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On being motherless..

I’ll be 30 next year.. When I say that out loud, I don’t even feel like it is possible that I am standing on the brink of 30. THIRTY sounds way too young for all that I have lived out so far! Life has been crazy and full of lots of different things that have caused growth and struggle and I FEEL OLD.

Today marks 16 years since I lost my mom. SIXTEEN years motherless is a long damn time. SIXTEEN means I have been motherless longer than I was mothered… 16 feels impossible.

Quite frankly, I have been mad and sad and every emotion in between, when it comes to being motherless. I hate feeling like I was robbed of so much of my life when things went south following her passing and that even now, I have a missing relationship and will never be able to recover it. It’s heavy, and at times sadness does creep in and try to undo the years of coping and maturing that have lapsed since I was 13 and life changed forever.

Over the years I have learned that the best way to cope and also to honor my mother’s life is to never, for one second, feel about myself and my life the way that she had to have felt about hers the crisp morning on October 13th when she gave up on life and committed suicide.

I was 13, now I am almost 30, and I am finally truly realizing how necessary it is to protect my happiness and my peace. The older I get the more clearly I learn what it means to be happy and to not to allow sadness, depression, guilt and negativity any space in my life.

I started in 2011 with the Facebook cleanse I wrote about HERE on my wedding photography blog. It may seem trivial to some but excluding the what everyone else is doing FB highlights reel from my life was a way to protect myself from the comparison trap, and was one of the best decisions I ever made.
Two and a half years ago, I had a miscarriage of my second pregnancy, and that experience taught me that taking care of myself is vital to warding off feelings of depression. I workout almost every day now, in some form or another and use endorphins as medicine when I feel sad.
The toughest and most difficult decision I have had to make for my own happiness happened just this year, when I asked for a divorce after twelve years together. Now that some time has passed, even that decision has proved to be something I needed to do to protect my own happiness.
I very recently had to block the number and social media access of someone dead-set on bringing negativity into my life, and the level of peace that I have knowing that there is no access until they decide to be kind, is powerful.
I am currently learning what it is like to accept that I am worthy of adoration, and that my own perception of myself, doesn’t meant other people don’t see me as special, as worth it, and as sometime they want to invest in.

These things have all played a part in standing up for my own daily peace. I can feel myself smiling more, appreciating the little things that I used to miss altogether, and enjoying being in the moment feeling genuine happiness. It has been somewhat difficult to come by and now that it is here, I will never stop fighting for it.

Why am I writing this? because I think so many mothers out there are struggling the way my mother did or struggling the way that I have. And I want to say that finding small and big ways to soften the struggle are always, always worth it even if the odds seem unsurmountable.

You MUST find your own damn happiness. You have to fight for it so you can live. It’s not selfish, it’s not wrong and it’s also not optional. It is the absolute only way to not waste the precious time we have been given. Don’t let it go ticking by, while you struggle in the dark.

 

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View More: http://shiloalysephotography.pass.us/allie--ana--family

photo by Shilo Alyse Photography

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I miss you, mom.

xoxo,

allie

 

 

 

 

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The Jamison Family – Huntington, WV

My daughter Ana’s a lucky girl to have this fine family as her God family. She just loves spending time with them and we usually try to squeeze in a shoot each year, where she photo bombs them for one shot of her and her God fam. I just love their relationship and I am so grateful to know they would do anything for her. ugh. it makes my heart happy! We shot these in Central City in Huntington, WV!

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central city huntington wv, central city wv, huntington wv family photographer
central city huntington wv, central city wv, huntington wv family photographer
central city huntington wv, central city wv, huntington wv family photographer
central city huntington wv, central city wv, huntington wv family photographer
central city huntington wv, central city wv, huntington wv family photographer
central city huntington wv, central city wv, huntington wv family photographer
central city huntington wv, central city wv, huntington wv family photographer
central city huntington wv, central city wv, huntington wv family photographer
central city huntington wv, central city wv, huntington wv family photographer
central city huntington wv, central city wv, huntington wv family photographer

 

xoxo,

 

allie

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the last sips of summer light..

Life is still crazy. I have been sleeping more because I am just way too tired to stay awake, which means things pile up higher than I am comfortable with.. my heart constantly tells me “the work will always be there tomorrow” but I struggle with wanting to get images up and out ASAP because I LOVE THEM and want to share them… so yea.. I needed to show you this beautiful family in the stunning late August sunset RIGHT NOW. BE STILL MY HEART. They are beautiful souls who braved a massive snow storm for a maternity shoot just a few days before meeting their super adorable son. Here they are again in the beautiful August light, on their anniversary, celebrating 6 months of life as a family of three. Love, love, love.

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xoxo,

allie

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on being a young family.. photographing young families..

photographing young families is hard. let’s face it, anything involving non-verbal and/or defiant by nature humans is difficult.

LIFE is hard when you have young kids. (I am totally in that boat as we speak.)

(did I just ruin someone’s idyllic idea of parenthood?) I hope not… but seriously, it’s hard being a parent and it’s also hard trying to get portraits taken and I FEEL YOU on both points.

My realization of the hopeful expectation of parents and the completely impossible nature of forcing young kids to POSE has lead me to my style of photography in this genre especially. It’s called, “show up, extend grace, see what happens, capture it”

Sounds haphazard, I know.. but KIDS!! They are small bipolar adults without words. They are unpredictable and they RUN THE SHOW. These little cuties have the power to make me WORK for it and they almost always do! I think every client who comes to me for baby’s first year plans should know that EVERY session is difficult in it’s own way! You are not the first client who had to completely reschedule due to a child’s general unhappy disposition that day. You are not the first mother who left the session half upset and fully drained believing that there was NO way I shot anything that resembles your family in their true state. You will not be the last. Please know that IT DOESN’T BOTHER ME! I am mother to one of the most challenging babies that has ever graced a crib and one of the most fiery four year olds you will ever meet… and we get our portraits taken.. and have to go through the SAME ordeals I see with my clients all the time.

You see, it’s very rarely a quick session with cooperation and smiles the entire time. I want to know what those clients did to deserve such fabulous karma because it is SO rare indeed. But, with a little persistence, a whole lot of grace we work through it and get something that is great.

Here are a few shots from the last few weeks to prove my point…

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Literally three seconds later, we decided to take a 15 minute break to combat general verge of toddler-hood unhappiness.. I LOVE this image. It’s adorable and feels real. I love how baby girl is all “I throw my hands up in the air sometimes!” and big bro is all “over it” and there is motion and laughter in it. Love it so much.

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This image is the result of a three hour in-home newborn session (yes, almost all of my newborn sessions last three hours or more) even when I go to the home! Newborns are tough bosses. Once you get them asleep, you shoot like a mad person and the results are so so beautiful, but you have to earn it! I love that this image was shot at home, and not in the studio. Lighting-wise, you can even tell.. but the experience is just way better in the comfort of home so soon after adding a member to the family!

This struck me as I was editing this week, and I had to share..

Here’s to the hard moments, the amazing moments and the moments in between. Here’s to grace and a whole lot of patience.. HERE’S TO LIFE!

Thanks for letting me be a part of yours!
xoxo,

allie

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the homebirth of Charlie Rose

After showing up to Kristen’s second birth that I have attended (you can read about the crazy first one here) she asks

“is this what it’s normally like when you show up at a birth?” (because the first was was far from ordinary)

…uhmmm… no.

but that is the beauty of it.
the excitement and sweet anxiety of the unknown but inevitable.
the waiting. the anticipation. the rushes and 3 am conversations.
the telling my birth story for the eightieth time. like it is the first time.
the sisterhood of women in waiting.
the sleep deprivation. the gas station cappuchino.
the teamwork. holding the space.
being quiet and loud and laughing and holding still.
the ebb and the flow and the relinquishing of control.
the patience that gives permission to take the long way.
the unspoken understanding.
the complete disconnect from the rest of the world.
the bond. the hugs. the corporate holding of breath.
the collective and powerful elation.
the beginning. the middle. the end.
the not knowing where one leaves off and another begins.
the trusting in the process.
the groans. the struggle.
the fears coming in and the fears taking their exit.
the high. the oxytocin hurricane.
new life in the in-between space.
the breath and the cry.
then we can breathe and we can cry.
joy.
gratitude.
love.

I suppose they all really are the same..

 

Sheppard Birth from Allie Bennett on Vimeo.

 

Love you guys. Thanks for always trusting me and wanting me to be part of your sacred moments. Very glad we got to actually get the video this time!

 

xoxo,

 

allie

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