A mother of four, photographer, nature lover. Someone trying to make sense of it all, through photos and stories. 

I try to be free in all senses of the word, so I made the leap and now work with what I love doing; taking pictures, storing this life in moments, both for myself and for clients. My heart is in photographing birth and motherhood, but I take on just about any photography job. 
(See my birth photos at www.birth.no and the rest of my work portfolio at www.mariavatne.no.)

I live on a farm in Norway with my man Nik and my children Ronja, Freja, Falk and Ulv, plus a bunch of animals. We grow our own food as far as the seasons allow it, we don't go to kindergarten, the three youngest ones will be homeschooled.

We govern our own lives, we strive for independence, we want to be in this life wild and free and full of love.


Dear Maria,

You have been on this planet on yet another tour around the Sun. This years journey was different than before, it had a different taste and smell and feel than before.

On your last birthday you had a baby in your womb, you were half way through a pregnancy that seemed like the others; magical at times, hard at times. You felt the excitement of a new life, a new person entering your world, the magic and wonder of it all. You thought you knew what it would be like to have another baby - you'd already had three, how much different could it be with another, right? Right.

You were about to enter a state you had never visited before. A state of rawness never felt, a vulnerability never known, an exhaustion never touched upon. You had to dig deeper than you had ever done, to find strength.

Motherhood was harder than before this year, you were torn in two by a baby who needed you completely, and three other children you had to let go a little more, to make that space. You panicked, struggled and grieved, still you knew it would come together again, with time. With love. With perservation. And it did. It shifted again, and life is easier now, isn't it? Things have found their place. When it felt like everything fell apart, the attachments you had, your marriage, your sanity, you had to find that trust, that stillness, the wisdom that all things are transient, that this too is passing.

This year you also learned first hand that, although life felt tough right there, you are so very lucky and so very privileged. Your little wolf cub had a rough start, things weren't smooth, but you knew that most likely, he would be fine, he would grow past it. Many kids don't. Many parents have to live with the worry and uncertainty. For you, this will become a strange and distant memory. You are blessed with four healthy children and now you know that with greater force than ever.

You are still tired, and not yet sure of what all of this has cost. But I think you are very proud, too, proud of the job you did, of making the right choices, of keeping your baby close during the storm. And maybe, just maybe, in time, you will look back and say, I wouldn't have wanted it any other way.

You grew a lot this year.

Happy birthday woman, you are loved.

Thank you.

How to get a baby crawling in no time.