And then there it was, a positive test.

cropped image of mother's arms cradling infant to chest. Portland, Oregon photography storytelling project

My pregnancy was not planned, but I'd wanted a child for a long time and didn't know if I'd ever have the chance to become a mother.

I'd been searching for a partner for years and experiencing disappointment after disappointment.

And then there it was, a positive test.

cropped image of pregnant person sitting on bed in portland, oregon. portland maternity photographer rushes and waves
pregnant person casually sits on their bed in the nude. portland, oregon in-home maternity photography rushes and waves
pregnant person sitting on their bed looks at camera for portrait. portland oregon

Going through pregnancy solo was difficult at times. It felt like the last phase in shedding the "Disney dream" of how things would go in my life, which was both heartbreaking and empowering. The changes in my body and my athleticism, a big part of my identity, without anyone telling me I was still beautiful, that meant it had to come from within.

cropped image of infant in diaper on mom's belly with c-section scar visible. portland, oregon photographer

I took these photos to honor that the sacrifices were worth it for my daughter, and that I was beautiful for being brave.

And yes part of me cringes when I see the photos because I am judging myself, but mostly I feel really proud.

infant in cloth diaper lays in mother's lap. portland, oregon family photographer rushes and waves
detail shot of infants fingers and lips. portland, oregon newborn photography session rushes and waves
detail shot of infant's belly button. portland, oregon documentary newborn photography
detail shot of newborns feet on mom's belly. portland, oregon birth photographer rushes and waves

Proud of my decision to have her.

Proud of my strength in carrying her.

And proud of my confidence that I can do anything - for both of us.

overhead shot of mother holding baby to chest skin to skin portland oregon newborn photographer rushes and waves

I will treasure these photos for capturing such a special moment in our lives.