Despite the fact that my daughter has grown up and left home, I am absolutely besotted with bellies. The transition to mother (no matter if it’s the first, second or fifth time) and the way our bodies just work to grow and house these tiny human beings before they come sweeping into and changing our lives just blows me away. I spent a lot of time during this shoot thinking back to when I myself was pregnant at 20, and all of the ways I had grown since then. Without sounding glib – motherhood is just something that no-one can adequately prepare you for – and yet in 9 short months, you find a way to not only give birth to a whole new member of the human race, but find it within you to guide and parent and push through limits you didn’t even know existed – physically and mentally.
Elizabeth already has her own limits to push through on a daily basis. Not only is she working two jobs to put herself through law school, in 2014 (at the age of 17) she was diagnosed with an extremely rare and progressive brain disease called MoyaMoya Disease, which causes narrowing and blockages in the arteries of the brain. As a result, her son will be delivered premature by c-section at 37 weeks. On top of that, last year she was an ambassador for ToyBox International as a part of her participation in the Queensland state finals of Miss Universe Australia, raising money for sick and disadvantaged children.
I truly think there is nothing that this woman can’t (or won’t) achieve.
I had the pleasure of hanging out with her in her new home – surrounded by renovators and boxes – and photographed a day in the life of Liz in the last month of her pregnancy, surrounded by her favourite snow globes, eating Coco Pops, reading magazines and unpacking boxes of memories as she found the one baby photo that she had left of herself. I know that in a few years time, her beautiful little boy will see these photos and understand not only how much he was wanted, but how much his mama loved to laugh and how she treasured every moment that she was alive.