What a humbling experience it has been to become a mother. Being a photographer that documents so much of motherhood and family life has been such an honor and gift to me since my humble beginning in the Fall of 2014, and becoming a mother myself has given me such a new perspective for this little business of mine.
Many don’t know this, but the week I started Courtney Malone Photography, I was actually pregnant, however I did not know it at the time. I have had a love for photography since I was a teenager, and felt the ache to pursue it further for years before I truly took action and made progress toward my goals. There was a constant whisper in my ear to do something with this passion, and a strong feeling in my soul that I should document families and children. And so on a sunny November day, I made the decision – Courtney Malone Photography was born.
My first week in business, I conducted nearly a dozen mini sessions over the course of a weekend, and my soul was ignited. I knew that I was on my way to building something special, and that I was headed down the right path with this passion for families and children. It was one of the craziest, but most fun weekends and I loved every family and little one I got to meet.
The Monday after that weekend I took a pregnancy test. It was positive.
Sadly just a week later on the Monday before Thanksgiving, we lost our pregnancy and over the coming weeks learned it was not just a miscarriage, but an ectopic pregnancy requiring immediate treatment and monitoring for weeks to come. I was devastated, confused and consumed by my grief. Seeing our positive pregnancy test was one of the most nerve-wracking, yet euphoric experiences of my life, and I will never forget how I felt in that moment. But I went from the highest of highs, to the lowest of lows in a matter of days. I couldn’t understand how a couple who wanted a baby so badly, a woman who had just started a business photographing children and newborns, would have to endure such a devastating loss. I felt angry, scared, and nervous for what our future held.
It took many months to see the beauty that came out of our loss. By going through that experience, I realized the immense gift and blessing of family. I learned that children are not a right of passage, nor a next step in a relationship, but truly and completely a miracle and gift from God. I learned to have faith, to trust God’s perfect timing, and to know that there is always a plan at work that is far greater than anything I could imagine.
My passion for documenting families became even stronger in the months following not only our loss, but our subsequent pregnancy with our daughter, Harper “James” Malone. Our loss showed me that I was doing exactly what I was meant to do, and gave me a new eye for the beauty of family dynamics and the unique story of how each family comes to be.
At each of my sessions last year, I looked at each baby and family differently than I might have had our story been different. Our story has shaped me into the woman, wife, mother and photographer that I am today. My photographs are better able to capture the emotion, the wonder and the gift that is welcoming a new baby into the world – because after seeing my own baby, holding her in my arms, smelling her sweet newborn smell, I now see the entire world differently.
Now that I wear the title of “mother,” I feel even more connected to the families and babies I have the honor of meeting. My passion for what I do is renewed and deep, and I am so grateful to get to call it my work. I have a new respect and appreciation for the mothers and families that let me in to such an intimate moment in their lives, and trust me with documenting their growing families. What an honor it truly is.
Our daughter was born on November 20, 2016 at 5:54am. After 37 hours of labor, she came into this world via c-section at 7lbs 13.6 ounces and 20.75 inches long. We brought her home from the hospital one year to the DAY of losing our first pregnancy – a confirmation that the whisper I have heard all these years, and in the months leading up to her birth was God, gently pulling me towards where I was meant to be.
She is every bit the miracle we prayed for, and my eternal muse. I love you so, my sweet James.