Jena Lee Photographs

Let me preface this article by saying I gained two new friends the day I photographed this C-Section, April and her baby, Virgil. It was a wonderful occasion where people were brought together through a love of Photography. With her permission, I want to share April’s birth story. How her miracle baby came into the world after an abusive childhood, an unbearably emotional few years, and an infertility diagnosis.

When to book maternity photos
Maternity Photography with April

The Backstory: Childhood Abuse and Adulthood Trauma

April is my boyfriend’s hairdresser, which is technically how we met. But being her birth photographer is what really brought us together. She is an unapologetic woman who has a beautifully energetic personality. Given her upbringing, she could have closed the doors to her soul forever. However, she did not. That is not who she is.

April wrote a fantastic book about her Complex Disassociative Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (CD-PTSD). It primarily developed from her abusive childhood and then an incredible slew of other devastating life events. She wrote her book When The Fat Worm Sings – A Journey Of Self Recovery as a therapeutic creative outlet for these events. In her book, she describes her childhood and adult life. Both of which were difficult, to say the least. She has lived through more trauma than anyone can imagine. 

April is a survivor and talks about her journey candidly in her book and daily life. It is one of my favourite things about her.

CD-PTSD and An Infertility Diagnosis

While working through her childhood abuse in therapy, life did not get easier. She was also diagnosed with Body Dimorphic Disorder, Poly-Cystic Ovary Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, Plantar Fasciitis, Depression, Anxiety, and Endometriosis. Most of which she attests to her CD-PTSD. She then suffered from a severed calf muscle, complications that nearly killed her, her best friend and roommate committing suicide, the loss of her beloved grandmother, and a devastating infertility diagnosis.

Originally, the doctors told her to try fertility drugs for three months. If that didn’t work, she should remove her reproductive organs. They said she wouldn’t need them anyway. There was only a 1% chance of her conceiving a baby naturally. She was absolutely devastated.

To quote her book:

“My life goal in this world is to utilize my superpower as a woman to grow a human inside me. To be the best damn mother this world has ever seen.”


To Heal and Open Up Space

A few years later, I wanted to photograph a Birth and my boyfriend suggested his pregnant hairdresser, April. I remember her yelling ‘FUCK. YESSSS!!!!’ into the phone. Then much more inaudible excited exclamations after that.

So how did April go from an infertility diagnosis to having her birth photographed?

I hope I have painted an accurate picture of April this far. I did not know her at the time of her infertility diagnosis. However, I imagine her walking out of the Doctor’s office determined to make that 1% chance work for her. If you know her, you know she is incredible, strong, and determined.

Through research, doctor appointments and therapeutic healing, April learned that her infertility was directly related to her CD-PTSD. Indeed, through her journey of healing, understanding, and working through trauma, she opened up space for a miracle to occur. That miracle was becoming pregnant and getting to be the best damn mother this world has seen.

One time over tea, months after her birth and into our new friendship, she reflected on her experience. She told me that she felt like her own emotional healing opened up space for her baby to enter her life. She made it through the shit life gave her and was finally through the fire.

Her sweet little miracle baby was the incredible gift on the other side. Life made sense again.

C-Section Birth Photography
Miracle baby, Virgil’s C-Section in Calgary AB
c-section birth photography
The first look.

Read The Book: When The Fat Worm Sings, A Journey To Self-Recovery

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More Information About Birth Photography and Jena Lee Photographs

Birth is birth, whether you are at the hospital, in your home, go natural, or have a C-Section. The birth photography community is inclusive of all types of birth. Each birth story includes its own unique obstacles and challenges. In the same way, each birth story is worth of birth photography.

You can subscribe here to follow along with April and Virgil’s year of photography. Their birth photos are part of my Your Baby’s First Year photography package. This package includes photography of your baby from Maternity to One-Year-Old. We just photographed Virgil’s three-month-old portraits earlier this month. Both him and his Mama are doing fantastic.

If you are interested in having your own birth photographed you can read more about Birth Photography here. For more information about me, my photography, and prices, check out The Client Guide.


[…] of birth. In the end, birth is birth whether you have it at the hospital, in your home, or have a c-section. I do not believe one is easier or harder than another, each type of birth comes with its own […]

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