The Motherhood Project by Angie Englerth Photography | Lancaster Portrait Photographer

April 04, 2016  •  9 Comments

The Motherhood Project

 

This project has been on my mind for the better part of a year now. As a maternity and newborn photographer, I come in contact with so many moms, some new, some veterans...all moms. During my sessions, I like to get into conversation with my clients and too often we end up talking about some type of mom judgement. Sometimes moms feel guilty or alienated by the choices they are making for themselves and their child. This is not right. I am a huge believer in doing what is best for your family and it will never be the same for everyone. This project was about representing some of the many choices moms make on a daily basis and unifying all of us together in motherhood.

 

These ten beautiful women are all moms. Some have just one child, some have many more! Some have new babies, some have school age children! Many of them didn't know each other until this project. My point? It did not matter what choice they were representing here. All of these women are wonderful mothers and there was a sense of camaraderie and understanding among each other for the journey they have all been through.  


 

 

 


 

What is a choice you have made in motherhood?

The Motherhood Project | Angie Englerth Photography | Portrait Photographer serving Lancaster, Berks and Lebanon Counties
 
"Going back to work after only 15 short weeks home with my daughter was the hardest thing I have ever had to do but for our family, just like many others, it was what we needed to do. Breastfeeding Lynette was always a goal of mine despite knowing that I would be headed back to work. The first weeks were tough to say the least. We had to work through reflux, nursing sessions where she spent more time screaming than nursing and discovering she has an intolerance to dairy and soy. I had to change my diet completely but we kept at it and developed a wonderful bond while nursing. Going back to work introduced a whole new world of challenges as my little black pump has become a part of my daily routine. My evenings are spent calculating how many ounces I have and hoping my freezer "stash" of 5 ounces will get us through the days where I am short. Three times a day during my lunch and my only breaks I have to use the restroom or make copies or simply "rest" I lug out that hated thing and start pumping. I do it because I love my daughter and I love being able to provide for her. I do it because I am a mother, she is my daughter, and this is what works for us. I do it because even though I have to work every day and be away from her, I have found a way to stay connected to her despite our hours apart. Being a working mom will never be easy because being a mom is never easy. We all face our different challenges in motherhood but in the end we do what we need to do to meet the needs of our little kiddos."
-Brittany S.
"I am a full time employee outside of the home and a fully invested mom when I'm home with my children.  For years, I felt guilty for loving both my career and my children.  But now, I love that my girls will see that it IS possible to have a career and be a mom.  I have an amazing, supportive husband and family that all help me on a daily basis with caring for my girls.  I feel fulfilled both professionally and personally, and this allows me to be the best mom that I can be!  This being said, I believe that stay at home moms deserve just as much respect!  We both made choices that are the right choices for our families.  One is not right and one is not wrong...we are both unified in our intent."
-Andrea

"I chose to represent stay at home mom. I always wanted to be a teacher growing up and decided to pursue that career after graduating with my elementary teaching degree. Once I found out I was pregnant, I had a huge decision to make- I always wanted to be a stay at home mom too! Thankfully my husband and I agreed that I would stay home. Not ONCE have I ever regretted this choice. Not once!!! I love waking up every day knowing that I will teach and lead my children in whatever adventure we explore that day. Yes, same days are horrible. That's normal. But I do not like missing out on my children's milestones and do not need other people telling me about my children. I love staying home and it is a phase of life that I will never regret."
-Lisa

 
"Public schooling can be looked at in a variety of lights and every parent has to make a choice between home, private and public schooling. For my children, we will be sending them to public school. I hold my elementary education degree and train for a local financial institution. I've been in the public school system and understand its advantages and disadvantages.  If I could stay at home, I would homeschool but that isn't an option for our family. I also know that going to school builds memories and relationships that can shape our children in ways we cannot imagine. Of course, this can be accomplished by whatever means of schooling you wish to choose for your child. At the end of the day, we have to select what works best for your child and family. If at any time my children ask to be homeschooled or to attend private school, I would look into their request and decide at that time what we can do to best meet our children's needs. What may be the best option for one child or family may not be the best for everyone."
-Ashley
"A decision that my husband and I choose was to have our son sleep in his own crib. Having friends that co-sleep, they talked about the challenges they had when trying to transition their children to their own bedrooms. My husband is also a heavy sleeper and was afraid he would roll on top of our son without knowing."
-Nicole
"I choose to breastfeed because to me there is nothing more natural and beautiful then the bond created between a mother and her child. I had a very difficult time nursing when I brought my first daughter home 10 years ago, but I stuck with it and am so thankful today that I can look back and have those memories with her. Now, 4 kids and 10 years later, I am nursing my 8 month old daughter Mollie, the last of our children, and I cherish every moment."
-Cristie
"I choose to cosleep. When I had my baby girl in 2012 I struggled to breastfeed and she wasn't a great sleeper. Two very tiring things for any mom. I quickly learned that having her beside me at night not only allowed me to nurse easier, but she slept better. As she got older, I preferred her in bed with me because most nights my husband was not home and I felt she was safer by my side. She is now about to be 4 and most nights I find her in my bed when I wake up. She stopped breastfeeding around age 2.5 after her sister was born but still finds the most comfort by my side. My youngest is almost 2 and she still wakes up at night to nurse but prefers sleeping in her crib. I love the bond nursing and cosleeping has created for us."
-Katie
"Being a mom of multiples present a different evaluation of parenting than a singleton.  Did I want to babywear? Absolutely! But the stroller was safer and frankly, easier.  Did I try to direct breastfeed my sons? Yes, through their nicu stay and at home for two months until I submitted to exclusively pump till my supply ran dry.  I'm proud of my choices and adore the support from my surrounding mothering community."
-Megan

"I was proud to represent my choice for homeschooling my children. I have a daughter in 2nd grade, son in Kindergarten, a three year old and a son who is almost 2. Even though it can be very challenging a lot of times, I think it is so worth it. I get to see my kids learn and be creative. I get to play with them for their break time and build a great relationship with each of them. But I also have to be consistent and stricter at times, so we can actually get all their school work done in time. My favorite part about homeschooling though is that it is very flexible and if any of my kids need to spend more time on a certain subject we have the ability to do that. I thank God always that He allowed us to homeschool our children. It has been hard and challenging but fun and rewarding at the same time."
-Yuliya

 
"I represented babywearing. Babywearing, to me, is a lifesaver. Being able to do tasks hands-free while nursing and snuggling my little one has made my journey in motherhood much more wealthy. She will only be little once, and babywearing allows me to cherish that just a little bit more."
-Brittany R.

 

 


 

What do you feel is the hardest part about motherhood?


"Balance! When I became a mom I realized I had just added a HUGE new role into my life but nothing had been taken away. I was still a sister, a friend, a daughter, a wife, a teacher and now a mother. When you exit the haze of the newborn months you have to step back and  redefine who you are in all your roles in life." -Brittany S.


"The hardest part of motherhood is remembering to continue to take care of yourself." -Andrea


"Judging yourself and comparing your child to someone else's child. I know this was something I had to work at a lot before I stopped. Especially with social media, every child's milestones are published for all to see and if yours isn't there yet don't worry too much. All children develop at different rates and you are not doing anything wrong." -Ashley
 

"Though becoming a mom has been the best thing that ever happened to me, it's also the hardest thing I've ever done. Having patience when I am at my wits end while living on few hours of sleep each day can be tough... But we do what we have to do and hope that in the end, after everything, our children grow up to be compassionate caring human beings." -Cristie


"The hardest part of motherhood for me is feeling like I don't do enough as a mom or for my kids. It's hard to not judge myself against the "picture perfect" families on my IG and Facebook feeds." -Katie
 

"When your children are sick, its terrible. You want to take away their pain, but can only do so much." -Nicole


"Trying to remain the same person post baby.  I have tried to feel and act as I did before children until I realized I'm not supposed to be.  Having children has changed me.  And I love the person I am now." -Megan


"With newborns lack of sleep and breast feeding were the hardest part of motherhood for me. But it changes as they grow. There are always challenges in every stage of motherhood, but my faith in God and my family helped me through all of them so far." -Yuliya
 

"For me, the most difficult part of motherhood is the overwheleming sense of losing myself. Oftentimes I catch a glimpse of my reflection and think, "what happened!?" I have to remind myself to take some time for me. If I take 15 minutes to get dressed and apply a little makeup it does wonders for my emotional well being. Don't be afraid to take time for yourself and don't be afraid to ask for help." -Brittany R
 

"The hardest part of motherhood is living in a world of daily judgement." -Lisa

 


 

Unity and Support


 
"It is such a blessing to have other moms as friends. A few of those mothers really encouraged me not to stress out if my house is not spotless or if the laundry was not done in a while. They said just enjoy your baby and kids, they grow up too fast. That really helped me to put things in perspective." -Yuliya

"I remember breaking down when my sons were in the NICU.  I wasn't there every moment I wanted to be, watching them grow and become.  I felt so guilty, like I had failed them by not being able to hold onto them just one week longer.  A fellow NICU mom said to me "You've been through a literal hell for the last 8 months.  You lived everyday with the possible death of your children on your mind.  And you, only you, were able to keep them safe and healthy until they were able to survive with us.  Give yourself a break.  The nurses are here when you can't be, but they know who mama is and what's she's done.  You are their hero." -Megan

 
"My mom has shown me what selfless, unconditional love truly is.  When times are tough, she assures me that they will get better.  When times are great, she reminds me to cherish them.  I am beyond grateful for her constant support and love." -Andrea
 

"My own mom was my greatest encouragement during those tough beginning months. Even though she no longer remembered what the specifics of taking care a newborn may have entailed, she was simply there. She held me when I just needed to cry and took Lynette when I was beyond exhausted. She sacrificed her days off of work to just be with us and came over on her lunch breaks when we were having a hard day. She told stories of what a terror I was during my first months and made me realize there is always light at the end of the tunnel. She encouraged me as a mom by being exactly the kind of mom I hope I am becoming." -Brittany S.

 


 

What advice do you have for any new moms reading this?
 

"Do what works for you and your family. Keep an open mind. Choose your battles." -Katie
 

"Everyone will offer you their advice, take it for what it is. YOU are the one who will make the best decision for your child!" -Nicole
 

"During the early months home where Lynette and I both spent our days in tears as we worked through reflux and MSPI, I kept repeating to myself "this is just a phase." It is so important to remember that no matter how hard a moment or a day or a week may seem, it truly is just a phase. Don't miss the good moments because you are consumed by the hard moments. Don't wish away the present because soon enough you will be missing what has passed you by." -Brittany S.
 

"Be present...be in the moment.  Time truly does pass by quickly." -Andrea
 

"You need to do what is best for your child- you will constantly hear many other opinions, but you are the mom who knows your child the best!" -Lisa
 

"Don't judge yourself too harshly. We all are just trying to get by and raise happy, healthy and well adapted children." -Ashley
 

"For new moms out there, I would recommend to get naps when baby naps for the first month or so. When you are well rested it will benefit you and the baby." -Yuliya
 

"There is no question that motherhood is a tough journey. Sometimes people make it more difficult for us (whether intentional or not) by telling a mom how she should parent her children. My best piece of advice would be to do your research, follow your instincts, and be comfortable with the choices you make, even if others don't agree. With so many choices, not everything will work for everyone. Be proud of the way you choose to parent!" -Brittany R.
 

"You do you.  Everyone has an opinion, everyone says to do this or that but the strongest opinion is yours.  Mommy intuition goes a long way, listen to yourself." -Megan
 

"Cherish every moment... they are only little for so long and they grow up in the blink of an eye." -Cristie

 

 


 

In the end, we are all moms. We have so many varying opinions. We make different choices for our families. We do our best. The best we can do for our children and our families. The best we can do for ourselves. We make our choices out of love. And that is all that matters. We are motherhood. 

 

 

 

 


 

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Comments

Pamela Lewis(non-registered)
I love EVERYTHING about this! So happy to see other ways of parenting are represented.
Jessi(non-registered)
What a neat blog post! I love the way all moms are empowered to make the best choice for their families. This is beautiful.
Gwen Copenhaver(non-registered)
Love this, so happy to see that there are mothers that have similar parenting choices and not afraid to admit it. The beautiful thing is there is no right or wrong, it's what works for you and child.
Heather Neilson(non-registered)
Oh wow, what a fantastic project!
Annie(non-registered)
This is an important message and every time I see it done I beam with joy! Thank you for putting your take on this and bringing these women and their stories together to empower others. :-)
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