A Beautiful Mother's Story: Meet Dana | Southern Indiana Documentary Photographer

I'm not a mother yet, but I have a lot of wonderful friends and family members that are mothers.  I also know women who want so badly to be a mother, but it just hasn't happened yet.  I see a lot of women that compare themselves to other women and/or mothers that seem to "have it all together" and feel as though they don't measure up.  This is how I fell upon the idea for this short series of "Beautiful Mother" stories.  

If you know anything about me as a photographer by now, I hope it is that I am passionate about capturing "real" moments.  So, what's better than sharing the real, true, honest stories of women that are beautiful inside and out?  That aren't afraid to say that their life isn't perfect.  That being a mother can be hard and messy.  Women that can give encouragement, support, and hope to other women that have been, or are currently in, similar shoes by sharing their own story.

First up is Dana and her story is definitely worth reading.  Her faith is inspiring and the love she has for her family is beautiful.  Enjoy!

I'm Dana...I'm a stay at home Momma to three absolutely amazing, strong, beautiful, talented, stubborn, hard headed, fabulous children.. 13, 3 and 1.

I'm 41,  I'm tired, I'm strict, I'm so very Blessed By Grace and wouldn't have it any other way! Here's my "In a nutshell" story because I know I could actually write a book on my trials and blessings and exactly how good God is to me!

I first became a Mother on April 22 of 2003 through adoption. That day was the first best day of my life.  I know, I know, that's so cliche. However after praying, begging, and begging some more that God would allow me to have a child (for several years), I was finally realizing it was not God's plan.  I was finding peace in His plan when, Voila, God did have a plan for me to be a parent! I remember sitting on the porch one morning and hearing Him plainly say to me "how dare you doubt me, I've given you many children", and He indeed had. I was always surrounded by my fabulous nieces and nephews (and still am today, just many more than before). Weekends, summer breaks, and many times in between I was given the pleasure to have them with me. I was already Blessed to have them so close in my life...talk about feeling like a selfish brat!!  Once that real peace took over and I was totally satisfied with God's plan for me a beautiful baby boy named Hayden would be the first little man to wrap his fat little arms of unconditional love around my neck and call me Momma!  

Hayden has brought and continues to bring me so much joy. He got saved and baptized last fall, he's hilarious,  brutally honest, intelligent and I love spending our summers at the baseball field with him.  He tries my patience and sometimes I fail him and thats okay. People say "we're raising children" and the fact of the matter is we are not raising children... We are in fact raising adults who just happen to be children at this moment. We'll have moments we fail them as parents and they'll have moments they fail us as children.  That's part of life...you pick up, say a little prayer and move on. 

Fast forward seven years, one divorce, and a remarriage. 

About four and a half years ago I woke up in the middle of the night and literally carried my ta-ta's to the restroom!!  While I had never been pregnant,  I was old enough to know the symptoms. Ha! JOY oh JOY!! I'm pretty sure I pee'd on 5 pregnancy test sticks with all of them saying the same thing and me saying "Do Whaaaat???"  Miscarriages are no fun. They're heartbreaking and physically painful.  Not one, but two....still not God's plan yet. 

After a whole lot of praying and getting my backsliding life back together God gave us Jax!  About three or four months into his pregnancy I realized that pregnancy isn't really all its cracked up to be.  I say that with a happy heart!  A lot of women love being pregnant.. I, in fact, did not overly enjoy it! Aside from those precious moments of hearing his heartbeat,  watching the ultrasound screen and feeling him move around and watching my stomach contort to all kinds of shapes, that was all I enjoyed. The heartburn, the punch throwing, elbow jabbing and crawling in and out of my rib cage in his now large space of my body all.night.long. wasn't all that enjoyable to me. Many people say "oh, once you hold that little love against your body that all fades away and you forget all about it."  Bologna...I remember every single bit of it to this day.  C-Sections, those are fun also... tending to your new bundle of joy hunched over because your gut is stapled shut and you can't stand straight.. Yes, I remember. BUT...But it is all so very much worth every single high blood pressure, hormonal attitude, swollen feet and sleepless nights! They are truly worth every bit of it! 

    Like, as I'm trying to have a moment for myself to finish writing this, Jaxson is "lovingly" screaming from the kitchen for me to get his cup of milk...it's sitting just out of arms reach...I'm ignoring him, but he's still yelling at me. I'm yelling back to get it yourself, I'm busy...our neighbors must love us ;-) 


Like, as I'm trying to have a moment for myself to finish writing this, Jaxson is "lovingly" screaming from the kitchen for me to get his cup of milk...it's sitting just out of arms reach...I'm ignoring him, but he's still yelling at me. I'm yelling back to get it yourself, I'm busy...our neighbors must love us ;-) 

Did I get way off track..probably, that's also part of being a Momma! Anyway, Jax is fabulous.  He just turned three, he's a little spoiled, he's potty training, and he loves shaking everyone's hand at church on Sunday morning. He says please and thank you and he, like his big brother, tries my patience. I tell him all the time it's a good thing he's so sticking cute cause I'd beat him most days if he was ugly! 

After Jax was about a year old we decided that if we got pregnant again by the time I was forty (yes we're crazy), then great.  If not, then Daddy was going to go snip snip. At 39 1/2 I was pregnant with CC. Yes y'all,  if you think God doesn't have a good sense of humor, think again!!

At our 18 week ultrasound at the "old people doctor" (high risk doctor because, you know, I was almost 40) we were overjoyed to find out we were having a girl.  Within minutes the ultrasound tech was out the door and the doctor was in and had "that look" on his face. Something wasn't right... "I'm sorry to tell you that her stomach is in her chest cavity."  Words, words,  more words.  "Do you have any questions for me?"  Ummm no, we're in shock!!! Nothing makes you hit your knees like finding out there is something wrong with your child. I've prayed a many of prayers in my lifetime and never had I prayed so much as I did with her. 
We learned the ins and outs of CDH, Congenital Diaphramtic Hernia. CC didn't have a left side diaphram.  1 in 2500 babies are born with this and never had I heard of it. 

On March 11, 2014,  4 weeks early Miss Claudia Caroline made her way into the world. That was a crazy whirlwind of events! Daddy running around the halls trying to locate us, 15-20 people crowded in a surgery  room, my team of folks and her team of folks. She was born, immediately intubated, and whisked away to the NICU. The next three months of major ups and downs were spent at Kosair and on our knees. Many, many people joined us in prayer for our Little Lady. She fought hard for her life and God was, yet again, so very very good to us. She is almost 14 months old now and doing well. She has a feeding tube because she has an oral aversion and refuses to eat by mouth.. A drama queen from the word go, ha!!  She is our beautiful, strong, happy little miracle from God. If you don't already know and wanted to read about her journey, look her up on Facebook under CC's Journey. There are many blessings there... like her Daddy's salvation with God! 

All three of my children's birth stories are different from one another. All three of my children are living proof of the power of prayer and God's Grace for even a mere sinner like me!

Kelli, the fabulous photographer whose blog you are reading gave me a sample list of questions for her "Mother's Project." One of the questions is "What does "home" mean to you?" I thought on this question for awhile then it hit me like a ton of bricks! 
Home - H.O.M.E.
"He Offered Me Eternity" 

In all my greatest and all my weakest moments as a Mother, if I give my children anything in this world I pray that it's faith in God!  Not a God, your God, or my God but the one and only God. The master, father, creator, alpha and omega.  If I do that then my job as a mother has been done to the best of my ability.  Pray for me, won't you...Pray for all the Momma's in this world!