Mellissa and I first talked and secretly planned when she was 27 weeks pregnant. As you can guess we were discussing and planning her maternity pictures. And the pictures were going to be a wonderful surprise for her sweet husband. Mellissa's pregnancy was moving along beautifully. She was remaining active thanks to her job of managing over 1,000 cows (I known! Mellissa is seriously cool!) and everything about her and her sweet baby was healthy and good to go.
"I'm outgoing but I'm not really confidant," Mellissa told me when I asked her why she wanted to be in front of my camera. "Really?" I asked. "I'm surprised because look at you- you're gorgeous. You're really rockin' the girl next door/milk maid vibe."
Mellissa laughed. "Yeah, the boots covered in muck and mud really make the look." But then she sobered. "I just get embarrassed in front of the camera. But this is going to be my only first time. This is going to be my only first pregnancy and I want to remember it. My husband has been so good to me through all these body changes," my friend said as she looked across from her and smiled. She wasn't looking at anyone in particular, but I know at that moment she was remembering and feeling all the love and support her husband gave to her.
"Garrett has been adorable actually. And it just makes me want to look back at all of this and see it as a beautiful time."
So we planned something beautiful and we both knew the weeks would fly by.
The time went quickly but then at over 6 weeks early, Mellissa had an emergency c-section to deliver her sweet baby girl.
I still remember that email and how my stomach dropped as I read the words "4lbs 5oz", "blood panels", and "NICU". But then my heart lifted as I read that Miss Hattie, Mellissa's new baby girl, was healthy and doing well. Mellissa however, took some time to heal. Mellissa was diagnosed with HELLP syndrome. It's very rare and very life-threatening.
"Have you heard of preeclampsia?" Mellissa told me later. "HELLP syndrome is like her evil, ugly older sister."
Mellissa needed to heal and Hattie needed to grow stronger. So, we patiently waited until Mellissa and Hattie were ready. Then we created masterpiece after masterpiece.
We photographed Mellissa as a powerful, beautiful mother with Hattie protectively in her arms.
We photographed Hattie lovingly embraced by her new mother who couldn't help but adore every inch of her.
And then we did things a little differently, we photographed just Mellissa. We focused on Mellissa as a woman all her own. A woman still embracing her femininity and sensuality and eros energy. We focused on showing Mellissa as a woman who hasn't gotten lost in the trauma of her first childbirth or become resentful of the startling changes she's faced.
We photographed Mellissa as who she really is . . . not the titles or hat's she wears.
Yes, she is a mother.
Yes, she is a wife.
She is a daughter, a cow farmer/manager, a country girl, baker, friend, hiker, and overall good person. She's a doer and a fighter.
She isn't just one of these things. She's a combination of experiences, dreams, and desires.
Mellissa is dimensional and multifaceted. Because of all that, I couldn't just photograph Mellissa as only one thing. So Mellissa got many so she can remember this time, this hard, unexpected, life-changingly beautiful time.
And maybe when she looks back at these pictures she'll remember how strong she was and how much love she's capable of giving through the difficulties of life.
And one day, Miss Hattie will see these pictures and she'll know where she came from, who's she is, and the power she was created from.
Here's to you Mellissa, my sweet friend, who, when we first met in person, baked me brownies from scratch because you took the time to read my bio and saw that I was in search of a good brownie recipe. You, Mellissa, are a powerful creature made of strong stuff. You're beautiful and utterly good.
All my love to you and Miss Hattie.
Hair and makeup for the wonderful Mellissa by the skilled and lovely Shea Hollister.
P.S. Are you interested in an incredible photoshoot experience all your own with Melinda and Shea? Whether it be a birthday photoshoot, mother and daughter pictures, headshots and branding, or contemporary portraits and boudoir we will create something show-stopping that celebrates you! Contact us to get chatting. Private Photography Studio in Athens PA. Serving Athens, Sayre Pennsylvania, Ulster Pennsylvania, Towanda Pennsylvania, Elmira New York, Corning New York #portraitphotography #portrait#photographer #artist #artwork If you have tips or concerns about human trafficking happening in your area call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC) at 1-888-373-7888. NHTRC is a national, toll-free hotline, with specialists available to answer calls from anywhere in the country, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Fox Photography by Melinda Fox, Photographers in Athens PA, Photographers in Sayre PA, Photographers in Waverly NY, Photographers in Elmira NY, Photographers in Towanda PA, Photographers in Corning NY, Photographers in Ithaca NY, Photographers in Twin Tiers Area. Fox Photography by Melinda Fox