Welcome! Nice to Meet You!
I'm sure I am among many others who have set goals for themselves this year. Whether it be personal goals, professional goals, relationship goals... whatever they may be, everyone has something they want to achieve. I am not a fan of the cliche "New Years Resolutions" but I do find the beginning of the year to be a fresh start and opportunity to get organized and recenter our path to success.
This "fresh start" or hitting of the metaphorical reset button for me comes on the heels of several events my family has been through in the last few months. So I thought I would hit the ground running and take this opportunity to reintroduce myself!
Hi! I'm Jackie
I'll (hopefully) be your Photographer or Doula and am so glad you are here! I don't make it a habit of talking about myself or being the center of attention, but since this is an introduction or about me post I guess that is what I have to do. I am very happily married since 2013 and we have been together since 2011! When I say "very happily married" I mean even after all these years he is still my favorite person, he is my best friend, and I definitely don't understand the recent trends of not liking your spouse that has swept social media. He is smoking hot, an equal partner in the household and care of our children, and spoils me rotten. Literally, rotten... like I don't think he has ever said "NO" to me for anything. Except the one time he told me "Maybe slow down on the amazon purchases a little?" We worked through that though lol He is so supportive of everything I do and the biggest hype man. could have ever asked for in life. Like, I really like him a lot! ..... I got off on a tangent, I thought this was supposed to be about me lol
I am a boy mom through and through. I always knew I was going to be a boy mom and that may sound ridiculous. Even when I was younger, you know in your teens when you are dreaming of your wedding day and picking out baby names and picturing your ideal family. That looks different for everyone, there's no "wrong" answer, but in mine I was always a boy mom. Our oldest was born in 2012 and he is the spitting image of his father and has been since the womb. I always say I should be studied by scientists because I cloned my husband two times over! Our youngest son was born in 2015 and he completed out family! I had polar opposite pregnancies and it shows in their personalities being so different. Somehow they have different features but both look JUST like my husband... genetics are weird! I say that a lot about genetics too because never in a million years did I think I would get a blue eyed baby ( I have brown eyes). But that youngest of ours came out with the brightest blue eyes I've ever seen, our oldest has my brown eyes and they are so handsome on him. When my husbands great-grandmother met our youngest for the first time, she swore that he was an image of his great-grandfather who had passed several years prior. She swore those were his eyes. My husband has hazel/green/ yellowish almost colored eyes so we never expected to have a blue eyed baby but the majority of his side of family has blue eyes. So again I say, genetics are weird lol.
Currently, I work full time as a 911 Emergency dispatcher for the city and I absolutely love what I do. But I still want to pursue what I am passionate about as well, Birth work and Photography. I became a Doula after having my second son in 2015. I didn't know what it was prior and would have loved to have one support me through my labor and deliveries because they were both pretty traumatic in their own different ways (that will be a different blog post). Not that I didn't have adequate support, I did, but I had this ideal birth in my mind and I never got it. So I think it would have helped me work through the trauma and understanding of the birthing process had I had someone informed walk me through everything. That is why I chose to pursue becoming a birth support person back then.
I want to help women get through their pregnancy, labor, and delivery with having as little to no trauma experienced.
I LOVED being pregnant (mostly) and I used to say I would've had a whole herd of kids if they'd let me. Realistically though we knew we were a two kid family (we didn't want to be outnumbered lol) which is good because my last pregnancy did a number on me and resulted in me not having the option for more children. With that being said, I have no feelings of "what if" or feel incomplete in any way. Our family is complete just the way it is supposed to be.
I am not naive to think that everyone loves being pregnant or has an easy pregnancy. I think that knowing that is not the case is why having the option for Doula support is such an important thing. I don't take the place of the support system you already have in place with your spouse or family members. Instead, I help them to help you BETTER and in the way you need to be supported. My support to my clients looks different in every birth I attend. Sometimes the spouse just really doesn't know what to do, or gets overwhelmed by seeing their loved one in pain during labor and delivery. That's ok! Sometimes they need direction on how to support you and they WANT to be hands on but lets face it, it really isn't second nature for most men to just KNOW what to do. That's ok too! I've also support women whose partners couldn't be present due to deployments and otherwise would have been delivering alone and away from their family network. Whatever your birth looks like in your mind, its exactly that, YOUR BIRTH. And I would LOVE to support you through your labor and deliver in whatever way YOU think is best.
When it comes to being a Photographer, I can't pinpoint when I started. I know that I was CONSTANTLY taking pictures with my friends throughout middle school and high school and well into my adult life after. I remember dragging my husband to the mall to take family photos and he hated every minute of the whole experience. He wasn't a fan of even having wedding portraits taken and found having to take the kids to the mall and keep them contained and engaged to be very stressful. But I wanted to be IN them. I wanted photos of all of us together and I wanted to document our children as they grow up. He told me he prefers the photos that I take over having those experiences. He likes the real smiles and emotions and not the forced smiles after yelling at the kids to sit still. And I get it, I agree. So I asked him for a DSLR camera so I could continue to take photos of our family but have a higher quality of image. He did under ONE condition, that I NEVER make him go back to the mall for photos ever again! I am happy to say that I have held up my end of the deal so far and don't see me backing out of it any time soon. When I got my camera and started taking photos he quickly saw that I might have a knack for this and really encouraged me to dive in further. I will tell you though I wasn't sure at first if he was just being nice or he really meant it because my husband tends to be my biggest fan in literally everything I do. I sometimes thinks he overestimates my abilities (like lately with being an all too willing volunteer for my new tattooing hobby!) He really hypes me up and encourages me to pursue anything I am interested in and I'm so thankful for that support I have in him.
In 2017, my husband followed a lifelong dream of serving his country and enlisted into the Army. Anyone who has experience with having a service member spouse can attest to it not being for the faint of heart. There are many stretches of no contact, long trainings and deployments, isolation and being states away from family and friends, a monotonous rut in a routine just trying to survive some days. I quickly realized that I would need to find something to occupy my time if for no other reason than to maintain my sanity. I dived deeper in to learning everything I could about Photography. I obsessed. I took so many pictures of my kids lol. I took pictures of our friends kids. I started exploring my more creative side and I really thrived with that outlet. I took the next steps and became a legal business in 2018 and haven't looked back!
My husband reenlisted when his contract was up and we chose Hawaii as our duty station.
I was really worried for my business and felt like it was going to be so hard starting over and building a clientele in a new location. I was mistaken in that thought. I quickly became booked and photographed families on their journey through pregnancy, birth and took their newborns first portraits. I supported so many women through their deliveries and quickly found a place among the photography and birthing community on Oahu. I found this wonderful group of creatives that I would shoot with regularly, even just for fun. I was ready to spend 3+ years expanding my reputation and solidifying my clientele in Hawaii. Fate laughed in my face though. In August of 2021 my husband was severely injured in a training accident and had to undergo reconstructive surgery on his leg. Ultimately this injury was a career ender. After a long and excruciating process he was officially Medically Separated from his Army service in September of 2022.
That brings me to currently! When we were going through the process of him getting out, we had to decide where we were going to live! We just spent the last 7 years moving state to state and now it was up to us to choose where we were going to plant our roots... Do we go back to Texas where we are all from? No thanks! Do we go back to Tennessee where we loved living before? Do we go back to Iowa where we lived before he joined? It was definitely a contender. We settled on Lafayette, Indiana! The deciding factor in this is where we thought the kids would thrive the most.
So we bought a house (that process is a whole other blog post too!)
I knew I would circle this back around to the goals I started this with! In the new year I am dropping my pricing (yay for my clients!) and offering additional services! My Investment page has simple packages that will be all inclusive and budget friendly. I also offer personalized packages so if you are wanting something you don't see on my Investment page, just message me and we can talk about what you have in mind. I will now be giving the option of renting dresses from my client closet to other photographers or individuals having a photoshoot with another photographer. I am offering a less hands on approach in addition to my current Doula services. This will provide clients who have a strict budget with all of the same materials, advice, and appointments as regular Doula clients without having me attend your birth. (Don't worry, you will go in just as prepared as if I were there with you!) I also have a goal to write more blog posts this year! On my personal social media pages I am constantly being told that I should be a writer and complimented on the way that I tell stories about my family and day to day life. I'm an open book and try to share stories that are relatable and not just uphold the unrealistic perfection that some people want to portray on their socials. I will be expanding from photographing primarily Maternity, Birth and Newborn to adding in Milestones, Lifestyle sessions, Boudoir, Seniors, Pets and Creative & Branding shoots! With that being said, my availability for family sessions and back to back mini marathons are going to be VERY limited this year! So make sure you jump on them when they are announced. I will be offering body casting services for belly casting and boudoir casting and decorating! These might be done as events but can definitely be booked individually for more privacy. If you have any ideas for a photoshoot, don't be scared! Message me and let's plan it together! Nothing is off limits!
I look forward to meeting you and working with you this year!