Two years ago, I met a lovely couple when they brought their daughter for an Under The Nile model shoot. I was surprised to see them soon after that at a community potluck with new friends. The mom and I continued to see each other on Facebook and in person, and I was so happy when she contacted me about photography for the birth of her second baby.

You’ve see the joy of this family here and here on my blog, and I hope you will enjoy these pictures from the beautiful home waterbirth of their second baby girl. A mutual Facebook friend commented that this mother makes “birth look effortless and dreamy,” and while I know there certainly was effort put into the birthing of this baby, she really did make it look (almost) easy. And the presence during every moment, the knowledge of and trust in the birth process, and the love and passion and happiness of the mother and father and their midwives did indeed make this birth completely dreamy! This is what birth can be like!

I am so grateful to these parents for allowing me to document the birth of their daughter, and to share it with you. And I did go back for a visit a couple weeks later, so I look forward to sharing those pictures soon!

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  • Doris B. Muller-Schroeder - September 26, 2014 - 2:40 am

    So very, very beautiful! What a wonderful thing to experience!

  • Elizabeth Cicetti Devaney - October 8, 2014 - 3:30 am

    As usual…..Meagan! You captured it….amazing gorgeous work…..

Newborn sessions use to be a little challenging for me. I thought I needed to photograph newborn babies a certain way, to bring things with me, and to pose babies and put hats on them. And while lots of photographers create incredibly beautiful art that way, it just didn’t feel like me. So I gradually let go of the “shoulds” and I started to let myself do what feels good to me. Instead of attempting to create beauty or enhance it, I started to simply capture the beauty that was already there.

And now, I look at these pictures and get tears in my eyes. Because I love spending time with families who have new babies. This family was particularly wonderful. And because I love photographing families in a way that really shows what is special about them, and in a way that feels authentic to me.

This is a glimpse into life with a toddler and a newborn.

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When we were in Montana in August, my mom mentioned they had plans to pick up chickens from a small family farm. They knew Jay, Mandy, and their three little boys from their stand at the farmers market. When my dad brought up the same family later, and added that they live in a yurt, I just knew I needed to photograph them.:)

I contacted Jay and Mandy and we e-mailed back and forth about a wonderful barter that will keep my parents kitchen stocked with farm-fresh veggies. Although they were in the midst of their busy season and weren’t sure they’d have time to spend with me, I encouraged them to let me come anyway to document their lives. No cleaning up or dressing up needed. I was excited by the prospect of truly capturing their life, and not a staged version of it.  When I arrived, it turned out that the day (and some extra early morning work) allowed them some time to slow down for a while to show me around their farm and to do things they enjoy doing together.

When I later thought about why I was so drawn to photograph this family, I actually discovered a deeper level of my own desire for my work and life’s purpose. Yes, I want to give families a beautiful way to remember what their life is like right now. I also want to help discover how incredibly beautiful their life is. And then there’s something even bigger. I want somehow to help people come realize what values are most important to them, to make those a priority, and to find ways to change their lives in a way that they are spending time being their true and best selves, doing things they are most passionate about, and really living out their true purpose. Meeting families that are doing this is an inspiration to me, and I want to show their lives to others to broaden the reach. When we see others following their dreams, it encourages the rest of us to do the same, to realize living our dreams is possible.

So that’s what this family has meant to me. Jay and Mandy realized what was important to them (time with family, improving the land for future generations, living a sustainable life, providing healthy food for their family and others), and they created a life in which those values are central and are honored.

Here is a glimpse into their life on Lower Valley Farm. Take some time and scroll slowly through the pictures. Notice what you see and what feelings develop. I hope you see the beauty and feel the inspiration that I do.

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  • Patti Jeanne Rauch Muller - August 28, 2014 - 2:08 pm

    I browsed quickly through the pictures, enjoyed them and then read your writing/post, which so touched my heart, that I once again looked, more slowly, at each picture and saw the special moments captured in time for this exceptional family living their dream. I feel privileged by their allowing me an opportunity to glimpse their lives together, which then allows an expansion in my heart.
    Thanks Meg, your photographs and your sincere posts are special gifts for families and all of us that have the opportunity to view them.

I knew from the first e-mail that I was going to like photographing this family. I love capturing authentic people who are comfortable being themselves, and who live with intention and joy. And those are things I see in this family. I’m so glad their second baby girl stayed in her mama’s belly long enough for us to have this photo shoot two days past her due date. And I was so happy to see them again following her birth. Here they are when they were expecting their new baby. Check back in a week or so for more!

I love to photograph families totally being themselves. Sometimes that means they wear matching Disney shirts and play on the playground. And I love that. Look how much fun these three are having together!

Very soon I’ll be photographing the birth of their baby, and in addition to being at the birth, it’s awesome to capture a family a few weeks before and after their baby is born, to help them always remember what life is like at this special time. Call it a pregnancy or maternity session and a newborn session if you like. I call them all family photo shoots. Because family is really what it’s all about.  :)

I love the pure joy in these pictures.

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