INOVA

Welcome to the World Mr. R | Birth Photography

I think she is caught between who she is

and who she wants to be.

This is how I see birth.

While we know baby will come no matter what is going on in our lives; I truly believe the safer you feel the easier it is both emotionally and physically to welcome your baby into the world. This doesn't mean pile your partner up with the honey-do list. Tempting I know.Rather I challenge you to sit and appreciate all of those aches and pains, the trouble breathing, the heartburn, and the loss of sleep. You are not fat, you are not a whale. You are beautiful and strong. You have created and grown a human being!

That last trimester is when you settle and nest to prepare your home and heart for all of the changes to come. Then, the actual laboring is the mental and physical fitness test to get you to that finish line. This process is the most obvious to me with first time parents. There is a level of letting go that has to happen, because you really have no idea what motherhood is going to present you. It is exciting, terrifying, wondrous, painful, and so very worth it. The beautiful surrender to primal need is incredible. I feel so honored to be asked into such a sacred place: the creation of family.

This is everything I am thinking as I observe and process a birth. It is emotional for me every time, but never as emotional as for the parents. The relief of meeting this precious tiny human, scouring every inch, counting fingers and toes over and over again, and waking to every noise they make in those first few hours and weeks. It is all magic!

This family embodied the awe and pure appreciation for the surrender. Mama was a powerhouse through her natural labor. Mom and dad worked together, cried together, and celebrated together. Here is a snippet of their birth story.

McDowell family, party of 3.

be inspired. live boldly.

Nicole

Welcome to the World Baby S | INOVA Loudoun | Birth Photography

my

mother

was

my first country,

the first place i ever lived.

-lands

Each birth I attend and witness humbles me so greatly. This birth was no different. Even more so because we didn't know baby's gender! The connection between mama and baby is so incredible. The womb is their first home, where they grow their organs and hear your voice and heart beat! It's like magic. I truly believe a birth gender reveal is one of the last ways we can surprise ourselves in life. What better motivation to get through the surges, too!

Mama was so cool and collected, joking even when she first arrived at the hospital. Poking at her husband and being goofy with the medical staff and doula. As things intensified, I was honestly mesmerized by her primal unravel while she listened and moved to accommodate her soon to arrive tiny human. From tub, to birth ball, shower to the bed, mom and dad communicated by sharing quiet glances and small touches between surges. The support and love was seriously amazing!

After an abrupt relocation baby was placed on mama's chest, dad cut the cord, and whispered "it's a little sister" to his wife. These three were so sweet and were already talking about how much their oldest daughter (not quite 2) was going to react to having a SISTER!

If you are interested in having your birth story documented, send me an email through the contact form! I'm now booking into 2016, so lock in 2015 rates!!

be inspired. live boldly.

Nicole

Durrance Party of 4 | Lifestyle Newborn | Leesburg, Va

This family! There is so much to say, but I'm not the best with doting words. The Durrance's are the sweetest people you will meet. With compassion and wit, style and love, they are some of the most patient and giving people I know. You may remember their birth story, where Miss A graced us with her presence! Here they are again, cuddling, protecting, and smiling through their early days of adjustment as a family of 4. How sweet are her nursery details and daddy cuddles!?! Oh, and older brother R peaking at his new sister, my heart melts!

Any advice for a new family of 4?

be inspired. live boldly.

Nicole

where I stand in this bold life | meet nicole series

Life is hard. Life is tricky. Life is love and lust, pain and sadness, and full of so much growth and learning. Life is all we have. I find it strange that we go through childhood wondering, wishing, and striving to be an adult as if all of our problems will dissolve. Our vulnerability will be erased because we will be bigger, more educated, emotionally stable. I shake my head even writing that sentence out, but it is so true. We begged for our drivers license, graduation day, the ability to buy our own beer, but we got stuck with a car payment, driving to find our first job, and wondering if we have enough money left over to splurge on that beer.

I don't want my daughter to grow up too fast. I want to hold her tighter, rock her to bed, brush her hair, and get lost in her fort reading books till we fall asleep. We will not get this time back. I, like many women, struggle(d) with postpartum depression. While I have lived with PTSD, anxiety, and depression for the majority of my life, I am slowly learning how to just be. To be me, slow down, and have patience with myself and those around me. My tiny human teaches me day in and day out that it is okay to get upset, it is okay to laugh straight from the belly. Emotions can be fleeting if we let them. We are allowed to have bad days, but we are also allowed to have good days, happy days even!

Being a mother, wife, sister, and daughter I am finding grace in sitting in my emotions and situations. I'm not always looking for a solution to a problem. Sometimes I just want to hear you say, "I understand, " or "I hear you, it sucks," or even, "when you're ready we will figure it out together." Life is so much more about the living than the doing. Slow down! Smile at strangers. Buy yourself that coloring book and crayons and go color in a park after an awesome warm car nap. Just be!

I know some of you may be reading this thinking, "I can't," and coming up with a million reasons why you would rather create yet another to do list. Lend your self some grace, please. These battles we fight every day - what are they for? Why are we working day in and day out, year after year?

These are hard questions. I do not have the answers and feel they will be different and even change season to season. I have a hard time with all of this. I am so grateful to my husband, friends and family who let me gush to figure things out. Being open with who I am, talking about it, being vulnerable and real has me wondering why I ever felt alone.  Balancing my life, between a full time job, being a wife, mom and photographer, is tough. I fight the clock, shake my fist at needing sleep, I carry guilt, harbor anger, but I continually come back to my why.

I intrinsically want to help people. I want to show people how beautiful and real life can be the way it already is. The struggle IS real. I'm not going to ask you to smile in my images, I want you to be authentic. I want you to remember who you are in the moment. This is not always smiley, sunshine and rainbows. That is okay! That is real! That is life! It is okay to be!

So next time you are sitting on your couch or laying in bed, with all those swirling thoughts, take a deep breathe and let go.

 
 

With grit and grace,

Nicole

Mama Hawk | Maternity | Parenthood

The more I photograph parents about to begin their parenthood journey, the more I fall in love with my job. Erin and J are seriously beautiful, inside and out. This was a styled shoot put together by Kate Juliet Photography at 48Fields earlier this month, and these two seriously rocked the lens. They are both avid runners, mama had even run 3 miles the morning of the session. So awesome! From runners grace to many giggles, Erin and J are so in love with each other and are excited to welcome their little earth-side next month.

This session was so much fun and the light was amazing!! There is nothing like working with the setting sun to achieve some amazing colors, silhouettes, and wonderful grain. I hope you enjoy and I, of course, included a couple behind the scenes images.

be inspired. love authentically. live boldly.

Nicole