home birth mama. That woman replied that she wasn’t quite sure of having the photography done because her house wasn’t pretty and she didn’t want to worry about the mess and dog hair- she might be embarrassed to have me there and to photograph that.My client went on to say that she knew all that wasn’t a big deal and that I myself, had mess, and four kids and a dog. But not everyone does. Not everyone knows this. We discussed all the things that we understand as mothers, but when we aren’t connecting enough, or I AM NOT CONNECTING enough to a client base that is inviting me into a very intimate time- I am missing out on the understanding- if I too don’t share. I can be swimming in the current, in the fast, in the slow, in the depths of motherhood right along side you but you still won’t know me- I get it.
I have the most beautiful sunlight stream through my front room windows, the hard wood floors pick up the warmth and the yellow of the walls make the atmosphere so inviting- all ready for an afternoon nap maybe. And there is Golden Retriever dog hair everywhere. Hair under the piano stuck in the foot pedal, hair under the couch, on the backside of the couch and up the arm rest sides. When a door is open and shut the draft picks up hair and tornadoes it around the room. We vacuum, of course we do. At one point, one summer a long, long time ago- I took up vacuuming twice a day, that’s how much dog hair there was. That was unrealistic to think I was going to keep that up. So, I didn’t after a few weeks. We live with it because we loved her, Sugar, and now we love him, Jonas! But I get it, I get the dog hair everywhere and in the spaghetti.
UPDATE. Here we are, the Women of Heart-Strong Center. I was trying to pull off the ovary gang symbol- did I?
I know, I really need images of the space and the women running this HeartStrong Center. But I couldn’t resist announcing my opening with the magnifecence ( you know this word, even if it’s misspelled ) of a local mama, her babe and the photography art that came out of her and the space.
THE HUMMINGBIRD LODGE
A sacred space to ground and gather
The Hummingbird Lodge is located in the Miller Creek Valley, just south of Missoula, Montana. We are only 20 minutes from downtown. Our space is nestled up close to the mountains, far enough away from town to provide a beautiful sense of peace and serenity, yet close enough for your convenience.
Jessica is one lovely woman I trust and love. I have had the opportunity to grow to know her and her family over the course of many years of photography. Our most recent venture has been the photography branding of the Hummingbird Lodge. The Lodge is a gem here in Missoula. I hope everyone has a chance to take a class or workshop through the space or enjoy it as an Airbnb.
What if we didn’t caption art? What if how you felt about it had nothing to do with how well I can write, or find a quote on pinterest and copy it? What if the art itself had to speak to you, you interpreted the art and let it move you, how it should? What if it wasn’t about engaging community and rather engaging an eye, or a visceral reaction? What if you liked/loved something you had to prove it yourself in words…words were mandatory of the viewer in order to pass judgement? What would you say? Would you take the time, to stop and write about that love, write to the artist from you heart – how the art made you feel? Could you explain back to the artist that you loved their work because of their use of lighting, composition etc. ? How lofty would our followings be then?
I would hope we all know by now that birth looks different everywhere, minute to minute, woman to woman. I SEE you. I am no stranger to birth- hospital birth, cesarean, twin birth in the OR, home birth, water birth, etc. But I do not know your story and as much as your prepare you don’t know your story either. Birth is unpredictable. Birth is a visceral story, a love story, a story of courage and commitment, of sacrifice. Birth is beautiful and fierce and it will unfold within in you and in front of me and that story will be a masterpiece in all it’s details, all the rawness and magic. Birth is transformative, no one has been able to argue that point.
I can’t wait to see you. SEE your story, this one you have been waiting for.
Serving Missoula and surrounding areas- Butte, Anaconda, Bitterroot Valley.
Mothering in Skin. Missoula MT, mama!
What if you could give a gift of photography, voice and video combined into one visceral keepsake to your self and your child, or to the Women in your life MOTHERING your children?
Well you can.
Mothering in Skin. A beautiful fusion of photography, video and a special message or reflection from the mother to her child/ children.
Note: 2 minutes of darkness with only Mother’s voice begin the story. Be patient.
<p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/227945534″>motheringinskin</a> from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/user51524353″>Jenna Nord</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a>.</p>
She is coming. Spring. Vesnu, Persephone, Danu, Ataegina, Ostara, Kore…
She comes to us, here in Missoula, quietly. I would say, she comes with a touch of reluctance. Taking time; there is still bitter cold. Spring awakens slowly, uncurling beauty from the slumber. Soft, rich songs to leave the bed of winter. Spring comes not polished, but messy, unkept. Raw chords resonating, pushing vibrant moods and colors,,yet lingering shadows. Spring the in between. Equinox. She is on her way.
flower crown by – Earth Within Flowers http://earthwithin.com/
Birth Mama! Birth Community. In the near future I will be offering full birth films. I have mentored under the amazing Monet- Birth Becomes Her. AND, I need continual practice. MARCH mamas, book your March birth and receive a complimentary fusion keepsake. What is a Fusion Keepsake? This is a birth keepsake made up of still frame photography and live film clips. Clips will contain such moments as: early labor, baby’s first cry, your partners initial reaction upon deliver, and first latch- breast feeding.
Please share with any one you know who is bringing a baby earthside in March. If someone loves this idea and is delivering during another month, still have them be in touch. If applicable, the offer may still stand.
I was inspired to update my about me page from a current birth client. She thought it was important that mamas know simple and easing things about me. For instance, that when I come to your home I will not judge. I have lived most of my mothering life with a Golden Retriever and understand the wafting dog hair. Also, I have always had cats in my life and I love cats. Our current girl’s name is Tawny Cat and she loves to sleep and shed in my green velvet chairs. I live with and work hard, some days, to manage clutter. Being a mom and nursing a total of 9 years, I also am accustomed to hoodie sweatshirts that have not been washed in three days and undoubtedly smell of sour breast milk and may just have toddler boogers on the sleeve. So, although you are trusting me to come into your space, I am coming from my own space. My own motherhood journey. I think that adds a world of value to what I do. A woman, a mother- photographing mothers. Let that settle in your soul.
If what I say next resonates with you, then I am your photographer.
My words won’t touch the heart of each and everyone that reads on, but my hope is that for those they do touch- you trust me to be your story teller, and for those I won’t touch, let my images continue to move you.
I want to see your lines, the hard and soft. I want to love your skin through my honest photography. I want to savor your baby’s first moments with accurate, artful documentation. I want to show you, your power. Let me share with you my cesarean stories, I hope they warm your belly. Where there is shadow, I will capture it’s richness. Give me light, I will give it back unfiltered. I want your real.
I want to be amongst the dust of your life.
I am a mother. I have four children. I am a wife. My husband has been filling my heart with music since 1998 and has filled my children’s hearts in the womb. I know clutter & chaos. I know diapers on the back porch. I know golden retriever love, and the endless hair. I know sleepless nights, piled high dishes and breast milk engorgement. I am made of stretch marks and scar tissue. I am shaped by 9 years of breast feeding. I know feeling the weight of the world on my shoulders with a small, perfect babe in my lap. I know deep, loneliness. I know an abundance of joy and pride through motherhood.
Follow the link for the great cesarean birth blog!
My why is rooted in this very personal story.
It has also flourished into more. I continue to offer birth photography to women, partners, families- as a means to heal by, celebrate birth, validate the journey, stamp and preserve what transforms us. How many things in your lifetime can you say truly transformed you? Birth does this, whether you are willing, ready, scared, brave, planned out -or not. I am here to document and hand back to you this gift!
This was written in 2011.
My first two cesarean births were unplanned. I did not have a birth plan that specifically addressed my desires. I felt so blessed to have my babies and have them healthy, however their final journey into this world was sad to me. Words that come to mind when I think of the births are: vacant, scary, white, distant, alone, wondering. While I was in the recovery room I wondered what my baby looked like, smelled like, felt like. I wondered what the nurses and doctors were doing with my newborn child? I wondered why everything was taking so long? Yes, I got to see my baby’s little faces before they were taken away, but they change so fast. And you don’t understand this unless you see your baby, and then don’t again until 3 hours later and you can tell your baby already looks truly different. I was not able to see the umbilical cord cut, nor the first bath. I wasn’t able to hold my baby until hours later, this was anguishing.
In contrast, my third and then fourth cesarean were the most gratifying to me. I had a very demanding birth plan, but not one that was outside the means of the nursing staff. My last two babies never left my sight, they stayed with me while I recovered and then both baby and I traveled back to my room where family awaited. The first bath was done in my room where I could watch as were the other newborn exams.
The fourth cesarean is highlighted in my mind because I had immediate and continual contact with my baby as well as snapshots taken of the birth. I also was lucky enough to have my sister in the operating room with me as Charge Nurse that morning. Since she was going to be there, I asked her to take pictures. She was able to capture my tearful expressions as my baby was being brought into the world, my husband holding my hand, my husband feeling nauseous, the cutting of the cord by my husband, my babies first wild cries, little toes, and fingers in the warming bed. All these awesome sights that I couldn’t myself witness because of course I was on the operating table.
Pictures of me on the operating table holding my little pink cheeked bundle amidst a variety of thick, cold, and intrusive cords speaks so loudly to me. I look at these pictures and see how brave I am, how amazing my doctor is, how strong and vulnerable my husband is, how me and my baby are a glowing contrast to all around us. These pictures serve as my inspiration to offer other women the same opportunity to create lasting memories of a truly blessed event.
Supporting women in this time is truly an honor. Mothering in Skin.
Flower crowns by the lovely Earth Within Flowers
#Motheringinskin. My oldest daughter told me that the purpose of a hashtag is that others will use it. I said,
“One day they will.”
Mothering in skin. The beauty. The push the pull. Stretch, release, love and surrender.
This mothering was hot and wet. Maternity photography in the great Northwest. Rocky Mountains!
I am not okay with a session just anywhere, anymore. I guess I never was, I have always encouraged my clients to choose a location that means something to them. And if you don’t have an idea, then yes, I will come up with one. Maternity is an adventure and adventure in Missoula, Montana is what settles so many of us here. Hiking, skiing, hot springs, rock climbing, cabins, and campfires.
To play devil’s advocate. Adventure takes place in the intimacy of one’s home, next to the nearby creek–it is mainly the intent and spirit one brings to the session. Your baby is going to be the biggest and best adventure of your life. I guarantee it.
So use it. #motheringinskin How will you use it? Show us your journey. Tell us your story. I am listening.
Looking for artful documentation to tell your story- please be in touch.
I just read a lovely blog post by a photographer who wrote about her relationship with a family that is dear to her that she also photographs. She mentioned she was planning to photograph the next (last) baby’s birth. She was thrilled. She went on to say that the planning fell through and the timing wasn’t right. ( She also mentioned many of the photography plans of hers with this family fell through) . But non the less was sharing their updated portrait session and honestly the images are sweet.
But there is more.
This story moved the energy in my gut as I read it.
I want to reflect that even the initial planning to photograph someone’s birth comes with great responsibility. It is important to note that when it comes to birth, the timing isn’t about YOU (the photographer).
There are some notable differences between a photographer who will photograph your birth and a Birth Photographer, someone who specializes. This may come down to a simple yet profound list of comparisons, that include ethics. That include reverence for birth, women and knowledge of the birth space. Commitment, surrender to an unpredictable on-call timeline and hired professional back up.
If those last two sentences don’t resonate with you. If they are not important to you how can you expect your birth story to be important to the person behind the camera? Your birth may be subject to “the timing wasn’t right .”
In all the pro birth photog groups I belong to there are shared stories of photographers who decided last minute that they were tired ( @2a.m.) and didn’t want to make it to the birth, or they felt sick and couldn’t make it, or they decided to go out of town etc etc. These were professional photographers, but they were not Birth photographers. In each case the women sharing these stories had been contacted by the frantic, and deeply hurt mother looking to find another birthtog last minute. The professional, specialized, committed, backed up, and yes more expensive birth photographer.
In some cases because of timing we know that there were birth stories not documented; missed completely.
You may choose what you believe you deserve, what does your birth story deserve.?
The tangible. It all comes back to my story. Stories we share, stories that unite us. Childhood memories. The story of family & Love.
I am a mother of four children. Before my first child was born, I was already reading to him. The value placed on reading, shared reading, story telling and story writing are very high within my walls.
Each of my children have all been able to sit and be active listeners from a very young age. I was reading Charlotte’s Web to my three year old. Where the Red Fern Grows to my 5& 7 year old. The Giver to all four kids, over 2 years ago. The ages sitting beside me were: 6, 8, 11, 13.
SHARING STORIES IS POWERFUL AND HUMANELY CONNECTS US.
Sharing stories allows for laughter, discussion, root- seeking, joy, resolution, healing.
My children LOVE reading and they LOVE their albums. Albums that are filled with images of family. Images that show me (mom) growing each one inside of me. The kids look with magic in their eyes at these memories. There are so many questions surrounding Birth Days. My children never grow old of hearing some sweet detail of the day they were born. We don’t sit at the computer pulling up file after file, or searching for files to reminisce. We lustily grab the big, thick albums and sit together on the faded sofa. We turn pages.
We feel together texture and warmth of fiber and fabrics- are eyes flood with the moments that have been preserved.
This is the behind my business –values that I want to share more honestly and openly over and over again. I want my clients to know that when working with First Embrace Photography they can invest in a product to sit down with, slow time with, create and enjoy connection through.
PISCES (February 19 – March 20)
Pisces instill an appreciation of the arts in their children and they encourage their kids to be creative. A Pisces mom’s kids will be sensitive, imaginative, and will learn to treat other people with kindness and compassion. Pisces moms will hand down a love of nature, a sense of pride in helping others, and an independent spirit.
The Pisces mom may not know how to teach their children to make their dreams a reality but they will support them the whole way as their children try to figure it out for themselves.
Birth Stories of MT coming soon. In collaboration with Bozeman (http://www.midiphotografi.com) and future recruiting for a voice in Billings!
Birth Stories of MT is a visual resource, celebrating and validating the 4th trimester of the female journey and the intimate details of new motherhood. It’s vision is to create awareness and community, to provide evidence and healing through visual birth stories and uplift women in their rawness, their simple nature and the beautiful and visceral demand of the skin.
Documenting: maternity, BIRTH, Fresh48, Surrogacy, loss, Postpartum & Breastfeeding
Birth Stories of MT. What makes MT mamas different? What is birthing in MT like? What makes us all the same? How is Birth love and how can it create community? What do your local birth places offer? Why choose home birth or center birth? What does a water birth look like?
We can’t wait to explore all these questions. We can’t wait to hear from Montana mamas- Birth Story client’s. Let’s SEE these stories and talk about them together!
©2017 Jenna Nord- First Embrace Photography
Holding space for family is a big, BIG deal. Family takes time, patience. Family takes commitment, perseverance. Family takes selflessness to contribute to the greater mission.
It has taken me quite awhile to realize that family also takes me being my healthy self, so that I can give and give and give. As mothers we give so much, I think it’s auto pilot at times. We can go on for days, years not even realizing how much we are depleated, because face it, those treasured faces looking to us are hard to deny.
I took a nap today, and felt slightly guilty. But why? I really needed that nap. I’m holding space for myself, my four kiddos, my husband and I am on-call. Which means I am holding space for my mama client in Butte, MT. She may call me at any given moment and I will be off to navigate the intense energetic space of birth!
The image above is just so beautiful. I love all the directed energy. Mom giving to child, dad giving to mom. The space between them holds so much. I know, from working with Jenah, who lives here in Missoula MT, the breastfeeding journey has not been an easy one. To give and give and love, through constant struggle takes grace. This image is grace. You can see the love, admiration and I’ll go out on a limb here to say empathy on dad’s face.
I am so glad this time was captured for this family. Everything is so new. All the joy and the challenges. You can look into your images remembering how you weren’t quite sure of yourself but walked the walk despite. You loved with abandon. Yes you cried and here is a moment when all is peace.
When I started featuring personal posts a year or two ago I should have never thought that numbering them was a good idea. Of course I was going to lose track. I have no idea what part I am on. Personal is a great way to make sure your viewers know that what you are posting is from your personal life, or a personal project and not your business or “work”. I have to say though all of my work, my personal, my projects, my passion are all intertwined. For instance, I am not a birth photographer without MY own birth experiences. And I think for you to know me and bits of my personal life, make our connection more authentic. Mother’s resonate with me because I am a mother, I share similar challenges and joys. I am also a wife. Wives can hoot and holler right along side me and feel that I hold space for them. These personal, resonating connections shape me and my work. My projects are full of heart AND there is an investment associated with that.
Here is a little personal – photo walk I had with my oldest daughter the other day. It was really fun and spontaneous. The rest of the family had left for a river float, I couldn’t go because I am currently on call for birth. As soon as the house cleared of the float energy I asked my daughter what she wanted to do. She launched off her bed and expressed going to take photos and video of her with her beloved Uke. We threw things together in a flash and headed out. We had the van, which has no AC this summer. So sweating, disheveled, moaning and groaning we drove through town searching for our location on the fly. We ended up at this local park. My daughter is easy in front of the camera, we have less FUN than what you might think–it’s is usually a mix of pleasure but more so a MISSION. The feeling of pursuit and once fulfilled ends with a classic teenager coffee drink!
The video begins with the mother’s voice, hold space and listen, imagery to follow. Mothering in skin. First Embrace Photography presents a thoughtful, visual reflection on the journey of motherhood in the skin. #motheringinskin #worldbreastfeedingweek #mothersmatter#missoulamama #missoulamoms #eatingdisorderrecovery #selflove#montanafamily #womensupportingwomen
I can’t do this journey alone. WE can’t do this journey alone. All of us have a different story to tell of the skin. My first reflection- as an example to my client, was me talking of the surrender of skin. I shared with her how I felt touched out. So many little fingers needing me, needing my skin. I didn’t feel as though my skin was my own. I also rejoiced in the pleasure of breastfeeding and the little quirks each one of my children had with my skin during their upbringing.
When Jenah shared back. I could have never imagined what spilled from the audio files. I felt so humbled and honored that she shared her story. So much was edited out for the production and I thought a lot about this. Should I really edit anything out? Instantly my project starting feeling alive in a different way and I wasn’t completely in charge- but it felt right. There were many voices guiding it. I have loved this process and I know that I will return to the footage and create different takes of it. I am not sure if there is one “right” version.
I am starting a visual project, that for now, I’m calling Mothering in Skin. I yearn to be amongst mothers, telling the journey of motherhood, the supple skin connection with children that mothers have ( and fathers can have too). If we think about skin- the beginning of the motherhood journey – where skin is stretched along with the heart – growing the child within, BIRTH- loving with abandon through skin- to skin to skin with baby- the newborn connection, wet nursing nights, clinging sticky skin- where the separation of skin is almost obsolete, then we move to young children and older children- hand holding, nighttime snuggles- I think of dewy/dirty neck snuggles- I think of the elasticity of skin moving away from the mother- being stretched tight to returning to mother – looking for balance and autonomy. There is a sacrifice of skin, on demand gifting of skin. So the journey continues. If you would like to explore Mothering in Skin with me be in touch.
I have been moved as of late by slideshows and video- that a few of my heroines in the Birth community are sharing. I am excited to keep exploring my art, my passion- pressing into areas on the outer edge of my expertise. In my images I want to share the beauty of family, of childhood details.
Jessica was one of my very first Maternity clients. I was running a Henna belly- photography event at Missoula’s local – Lotus Project. This building no longer exists but the resource and energy to provide expecting mamas with all local birth recourses does. Classes and events that were provided through the Lotus Project space were free or fairly cheap. Tracy Topp partnered up with me to provide beautiful henna art. Tracy lives in Arlee, MT and her main work is homeschooling her kids and she is the wife and support drummer behind her husband the well known Matthew Marsolek- THE DRUM BROTHERS MISSOULA. I will need to dig up some of these images just to show you how amazing Tracy is.
Jessica was one of the first mamas through the door and she brought along her husband, Jonathan, as well. They had great energy. I was thrilled to be photographing them. They had no problem being photographed and seemed to easily slip into intimate spacing and emit that energy in front of the camera. To my delight Jessica booked a follow up Maternity session for the next week. They wanted the full session experience. I chose the Historic Missoula Mercantile. This building was currently up for sale, but I was able to contact the realtor and he allowed me access, at my own risk, to use the space for the session. This old building 139 years old, falling apart, hard wood floors, large windows- was breathtaking. Jessica & Jonathan took to the stage and we created some epic images.
Jessica went on to hire me as their birth photographer- twice, their wedding photographer and family portrait photographer.
In August 2017 I am honored to join this couple a third time as they welcome another baby earth side!
I felt Jessica needed a maternity session like no other we had done before. I had a crazy idea to travel and travel early. I wanted to head to water, and warm water so I could ask Jess to hang out, pose and not be tortured. We headed out with a 4:45 a.m. start time, 1.5 hour drive, 1.5 mile hike in and…..gorgeous hot springs. Jessica and I have messaged each other a few times since the session reflecting on how worth it was to get going that early and mostly the drive time we had to mama chat, uninterrupted as we never do. Jessica and her family are tender to my heart. We are friends, birth united us.
Having a baby?! Do you have a gift registry? It may be common knowledge to create a gift registry for baby at your favorite box store…
AND you can send your family and friends to your Birth Gift Registry when you are a Birth Story client of mine!
This registry works in a similar way as other online registries. Send family and friends the link, let them read your personal message and view your personal maternity photos, or images that I supply. Family and Friends can contribute online to your Birth Story investment. You can apply the gifts any way you choose. From helping with the Story investment, to purchasing the leather wrap album, or add on LIVE birth film, Fresh48 or newborn session etc. Follow the link for an example of what your registry could look like. Your family and friends want to give you something meaningful & memorable – let them gift you your birth story, your baby’s first breath. https://jennanordphotography.com/birth-story-registry-bab…/…
My current 2020 openings:
June – 1
September- 0-1 ( special parameters, contact me)