Meeting Taylor is equivalent to meeting a calm, quiet, force of nature. I learned very quickly that her power centered in a deep connection to herself and her body. This woman is grounded. Her feet are planted on the earth and she is intentional about her life and choices. So I can imagine a surprise pregnancy was a bit of a shock.
Photographing Taylor was an amazing experience. Her confidence inspired me - her beauty overwhelmed me. Her love of this beautiful unborn baby astounded me. I can't wait to watch her become a mother. I know she'll bring every once of calm strength she has to that child's life. She is the epitome of an empowering woman. I would nominate her for an empowerment portrait in a heartbeat. (Have you nominated an inspiring woman yet?)
Read Taylor's story below.
*** Caution - nudity ahead. But let's be cool. A woman's body is a stunning thing and I want to celebrate it every chance I get!
I was lying on the floor of my apartment listening to a guided meditation. The woman leading it said to, “focus on the aliveness in your pelvis”. In that instant, my entire body tingled. I suddenly had this overwhelming feeling that there was, indeed, aliveness in my pelvis. But more than one preventative measure had been taken and I was pretty sure the lady beast had paid me a visit the week before...so there was just NO way that could be possible.
No matter how many sticks I peed on the next morning, they all looked up at me with those two life-changing lines.
There was 14 hours before the baby’s father was going to board a plane to Africa, where he’d be doing PhD research for the next 1.5 years or so (for the record, he is incredibly supportive and returned early to join baby & I for keeps). I did 32 weeks of pregnancy solo. Completely squashing my all-natural, out-of-hospital birth plan and euphoric pregnancy fantasies were bleeding, a placenta previa, pelvic rest, a vasa previa and a velementous cord insertion that landed me in the hospital for 3 weeks of observation with a c-section delivery scheduled 5 weeks early. So, it's been wildly beautiful and horrible journey all at once.
But through this entire experience, there has been a consistent theme that I keep coming back to: women are f*ing strong. Hands down, it is the strength and presence of women in my life, childless and not, that has held me together these last 7 months. This pregnancy has revealed to me an obvious physical strength--like my body just knowing how to grow and nurture my son inside of it, deliver him through it, and then continue the process of growing and nurturing him outside of it.
But it has also revealed a mental and emotional strength that comes from surrendering to the unexpected and embracing it. There has been something holy and sacred in recognizing that strength and power of my body, mind and soul. All of it. From those very first tingles that told me, “hey, there’s someone happening in here” to the stitches that will soon adorn my abdomen...my body has done something incredibly powerful, and I wanted that captured.