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Seeing Motherhood: 5 Moms Candidly Share Their 2020 Highs & Lows

Written by Katie Hintz-Zambrano

Photography by Jasmine Pulley

If the work you’ve put in in 2020—as a person, as a mother, and in your career—seems to have gone unnoticed, you are not alone. This feeling of invisibility was the impetus for photographer Jasmine Pulley’s portrait series, “Seeing Motherhood,” in which she asked a handful of fellow mothers in Chicago to get in front of her lens.

“Like most of us, I was given a lot of time to think when quarantine first began in spring,” explains Jasmine, now a mother of three. “All of a sudden, I was with my kids 24/7, and trying to rebuild the photography business I had built 10 years ago. Add to that the endless rotation of meals being made, and being in my third trimester with my third baby—I was juggling a lot. And the feeling that kept coming up for me was that I felt somewhat invisible in all that I was doing.”

“I had a lot of time to process the idea of motherhood being this invisible banner we carry,” she says. “We will never truly understand the depths of what one mother carries from the next, as we rarely have the opportunity to be a fly on the wall in their homes day in and day out, but I began to realize that I drew an immense amount of inspiration from mothers and the invisible work that they do, day in and day out. I found I wanted mothers to be at the front and center of my work going forward.”

Soon after these thoughts started brewing, the touching visual series “Seeing Motherhood” was born. “In drawing attention to the role of mothers in a family story, I felt I was giving myself that same gift of being seen which I hoped for,” says Jasmine. “I felt a certain desire to cast moms who I saw a bit of myself in. That form of visibility felt important to me.”

Below, we asked the five women whom Jasmine photographed to reveal their highs and lows of 2020, and what lessons they’re bringing with them into 2021. Read, and relate!

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  1. Jasmine is amazing!! I love seeing her perspective and appreciate more POC being represented here.

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