Artfull Mother Magazine Fall 2017

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Table of Contents Monet’s Birth Story & Photos


4th Trimester 7 Boulder Medical Center


Sage Birth & Wellness


Tandem Nursing 15 Mother and Artist


The Bond Project


Creative Director’s Words The scent of Fall is encroaching a little more with each morning’s cool breeze, the sun rising later and the the shades of green in grass and trees are replaced bit by bit with fall’s yellows and golds. This year’s summer mamas and babies have moved on, each to their next steps. Now the Fall family stories- it’s finally their turn; hopes and dreams, ripening in a mama’s belly. I really love my job, I do less than fabulous stuff happily, thinking of the time I’ll be sitting with a first time mom who I am just meeting, or a “return customer” with baby number 2, 3 or 4 on the way!


I never get tired of the meeting new mamas and hearing their stories, their optimism for the future; I truly enjoy the company of these women. Baby time is a special time which traditionally has drawn women together to share what is going on, tips and tricks, comforting, congratulations and our hopes and dreams. I hope that Artfull Mother adds to your circle of women, sharing Joy in some small way. I am trying something new, a fun gift for you or that crafty someone you know, who’d love this! I’ve pulled together 12 of my favorite Henna Doodles, printed on a 5x8 ‘Affirmation Card’ plus 12 color

Henna Style Stickers. Perfect for gifts, each set of “Henna Style Affirmation Cards” come in a “Henna Style” envelope! You can pick them up on my website: . I am having a few more contests and giveaways, check me out on Instagram and Facebook, please take a peek and let me know what you think! This Fall Issue has some touching art, interesting articles and stories. The cover story is near and dear to my heart for a few reasons; I made a good connection with the cover model who inspired the Tandem Nursing piece. We celebrate nursing mamas, double ~ for those

Photo by

who have more than one child to nurse. Mothering is challenging all by itself, allowing each mother the space to feed her child, in the way she chooses, or must fed them, in public or otherwise, large or small, I support a mother’s choice in nourishing her child. This season’s installment of the “4th Trimester” features a conversation I had with Sanjana, a woman who I adorned while she was pregnant. She came back when her son was a couple months old to share her experience. We talked about the importance of family and connection to one’s roots as well as getting support when you need it.

We have some wonderful art in this issue: Monet Nicole’s work never fails to satisfy; her piece for “Mark and Phylicia” convey feeling and sense of experience- these photos are a must see. In another piece a Mama asks on Facebook, “Is it possible to be a mother and an artist?” which is the lead into some great conversation on the topic and some great example pages from Jessica’s Journal. Our friends and long time supporters, Boulder Medical Center (BMC), checked in with some great news! They are expanding their services into Longmont where they are opening a new clinic in the same medical complex as Longmont United Hospi-

Rob Butterworth!

tal, as well as exclusively delivering at the LUH “BirthPlace” where they are doing more VBACs and natural style births. And last but not least, a nice piece called “Collective Wisdom” is about a ‘tribe’ of birth practitioners who really care for new and expectant mamas, “Sage Birth & Wellness.” These women bring a menu of healing, care and pampering (as in Henna Pampering) to pregnant women, North of Denver. As you can see, this is a pretty exciting season for Artfull Mother with some touching stories and useful information~ come on in and enjoy! 2

When I met Mark and Phylicia, they brimmed with excitement and anticipation. We talked about birth. We talked about good food. We laughed. A lot. They couldn’t wait to meet their baby, and I couldn’t wait to capture it. I knew that their birth story was going to be a special one.

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Phylicia went into labor and worked through contractions for over a day before we all met up at Mountain Midwifery in the early hours of the morning. When I walked into the room, Phylicia exuded strength and beauty. She was still laughing, 8 cm and ready to meet her baby. She got into the tub and Mark joined her soon after. Her contractions were strong and consistent and before long...we were pushing. Her baby’s head began to crown and her midwife decided that the bed was the safest place for Phylicia and Mark to meet their baby. Within seconds of moving from tub to bed, baby Scout was born! She went right to her mama’s chest, with her dad cradling them both from behind. So much love. So much joy. So much beauty.


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Shown here in her 3rd timeser, Sanjana soaks up the morning sun. See more of her pregnancy photos on SarahKate’s Blog

4th Trimester - Sanjana a cultural connection, a family connection Originally from India,

Sanjana and her husband wanted to keep that special connection with their extended families back in India by raising their children to be bilingual and speak their family’s native language. Sanjana says it’s one of the things she’s most proud of in her mothering journey. “It’s important to communicate in one’s native language; it passes on cultural heritage, and some things only make sense in their language of origin.” Family is very important in their lives, and they travel to visit home as often as possible. Sanjana’s mother was at her side for the birth of her grandson; she went home after the little one was 21 days old. Sanjana’s husband’s mother came shortly after and stayed to help for several weeks. Soon, when his mother is ready to go, her mother will return to assist with the baby.

“We take our mom’s help whenever we can!” When her new baby was colicy, she turned to family for help; advice

from grandmothers on both sides of her family advised she start drinking a special tea, to avoid cold things, and lemon. Her family & her culture helped her to get through it!

which was extremely tough on her as a new mom. While breastfeeding, she would read Kelly Mom’s blog for inspiration. La Leche meetings were a wonderful resource as well.

Sanjana’s Journey Advice to give yourself:

Sanjana’s online Mom Connections, She Likes:

Patience is the one word of advice Sanjana would give her younger self if she could.

“Every day is so different, you really can not plan. Just set that expectation that it’s okay, have a little more patience, try and do it again.” Accomplishments I’m proud of: Nursing her first child for a full year is something Sanjana is most proud of. It was challenging because a lot of people tried to talk her out of it. “You need a constant reminder that you can do it!”

Challenges Overcome:

Her challenges included mastitis

Baby Center emails have been helpful as well as their forums. Kelly Mom Blog is a great source of inspiration. Sanjana also belongs to several moms groups on Facebook which she feels have been so helpful - especially the local groups. However, many of these have become secret groups due to the large numbers of women applying to join versus the number of admins. My advice is to join a local, open moms group and introduce yourself. Ask the moms in it what other groups they are a part of so that you can be invited into these secret groups if they are a fit for you. 8

Sanjana’s biggest advice: “Be on the lookout for a lactation consultant. If you can during delivery, ask that they help you as much as they can, find a position that’s comfortable for you. But even if you are going home and you do not get it, that’s completely fine, ask for help. The lactation consultant at the hospital or local community would be the first to go to. Nobody really thinks before they have a baby that this could be a problem, and it can be a big problem!” Nursing her first child for a full year is something Sanjana is most proud of. It was challenging, because a lot of people tried to talk her out of it.

“You need a constant reminder that you can do it!”






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Collective Wisdom

Some wise women in the Lyons, Longmont, and Boulder Birth community began imagining a group of practitioners working together to better serve the community of women in our area. A tribe of practitioners with a common philosophy: starting with women’s wellness, through conception, birth and postpartum care, to provide this type of supportive care to mamas and their families on this journey.

“I want to serve women in this way and in this capacity. I feel a really strong bond with the birthing community and fellow birth workers.” Amy Meilen

Enter Sage Birth & Wellness Collective Sage Birth & Wellness Collective vision was conceived and birthed last fall by Lyons mama Amy Meilen, with a vision of serving new & expecting mothers, especially in the area NORTH of Denver. Her vision included care practitioners such as doulas (prenatal, birth & postpartum), chiropractic care, acupuncture, ayurvedic, lactation consulting, massage, placenta encapsulation, mama yoga, and of course, pregnancy henna - belly art. With the idea of providing the very best care, we work closely with area midwives and OB/GYN offices to ensure that birthing women in all stages of pregnancy and postpartum are aware of services that could aid and assist them to have a healthier pregnancy, an easier birth, and a “4th trimester” that is rich with information on nutrition, ceremony, full recovery and relishing the role of parenting—whether it is your first child or you’re continuing to build your family. Sage has something for you! 13

Meet the founding member of SAGE, Amy Meilen Amy Meilen, PT, CD(Dona), birth and postpartum doula, CBE, hippotherapy, ceremonialist Photo by Sarah Boccolucci Meet Amy Meilen: It’s amusing how often a person’s calling isn’t always obvious! Amy had used birth doulas for all 4 of her births, but didn’t consider doing any doula work herself until her best friend became pregnant. Purely as an effort to support her friend, she took a doula certification class and told the group, “I’m not here to become a doula, I’m here to learn what I can so I can support my friend during her birth.” By the end of the class, she knew she had found her calling.

tum hippotherapy are reporting real changes in their posture, breath and core strength. Trained by Lynn Leech, Amy expanded her physical therapy to the pelvic floor needs of pregnant and postpartum women. Starting in a “Red Tent” space, designed to feel safe and welcoming for one-on-one appointments to make both internal and external adjustments, she then takes the mama out on a horse to make the rehab part of her practice really fun and engaging. There is something about being outside on a living, breathing creature that brings a new element into women’s healing - a kind of magic.

Amy had spent over 20 years developing her hippotherapy practice, using horses as therapy tools for children, with neurodevelopmental/ neurodegenerative diseases. It was an epiphany to use her hippotherapy Read more about the members’ work to help postpartum mamas skills in the collective: and it was an easy transition. Mamas who have come for postpar-

Members of Sage Birth & Wellness Collective: Amy Meilen, PT, CD(Dona), birth and postpartum doula, CBE, hippotherapy, ceremonialist

Jill Skelly, CD(Dona), birth, post-

partum, sibling and overnight doula, placenta encapsulation

Janine Mason, birth doula, yoga instructor, reiki practitioner, CBE

Betsy Zink, birth and postpartum

doula, grief and loss doula, CLC, CBE Photo by Erika Elizabeth

Emily Manelius, birth and post-

partum doula, yoni steam practitioner, Herbalist

SarahKate Butterworth, henna artist, photographer, muralist

Tekla Cook-Ayers, Reiki, placenta encapsulation

Radha Schwaller, Certified

Ayurvedic Educator & Practitioner, Chef, CMT and Postpartum Doula

Tara Faith-Brockman, Acupuncturist and Chinese herbalist

Chelsea Renee, Licensed Massage Therapist & Herbalist

Jessica Finegan-Brun, Lactation Consultant

Meet another member of SAGE: Radha Schwaller, Certified Ayurvedic Educator & Practitioner, Chef, CMT and Postpartum Doula. Radha offers a mixture of Ayurveda, art therapy, birth work, sound healing, and energy work to create a healing journey. “I became interested in working with mamas after my oldest daughter was born in 2000. I realized how powerful of an experience it was to have a natural childbirth and feel 100% supported by my birth and postpartum team and so I wanted to help mamas have a similar experience. In 2001 I began studying holistic health, beginning with reiki, aromatherapy, herbs, massage therapy

and Ayurveda. I wove it all together to bring these simple and potent healing modalities to mamas. I offer body therapies, nutritional, energetic and herbal therapies from Ayurveda. Everything I offer is very nourishing to the body, mind, and spirit. This nourishment assists mamas’ connection to their truth so they can mother in the way that feels in alignment with them and not get led astray and overwhelmed by the world. I know when you’re centered as a mom, there is nothing truer than the mother’s intuition. “When mamas are centered and have tools that allow for the intuition to deepen, then mothering is easier and more natural.” 14


I first met Astrid while interviewing potential models for a breastfeeding henna/photo project I was working on. I hadn’t even met her yet, but knew I had to when she mentioned “Tandem Nursing” and being a midwife in her introduction. I really wanted to hear more about her experience, as I am sure my readers would too! It was an obvious choice to for Astrid to breastfeed her first child Hazel. However, when she became pregnant with her second, nursing was much harder than she anticipated. “I was so nauseous, every moment of every hour until she was born, sometimes I had a hard time making sense of simple things.” As a midwife and a strong advocate for natural birth and breastfeeding, she had watched many women work through the challenges of breastfeeding. Fully intending to nurse through her pregnancy, even when it became quite painful, Astrid continued, for her child and because the repercussions of stopping were too much to add into her life at that point. “Each day I prayed for 7 PM to come so I could go to bed.” Then one day at age 3, Hazel said, “Mommy, I’m going to stop nursing now, because it’s hurting you so much.” and she stopped. Five more months of pregnancy passed and Runa was born. “I told Hazel that she could have mama’s milk again now that the baby was here, thinking it wouldn’t work. I was banking on the fact that most kids forget how, and I assumed we were done nursing,” said Astrid. “So we waited 3 or 4 days so baby Runa could get the colostrum. Then Hazel started nursing again, no problem at all; she just latched right on like she had never stopped!” The next year of tandem nursing was a journey of challenges & love. Hazel nursed after lunch and before bed, with extra times if she got hurt or was upset. Feeding them together was so cute and sweet, Hazel was so loving with her baby sister, caressing her face, 914 holding her hand, and smiling so sweetly at16 67

little Runa while they nursed together. “These were very special moments of tenderness between them that I’ll cherish forever.” Breastmilk is not only food, it soothes feelings and I believe aids in physical healing, as well. When Hazel broke her arm by accident, “I was so glad she was nursing then; in addition to calming and maybe even helping with the pain, I felt it helped her bone’s healing process. I knew intuitively, breastfeeding at that point was a good thing for Hazel, that it was the right thing, nursing was emotionally soothing for her, helping her through the pain and difficulty of breaking her arm.”

Breastfeeding in the public stink eye Astrid had little doubt she was doing the right thing for her family; she was comfortable tandem nursing at home and around friends and family. Surprised at how uncomfortable she felt nursing them both in public opened her eyes. Astrid was never overtly shamed for breastfeeding her children in public, but the looks she got made it clear to her just how far out of this “culture’s normal” what she was doing really was. Tandem nursing at home or nursing behind closed doors, underneath a sheet or in a public restroom, is not normalized, it’s still hidden. Even strong, educated women like Astrid can be intimidated; it is such a vulnerable time, it’s not hard to understand why so many women feel they must go to these lengths. 17

“As a supporter of breastfeeding, I have been out in public with my 3 or 4-year-old, and found myself saying, ‘We only nurse at home now.’” Astrid goes on to say, “We didn’t nurse in public after age 4 because I was uncomfortable. This was surprising to me; I’ve felt comfortable nursing my babies, but older children in this culture, well, it’s so out of the norm. Yet nursing our children, for as long as they need it, is so valuable for them and rewarding as a parent.” I think about women who don’t have the knowledge, support, trust or experience to stand up for themselves and how such negativity could be enough to have them stop early or not nurse their babies at all. If these things are going to change, it’s the moms who are doing the “front line” work to normalize it. Astrid felt that she may have to decide to wean Hazel, her older daughter, who was at age 4 still enjoying nursing very much. Astrid hopes to nurture the fond memories of this sweet time, avoiding feelings like it was too short, long or uncomfortable. So while Hazel was 4, Astrid told her when she turned 5, she would be all done nursing. “I am glad we did this, tandem nursing was well worth the effort to share such tender moments.” The photos in this piece are special because they were taken just before Hazel’s 5th birthday.

Astrid Grove currently lives in the Colorado mountain town of Nederland with her husband, her two daughters, two cats and six chickens. Her passion lies in facilitating and supporting women’s empowerment through midwifery, hands on healing, plant medicine and sacred ceremony. She also organizes an annual women’s herbal gathering. Go to: www. to learn more.


Is it possible to be both a mother and an artist?

Reading Facebook, this question popped up, “Is it possible to be both a mother and an artist?” I stopped and thought why would she ask that? I really wanted to know more about this mama and how she was dealing with this issue. It turns out, Kate was a writer and lived near by, so we we met for coffee one afternoon. She revealed her creative frustration: her deep devotion for her baby girl mixed with her pull to create art. Kate shared: “I felt very much a creative person and an artist in my early life and it went underground for my 20’s. When I got pregnant, the creative energies really came out and I couldn’t stop. Having my baby was the most profound inspiration, a lightning bolt, because she really lit me up! I knew exactly what to create and I had this beautiful child to care for - she was both the source of my creative energy and an obstacle to actually getting it done. I had to get comfortable with the decreased speed which things get created. Sometimes I feel creatively frustrated… I’ve found blocking off time in my calendar to write is what works best for me. I still haven’t found a way to be in the flow with my book while I am still mothering. I think about it, but I don’t work on it much right now. I think it’s so important to be present when I am mothering; it’s an amazing source of inspiration, being with her. Not missing this time, when she is so sweet, is what I’m glad I’m getting into my head.”

Mom Guilt is real - creating art can feel like a selfish pleasure - especially when our children are babies & need us so much. Here’s what Kate’s friends told her to encourage her in her process:


Since becoming a mother, then a single mother, I have found it soooo challenging to have balance with all the things that I’m trying to pull off. I am doing it, but I often feel like I am winging it vs. doing things & living life with more intention, focus, energy & ease, like I did pre-motherhood. I’m very aware that this is only a stage & my 3 year old will continue to grow & get more independent & therefore I’ll have more too. I know that I’m doing the best that I can right now & I have to be satisfied & content with that--as much as I can. My practices have become more important than ever, even though I don’t always have as much time for them as I’d like. I crave & long for moments of solitude, meditation, baths, lounging, journaling, check-

ing in with myself & simply just being. I hear you girl. -Stefanie Greenleaf, a Boulder mom Yes! As a creative entrepreneur and musician, all around artistic person and mother of a 10 year old, I’m here to tell you that it is possible. I have found it essential though, to admit the reality of what’s important to me, and eliminate what is not. I play my harp every day and have had a fulfilling creative career (on and off) for 10 years now, while homeschooling my daughter. I have a lot of help in my household and that makes all the difference. The keys for me have been time management, boundaries with other people, and delegation. I spend hours in my calendar each week, scheduling in my time sit-

ting at my harp, my writing time, etc. I delegate 15-20 hours of week of housework to a helper, and I say no to friend and family invitations regularly...a lot...(even when it’s edgy). It took me years to figure out what to delegate, what to say no to, and how to manage my time. Be patient and don’t give up! -India Rose, a Longmont Mom Yes. And not easy. But if you want ityes. Support. Boundaries. Intention. God. Allowing imperfect mothering. Allowing imperfect art. Trusting that there are seasons for all of it- and showing up every damn day and doing your best in both realms over and over and over again. -Katie Wise, a Lafayette Mom

During her pregnancy and 1st year as a mom, Kate found new ways to express her creativity. She still meets with the women she connected with in her Sacred Pregnancy group. In this series of “creative gatherings” lead by Erin Witbeck, Kate recognized how important ritual is to her and as a creative outlet which she shares with her mama friends. “My favorite thing was all the support: it wasn’t clinical, it was so therapeutic! It was creative, fun and super meaningful. Erin had us writing warrior tattoos on each other, wearing big flowery crowns while we made healing bath salts… More than “a craft,” it’s community, women creatively supporting each other. After the series was over, we kept it going.”

Dance is a powerful outlet; Kate and I actually met years ago at a regular dance in Boulder, Gypsy Nation. Her intense birth and postpartum journey were strong physical experiences and she turned to dance as part of her healing. “I’ve always danced and I‘ve really felt held in the dance. The postpartum time is such an altered state. I had pretty major trauma and shock, and dance was the one of the biggest healings for me. Going to Movement Mass and expressing the pain that I was in, and how strange it all was for me was so wonderful. To express everything I had in my body and consciousness, to let the pain and creative energy flow through my dance was an outlet I’m so grateful for.”

The next several pages show the gorgeous art journal belonging to Jessica Goodson, a Boulder mom.

Part 2: Another Artist Mom shares her ways Later I spoke with Jessica Goodson, another artist friend of Kate’s, and heard her perspective on her first year of being both a mother & artist. Her birth was not what she was expecting

and her entry into motherhood was rough. When I asked her about being both an artist and a mother she said:

absolutely (it is possible to be a mother and an artist). I think that it takes a lot of effort to carve out time, especially when you’re tired at the end “My take is if it’s important to you, of the day or sometimes all day. I de-




veloped an art practice and had decided it was important, I didn’t want to let that go.

“Often in the beginning, I was by myself, caught out with him asleep for an hour in the car, and I wasn’t using my time very well just looking at my phone. So I started bringing a sketchbook with me. It’s a relaxing meditative thing I can do. Sometimes he sleeps and I have a long time, and sometimes it’s really really quick and I do what I can to capture moments. He’s the impetus to keep me going. I find myself working and I know that I can come back to this later and develop it more. When the time is right they can become more serious works of art.

So a lot of these things were what got me through the first 6 weeks, I had to tell myself, ‘You’re going to get through it.” 22

“In the beginning my art was really more about self care. I just had a lot of anxiety after he was born and a lot of hormonal changes that were out of my comfort zone - really foreign.

A lot of what I did in this book was really about calming myself down when I felt out of control. It just felt so new and different, so I did sketches of Alder, sketches of myself, just writing to settle, so it almost became self-care-coping in a way. I felt like I wasn’t working at all, but I was working differently, a 5 to 10 min sketch instead of hours in the studio. My practice has become more efficient and it’s less about completing work and more about keeping momentum going.

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At some point I will have more time, so this could be something more. All of this was done in the first year and I didn’t think I was doing anything, and then one day I flipped

“I bought the doll, but this was inspired from the onesie and some sketches that I did, so I used that as the jumping off point with all these nautical tattoos. He was 3 months old when he wore it. So I kind of use him as an inspiration too. This is how our creativity comes out: OH! I could make this for Alder! It justifies it!”

back through my sketchbooks and realized, okay, I am finding my ways.” “It takes time, don’t expect a whole lot, there has to be a lot of self compassion because it’s never going to look the way it did before. Your working style really has to adapt. It’s more about having that outlet, that practice, building some momentum, it’s just a little something for yourself. It doesn’t have to be this perfect thing with this perfect work space.” Jessica Herman Goodson is a full time mama, mixedmedia artist and maker of books living in Boulder, CO. Enamored with all things paper, she spends her time collecting bits of flotsam and jetsam, making pictures with her trusty Diana camera, carving stamps, sewing on paper, and fitting it all into her visual journals. See more of her artwork in the books: Real Life Journals, No Excuses Art Journaling, Map Art Lab, as well as the upcoming A World of Artist Journal Pages. Jessica shares her visual journaling practice on her blog, 25



Samantha Jessup’s

The Bond Project,

strives to support and lend understanding to moms feeding their babies; those who are breastfeeding, as well as those who cannot or choose not to breastfeed, and those who supplement with formula or donor milk. Samantha’s passion and understanding on this subject is best experienced by reading the stories and viewing her photos of these mothers. Delany and baby Roman fought hard

in their NICU stay to begin their breastfeeding journey together. But once they got started, they have built a beautiful and lifelong bond. No one can say that their troubles are forever over, but they have done everything they can to continue on. And now, over a year and a half later, they are still working together and little Roman is a terrific, sweet little boy!

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After a whirlwind of calm, pain, and pushing for hours you did it! Your baby is earthside and they have placed your wet, wrinkly baby on your chest. Your heart swells with relief and love for this tiny baby in your arms. You decided a long time ago that you were going to give breastfeeding a try and now this, this is the moment of truth. The breast crawl has begun and your little baby finds it and latches on with no worries at all! Another sigh of relief as you had done so much research about all of the complications that could have happened, and so far, so good! One of the best feelings in the world, when you get everything you wanted in your birth and in the beginning of breastfeeding. Then come all of the little quirks that your baby does while nursing. Does he insist on having his fingers in your mouth? Does she refuse to nurse unless she is holding your finger? How does he tell you when he is ready to nurse? Does she get a huge grin on her face when she knows it’s boob time? How about when they get a little older, how long did it take before your tiny babe wanted to practice some gymnastics while nursing? That is a fun time in a nursing journey. All of the little things that our babies do, from day one until the last day they nurse are moments to be remembered and cherished.


Every family has a different story, from how they became a family, to the way they were able to have kiddos (or not), and so on. Their nourishment journey is always just as different. Some

mamas believe they were called to nurse their little babes, while others know they never even wanted to try and others were never able to. The bond project was created to share every difference in this journey and celebrate the idea that fed is best! Now, August is Breastfeeding Awareness month so every year, in conjunction with The Bond Project, we share 31 stories of babies who are given breastmilk in some form. This year, we were able to share some stories with a lot of difficulties along the way, as well as a family who adopted their beautiful kiddos and even both families involved in a surrogacy birth to bring a family together. All of these stories are incredibly powerful and I am always amazed at the amount of love we as mothers, as women, have for children. Moving forward I will always love the sessions where we celebrate the breastfeeding relationship, but I would also love to share more stories where breastmilk was not the best, or simply didn’t work out. The photo sessions will be just as gorgeous because they will become mainly mommy and me sessions! Please consider sharing your story on the blog, as a breastmilk family, formula family or any combination! I welcome you all! .................................................... Samantha Jessup, a mother in Arvada and a regular contributor has these 31 stories up right now on her Blog as well as many others ! Check Her Out @ home/day-one-my-arvadabreastfeeding-journey