My Grandma's Walls - The Beauty of Heirloom Photography . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . .

In a world where cameras are affordable, the digital-age has removed the pressure to selectively open the shutter and photoshop is a click away, it can be hard to see the value in professional photography. We have some incredible shots of our family that tell the story of our lives and adventures. In a time when we spend so much on so many disposable items, like the latest ipad or baby gadget, I want to spend my family’s money more carefully. I want to spend it where it will last. So why do I spend my family’s hard earned money on something I can seemingly do myself?

Because I can’t do it.

I can do a lot of things, the ability to operate a camera is among them. But, I do not have the talent to see the light, the framing, the heart of my subject and make the camera work to capture that the way my mind’s eye sees it the way a truly talented artist and skilled professional photographer can.

What I what I want is an heirloom. I don’t want a large package deal or a hundred pictures. I don’t want to pay for over-edited pictures or for someone to dump ‘professional’ shots in a photoshop package to give them all a trendy look. I am capable of taking those shots. I want my walls to have the feeling of my grandmothers’. I don’t want awkward family pictures and trendy props. I want my children, in all their creative, beautiful and spirited glory frozen in time. I want my grandchildren to see how amazing their parents were as children and see all the love and joy I find in them, how they have made me laugh and how we treasured their tiny rolls and milestones - and I want it conveyed in an image. I want to leave this heirloom for my children and theirs.

Olivia has captured the birth of my son, his newborn moments, has revealed my children’s most inner selves and captured the essence of our family in a way that we, ourselves cannot. Seeing the people I love more than anything on this earth through her lens, through her eyes, moves me in a way true art does. Not like a snapshot. I am grateful to her for sharing her gift with me and providing me the opportunity to feel the joy of my son’s birth, smell his newborn head, remember young sibling love and see how our family has grown each time I look at my wall.

So, yah, some things are expensive. And some things are priceless.

Amanda Devereux is co-owner of Nola Nesting, a doula, Birth Boot Camp Instructor, and mom of three breastfed babes.

 

Breastfeeding and the Family . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .(New Orleans Childbirth Classes)

Breastfeeding isn't a single experience. It can be wonderful, stressful, beautiful, trying, tiring, restful and inspiring as well as many other things - in just a day!

I am saddened that another blogger experienced breastfeeding as a 'ball and chain' and that another described a 'super husband' as one who rushes in with formula to save the day. Breastfeeding is something done for the family -For a baby brought into this world who the family is responsible for feeding long after the breastfeeding relationship has ended. I have attended births as a doula, held meetings, enjoyed movies and date nights and more all while exclusively breastfeeding. There's no imprisonment here. Feeding a baby, by breast or otherwise is the job of a family.

Partners, husbands, friends, siblings - Breastfeeding isn't just mom's gig. This is about feeding and nurturing the family, and you all have a role!

Click the links below for the full blog.

See? No chains.

See? No chains.


Amanda Devereux is co-owner of Nola Nesting, a doula, Birth Boot Camp Instructor and mom of three breastfed babes.

 

The Nurture of Women (or Redefining the Hen House)

Gatherings of women often get an unjustly bad rap - the stereotypical hen house image full of clucking, pecking, and feathers flying. Strong, assertive, expressive women are frequently (mis)labeled as "catty" and "bossy," amongst other things. This typecasting begins early in our daughters' social development with groups of girls who are just learning to navigate friendships, be it with girls or boys. I’ve already heard this in reference to gatherings of girls in my daughter’s social interactions, and these loaded words are never used to characterize boys' social behaviors. The thing is, these words do not define my experience, and I find it to be presumptuous, rude, and a very prejudicial and unfortunate way to see the world. I would tell my daughter “it’s unkind.”

The women who share in my life have been and are powerful, uplifting, and empowering. I didn’t view my grandmothers as "catty," but as loving, warm, and generous. I have amazing childhood friends, female ones, that I respect and love. Sure, there are girls I didn’t get along with, women I don’t like, and the same goes for boys and men - but it has more to do with personality and less (well, nothing) to do with gender. I could not be the mother I am without the women, the friends I cherish, mothering alongside me. As an owner of Nola Nesting, I work closely and interdependently with other women. I have so much admiration and love for these women and for all they bring to not only Nola Nesting, but to our clients. They are creative and inspiring, giving and healing women.

As childbirth educators and doulas, we celebrate the power and strength of women, their ability to transform and bring life into this world in a way done by innumerable women before them, a way the predates by millenia the medicalized model of childbirth and the categorization of pregnancy as a condition to be treated and cured. We see women at their most vulnerable and at their most fierce, and I feel nothing short of awe each and every time. I love families at births. The privilege of witnessing a person fall in love with their partner (again) and new baby is one of my favorite parts of birth, but supportive women bring a special energy to labor and birth. The women at my births were tender and held wisdom in a way my very loving, supportive, and nothing-shy-of-amazing husband could not.

To bring Birth Boot Camp to New Orleans, I attended a training in Dallas last month and was surrounded by women I had never met before. These were strong women who were there to learn more about supporting other women and families, and everyone was beautiful, loving, and supportive of one another. I truly enjoyed being in their presence and I left feeling energized and full. In our busy lives it’s not often that we get to gather and just enjoy the company of other women, each uniquely teaching and learning in our turn.

I am grateful for the women in my life, for the way they nurture and encourage me, for being sounding boards, for love and support. These are the relationships with women I want my daughter to see. Whatever she does in her life, whether suffering a broken heart, celebrating a hard-earned victory, pondering life’s meaning, or bringing a baby into this world, I hope she has a support network that includes women who love and celebrate the woman she is. And of course, should she decide to become a mother, I hope she has a doula!

 

(Disclosure: This blog post was edited, as is much of my work, by one of the profound women in my life.  My sister-by-another-mother - one of the most courageous and witty women I'll ever know.)

 

Amanda Devereux is co-owner of Nola Nesting, a New Orleans doula, Birth Boot Camp Instructor, and mom of three breastfed babes.