I need to step back a bit to tell you about this extraordinary woman and how our lives have woven back and forth over and around each other for the last thirty odd years. I like to make my kids laugh by explaining that I diapered Maggie; she was ten years my junior and the new babe of wonderful family friends. She was one of my first babysitting charges, back in the day.
My kids laugh because not only is the idea of an adult wearing diapers hilarious - but the fact is, they only know her as Mags, their beloved babysitter and friend. Mags, who lived with us a few years ago for an intensely wonderful and rich year or so with her incredible Main Coon, Mufasa (pictured below).
Mags, the one who knows something about everything when they ask.
Mags, whose eyes krinkle when she smiles, and who loves with her whole heart.
And as my story continues, along came Taylor. Well, he'd come along a while back - they met and became friends in college, but he came back - and there were more krinkling eyes from Mags. That's how we knew. So then Taylor was family, too.
Mags and Taylor got themselves a pretty kickin' view, y'all. Oh, and they're cookin' a baby in that belly, in case you hadn't noticed in the above set of photos... Mags is carrying some extra weight around these days.
And you know, carrying extra weight around is uncomfortable, many of us has been there. I gained 50 (yes, five-zero) pounds when I was pregnant with each of my girls, and it is NO picnic carrying all that extra weight around.
Mufasa's feline sister Maisy is unimpressed with all of Maggie's hard work, though - she really doesn't think it's a big deal.
But here's the thing. It's just that much harder for Mags because, like many pregnant women, she is carrying an 30 pounds with this pregnancy so far--but there's something else. Did you notice ANYTHING different in the photos above about her? Did you notice anything? No, I bet you didn't, because she doesn't present as having a disability. She doesn't appear disabled to anyone who meets her on a normal day. In fact, she gets stopped by rude people all the time who ask her why she's parking in handicapped spots.
See Maggie only has one leg with which to carry the extra 30 pounds that arrived with this pregnancy. Maggie's been an above-the-knee amputee since birth, and though she doesn't present as a disabled person, she talked to me before we did this photoshoot about wanting to make sure these photos highlighted and honored this part of her story.
And I get it. Her story's hard, guys. Only because I feel like a big sister to her am I allowed to say all this stuff. I'm going to show this to her before I post it, but I hope she lets me put this all on the internet because I kind of want to toot the horn of Maggie a little, so we can all kind of give her a little team high-five. Because she's rocking this.
I mean, her life is hard like everyone's life is hard... I mean, life stuff, relationship stuff, job stuff... we humans have it hard. Of course there's that stuff. But on top of that stuff? She's also making sure her prosthesis' gait is aligned with her gait accurately. She's also carrying a replacement leg in the trunk of her car for MONTHS so she can take it over to an appointment to have it adjusted. She's taking her prosthesis off for an hour and then having a hard time getting it back on, because it's hot and things swell, y'all.
She's dropping something, as we all do (especially when pregnant) and she's needing to bend over and get it, guys! She's tying her shoes and OMG it's hard ENOUGH to reach a prosthesis' foot to tie the shoe on it when you DON'T have a big belly. But she has this belly! And she's balancing! And not falling OVER!
And you guys, she's still smiling. Her eyes are krinkling, and she's smiling thinking about this new little person she and Taylor are welcoming into the world.
This woman's got it going on. I adore her. I adore THEM. I can't wait for this baby.
I love you, Mags.
I'm Jessica McDaniel, and May 2021 will mark my 18th anniversary photographing babies and their families all around Boston.
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