Liv van Leeuwen | On early outings, photography + motherhood

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Words by Liv van Leeuwen

Our son Jossi Matai (pronounced Yossi), was born at the end of January this year. I was a bit nervous about how I’d transition to motherhood, after putting so much expectation on having kids I was a little scared that I wouldn’t love it, or would feel totally lost in the mundanity of it. 

Before Jossi, my husband and I spent most weekends chasing waves on our local Banks Peninsula. It kind of irked me that people kept saying it would all end once we had a baby, and we’d just be stuck at home with a messy house and a screaming kid. 

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I was determined to not lose who I was in becoming a mother. I kind of like myself, and don’t get me wrong, I completely and utterly love my son, it's just important to me that I feel like the best version of myself, so I can give him the best of me! I want him to grow up watching his Mama totally stoked on a good wave, or fizzing over an adventure, not sitting at home, exhausted and lost in piles of washing. Actions speak louder than words, and I think that’s how he’ll learn to love life too, to see a world full of opportunities and to strive for what makes him happy.

Our first outing with Jossi was to Magnet Bay on Banks Peninsula, when he was 10 days old. The swell was looking really good and my husband, joking, suggested we go. I figured we’d better start off on the right foot, so we went! We’re so lucky that Jossi is a super chilled baby, and he slept the majority of the time in the car and in the front pack once we got there. 

I’d say Jossi has spent more time at the beach than anywhere else. I think starting with a relatively daunting trip first gave me the confidence that anything was possible with a bit of careful planning. 

Since then we’ve had regular trips on the peninsula and to our local break in town, and I’ve managed to get back in the water each time too. It is the most refreshing thing to get out in the sea and just totally ‘be’ where I am. Plus Jossi gets to spend quality time with his Papa, which they both absolutely love. Total win-win.

Before Jossi was born I was dabbling in a bit of photography and freelance writing. I’d only just started my photography business and was really just testing the waters in the market when I put myself on maternity leave.

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I think becoming a mother has given me a chance to step back from my business and reassess where it's heading. Often when I’m feeding Jossi or settling him to sleep I’m thinking about new concepts and how I can bring them to life. I’m constantly fizzing to get back behind the lens and grow my business into something sustainable, ‘cause at the end of the day, there are bills to pay and lifestyle dreams to make a reality. It’s an added bonus that I can practice with my own little model now too!

I think motherhood is really being celebrated at the moment, especially on social media. It’s so cool to follow other Mamas, and companies, who share the beauty of motherhood. it can really pick me up me when I’m having one of those fleeting moments where I yearn for my old life (cause let’s be honest, we all have them). It’s inspired me to start offering a Motherhood photography package. I want to capture the simple realities of motherhood and all its raw beauty, so it can be treasured by both mother and child forever. These moments are fleeting but they’re what keep us going after all the sleepless nights!