This is me…well, the me of 4 years ago.
This is also me…a more recent version of me.
I am a medical mom. I am an advocate. I am a storytelling photographer.
I share the story of our lives.
Partly, so our family can see us.
Partly, so other families can see themselves.
But mostly for me, because photographing, writing, and talking about our family’s medical journey helps me to heal.
When I was pregnant with my older son, Kane, I honestly had no idea what parenting actually involved. A little background: I have 3 younger siblings and had been a teacher for years! I knew the basics, and I knew life was going to change, but I had no idea just how much.
Even when we learned that Kane had something going on with his heart, I didn’t realize how much our lives would change. We started having more ultrasounds and fetal echocardiograms. And I was concerned, but in a more “wait and see” kind of way.
Even when my water broke and Kane showed up at 32 weeks, I didn’t realize just how much our lives would change. He was a pretty solid 4 lbs 1 oz. Clearly things weren’t quite “normal”, but Kane didn’t need to be transported for heart surgery immediately, so that was a win. We ended up spending 54 days in the NICU and I began photographing our hospital story. Most of those images are not portfolio worthy, but they are priceless to me. Particularly the ones where I can see myself. The new mom. The preemie mom. The heart mom.
We figured it out, just as you do. We adapted to what life threw at us. We found strategies and self care practices to support ourselves. For me, it included photography, both for my own family, but also for other families on a medical journey.
Thinking back to what I thought BK (before kids), life was so much different than I expected. Through the years, I have continued to photograph and write about our medical story; the medical appointments, the x-rays and echocardiograms and MRIs, the different therapies we have tried, the back braces, the surgeries… Sometimes it’s a relatively quick check in. Other times the news we get is unexpected.
Some of the time I am even able to get myself in the story. The heart mom. The scoliosis mom. The medical mom. Because I was there, too.
And life continued. I continued to photograph and talk about our medical story. I continued to connect and photograph other medical families and tell their stories.
Then I met Raz. She was sitting behind me at a photography conference and when I saw her “zipper” I asked about her story. Raz is also a heart warrior. At the age of two, she had her heart surgery. It turned out Raz’s personal photography project is to follow a family during heart surgery to get a clearer understanding of what her own family would have faced.
In September 2019, Raz came to photograph our family. She came to document our story of Kane’s second heart surgery. I will never have the words to adequately thank Raz for capturing images of me. The medical mom. The caregiver. The photographer. The heart warrior. Because I was there, too.
This is what I do for families.
I photograph their story.
I document their lives, both in and out of hospital.
Because I’ve been there, too.
And it is important.
Each and every detail.
My goal is to find a way to make documentary family photography accessible to all medical and palliative families.
For more information please visit my new website.
Here are links to a few good places to start…