On February 24, 2018, I shot the Allen family’s lifestyle photo session, one of the most vulnerable and wonderful sessions I’ve experienced to date. Being in their home and experiencing their unique family dynamic introduced me to a lifestyle I’d never seen before: Navy life. Braden’s uniform, Chivon’s strength, Emmalyn’s beautiful newborn energy… this family has overcome every hardship to be together. In spite of distance and difficulty, their love holds them together. It was apparent from the very first moment.
One and a half months before her Navy contract ended, Chivon met the love of her life on the ship, and knew it immediately. Braden was stationed in Hawaii, and shortly after their meeting, the couple was forced to be apart. After an unbearable 5 month long distance relationship because they missed each other so much, Chivon texted Braden one morning, “let’s get married so we don’t have to spend one more minute apart!,” and 3 months later they had a wedding by a beautiful river in Arkansas. A week after the wedding, Chivon made the move to Hawaii so that she could finally “spend every waking minute with this man.”
let’s get married so we don’t have to spend one more minute apart!”
Unfortunately though, they didn’t get to spend much time together, as Braden was always gone for his job. Shortly after, there was good news! A baby was on the way! And Braden changed his job to be home more, for the sake of his growing family. But as we all know, life doesn’t always go as planned, and shortly after, Chivon miscarried. Dealing with the loss was very difficult, and Braden had to leave again for his job. So yet again, that meant more time apart.
Five short weeks later, Chivon was pregnant again, and they were so happy! But it wouldn’t be easy. Shortly after, Braden had to go to Mississippi for school and Chivon wouldn’t be coming with him. She didn’t want to spend the remainder of her pregnancy alone in Hawaii, so she decided to move in with her in laws in Arkansas.
She saw Braden just a couple times during her pregnancy, before he left for California where he’d be stationed. On her due date of December 15th, she went into labor at 3AM. She drove herself to the hospital and got admitted. But as the labor became complicated and her daughter’s heart beat started to drop and she was rushed in for an emergency C-Section. After the scare and the difficult delivery, a beautiful healthy baby girl was born, with her mother, and her two grandmothers by her side. “I tell you when she came out I was in such shock I had no words for the love I felt for her. It’s unexplainable how you feel when they come out!” says Chivon.
Emmalyn is 3 months old now, and the family is together, living on the Naval Base in Port Hueneme, CA.
No matter where they find themselves in the world, this family is always together in their hearts. I had the pleasure of photographing them at their home on the base, and I hope you enjoy this tiny snapshot of their unique and beautiful life.
I tell you when she came out I was in such shock I had no words for the love I felt for her.
Thank you Chivon for sharing your story. And I’m happy that I got to capture just a small snapshot of your family. I can’t wait to see what happens next!