A Mother's Dance: Northern Virginia Maternity Photographer

Yauri connected with me in December to discuss having her pregnancy and the birth of her fourth child documented. When I learned that she was a professional dancer and how passionate she is about self-expression through movement, I knew in my heart that dance would be infused into the keepsakes I was to create for her. And so our vision evolved into a casual but meaningful winter session portraying dancing as an artful tribute to motherhood and God's blessing of new life.

I asked Yauri to tell me a bit about the role of dancing in motherhood. Today, I'm honored to share excerpts of her beautiful writing with you, along with some image highlights from her maternity session:

I think of dance as communication. A way of storytelling. And so dancing--performing, taking classes, and teaching classes--means my movement and artistic voice comes from an even deeper place since I have become a mother. I believe it is a result of experiencing vulnerability during labor and giving birth, needing support through the labor process, and coming into my womanhood as I have become a mother. So my movement and dancing tells that story, too.
This is our fourth baby, and with every pregnancy, there is a specific rhythm each of our children has. I can feel it. I can name it. It becomes familiar, even after birth. Dance is certainly a way for me to grow closer to my baby. I have danced professionally throughout my pregnancies. Being able to perform while also growing and carrying a life, I have felt that my babies were dancing with me. I know what my body is capable of as a dancer and therefore I know what my body is capable of as a woman and a human being. I have confidence and I feel empowered throughout the labor process because I allow my body to do what it needs to do. 



An Open Letter to President Obama on His Last Day in Office

An Open Letter to President Obama on His Last Day in Office:

I remember that fine January morning in 2009, standing on the National Mall as the sun rose gloriously on the day of your inauguration. I was pregnant, and spent the hours before you appeared nudging my way through the crowds back and forth to the port-a-johns. We could see our breath in the frigid air, but we basked in the collective warmth radiating out of the hearts and smiles of the nearly two million of us who waited to welcome you. I asked my husband to lift me up to get a view of the crowd, and as I looked out across the sea of American flags and hopeful eyes, I felt the widest, proudest smile come across my face and a lump of gratitude form in my throat. I was simply honored to consider that the child I was carrying would know a black President in his lifetime.

The hope for what having you in office meant for people of color was my reason for showing up that day. All eyes and ears were glued to you as you accepted your role with appreciation and confidence. I glanced at faces around me and felt the most profound sense of unity, a memory that will never leave me. Back then, my heart did not know the President Obama that we know now. But I had heard whispers of the change, justice, and equality for which you stood...and that was all I needed to give you my blessing.

Then, over the months and years that followed, I fell in love with you and your family for all the security, hope, and kindness you showed in your words and deeds. For the ways that you handled even the most difficult of situations with humility and grace. For the respect you held for your responsibility as President. As your hair grayed, and as your daughters grew into young women, you walked the steady path without falter.

You captivated me with your speeches; words pouring forth from deep within your heart, whether celebrating good news, or in laying your hands on the bereaved. You made me laugh when you were not afraid to laugh at yourself. Your love for your wife made me want to love my own partner more fiercely.

I am proud and grateful that my three children were born during your time as President, and have only known you as our country's leader. You led by example, without scandal or corruption. Your sense of purpose was always clearly focused on the American people, proceeding with thoughtfulness and sincerity. Nothing was ever about your own personal benefit, and you were always quick to give credit where it was due. Politics aside, you are as decent a man as they come...and that is what I believe a President should be, first and foremost.

I am heartbroken to bid you farewell as our Commander-in-Chief, but on behalf of myself and my family, I want to thank you for your steadfast service to our country. You have touched the lives of so many with your leadership, inspiring the people of the United States even across party lines, each and every day until the very end. We are grateful for all the good that came out of your time at the White House. Our great President, you will be missed, but never forgotten.

{snapshots from the 56th inauguration}