THE GIFTS OF BREAKING UP | CHRIS, SAM + MY ARCHIE

Today I was given the gift every mother in my situation can only dream about. The gift of being able to see just how adored, safe and treasured my son is when he's not with me. The gift of knowing "the other woman" who is also a parent to him, is actually one of the most resilient, strong and beautiful humans on earth. The gift of knowing his Dad is happy, healthy and grounded. The gift of knowing my baby, my tiny boy, is so loved by them both.

"There were times when the pain was all consuming, threatening to swallow me up. This was not the life I had ordered for us, my baby. This wasn't supposed to happen to me, or you. I spent so many nights crying, wondering how my choice to leave would impact you. I couldn't hold our family together and the guilt was all encompassing. I couldn't stay. We couldn't. This needed to happen and I clung onto hope that it was the right decision for us all, including your dad. I chose to walk away with you, and that's a choice that I knew would impact us all forever. I promised myself I would pay all your therapy bills when you grew up".

That's a snippet from a piece I wrote a few months ago while I was reflecting on my breakup with Archie's dad. My psychologist had asked me that day if I planned to tell Archie when he was older about what happened between his Dad and I. I hadn't thought about it, but once I began it all came pouring out in a letter to Archie. An atonement of sorts.

It feels like somewhat of a miracle to be writing this post now, four years since that painful time, celebrating a new love, a new family, a new home, a new joy.

Time does heal. Time allows us to move forward. How we choose to spend that time is what shapes who we ultimately become.

In those early days of feeling like I had walked away from everything "family" meant, and was paralyzed with fear of how that would impact my son, I wish I'd known. I wish I'd known Archie would be gifted with two incredible homes. Two warm, loving families. I wish I'd known the positive impact Sam would have on our lives, and how it would feel like she was always meant to be part of his.

Chris and I have each found our own happiness and we have found a way to prioritize Archie and rise above the hurts of the past to coparent him the way he deserves. We have miraculously found a new way to move through the world which shows Archie there is still a love and respect between us as his parents. That we will work hard every single day to do that for him. He won't need to seat us on separate tables at his wedding.

This is Sam, Chris and Archie.

It was a gift to be able to photograph them in their home today. My Mumma-heart is full and ever grateful to the universe for working it's strange and wonderful magic on us.

"Being an artist means forever healing your own wounds and at the same time, endlessly exposing them." -Annette Messager

APPLES AND BANANAS | MELBOURNE FAMILY LIFESTYLE PHOTOGRAPHER

It was a mother/babe session, a maternity session and a mentoring session all wrapped up in a bright, colourful little bubble. 

I had the pleasure of mentoring the gorgeous and talented Jess Worrell Photography on this cool Melbourne day, and as part of the learning experience that I offer with my Life: Unmade mentoring sessions, we made our way over to Kate's GORGEOUS inner northern home which was on the brink of a completed renovation for our photoshoot with her and her "Apple Baby" Poppy.

We spent our time photographing Kate and Poppy in their space, and I was so excited to be part of the early stages of Kate's pregnancy with her little "Banana Baby". 

Naturally, Banjo the Border Collie made a short appearance.

This session was the sweetest and Poppy's smile is contagious every time I look at these!

TEA, SCONES AND A LITTLE PINK CARAVAN | FAMILY LIFESTYLE PHOTOGRAPHER

In Melbourne there are a million interesting and quirky nooks and crannies, and as a lifestyle photographer, I'm always on the hunt for new and inspiring creative spaces to shoot my clients in.  It's the best city in the world for it!  This location though, all of the credit goes to this Mumma, Elsa, for bringing me here for an afternoon of tea, babychinos, scones, jam, cream and cuddles with her girls Esther and Olive.  And yes, that caravan IS as incredible as it looks!

Elsa is one seriously talented photographer in her own right.  You can check out her gorgeous work here.  I'm also preettttty lucky that she lives around the corner and that play dates with our kids, coffees and chats are a regular thing for us.  

This Mumma-Daughter-Trio are some of my very favs, and this session is so pretty it's actually ridiculous!
 

Archie + Albie | Chalk + Cheese

Ok ok, I know I haven't blogged anything personal in FOREVER and that's because I am absolutely BRILLIANT at making excuses not to photograph anything beyond an iPhone snap.  I feel endlessly guilty about it but it's hard for me to get any motivation to pick up my camera when it's not for work!  I'm working on it. 

Today I was chatting to my dear friend and serious talent Isabel Bowden Photography, and she is the bomb.com at photographing her own family.  She inspires me!  While chatting to her I said - "I seriously suck at taking personal photos.  I really should.  Right now the light in my room is so pretty, I have the boys home, they're still in their pajamas..... oh OK!"  She said " DOOOO IT, "and I did!

Let me tell you something about these two. My Archie and his Albie.  Our boys.  They are two months apart in age.  They are the little guys in our blended family and they each fight daily for their spot in the pack.  Archie is wild and headstrong, while Albie is quiet and thoughtful.  They butt heads over EVERYTHING.  They dob.  They fight.  They cry and yell A LOT.  But, when one is at their other parent's house, they beg and plead to see each other.  They miss each other.  They really do love each other so much.

I am so glad they will always have each other.  As friends, as foes, and as brothers.