I recently took on a multimedia project for The Pregnancy Aid Center: a non-profit, community-based women’s health organization that provides services for low-income and uninsured women in the DC-metro area. It was a fortuitous pairing, not only because I was able to donate my time and creativity toward a worthy mission, but also given my longstanding interest in exploring the commonalities and differences of the maternal/parental experience across cultures, social groups, and socioeconomic divides.*
I had the privilege of speaking with and photographing a number of expectant mothers and their beautiful children during my time with PAC. I saw sonograms, heard fetal heartbeats, played with 3-week old triplets, and saw babies flutter kick in their mothers’ wombs. Many were women of color, many spoke other languages, many were born in Nigeria, or Latin America, or Jamaica, or elsewhere. At first, I felt, rather intensely, my positioning behind the lens. I grappled with how to reflect the beauty and nuance of their varied stories. As I combed through my images, though, I realized it wasn’t as complicated as I was making it. There was authenticity in the moments I had captured. Our exchanges had been short, but meaningful. And the story was already there: it was one of women helping women.
Below are a few of my favorite still images. Be sure and also check out the multimedia piece – my first go at video! – at http://www.pregnancyaidcenter.org/about/. Enjoy! xo
*(This interest dates back to my days at Mount Holyoke, which were dotted with anthropological research papers on surrogacy, in vitro fertilization, and the concept of “natural” motherhood; the distinctive marks of power and politics on women’s bodies; and the very Western understanding of mother-child in-utero bonding, to name a few. Okay, fine. I was/am a bit of a nerd.)