They say becoming a mother is one of the most rewarding events a mother can experience. I know this feeling now where I didn't before. Having our son was a huge challenge and something I will never forget. It was easy to think once he was born and I was holding him in my arms for the first time, that the biggest challenge was over. I had no idea of the other challenges that lay before me.
This is a more personal post than most of mine, but I thought it was appropriate to be honest. My photography isn't just my business, its my life. I like to think that I get to know my clients personally, capturing their memories and preserving these special moments in time forever. So sharing the experience I have been going through becoming a new mommy did not seem out of place.
So since our little angel was born both my darling fiance and I have been on a roller coaster of emotions and new experiences. Seeing our son for the first time was an emotional moment, going from just the two of us, to the three of us, a family, has been an adjustment. Its incredible how much attention and time someone so little can require. We are absolutely thrilled to be parents, and we could not be more in love with our little boy. I have always loved being around children and knew I wanted to be a mother, more specifically, a young mother. When I thought about having a family, I just always pictured my business fitting right into that scene flawlessly. I never thought it would be a challenge to do what I love and be a mother as well. This is after all, why I fought so hard to start my business, why I fought to do what I love.
Once home and settled with our baby, the challenges I did not foresee began. The recovery, postpartum, the sadness for no reason, the overwhelming feelings, not feeling like the woman I was before baby, trying to figure out how to do everything this small human needs. Learning each of his tiny cues, understanding his patterns, trying to be a mommy. Our son was born "underweight" as the pediatrician put it. As if we needed another thing to stress about, he was already born in the dead of winter and in cold and flu season. So nursing my sweet boy around the clock anytime he needed was imperative so that breastfeeding would be successful and he would gain. At this point I absolutely could not comprehend my business. Once we got into more of a routine, I began to think about my clients, photography, and what needed to be done for the upcoming year. This is where my stress and anxiety started. Between trying to get any amount of sleep, making sure I was successfully helping my son gain weight properly, and keeping up around my home, my photography was the last thing I could handle.
So as emails came flooding into my inbox, some previous clients I needed to correspond with and some new clients I needed to speak to about their photography needs, I began to feel like I was drowning. Trying to get into a nursing schedule with my new baby, starting to collect a stock of milk for when I booked photography jobs and couldn't be home to feed him, pediatrician appointments not to mention all the people who want to visit when you have a new baby, etc. Everyday keeping up with being a new mother and trying to get to all the needs of my business, it felt impossible. So one step at a time, I took care of my existing clients, and tried to get to the new clients. I certainly was not keeping up at the level I was around the same time the previous year. I never imagined feeling this way about my photography, I didn't expect it would be so difficult to get back into the swing of things.
On this journey, I have disappointed clients. I certainly did not intend to. For that, I apologize. I love my clients truly, I love what I do, I love making my clients happy. I felt like a failure. I still feel a twinge of shame and disappointment when I think about some of the angry comments I have received. However we must move on right? I have honestly tried very hard to please every one of those disgruntled clients and this year I am taking on less, I am not saying yes to every job but I am planning on being successful. I am going to make time for my baby and time for work. We are also house hunting for a new home to call our own. This should be very exciting.
I am still on this journey to finding myself again, to separating mommy and photographer. So how do you working mommies out there do it? How do you juggle being a business owner and giving your child the attention they need? Its definitely getting easier. As our beautiful boy gets into more of a routine, as we develop more of a schedule, I find it easier to take time for my business, and take time for me. Last year was the most successful year I have had yet, and I am looking forward to an even better year this year. Above all, I love being a mother and I am thoroughly looking forward to my adventures raising my little angel boy and being a photographer documenting all the awesome memories we will make! Nothing worth doing is easy. -Alexa-
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