Maegan Dougherty Photography – Northern NJ Photographer » Northern NJ Birth and Family Photographer

Do you remember your first home as a child? Were the walls covered with your drawings and paintings? Did you nap on the couch, and do projects at the kitchen table? Was it a small house with a big yard, where you walked barefoot in the grass, explored and found treasures in nature, and hung from tree branches? Whatever it was like, and even if it wasn’t perfect, I hope you have special memories of it.

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It’s World Doula Week (okay, it was when I started this post), and I love doulas! A quick Google search will give you lots of info about what doulas do and why they are valuable. They are so valuable. Here you can see, in photos, some of the beautiful support they provide.

Although I’m not practicing as a doula, I have been through Birth Arts International birth doula training, and I also attended an advanced doula training led by Gena Kirby and Debra Pascali-Bonaro. I love learning everything I can about birth and knowing ways I can support my photography clients. However, my passion is in the documenting. I love being there in the room as a positive calming presence, holding space for the birthing person. I’ll hold a hand when I see one needs to be held, and can offer ideas for comfort measures or questions to ask providers, but for my clients who would like more support than that, I absolutely recommend hiring a doula.

The doulas pictures here, all of whom I recommend, are Thalla-Marie, Anne, Emily, Ina, Angela, Deby, and Jess. Another favorite of mine is Jen. Be sure to visit Whole Mother Village for doula services and more. And some other doulas to check out, whom I hope to work with in the future, are Roseanne (we’ll be at a birth together in August, woohoo), Kim, Cindy (my doula trainer and a super cool person), Premier Doulas, Christine, and Debi. So many good ones, and I know I’m missing a bunch!

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Two years ago I had what I will always remember as one my most important photo shoots. I remember so clearly the message I received from my client, Jamie, letting me know this would be the first time her transgender daughter, Rebekah, would be photographed as her authentic self.

It’s taken me so long to blog these pictures because they’re so important. And sometimes important things take time. I’ve wanted to find the right words, to write a blog post that is meaningful and touching and just right. Today, on March 31st, which is Transgender Day of Visibility, I’m going to stop trying to find the right words. Because what I do is take pictures, and document families authentically. That’s my passion and purpose. I hope you will look at these pictures, and I hope you will really see this family, and this little girl, for the amazing people they are. I hope that seeing them will be what it takes for just one of you to look at the world differently, to see others, or yourself, with more love and patience and kindness.

Jamie and Rebekah have been all over the media this year, speaking and writing and advocating. Please visit Jamie’s blog to read and listen to what she and Rebekah have to say. You will be inspired.

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Last year around this time we were planning a trip to meet my parents (who live in Montana) in Florida to visit them and my Grandma. Since we drove all the way to Montana from New Jersey and back the summer before, driving to Florida sounded like no big deal, and actually a lot of fun. We decided to make a 12 day trip of it, and take our time to explore the east coast on our way down. We left on April 2nd with plans to stay with my friend in Maryland that night, to be in Jacksonville April 8th, and in Vero Beach on the 10th. We planned to stop at my aunt’s condo in NC for a night, but didn’t have solid plans other than that. We had our camping gear, and were just going to see how things went and figure it out along the way. 🙂 Also, we were doing this trip on a very very small budget.

Day 1: Gettysburg – souvenir pennies, passport stamps, old weapons, Abe Lincoln, a drive around with some stops to walk around. Maryland – Spent the night at my high school friend Holly’s house. Loved chatting with her and her husband and mom. The boys and her daughters had so much fun together. Realized how nice it is to visit with other people while traveling.

Day 2: Washington, DC – more passport stamps, National Air and Space Museum, food, National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden, Starbucks (because iced coffee is very important for Daddy), and drove to a hotel for the night.

Day 3: Jamestown Settlement in Virginia. We really enjoyed the re-creation of a Powhatan Indian village. Looked at old ships, and a colonial village. Took a ferry ride and then a five hour drive, with a stop for a Mexican dinner, to North Carolina.

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Another post with North Carolina pictures coming soon!

I hope you’re enjoying today’s mid-March snow day! I’m loving seeing pictures on Facebook of families having a good time together at home. We’ve mostly been watching TV.  On a recent school holiday, I binge watched Amazon’s Just Add Magic (so good!) with the boys, and today’s it’s Daddy’s turn. I actually did go out in the snow today! I usually stay inside while the boys go out to shovel and play.

These pictures are from a fall morning I spent with a family I first photographed when their daughter was a newborn. Each time I look through these, I notice another detail, sometimes an item in the background, an expression on a face, a gentle touch.

The other day we were watching videos from when my boys were smaller, and it was fun to notice little details, like the way I used to always have Jasper’s pacifier on my finger like a ring, the small differences in the way our house looked, and the way the boys have always played so (usually) nicely with each other. I’m so glad to have these memories of my own family captured, and to be able to do the same thing for others.

If you’re thinking about a family photo shoot this spring or summer, please contact me to book soon, especially if you’ll need a weekend. As my weekends start to fill with baseball and soccer and more baseball, I’ll be limiting weekend shoots and booking more during the week.

Enjoy these pictures!

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Erika Kao - March 14, 2017 - 3:15 pm

Great work as usual, Maegan! Loved this glimpse into this family’s life.