You are doing it right

Advice for new momsOne mother’s experience

This May, we helped provide 16 years of education for girls in Lebanon, Afghanistan, and the Congo with the funds we raised during our Mom+Me mini session.

Read more about Ashley L., and why she was so excited to join me in this do-goodery adventure below.

mother & infant portrait

“So, my advice to other moms is this: ‘You are doing it right. Whatever it is, you’re doing it right. Keep loving, feeding, and clothing that kid, and you’re winning. Yes, this is hard, and yes, it’s OK to feel that way. You are doing it right.'” – Ashley L.


Ashley L. is a new mom and the founder of Lift – a community of women who offer support and encouragement to each other.

On being a new mom

“As a new mom, I felt prepared to offer a ton of love and safety, but felt pretty much clueless to the rest of it.”

“There are of course, the challenges that you expect – sleepless nights and a general sense of ‘OMG-I-do-not-know-what-I-am-doing-how-did-they-let-me-take-this-child-home.'”

mother & infant portrait“I had LOTS of questions – but also, sometimes I just wanted to connect with another mom, to be like, ‘Man, this is hard.‘”

“What I got back from a lot of moms was ‘Cherish these moments!‘ or ‘They grow up so fast!‘ and ‘This is a blip on the radar!‘”

“These responses bugged me. What I wanted was a connection of, ‘Hey mom, you’re doing great! I know this is hard, keep chugging.‘”

“I often felt guilty that I was struggling to begin with. I kept feeling like every time I opened my mouth to offer a sigh of frustration, I was met with ‘But you’re so lucky!‘”

“And yes, this is true. I’m forever grateful that my kid is awesome and I love him to pieces. But the fact that motherhood is hard doesn’t take away from the fact that my kid is amazing. They aren’t mutually exclusive.”

dashed_line_2pt mother & infant portraitWhy this session was a ‘no-brainer’

“I want women and girls everywhere to have a network like this. Everyone should have access to a tribe that will love and support them through the tough stuff. Sending four girls to school is easily a great start.”

“I’ve been excited to work with Ashia for months now. When I saw the announcement about Ashia offering a free session in tandem with donating to an organization that gives girls education, it seemed stranger for me NOT to participate.”

“If we want to live in a world where women feel heard, respected and admired…

…then why shouldn’t it start with us offering that to one another?”

“Lift is an organization that believes women are responsible for encouraging, supporting, loving, protecting and lifting up other women. My intention was to create a safe space for women to converse freely about everything from relationships, careers, families, heartaches, celebrations, and everything in between.”

“As an actress, I became exhausted by the competitive nature of my relationships with other women. I encountered struggles as a woman who had questions and curiosity about my world, but felt like I was experiencing it all in a vacuum.”

“I yearned for an opportunity to ask others, ‘Do you feel this too?'”

“Turns out they did, and Lift was born.”

The next step is turning toward each other

“The point is not to encourage women they can ‘have it all’ or not ‘have it all.'”

“The point is to encourage women to feel what they feel and want what they want – and to hold space for that – to give themselves and their thoughts and feelings the respect they deserve.”

“We do this by supporting each other, and engaging in the difficult stuff instead of turning away from it.”

mother & infant portrait“Also, moms, write this down on a post-it-note…

“…and put it on EVERY SURFACE OF YOUR HOME, It’s OK to feel how I feel right now, in this moment. I’m still a kick-ass mom.'”

– Ashley L.

Mom of H. (age 4 months)

Newton, MA


Throughout 2016, 100% of Ashia Ray Photography’s profits fund the Invisible Obstacles Series, raising awareness about children in foster care & other do-goodery projects like this one.

Make your kids proud of your family story

Join us on Facebook over at the Lift group page – I hope to see you there!

mother & infant portrait