Bear with me being philosophical for a moment? When I started my business I was just “Wandering Oaks Photography” - a nod to the fact that we were living in Crete at the time and not sure where we would end up or for how long.
Fast forward to a few years in and I knew birth documentation was it for me - my reason to pick up a camera. Having documented births and a doula certificate under my belt I felt like I was finally worthy to claim a birthy name. But which name?
Decision fatigue was slogged through and I had top contenders: none so magical to me as the one that spelled out WOMB as an acronym.
But again I dithered. If you know me in person, you know I am a believer in science, human rights and the delicate art of not raising my three boys to be adherents of toxic masculinity/bigotry. Gender is scientifically wild. A uterus doesn’t always mean she. A mother (for many reasons) may not have one at all. Birth may include a surrogate, two dads and no mother. A family is often made of two mothers. Human diversity is beautiful in all of its infinite variety and yet familiar loving sameness. And I wasn’t sure how my new business name could encompass all of that within its seemingly gendered space.
Ultimately I did rebrand and moved on knowing that if someone had questions on whether or not we’d be a good fit all they had to do was ask and be reassured that their personhood would always be respected here no matter how gender and family roles presented for their situation.
This morning my precious mother in law sent me an article that spurred me to write this blog, looking back over the last five years as the owner of this small business. The article, here, discusses the role that women have played in spiritual motherhood throughout history, or as the authors call it, “the wombing of social movements”.
One need not be a biological mother to do the compassionate work of mothering. The work borne need not be a child either. The work of spiritual mothering, of compassion, is open to all.
“The womb-full compassion of the Hebrew Bible ties directly to mother and child, but need not be exclusively gendered. Scripture describes men as having their wombs moved. In Genesis, when Joseph first sees his beloved youngest brother, Benjamin, he is moved in his inner-space (43:30). Although many translations say “bowels,” womb is arguably a more accurate translation. The word is rachamim, translated as something like “maternal care” or “tender loving kindness.” From our vantage point, translating this word as “bowels” does not quite capture the essence of this passage. Wombing just might. Wombing is how God gestates his people and holds them. How God moves us to compassion for others.”
My youngest child weaned at three, right around the time I started this business. It became an outlet of compassion and mothering for me, as my boys moved into different phases - higher grades and more independence. I suppose it has been my fourth child 🥰 And like any good mama, I just want you to know that womb/birth/mother are naught but words and whoever you are, however you come to me you are welcomed, loved and accepted.
Compassionate mom hugs (and documentary photography) for all ❤️