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Portraits of Motherhood

Children, Motherhood, Stories of Love

Portraits of Motherhood, the beautiful heartbreak.

How do you prepare the humans beings you grew inside your own body to eventually leave you? This is a question that I will never be able to answer.

The power of photographs.

The other day I accidentally stumbled across an old set of family images and it was like looking back on a previous life. This previous life was so full of physical exhaustion, nappies, carrying, wet wipes, healthy little snack packets, hugs that saved the world, reading stories, plasters and irrational tantrums, that I wondered whether I had fully appreciated it at all. Then my physical reaction to these beautiful photographs of my tiny children rose in my throat in a nanosecond. Before my brain could compute what was happening my heart was breaking for moments that are gone forever. I wept hard, fast, loud, aching tears for my babies that are now growing faster that my own emotional readiness for it.

I had to loudly remind myself that it’s all part of the process. These tiny beings are growing tall, determined and brave in their own versions of self and they will continue to amaze me daily. But my heart still breaks at what they are no longer.  And what that represents for me as a mother. Then my mind races to questions of self doubt, was I enough for them? Did I enjoy them enough? Play with them enough? Was I enough? Please tell me I’m not alone?

Unpaid overtime but extra benefits.

Motherhood is beyond a doubt the most important job I have ever had, but the sheer weight of the responsibility of it leaves me torn wide open. And vulnerable, so vulnerable. I want to prevent the world ever causing them pain but I can’t stop anything on their journey. This doesn’t feel fair on either of us. The fleeting state of constant change and flux causes me so much heartbreak. Why can’t they stay the same, it’s like a beautiful trauma. You want them to grow strong but you can’t protect them forever.

I’ve turned this pain into beauty by documenting every moment I can but it’s like trying to fill a bucket with a hole in it. Wow was deep, a stream of thought that has made my chest physically ache.

My why.

And this my friends is why I felt the need to create Portraits of Motherhood. And it was a need. A strong urge to create of piece of work that wasn’t commercial, just artistic and deeply personal. Created for arts sake and none other.

I think the reason I take photographs is to document our lives so I know I can relive the precious moments after they have gone. To physically mark a slow transformation. Because if I lose myself in this journey I will have nothing left once our mutual task of growth and letting them go has reached completion.

To celebrate this beautiful heartbreak I created this series of test shots for my Portraits of Motherhood series. I had such a strong vision I was worried if I could translate it in real life but Rachel and her stunning family bought so much love to the shoot that it made my job easy.

I wanted the images to have depth, intimacy serenity and a vulnerable privacy. I also wanted there to be love, messy love, with hands needing attention and yearning that is real. They also needed layers and texture of old fashioned photographs, a painterly composition and yet they needed to be true to my style. Thankfully I love them all and I’m so happy I achieved my goal. If only motherhood felt quite so easy at times.

I really hope you like them too and this blog has resonated on some level.

NB If you want to see these images as larger photos simply click on them individually.

Love Kika x

14 Comments

  1. Liz Cadman

    Ah I love this my clever friend. That photo you took of Henry & I, post mega melt down is still and will forever be my favourite. Capturing perfectly the exhaustion, love and relief of motherhood in its trickiest of moments. The moments nobody prepares you for but that stay with you.

    Reply
    • Kika

      I’m so glad my darling that your own portrait of motherhood remains so special in your heart. Noone prepares you for any of this do they. So glad you have that. Lots of love x

      Reply
  2. Jo Pike

    Beautiful words Kika, and absolutely stunning images. And you are definitely not alone in your feelings. My dad once said to me that parenthood would be perfect if you could have two days a week off when they’re young, and then reclaim those days when they’re grown and this is so true – I long for a break and but then regret all the moments I’ve not made the most of my kids!

    Reply
    • Kika

      Thank you for reading it Jo, so glad but sad it resonates so heavily with you. Your Dad is very wise indeed! A slow transformation for us all x

      Reply
      • Kerry

        Such beautiful words and shots (as always!!) Kika

        Reply
        • Kika

          Thank you Kerry, you are so kind always, thank you xxx

          Reply
  3. Jess

    This is beautiful Kika. Words and photos are amazing!! Thinking about the future is almost too much, especially as I had mine in my 40’s…but they wouldn’t be the people they were now if I hadn’t. So the beautiful heartbreak is such a good phrase xx jess

    Reply
    • Kika

      Jess thank you so much for taking the time to comment. You are right, it’s sometimes just too much, too deep and too heavy to compute isn’t it. Your babies will only gain from your life experience. Lots of love x

      Reply
  4. Natalie Noble

    Oh my Kika.. the tears. You have such a wonderful way with words, and have somehow managed to describe what is in my own heart too ❤️ And the photos.. wow… absolutely stunning .. you are so talented xx

    Reply
    • Kika

      Thanks so much Natalie, I loved your comment so much I’m so glad it’s now stored on here. You have summed up in your feedback exactly why I felt I wanted to my thoughts into words and pictures. I’m so glad they all found meaning for you x

      Reply
  5. Tamsyn

    Beautiful words and perfectly describe my feelings about Benji leaving school in just three weeks. I miss everything about those days of tiny hands and toes. However, there is something so wonderful about when my 6ft ‘baby’ hugs me. He might not be tiny anymore but watching him become this beautiful young man is such a blessing.
    My home is filled with pictures documenting his growth, each one captures a treasured memory all that’s missing is a Kika Mitchell image. Fingers crossed one day you will photograph me with my beautiful boys.

    Reply
    • Kika

      Oh Tamsyn this has me teary again, it’s all such a journey of acceptance isn’t it. You made that young man, what pride that must bring. A pure blessing. It would be my absolute pleasure and honour to photograph you all one day. And one day very soon this year we will meet again my kind, lovely friend, until then thank you and hugs x

      Reply
  6. Charlie Farlie

    Dearest Kika! You write so beautifully and connect to us all! Nothing and no one could’ve prepared us for this wild mothering ride could it?! But in terms of “doing enough” I think these are dangerous terms, undoubtedly you did your best and that my love is all anyone can ask of you. You certainly did and do do that!

    Images are off the scale wonderful! Congratulations and well done!

    Reply
    • Kika

      Enough of enough, you are right it is such a loaded and dangerous phrase. Do you ever hear a man asking if he is enough! Thank you my darling, your feedback means so much! it is more than enough!!! big love x

      Reply

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