When I learned about Deleigh’s series, Woman, I read her dedication and I nearly stopped in my tracks.
Stephanie’s side of the story:
As a “hit the floor, running” kind of woman, and mother of 3 sons ages 1-8, I recently suffered a serious medical predicament that had left me bedridden, unable to speak, and with horrific nausea & left side paralysis. My symptoms were temporary, a 30 day prognosis was given and each day my symptoms subsided little by little.
There were days I would yell out in pain & days I could barely move.
I am so deeply lucky and blessed to be mobile and speaking now, and I jumped at the opportunity to be a part of Deleigh’s empowering and celebratory series!
This is for you, Deleigh, and the mother that you may some day become.
Breastfeeding my three children over the course of the past 8 years has been a journey, adventure, learning experience, and one of the ever-lasting and truly nourishing ways I could express my love to my children.
To my boys, Jaden, Bryce, and Wyatt, I pray you encourage the women in your life to breastfeed their babies and may you always protect and honor the woman nursing her young in public. You know…. The one struggling to keep her nursing cover over her baby’s head while baby flails around crying and screaming as onlookers stare & whisper. Because my love, that was me. Eventually, we just tossed the cover. A happy, well-fed baby was more precious and important to me than judgey eyes and whispers. Jaden, Bryce, and Wyatt, for all the cuddly nights and early mornings. The struggle, the tears, the solitude. For trusting me and loving me regardless…this is for you.
To my husband, who never batted an eye when I told him I absolutely, hands-down 100% HAD to nurse our babies…and all you did was smile and say, “I trust you, mommy knows best.” What a relief it was to not have to persuade, push, or fight you to simply FEED MY BABIES naturally, the way I wish all women were supported to do so! Thank you Brett. This is for you.
To my mother, who fed her 4 children (and their friends and their friends…) all so abundantly and probably waited until we were fast asleep to even take a cold, stale, bite herself. Thank you for introducing us to cultural and incredible food…Peruvian, Lebanese, Japanese, and of course all the southern comfort foods…Mom, this is for you.
Deleigh, I’m so honored to be a part of your series. You have a warmth about you that I will remember for my entire life. You empowered me to show you what held value in my life and I hope that by looking back on the images of the beauty of feeding my child, somehow in someway I fed you.
My side of the story:
I worked with stephanie many years ago and I still remember her laugh and wholesome aura she emits. Recently, I saw that she had won Mrs. Texas Galaxy. I had no clue that she did pageants so I reached out to her and congratulated her. Whilst catching up, I learned she didn’t normally compete but she decided to enter on a whim. She won the Austin round, then she won the Texas round. I thought this was amazing in and of itself. Knowing she did this with three children, really inspired me. I thought she would be a perfect candidate for my series, Woman.
Stephanie, this is for you.
I know that motherhood is as trying as it is rewarding. I hold a deep respect for all of the mothers, as they are forever indebted to their children and will do everything in their power to make their children happy and safe. As much as mothers do for their children, I think that it is equally important for mothers to be able to make time for themselves.
When I asked Stephanie if she wanted to be apart of my woman series, she excitedly said yes. We had a meeting set up on a Tuesday to catch up and talk about the shoot. Come Monday, I checked in to see if our meeting was still on and she told me no, that she had something terrible happen: she couldn’t speak and had paralysis. I was stunned and heartbroken.
The following week, I wrote her to see how she was doing. She said that her paralysis had subsided and she could speak better than she had been able to the week prior. To my surprise, she was still up for the shoot! This lady- so amazing! She told me she wasn’t going to let that stop her from doing what she wanted. Later that day, she had a dress and a place set up to do the shoot, I was blown away! Arthouse Austin was the perfect place. It is a small boutique with vintage furniture and run by a lovely woman, Jennifer, (who is a mother of 4).
It was a very emotional shoot for me. While Stephanie was breastfeeding her son in her big pink dress and Mrs. Texas Galaxy crown, I was tearing up at the beauty of it all. She reminded me of Mother Mary with a babe held in her arms so loving and pure. Watching the bond between the two was refreshing and something very special. A mother of three providing such precious nourishment and love while still following her dreams was so inspiring to me. I hope that with this photo session she can feed other women’s desires to strive for their dreams and goals as well. I also hope that Stephanie can look at this moment for the rest of her time and be reminded the statement she made here, stand tall for what you believe in. Thank you so much for being apart of this series, it was such an honor and it is a moment in time that I will not forget.
Stephanie started a parent group that is called, Rattan Creek Tots, because her previous mom group asked her to not come back because she was a working mother. You can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org for details. This is a non discriminatory parent group that welcomes single parents, working parents, dads, and LGBT parents as well.