Photographer Alyson Aliano drew upon her own life experience for her poignant and beautiful "Real Mother" photo series. After marrying her husband, Aliano became an instant stepmother to his twin daughters, which led people around her to question her maternal qualities, motives and outlook. Keep reading to learn more about the photo series and to see several of the wonderful photographs of mothers and their children in myriad types of families.
Aliano’s Experience as a Mother
In her artist’s statement, Aliano states, “People often asked me, ‘Aren’t you going to have children? Don’t you want to have your own children? When are you going to have your own children?’ The implication was that, as a stepparent, I wasn’t a “real” parent. At the time, I did all the things “real” parents did: took the kids to the doctor, went to soccer games, organized play-dates, birthday parties and summer camp, and saved for college, all while still awaiting my 30th birthday.”
Real Mothers – Real Issues
Not being regarded as a “real mom” is an issue many adoptive moms, stepmothers, foster moms and moms of various family situations can relate to. Considering her own situation, Aliano begin to speak with other moms who had the same problem, and her photo series was born.
Exploring Real Motherhood
In order to explore both parenting and what it means to be a “real mother,” Aliano told The Huffington Post that she observed and photographed moms and their children. The series grew in scope and now includes a lovely showcase of biological mothers, stepmothers, lesbian mothers and adoptive mothers – who are all real mothers to their children, in spite of what other people may assume.
Motherhood Comes in Many Forms
From a mom who gave birth at home in a tub to moms who marry into a family to lesbian mothers to one mother who adopted at the age of 50, Aliano tried to capture motherhood in all its many forms and we think she succeeded.
It Takes a Village
Despite the fact that Aliano’s series focuses on motherhood specifically, she notes that caring for children isn’t at all simple, and that hopefully people realize there’s more to it, saying, “I hope there is something that touches on the universal in here. Maybe there is a photo that reminds you of the way your mom used to brush your hair when you were little, maybe it is the way someone cared for you, not necessarily your mom.”
Can You Relate?
Aliano ends her artist’s statement with, “My hope is that this body of work takes all varied forms of motherhood and shows it as one experience.” Do you agree that motherhood, while varied, is an experience that brings moms of all kinds together? Have you ever felt like people think you’re not a “real mom?” If so, please share your experiences in the comments.
All Images © Alyson Aliano