I was recently photographing an amazing couple for our upcoming book of breastfeeding stories and shared a bit about my own journey thus far in motherhood.
“In truthfulness,” I said, “I didn’t become the mother I’d always wanted to be until about two months ago.“
For perspective, my children are nearing the ages of 5 and 3 and I only now feel like I’m getting to be the person and parent I’d always wanted to be for them (and for myself).
Gentle parenting, breastfeeding, babywearing, bedsharing… all things I’d done to try to be that person – to keep us close and to nurture our relationship – but the truth is I really feel like I failed a lot of the time.
I know that’s nothing new – mothers all around the world feel like they’re failing – but I was particularly hard on myself and also knew that what we were experiencing was not what I wanted our lives to continue to be.
The first glimmer of hope I had, the first time I was gentle on myself was when I experienced the reveal of our very first family photo session.
There were a series of photographs of us together – brushing our teeth (it was a documentary session), playing with an orange (because… entertainment for a one year old), and making morning smoothies – but the one that really stood out to me was a photograph taken just after one of my son’s feeds. In the photo, he’s crawling away from me and I’m smiling at him with – I swear to you – a look of love that I’d never before seen.
Photo just before he crawled away. Credit: Day in Life Photography
The look of love on my face was immeasurable and, while I still knew I wasn’t where I wanted to be as a mother, that one photograph of me smiling at him – something I honestly didn’t even realise I did – gave me hope that, if that kind of love was there, we could get to what I’d dreamed our life as a family could be… and, over a few years of transformation, deepened consciousness, lots of healing, and a greater understanding of ADHD and PMDD, I am finally there.
And I credit that one experience – seeing that look of love – with greatly shaping what I’d hoped to provide to Well Fed Photography clients, as well.
When this business was still just a dream I dreamed about on cold park benches while out for walks with my son, I dreamed about parents being kinder to themselves because of being able to provide them with moments to finally see themselves, and to see that they really are doing a much better job than they ever believed they were.
What we do and the experiences we provide at Well Fed Photography are forms of healing and they also provide the perfect space for forgiveness and fortified resilience when it comes to the human experience – particularly those all-important, interconnected family human experiences.
These are the things that aren’t quantifiable. I can’t tell you how much your income will increase from finally forgiving yourself or how much your relationships deepening will lengthen your life-span. There is no measure and there are no limits to what you can get out of a Membership experience with us, but what I can tell you is that it is always, always worth it.
So if you’d love therapy but without the therapy, to connect with your family while simultaneously healing, and to have beautiful photographs to document it all, now is the best chance you might ever have to dive right in and do just that. Don’t wait. Things really can be different than they are right now. My life is living proof of that. Being gentler with myself and knowing I could get there all started with one single photograph. What would a beautiful collection of photographs be able to do for you?
If you’d like to view our Membership Brochure, click here.
Love to hear what our other amazing clients have to say? Read about their experiences now.
I shared this before, but I’ll say it again, if you’ve missed out on capturing previous precious moments for your family, don’t let guilt or regret get you off track. Every stage of your family’s life is important and this is your chance to ensure that 2022’s milestones and memories don’t get missed.
And if you have questions about any of our incredible Membership offers, get in touch. We are here to be of service.
Light & Love & All Good Things,
~Ariana Youmans Keenahan
Well Fed Photography
Host of the Living a Life Well Fed Podcast
P.S. Do you know of someone who would like to share their breastfeeding story via our blog in the lead up to our book’s release? Feel free to share our contact details or this form with them so that they can do just that.
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Join our online community, Share Your Breast/Chestfeeding Story (SYB/CS).