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.

The Woobie Tree.

In our back garden, there is a little birch tree growing beside the old outhouse. The other day, Freja and I were out there playing, and suddenly she said: Let's hang my woobie in the tree! (Woobie is what we call the dummy/ pacifier.) I figured it was a great chance to start the process of liberating us from it, so I ran in and fetched string, and hung it in the tree. And the rest of them, she said. I felt anxious. Were we ready for this? Did she know what the consequence was? Hanging it in a tree is a great method of woobie-weaning, and I learned it from a good friend of mine who had done it with both her boys (Hei Marie!) with great success. I have told several people about this method, with Freja present, so she has heard it and that's where she got the idea from in the first place. You hang the woobie in the tree, the kid gets to suck on it when he/she wants to, but it stays in the tree. And whoops, one day it has been captured by a squirrel, or a bird, or even a baby fox! Hopefully by then the child is fed up with going all the way over to the tree to be woobified (our term), so it's all safe and over with. (It strikes me that this method must be even more effective at wintertime in Norway, with 20 degrees below outside and a meter of snow.)
So yes, at first I felt a little bit scared of doing it, because this isn't something you want to fail at and have to give in to, you can't give the woobies back once you've taken that step. And then, on second thought, I was like let's go for it and ran in for the rest of the woobies and more string. Up they went, she sucked on one a little, and then forgot about it. For a long time, actually until the afternoon the next day! Which to us was crazy, given how dependent she has been on it.
They have been there for three days now, and I think she has been there twice. I am amazed of how hassle free and just smooth the whole thing is going. Yes, she has moments where she asks for it, and then I suggest we go out to the tree, but she can't really be bothered to. So there you go. The child's independence surprises us again.
Kind of strange though, isn't it: When she was a baby, she wouldn't take it, she just spat it out, and I tried and tried for six months before she accepted it. (She used me as one instead.) And when she was using it, the thing I introduced to her, I wanted her to stop it.
The world of grown-ups is paradoxical.
Anyway: Bye bye woobingtons, and thanks for your help!

I'm visiting Astrid today!

Up north, five years ago.