Life Changes: Columbia photographer had first baby in 2008

Tuesday, December 30, 2008 | 5:41 p.m. CST; updated 9:57 p.m. CST, Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Kelsey Hammond and her husband, Joe Chevalier, with first born daughter, Sally James, on Chevalier's 36th birthday.

COLUMBIA — For Kelsey Hammond of Columbia, finding out that she was pregnant didn’t spin her into a frenzy of shopping and decorating.

“I was very blasé about it,” Hammond, a photographer and Craft Studio Coordinator at MU, said about her pregnancy.

A daughter, Sally James Chevalier, was born to Hammond and her husband, Joe Chevalier, on June 4 at Columbia Regional Hospital.

Expectant moms often express joy and delight when they become pregnant, but Hammond reacted to the news with disbelief.

“I knew somehow it would happen,” she said of being a mother, even though she didn’t expect to have a child so soon after her wedding in the summer of 2007. She assumed it would be difficult to get pregnant after using the pill.

Then, after feeling tired during September and October 2007 and experiencing other symptoms, Hammond decided to take a pregnancy test. On Oct. 24, she found herself staring at a plus sign.

“I thought, ‘Maybe I should have read the directions before I did this,’” Hammond said, chuckling at her own lack of knowledge. She discovered the plus sign was a positive indicator for pregnancy, then consulted a doctor with her husband to confirm it.

“I didn’t believe it was real until the first ultrasound,” Hammond said.

Hammond's photography focuses on her natural body and embracing what it was made to do. She opted to have a natural childbirth with the help of a doula, who is an advocate for the parents, in whatever way the parents want them to be. 

Hammond’s creative side can be a mixed blessing. Although she is driven to document her baby's life in photographs, her mother-in-law advised her to put down the camera and focus on the present.

“When you are a photographer, you see everything through pictures, and you aren’t living in the moment,” Hammond said. “I’m more interested in holding her.”

Since the birth of her daughter seven months ago, Hammond has leaned on good friend Jamila Batchelder who gave birth in December 2007. Hammond asked her for advice during the early stages of motherhood.

“For the first four months I had no idea what I was doing,” Hammond said.

Although the sleepless nights seem never-ending, she said she looks forward to each new day with her daughter.

“The sun will rise and I will look at her face and be like, ‘I love her and it’s going to be fine.’”


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