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Veronica and her Baby Girl Kennedy

Veronica and Kennedy-4972

Thank you Veronica for sharing your story – here it is:

Early in my pregnancy I had genetic testing to make sure everything was okay.  I was 39-years-old, and while my instincts told me everything was probably fine, I still felt compelled to be practical and know what was ahead of me.  Waiting for the results was hard. I found myself in a bad headspace caused by hormones and “what ifs”.  But the day we got the call it finally came to a triumphant end. “The baby is fine,” the genetic counselor said. “There are no abnormalities.  Do you want to know the sex?” My husband, who was listening on the other phone shouted out, “Yes!” She paused for a moment and said, “Okay, are you sitting down?” We assured her we were ready for the news. “You’re having…a girl!” The moment I heard those words my heart swelled and I leaped into the air.  “Really?” I exclaimed. I felt pure elation; like a child who’d blown out her birthday candles and gotten exactly what she’d wished for. Although I had kept telling myself all I wanted was a healthy baby, I really wanted a girl. But I had stuffed the yearning way down, tucked it away in a place of “whatever happens, happens” so I wouldn’t be disappointed. Manage your expectations, I kept telling myself, “Manage them.” But, really, a girl. I had wanted a girl. I was having a girl.

Fast forward to now and Kennedy is no longer just an idea or a pure desire. She is her own little soul housed behind piercing blue eyes; strong, chubby thighs; a willful presence and a loud voice. “This girl has some lungs,” I often say to myself as she shouts from her Jumperoo when I disappear from one room into another, and she can no longer see me; as if to say, “Hey, where are you going! Stop! Wait.” I call out to her to assure her that “I’m here, I hear you; I will be right back!” and so it goes with Kennedy. She keeps me on my toes, and I’m glad for it.

It’s with that same verve she exhibits, that I sort through what our world has to offer and weave together the kind of life journey I wish her to have. One filled with tight squeezes, kissed toes, assurances she is loved, and reminders that she is her own person who has a voice, to be seen, heard, and counted. It’s an awesome responsibility, really. I’m not just her mother, but her tour guide too. Along with my husband, I get to pick from a decadent buffet of first world delicacies that I’m fortunate enough to expose her to: story times and sing-alongs at the library; hikes on Marin trails; visits to the beach, national parks and museums; a college education, travel. There’s so much, and it’s easy to feel carried away by the excitement and possibility of it all.  But if I do my job right, she’ll know these delicacies as opportunities that not all girls her age everywhere get to have, and she’ll feel encouraged and compelled to savor and make the most out of every single one of them.

Ultimately, however, when it’s all said and done, Kennedy will know that her life is her call. Whatever she chooses to become, however she chooses to be, it will be hers to design. I think that’s the best way I know how to celebrate my daughter. It’s your choice Kennedy, know yourself, baby. Know yourself. So eyes tight; search your heart, deep breath in, summon your dreams, make a wish, now BLOW!

by Veronica Navarrette

Also posted in Book Project: Celebration of Birth of Baby Girls

Siblings in Bad Bevensen, Germany

Outdoor pictures are as much fun in Bad Bevensen, Germany as they are in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Meet beautiful Lena who doesn’t believe that she is beautiful (what do we women have to do to see our own beauty?). And her brother Philip who helps my father in the yard from time to time; which can be rather demanding since my beloved dad wants things done exactly his way.

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She clearly loves being herself!

Yesterday I picked up the current issue of the Pacific Sun here in San Rafael. It featured an article by Annie Spiegelman titled: Through a Lens, Darkly: how the media’s depiction of women frames our body politic…

Somehow it seems nothing much has changed in the official way women are depicted and devalued in our media in over 50 years. Or only small progress is made in the forefront.

A few weeks earlier I came across a statement, that resonated deeply with me: ‘She clearly loves being herself!’ Doesn’t this directly have to do with the self-image we carry? We know now, that the media is not helping us much – if at all to develop a self-image that contains loving ourselves just the way we are.

That’s why it is important to pay attention to the self-image we have. Usually we don’t question how we see ourselves, how we feel about ourselves, and where our ideas of how we think we should be, come from. Often enough we just unconsciously compare ourselves to standards developed by others, causing us to feel bad or good – depending on how we live up. The same happens in my photography. I have to find the way that allows me to capture the soul vibration of my client, making her look beautiful, not necessarily adhering to the common trends in photography.

Learning to find our own soul vibration in our lives as women, is a challenge we should be willing to embrace – so we can be authentic, exuding the feeling of:

“I clearly love being myself.”