Motherhood: A Constant Exercise in Learning to Let Go

Photographs by  Lissa Ryan

Photographs by Lissa Ryan

Motherhood for me has been a constant exercise in learning to let go, to slow down and to prune away the unnecessary or overgrown to make room for new growth. There isn't a lot of room for fluff in being a mom. There is just a tiny human depending on you. It's been tough but it really has been the most rewarding experience of my life.

Since struggling with infertility and then having our beautiful son Jack 2 years ago, my husband and I have spent a lot of time working towards simplifying our lives to better care for our growing family. With this second pregnancy, I feel like I'm worrying less about finding all of the "right" baby products I need, and more time trying to clear out the clutter—both literally and figuratively—in our lives before Baby Girl arrives.

In thinking about what I wanted to do for a maternity and family photo session I kept coming to the same conclusion: I love a long flowy dress train and a floral crown, but that didn't seem to be quite the right fit for this season in my life. Instead, I thought about the simple daily family rituals that I really treasure.

One is my little family of three making breakfast together so I asked the very talented Melissa from Lissa Ryan Photography if she could capture a morning making pancakes together. (I also get horrible morning sickness, and one of the few things I can keep down in pancakes, so it's also a small nod to that as well!) We shot our breakfast at a really special place—my grandparent's house in Southern Maryland off the Chesapeake Bay where we've shared countless family holidays and weekends together.

It was so wonderful working with Melissa, she seamlessly blended in with us as we enjoyed the fairly comical experience of having a 2 year old boy help make pancakes. Lori Nansi was so sweet to help this very tired mama look like a person again and did my hair and makeup. 

One of the best moments of the shoot actually came when I was getting ready to have our more dressy picture outside on the dock. After I put on my dress, Jack looked up at me and said "Mommy Princess!" I didn't even realize he knew the word "princess" but somehow I managed to choke back the tears long enough to have Melissa snap a few more portraits outside by the water. It was another wonderful reminder of how the small, slow moments are the ones I really value the most.

Full Image Gallery

Full Story Credits: Subject and Styling by Cate of Ivy & Honor Hair & Makeup by Lori Nansi Photography by Lissa Ryan Photography Film Lab, The FIND Lab