My journey to parenting also coincided with a personal project I started over 20 years ago as I was just learning my craft. Conception is about alternative families in this era. This idea for a gallery show and fine art coffee table book and maybe even a documentary actually merges both my creativity and the way I became a mom. It is my personal story of starting a family without a significant other in a new era that accepts that family is no longer defined by marital status, race, religion or even gender. It is also a socially current topic that covers the new normal in what is a family. The only requirement is one adult with a need to nurture a child.
As a single mom by choice becoming a parent was not an easy journey but through soul searching and intense observation I realized that becoming a mother was about my need to nurture another human being. Nurture by definition means helping someone grow up to be an accepted member of the community, to educate; to bring or train up, the environmental influences that contribute to the development of an individual. I write this post with a heavy heart but also knowing that I am doing just that, nurturing a wonderful little boy on his way to becoming an independent self-sufficient creative member of society.
He turned 11 on Christmas day and recently informed me he no longer has play dates, now his friends get together and just hang. He no longer responds back to our ritual sign off “Too the Moon and Back” with the repeat of those same words. Instead I get a “Whatever” or just a sarcastic UMPH when I say it as he leaves for school in the morning or when he goes to bed at night. My baby is becoming a little man, entering the tween years and attempting to create the big boy he wants to be by discarding the very things that make him my baby.
Yes, I definitely feel like I have been stabbed in the chest by his sudden snubbing of my mothering. I know I will survive this rejection. You see, I had a life before he was born and have always pursued my own passions. In fact early in my journey to becoming a mom someone very wise said to me that I should always let my son know who I was before motherhood and let him see how passionate I am about my career. I welcome his rebuffing as a healthy passage for a well-nourished child and see it as a reflection of raising him in an atmosphere of independence and creativity.
I am also grateful for that wise woman who told me not to forget who I was on my journey as a mom. I am first and foremost Jake’s mom, but I am also a prolific artist with a career in photography. I continue to pursue my dreams and have incorporated my journey as a mother into my vision of who I am as a photographer. In fact as my son starts discovering who he will be, I have reached back to who I want to be as a fine art photographer and a visionary that has some social context to her images.
As my little boy exalts his independence and I become just his chauffeur and short order cook he sees a person who continues to pursue their passion. As I mourn the passing of this phase of motherhood, I welcome the next as his growth reminds me that I too have to grow independently and pursue the next phrase of my life. I want Conception to be a visual body of work that inspires others to embrace the change in what we consider family and at the same time confirm that my son knows that being his mom was about nurturing another human to be the best he can be in this ever changing world…
Award-winning photographer, Sue Barr, has been capturing the extraordinary moments of children and families for close to two decades. She started shooting kids and families in their natural environments long before it in vogue and continues to do it for a wide variety of clients. Connect with Sue Barr and stay up-to-date on the progress of Conception:
Facebook page for Conception
Facebook page for Sue Barr Photography
Advertising and Editorial Website: http://www.suebarr.com
Portrait & Lifestyle Commissions, Events and Headshots: http://www.suebarrphoto.com
Image Source: All photos are the author’s own.