There are certain people in your life that you would do just about anything for, at any time. The mother of this beautiful young lady is someone who could call me at 2am for a favor and I would likely get up and do it! Vanessa's momma was our amazing midwife throughout our journey bringing Maisie Lu into the world. There is a reason she is legendary around here. She just rocks. Ask anyone.
According to Wikipedia "Midwifery is a health care profession in which providers offer care to childbearing women during pregnancy, labour and birth, and during the postpartum period. They also care for the newborn and assist the mother with breast feeding." What it doesn't say about a midwife, and specifically our midwife is that they are magnificent. It doesn't say that you have countless hour long regular visits with them. That when you enter their office they close the door, and are all yours. It doesn't say that they look at you with caring, non judging, open hearts and listen to your crazy irrational hormonal rants offering support, love and always make you feel less crazy. It doesn't say that when you unsure, they make you sure. When you are scared, they ease your fears. When you are obsessing, they bring you back to sanity. When you are 55 pounds heavier than you've ever been in your life and notice the beginnings of stretch marks and are visibly shaken "Sheila... what are these!!!!" They smile at you and say "Honey, those are your badges of honor". They miss out on their home cooked Easter Dinner to deliver your baby. Sheila is a legend around these parts, and it's because she makes you feel normal, even when there is no possible way that you are.
While photographing her daughter on Monday, I couldn't help but feel grateful. Grateful that like any incredible working momma, she chooses to spend her time away from her family, leading women through their birthing experiences. Her pager went off while we were shooting, and Vanessa asked a question about the page. It was so normal, and I couldn't help but think about all of the times Sheila's pager has gone off, and how many times it has affected her daily life with her family. I know midwifery is a career choice, I know Sheila chose it. But, I am so deeply grateful that she did. If she hadn't, I wouldn't have the incredible memories of the beautiful birth of Maisie. Grateful. I kept looking at her beautiful daughter, feeling grateful that she lovingly shares her amazing mother with so many of us women who love her so much.
Being a working mom is difficult. There's the mommy guilt. Ughhh. The mommy guilt. For some crazy reason, you always have this feeling that you need to be doing more. That you might be doing something wrong, making bad choices, not reading enough stories, not teaching them sign language enough, not feeding them enough, not loving them enough. So add that all to actually not being there for every single moment, because you are working and watch out... a whole other level of mommy guilt opens up. I have always thought that in order for Maisie to get the best of me, she needed to have ME. Part of me, is my passion for photography. I need to create, it's not a want. (well, and I also don't get a maternity leave) It's a need. Like water, air. When not creating, my soul tends to feel all shrinky. And nobody likes a shrinky soul. Maisie certainly deserves more than just a bit of me. I hope that Maisie will always understand that. I hope that one day, someone may write to her... what I'm about to write to Vanessa.
Vanessa, you are beautiful! I know I speak for MANY women when I say THANK YOU, for sharing your beautiful mom with all of us. She has changed the lives of so many of us, made us feel strong in moments of weakness. Made us feel powerful in moments of doubt. Made us feel safe in moments of fear and uncertainty. Your mom, is truly remarkable. She is relied on in more ways that just showing up to work. We rely on her expertise, her knowledge, her strength, her wisdom, her care, and her heart. Your mom is absolutely amazing. She touches the lives of so many people, daily and we are all so grateful to know her. I'm sure you already are, but you should be so proud to have a mom who is so loved, by so many people. Thank you Vanessa, for sharing her with all of us. Honestly, it means more than you may ever know. We are all cheering you on in your upcoming journey. May it bring you a wealth of experience and joy.
Sheila, you are remarkable... and so is your daughter. With so much love.