If you’ve been following me since I started my business in 2017, you may have noticed that I recently have been posting more about motherhood and motherhood photography – or at least I hope you’ve noticed! 😉 When I started photography in 2016, the classes that I took were from amazing wedding photographers. I was in classes with women who were trying to get into the wedding photography business, and their excitement rubbed off on me…I was ready to be a great wedding photographer! After shooting everything from products for local businesses to headshots to weddings, families and even a pirate party, I’ve learned that motherhood photography is really where my heart is.
Let me back up for a minute and tell you a little bit about myself. Before college, I was afraid of children (I know, it’s weird), and while I wanted to get married, I wasn’t really sure about having kids of my own. I was afraid of babies (they’re so fragile! Would I hurt one if I held it? What if it spit on me?!) and the thought of labor was literally a nightmare. I figured I would adopt, maybe, and probably only have a kid or two because they seemed like a lot of work and I had a lot of life goals! If this is you, I’m not saying this is wrong! But, for me, a lot of things have changed since that time that led me to where I am now. I went to school to be a physical therapist. I worked for 5 years at the VA and even did a residency right out of school to specialize in neuro PT. It was amazing, so much fun, and I did everything I could to be the best neuro PT I could be. All of my spare time was spent doing “neuro PT stuff”, and I put all my value in that.
Just before my second son was born, I considered (and prayed, and went back and forth FOREVER) leaving my job to stay home with both boys. To be honest, it was not an easy decision. I LOVED my work, and I still love neuro PT and hope to get back to it some day. But, I also knew that this stage with my boys would be short, and that I wouldn’t regret giving them the extra time during these years. I hate to admit this, but I honestly was SCARED to quit my job and be home with them. I felt like I was “throwing away” all the work I put in on my career and that I would be “just a mom” at home. Truthfully, I probably put way too much of my identity into my work.
Since being home with my boys, I’ve realized the blessing of motherhood. I would argue that being their mom has done as much, if not more, for me as it has for them. It’s a challenging journey that yields so much good fruit. It’s grown me more than my 7 years of schooling has in so many unexpected ways. While it often feels like I’m “just doing dishes and playing cars”, God is using my boys to refine me and to change my character. He’s using them to grow me in patience, love, self-sacrifice and constant dependence on him. He’s also showing me that I have worth beyond my job or any measure of success. While I used to view this stage with my boys as a temporary break from work before getting back to “my old self”, I now realize that this isn’t a break at all, and I am learning to embrace “my new self” and the changes in my character and heart since having my boys.
I want to make it very clear that I’m not saying that people should be stay at home moms. Staying home with my boys was the right decision for me, but that’s not what this post is about. Whether or not you stay home with your kids, you are GOING to grow as a mom. You will have times that you miss your child-free days. That idea of “getting back to your old self again” is something I hear so many moms talk about! I want them (you!) to know that we don’t need to get back to the old person that we once were! It’s tempting to choose a time in the past and say “I want to be just like that – like when I was skinny, and had freedom, and no responsibility, a lot of money and a good job” or whatever else, and then compare ourself to the ‘perfect’ version of ourselves in our minds. I hope that moms (working.. stay-at-home…all moms!) are able to look at their current stage of life and their kids that they’ve been given and think ‘wow! I have grown so much because of these kids, I’m becoming a new person, and I’m thankful for that’ while embracing their current situation and being content where they are.
So, what does this have to do with photography?
When I photograph a new baby and their mom, it’s almost like photographing two new people. The baby, but also the mom who is growing into a beautiful new person with increased patience, love, empathy and understanding for people around her. When moms get up at night to feed their baby across the clock, they grow into more patient and self-sacrificial women. When they teach their kids how to treat others, they grow in empathy that they may not have had prior to children. When they see how much their kids love them, they can hopefully better see the value they have. When I look at photos of me and my boys it makes me think of all the ways they have changed me (for the good), and I want to help other people see that about themselves as well! <3
This is one of the biggest reasons why I’ve moved away from strictly posed newborn sessions and have started focusing more on in-home lifestyle sessions. I do love the cute, posed baby photos, but they don’t feel as “real” to me. While they’re definitely cute, I just love the photos of the family together and the focus on the mom as well as the baby because having a new baby changes the whole family, and I want to capture that! Since I just don’t have time to do everything, I’ve decided to focus my efforts there. I always try to run my business decisions through the lens of “if I were the client, what would I want?” and go from there! :
Thank you all who have trusted me with this super important part of your life!