Anna Ogier Bloomer is no stranger to the world of motherhood. She has been photographing families for years; however, it was when she had her own baby that she really understood the intense emotions that come from being a mum.
From sleep deprivation to intense engorgement, from sick mornings on the couch to masses of breast milk taking over the freezer, Anna does not hold back.
This is one of the most realistic photographic series we’ve ever come across; one that goes beyond the happy family snaps and uncovers the unseen, unedited and uninhabited moments in motherhood that we rarely get to see.
Between learning how to understand your new baby, getting the hang of breastfeeding and discovering just how impossible self settling can be, it may feel like you are more of a milk-machine zombie than a human being. And that’s perfectly okay.
A rare glimpse into the world of new mums
This sentiment is exactly what Anna Ogier-Bloomer captures in her Letdown series, a rare look inside the household of a new mum.”Being a mother is the absolute hardest thing I’ve ever done, and I was surprised by what a physical toll it would take on me for the first two years,” Anna recently told the Huffington Post. “There’s not a single part of my life that’s the same as before I became a parent. It’s all changed, and it’s amazing but hard too.”
The star of Anna’s series is her daughter, Violet and many of the photographs focus on breastfeeding, which Anna admits was incredibly painful and demanding. “Violet loved to pinch and grab while nursing, so I often had to be a little forceful to keep her from scratching me, but it happened a lot anyway,” she tells Refinery 29.
“I also had pain in my hands, fingers, neck, back, shoulders, knees, every part of me, from holding this heavy person for hours and hours, and from lying on my side nursing for hours every day.”
However, the pain of parenthood, including the above battle-wounds from breastfeeding, are contrasted perfectly by the peaceful and serene moments such as cuddles on the couch, which Anna describes as” mini victories”.
One particular photo shows the effects of engorgement, which is certainly not something most photographers focus on, but, as any breastfeeding mum knows, it is something that certainly consumes your life when getting used to the supply and demand of an infant.
In addition to the beautiful Violet, many of the photos also showcase Anna’s mother who plays an incredibly important role in the family. Anna has always looked up to her own mother but it wasn’t until she gave birth to Violet that she realised just how important a role mums have.
Photography that exposes motherhood in a new light
“Becoming a parent dramatically changed how I view my own mother. I get it now. I understand the pain she feels when one of her three children, all grown, suffers, experiences heartbreak or disappointment or becomes estranged. The deep pain and sadness I feel when my daughter is hurt or sad is something that doesn’t disappear. My child is a part of me. And I hope viewers see their own mother, or all mothers, in a new light.”
Anna’s mission with her photographs is to eliminate the stigma surrounding the less visual aspects of motherhood and to celebrate all of these moments – the good, the bad, the painful, the pleasurable.
Check out some of our other feature mothers’ photographic series including 63 things my toddler has eaten (none of which are food) and baby vs banana. We also have some pretty real photographs of what breastfeeding actually looks like and what stay at home mums do all day.
In fact, check out our entire photography section – there are some stunning series that all new mums will relate to!