“We had several life events happen in quick succession – we welcome our daughter into our family, and moved to a new home. As a photographer myself, I know how quickly time passes, and I wanted to document our family of four in our new home. For the first time, our space was an important part of our session, so I decided to use our son’s bedroom and the nearby park we walk to daily. Our kids love reading books with us, so we asked Ashley to photograph us doing something our family naturally and happily does together. These images have so much meaning to me, because they show us as we are, in places and doing activities that come naturally to us.
My story as a mother begins early! I am the oldest of ten children, so my mothering days began with my siblings, and much of what I learned from my own mothering, I am passing along to my own children. I’ve heard people say to me “you’re such a calm mother”, but I feel like I’ve seen this modeled for so long, that it’s not a new frontier. It certainly has it challenges! But it’s not a complete unknown.
One thing I never anticipated was our story of waiting for our daughter. When we wanted to have our first, it was no problem. When we decided to try for our second, I had a miscarriage, and we learned that our road in waiting for her would be much longer. It was a path I never thought I would have to walk – being one of ten. I had low progesterone because of fatigued adrenals, and with the help of a naturopath and acupuncturist, I was able to heal my body so that I didn’t need prescriptions or invasive treatments in order to get pregnant.
Though the wait was long and hard, welcoming our second into our family had a special sweetness, and her life is an incredible blessing. God’s timing was better than my own, and I have a chapter to my life story that I can share with others – one I would never have willingly written on my own, but can find gratitude for.
Someone asked me recently if I wanted to have more children, and before I could even process it I replied, “they’re some of my best creative work”. As an artist, it’s easy to focus on your finished product, but my children are a part of this as well. I’m overwhelmed and grateful to be part of the process of creating and shaping them.
As a mother, I feel that I’m helping my children learn to manage themselves and contribute to the world. They are learning to steward their emotions and reactions to the world because they see Edward and I modeling that behavior and helping them when they feel adrift or out of control. I like to see our children as small people – given as much freedom and responsibility as they can handle for their age. Everyone wants agency in their own life, to be seen and heard, and I want my children to feel that they are given freedom, and seen, and loved.
I want them to ache with both the beauty and need of the world. I want to give them the capacity to offer their gifts to people in need, and bring their skills to better the lives of others. It’s a big job, but I want to leave the world a better place because of the people I’m leaving in it.” Elisa Bricker, Mother
ASHLEY COX PHOTOGRAPHY | Contax645, 80mm Zeis lens, Portra 400 + Portra 800 + Ilford 3200