Inward, now onward.
I took a very long break.
A year without a photo post online. Saying no to sessions. My heart was growing and I was creating space for myself to figure out what's next.
When I had Wren I felt the need to do it all. Our first night home I was going up and down stairs doing laundry. Within the week I was out shopping with the family. Going to lunch with my friends. Opening our doors to anyone who wanted to visit. Then one month postpartum it all fell apart. I was sad and angry. I had to return to work. My anxiety was increasing exponentially. Looking back I know now that I was falling into a spiral and getting deeper and deeper and deeper into sadness and confusion. I did not know that I needed help.
In the postpartum confusion life doesn't slow down. I still had to parent and make ends meet. I was under this impression that the postpartum period would be brief, but it took me two years to come out on the other side. I am so thankful I started photographing through it all, because in the haze I forgot so many of the memories that I need now. Photographing helped me slow down to observe my son, and now I get to look back and see our journey together. These photographs remind me that even though my heart felt broken and not whole, we had a lot of damn good moments together. That we overcame and are still here.
This past year I took a break from personal photography - I had a lot on my plate with being a mom, working full-time, a busy wedding season, the coffee shop - and I wasn't so great at putting my passions first. But I told myself it was okay. Sometimes forcing it isn't what the answer is, but taking a step back is.
It's the end of the year and I find myself 20 weeks pregnant. I want to be sure my path is different this time.
I started photographing again, slowly, but I'm out there. I've been reading and studying the postpartum experience; checking off the DONA postpartum doula reading list - unsure if I'll ever move forward with certification - but feeling a need to ready myself, and support my friends or photography clients around me who might be falling, too.
Taking the time to learn about why my experience went the way it did the first time has made me feel better about where we are at with this surprise pregnancy. I'm feeling able to nurture myself and a new being, able to ask for help when I need it, and ready to provide the space to document other families stories.