A quiet maternity milk bath - Vero Beach Milk Bath Photographer

No matter what advice you get before becoming a parent, there will always be things that will only ring true after you’ve had children.

One of those things, for me, is that life will never be quiet again. Sure, there will be moments of calm and the times when the little one(s) are sleeping. But your day and life, once you have a child, is never your own again. It is an offering to the most beautiful form of chaos. A cacophany of babbles, screams, laughter, cries, and singing. It’s a beautiful thing, to give life and nurture and be needed. But it can also be so. so. loud. (Can you tell I have a toddler and a preschooler?)

This is one reason I LOVE floral bath sessions. They are calm. They are quiet. They are a gift of relaxation to the mother to be (or the new mother during an herbal bath session).

A quiet maternity milk bath - Vero Beach Maternity Photograper - Ebb and Flow Photography

Momma-to-be sporting her magnificent tiger stripes, ready for her milk bath. So fierce.

A quiet maternity milk bath - Vero Beach Maternity Photograper - Ebb and Flow Photography
A quiet maternity milk bath - Vero Beach Maternity Photograper - Ebb and Flow Photography

Time spent reflecting on pregnancy and motherhood. Pressure off the feet, attempting weightlessness in the soothing warmth of the milk bath.

A quiet maternity milk bath - Vero Beach Maternity Photograper - Ebb and Flow Photography
A quiet maternity milk bath - Vero Beach Maternity Photograper - Ebb and Flow Photography

And flowers. How luxurious to be surrounded by flowers - quite literally. Feeling like a goddess instead of the Hindenburg? Sounds like heaven.

A quiet maternity milk bath - Vero Beach Maternity Photograper - Ebb and Flow Photography

And time to quietly contemplate birth affirmations. (Mug and temporary tattoo by The Oxytocin Emporium)

A quiet maternity milk bath - Vero Beach Maternity Photograper - Ebb and Flow Photography

Dreamy Walk along the Lagoon Maternity Session - Vero Beach Maternity Photography

Sometimes I can’t believe that this is my job.

Really.

I am beyond grateful that I get to be a storyteller with photography. And even more so when I have the opportunity to do it for others.

Life is constantly changing. Families growing, shifting around, ebbing and flowing. The chance I give families to hold on to a time in their lives - with all of them in the frame - is such a gift.

dreamy walk along the lagoon - vero beach maternity photographer - ebb and flow photography

This session is part of the story of how love made magic into reality.

dreamy walk along the lagoon - vero beach maternity photographer - ebb and flow photography

You can just see the love, excitement, and anticipation in these two.

dreamy walk along the lagoon - vero beach maternity photographer - ebb and flow photography

This adventuresome couple took me on a hike and showed me a hidden gem here on the Treasure Coast. A boardwalk that went on foreeeeeeever, lined by mangroves.

dreamy walk along the lagoon - vero beach maternity photographer - ebb and flow photography
dreamy walk along the lagoon - vero beach maternity photographer - ebb and flow photography
dreamy walk along the lagoon - vero beach maternity photographer - ebb and flow photography
dreamy walk along the lagoon - vero beach maternity photographer - ebb and flow photography
dreamy walk along the lagoon - vero beach maternity photographer - ebb and flow photography

See the love they have for eachother? Just radiating around the two of them and ready to welcome their newest addition.

dreamy walk along the lagoon - vero beach maternity photographer - ebb and flow photography
dreamy walk along the lagoon - vero beach maternity photographer - ebb and flow photography

A Cozy Motherblessing Cermony on a Chilly Day - Treasure Coast Maternity Photographer

Brie was pregnant for the first time and wanted to add a Mother Blessing to the list of things she could not miss out on for her first pregnancy.  I was happy to take this project on after attending my first mother blessing the year before.

I began by consulting with a few local doulas that had experience with mother blessings to see what to include and how the ceremony should flow. I hope that Brie knows how truly lucky she is to be honored so thoughtfully by a group of likeminded mothers. What a beautiful thing to be a part of and be connected through.

Motherblessing cermony - Ebb and Flow Photography - Treasure Coast Birth Photographer

I had a gooooooooorgous location picked out for her ceremony. A HUGE tree by the water that would provide shade and a beautiful backdrop. It was at a public park that often has birthday parties and events but I had never noticed the table by that tree before. I just knew it would be an amazing spot, secluded from the rest of the park, for her special day.

And as I pulled up early to set up... someone was camped out there. Quite literally. They were drying clothes on a line attached to their RV and taking up three parking spots. UGH. Please oh please there HAD to be another good spot.  I hunted around and thankfully there was, but not by the water or that amazing tree. However it was quiet enough and far enough away from other groups there that day that we could continue the celebration undisturbed.

Then I got out of my car.

And it was COLD out.  Sure, it was January. But it's Florida. And people that live in Florida put sweaters on when it's 70 degrees out. I think it was in the upper 50's. And breezy. So it wasn't horrible. But it wasn't really the let-the-babies-run-barefoot-in-the-grass weather I had been hoping for. 

That's ok. I brought tons of blankets. And the mother blessing will go on.

I spread the blankets out, overlapping one another, to create a seating area for us to gather on.

In the center I placed a tray filled with gifts of nature and gifts for the mother blessing. I had connected deeply with the ocean during my last birth so I brought shells I had collected during my pregnancy. The fabric I placed them on was a Wrapsody Furoshiki cloth in the Morgaine colorway: a breastfeeding mermaid as a blessing toward a happy breastfeeding relationship with her future child. Each item I brought or made for this was chosen mindfully.

Motherblessing cermony - Ebb and Flow Photography - Treasure Coast Birth Photographer

When people started arriving, we all put on headbands I had made. Brie got one with flowers that I had made. I filled it with baby's breath, another well wishing. And sealed it with a charm with the word BLESSED on it. The rest of us had smaller ones so we could all still be adorned, but Brie got the most magnificent one.

Motherblessing cermony - Ebb and Flow Photography - Treasure Coast Birth Photographer
Motherblessing cermony - Ebb and Flow Photography - Treasure Coast Birth Photographer

It did appear to have the wild beauty of a Pacific Islander leaf crown. This hula dance is all her.

Motherblessing cermony - Ebb and Flow Photography - Treasure Coast Birth Photographer

Once our small group was all there, we began with what I found the most touching part of the ceremony I had experienced before. We all went around in a circle and introduced ourselves as mother and/ or daughters of other mothers. So I would say, "I am Cory, mother to Taylor and Emmy, daughter to Rita, daughter to Laura, daughter to Genevieve." The mother being blessed gets to include baby-to-be in her introduction, finding connection with baby as well as others. Daughters in attendance, if they are old enough to participate in this introduction, are welcome to find their connection. I love this part, finding connection with the history of women birthing before us... it gives me goosebumps.

Motherblessing cermony - Ebb and Flow Photography - Treasure Coast Birth Photographer

Following the introductions, we sang a rythmic song that I was introduced to at the last ceremony I attended. Something to set the mood and remind us that we are natural beings, connected with the Earth on many levels. The girls played musical instruments as the women sang.

Motherblessing cermony - Ebb and Flow Photography - Treasure Coast Birth Photographer

Next, was our first gift to the mother. Flowers for her crown. Each one of us brought a flower. Whether we bought one at the store, picked one from our garden, or found one along the way. It was a gift to adorn her. Having the baby's breath on there first was like having a nest for the flowers to rest in. Gorgeous flowers to adorn a new mother, they are the quintessential analogy for birth. Blossoming, opening, unfurling... a beautiful treasure to behold when it opens all the way. And another wonderful thing is that she got to wear this crown to her maternity session the next evening.

Motherblessing cermony - Ebb and Flow Photography - Treasure Coast Birth Photographer

Another gift bestowed upon the mother was a necklace for her to wear during pregnancy and beyond. Each guest brought a bead that held a message or some form of sentiment, mother-to-mother or friend-to-friend. After we had each gone around in a circle and told our story of our bead selection, we threaded it onto the necklace and adorned her again with the final piece.

Motherblessing cermony - Ebb and Flow Photography - Treasure Coast Birth Photographer
Motherblessing cermony - Ebb and Flow Photography - Treasure Coast Birth Photographer
Motherblessing cermony - Ebb and Flow Photography - Treasure Coast Birth Photographer

Now, a Mother Blessing is NOT a baby shower. This is an opportunity to celebrate the Mother, and shower HER with care, love, wisdom, sisterhood... Foot massage, shoulder rub, manicure, pedicure, a potluck with her favorite foods, sharing positive birth stories to help her prepare, or any number of ways a mother to be could be lifted up during the final weeks of her pregnancy. Gifts, as I understand, are usually those that form connections between mother and the circle she has present at the mother blessing. Like the flowers or beads. I recently encountered Mother Salts. In which each mother brings her own salt or herbs to add to a mix. Each person adds to the mix and then receives a small batch of her own in addition to the Mother's share. Or candles. Guests can all bring a candle for the mother, which are lit during labor. OR the host distributes candles to all guests so that when the Mother goes into labor, they all light their candles. The candles stay lit until baby is born, a way to show unity and support during labor.

Motherblessing cermony - Ebb and Flow Photography - Treasure Coast Birth Photographer

Belly painting is another popular activity. I have seen beautiful colorful paintings created on a burgeoning belly. But my personal favorite is henna. Fortunately, I know a seriously talented artist that happens to be good with a tube of henna. Alexa of The Oxytocin Emporium, skillfully drew a mandala on Brie's belly as we colored and made birth affirmation banners.

Motherblessing cermony - Ebb and Flow Photography - Treasure Coast Birth Photographer
Motherblessing cermony - Ebb and Flow Photography - Treasure Coast Birth Photographer
Motherblessing cermony - Ebb and Flow Photography - Treasure Coast Birth Photographer
Motherblessing cermony - Ebb and Flow Photography - Treasure Coast Birth Photographer

By the time Brie's painting was done, everyone was chilly. So we wrapped up with the final parting ceremony: the binding ceremony. In this ceremony, a single, continuous thread is wrapped around the wrists of all that attend, starting and ending with the mother.

We sing as we become connected, "We are the flow, we are the ebb. We are the weavers, we are the web."

When the cord has completed it's circle and joined everyone together we acknowledge our connection. The cord is cut, making bracelets for everyone. The bracelets are to be worn until baby is born, another form of support and union among a circle of friends and mothers.

 

Motherblessing cermony - Ebb and Flow Photography - Treasure Coast Birth Photographer

Alexa, again, was the mastermind behind how stunning this binding ceremony was. She strung and tied beads along a long length of cord, then wrapped them onto a wonderful little knob of wood she had found.

We helped each other tie the bracelets, our last binding experience before we parted ways.

Motherblessing cermony - Ebb and Flow Photography - Treasure Coast Birth Photographer

I am so grateful to Brie, for allowing me this opportunity to grow and learn.

I am grateful to Alexa for bringing banners to color, a beautiful binding ceremony, and fantastic henna work.

I am grateful to Jenny for taking photos when my hands were busy.

I am grateful to Jen for bringing an assortment of musical instruments.

And I am grateful that my mother in law was visiting us at the time. She received the blessing of the herbal foot soak later that day that I wasn't able to do during the mother blessing.

#eafmaternity


New Here! - On Call Session for the first hours after birth - Treasure Coast Birth Photographer

I love documenting Birth Stories. Heck, I wouldn't do it if I didn't. And since becoming a business owner I've taken to the philosophy that if I don't have a HELL YAH feeling about something I don't pursue it. If I don't feel over the moon about my offerings or the work I'm providing for my clients then I'm not giving it my all and speaking with my heart. I'm not that kinda gal. No, ma'am. What I'm sharing with you here definitely fits into the hell yah category. And it gives me goosebumps to share with you. It's something new but so, so awesome.

So.  Even though birth photography is picking up more these days and has become much more prevalent on social media, not everyone is on board for having their own births photographed. I get it. Just because it's a thing doesn't mean it's your thing.

New Here - On Call Newborn Session - Ebb and Flow Photography - Treasure Coast Birth Photographer

Maybe you're more of a private person. Maybe you're more interested in the final product (um, a squishy and beautiful bundle of joy?!) than the process of birth itself. Maybe all the details of labor and delivery fade in comparison to the details of your baby, freshly born. All of those firsts in the first few hours can pass in a whirlwind. Foot prints, weighing, first time nursing, first skin to skin with another parent, first time meeting siblings. First diaper. First outfit. The list goes on.

And babies change so much in the first few days. They will never look BRAND new again. Not like they do in the first few hours.

This is why I am now offering a session I am calling New Here.

New Here - On Call Newborn Session - Ebb and Flow Photography - Treasure Coast Birth Photographer

So, what does a New Here session entail?

I will be on-call for you on the month surrounding your due date. Once baby is born I'll come within the first 1-5 hours to document your freshly born baby and all of those firsts. Your new or growing family taking in the wonder of this really real tiny thing that just entered the world. I'll be there for a few hours so everyone can take their time and there's no need to rush.

New Here - On Call Newborn Session - Ebb and Flow Photography - Treasure Coast Birth Photographer
New Here - On Call Newborn Session - Ebb and Flow Photography - Treasure Coast Birth Photographer
New Here - On Call Newborn Session - Ebb and Flow Photography - Treasure Coast Birth Photographer

So if you are considering having your next birth documented and are still on the fence this could be the option for you. You can check out my 10 reasons to hire a birth photographer if that helps, too.  A New Here session costs less than full Birth Story documentation since I'm not there for the hours leading up to the moment of birth. But it does cost more than the newborn sessions I offer simply because of the narrow window of timing. To be there for those first moments with you I'll be on-call and ready to go at a moment's notice any time of the day or night. Just to capture all of those sweet firsts for you and your growing family.

New Here - On Call Newborn Session - Ebb and Flow Photography - Treasure Coast Birth Photographer
New Here - On Call Newborn Session - Ebb and Flow Photography - Treasure Coast Birth Photographer

Ebb and Flow Birth Services: A Doula-Birth Photographer collaboration for Treasure Coast families

I first met Shaelyn at a birth and I instantly fell in love with her. As a person and as a doula.

Ebb and Flow Photography - Treasure Coast Birth Photographer - Shaelyn Toman Doula - Home Birth

It was hers and our client's first home birth, but you'd never be able to tell. The mood was set for relaxation among the calming essential oils puffing away in the diffuser she toted along and the flicker of tiny, battery-operated candles she spread about the equally tiny bathroom. The birth was precipitous and she was right where she needed to be every step of the way.

It was clear within minutes of meeting her that she was Born to Doula.

Ebb and Flow Photography - The Oxytocin Emporium - I believe in you and your ability to birth - lotus tee

A few months later she responded to a model call for a product photography session for The Oxytocin Emporium. She modeled like a pro in Alexa's gorgeous goods. BUT she stood out among all the models by helping. Even though she didn't have to. Even though it was never asked of her.  She's a helper. And she's the kind of person you'd want by your side in the brightest and darkest of times.  (pssst! she's also #badassmotherhelperPSL)

 

The Oxytocin Emporium - Doulas do the Hip Squeeze - Ebb and Flow Photography - Treasure Coast Small Business Photography

So when Shaelyn approached me earlier this year with the brilliant idea to collaborate our services I didn't even have to think. My answer was a flat out YAAAAAAAASSSSSS.

Within a week we had shared our first client.

Ebb and Flow Birth Services - Ebb and Flow Photography - Shaelyn Toman Doula - Treasure Coast Newborn Photographer - herbal bath

And so, Ebb and Flow Birth Services was born.

We put our heads together and came up with a cool collaboration to help our clients get the best of both of our services. Kinda like a one stop shop.

So. If you are looking for a doula AND a maternity, birth, or newborn photographer and love being REAL and RAW and EMPOWERED... go no further. We are here to make you feel beautiful and strong in this often vulnerable time in a new mother's life. We are here for YOU. 

Ebb and Flow Photography - Ebb and Flow birth services - milk bath - treasure coast maternity photographer