Never apologize for burning too brightly or collapsing into yourself every night;
that is how galaxies are made.”
I’m one of you. I too felt that I lost my identity – myself – when I became a mama. Everything in my life was about this new person. This little baby consumed my life and guilt visited me often. I was lost for years.
The addition of two little beings did not make it easy, but just recently I realized how neglectful I was toward myself. I realized that one of the greatest blessings I can give my babies is a happy, confident mama. One that is whole. Because I want them to be whole and not be defined by their roles either.
I want them to be and love themselves first.
Then I did what I do often and searched the internet for others mamas who had lost themselves too. That’s when I came across this beautifully written article by Jenny Fenig that I’d like to share with you:
Becoming a mother changes everything … or does it?
Sure, your priorities shift, your sleep changes (yikes!), your body transforms and your heart expands … but what happens to your identity when you cross over the threshold to motherhood?
When I was pregnant with my first child, someone I very much looked up to told me I would completely lose my identity once I had my baby. “Life as you know it is over. There will be no time for you anymore. Accept it,” she said. I was shocked.
Even though this person was older and had three kids and I was merely pregnant with baby #1, something inside of me said, “No, it doesn’t have to be like that. I love myself and my growing family too much to lose myself.”
As a woman who has always been ambitious and career-driven, I didn’t see why all that I had worked for needed to disappear as soon as I was someone’s mother.
(Loving and taking care of yourself is part of taking care of your kid)
So much of my younger years were spent suffering and searching in unhealthy places because I didn’t have a clear sense of who I was or why I was here. Once I found myself, I realized I really liked myself! Sacred self-care and “me time” became my non-negotiable foundation from which everything else flowed. I was happier than I had ever been, in my work, in my marriage, in my soul. This was a hard-won discovery!
This was my anchor, my roots into the earth.
I wasn’t willing to buy into the notion that my identity that I had invested time, money, energy and faith in claiming would simply cease to exist once my baby was born. Sure, it would evolve, but it would not disappear.
And I made my choice NOT to accept that piece of advice that didn’t sit right with me … Or loads of other well-intended advice from friends, relatives, strangers, doctors, experts, magazines, books and the like. And of course, there have been PLENTY of suggestions and pieces of wisdom that have rung true for me in the 6+ years since I’ve been a mother. I’m grateful for it all!
I’m now the proud mama of 3 beautiful children and I’m learning and growing every second of the day. It’s humbling, hilarious, messy and life affirming.
Motherhood is the most intense personal growth path I’ve ever walked (in addition to marriage and entrepreneurship!). My advice for new moms: listen to your Inner Voice about what feels right for your child, you and your family. You will be receiving contradictory tips and suggestions from here on out. Don’t fret. Go within. Breathe!
Wise beyond measure, you know your child so well. Take time to know yourself deeply, too! This relationship with your sacred self is a profound catalyst for confident and fulfilling parenting even during your toughest days (we all have them!).
Love yourself so much that you’re not willing to lose yourself. Because when you lose yourself, everyone loses. Your family needs you. Most of all, you need you.
So, be kind to yourself. Spend time in nature. Write in a journal. Enjoy a quiet cup of tea in a cup that makes you smile. Move your body. Dance in the shower. Enjoy date night with your partner (even if it’s simply a quiet movie at home after your baby is asleep!). Join a mom’s support group. Bless your mess. Ask for help. Know that you will sleep for long stretches again. I promise!
The days sometimes feel like they stretch on forever, but the years fly by. Enjoy your family!
Armrolls, this is the only time in your life when they are welcome.
Those eyes, chubby hands, rolls…
Today I heard the saddest news. A dear friend is suffering. Her marriage is in trouble and both parties, with lots of love still in their hearts, have decided to take a break. This makes me sad. Really sad. Because every time I heard them speak they were loving and caring and kind to one another. My heart aches for her today as I know there is nothing I can do or say that will alleviate her pain. It’s deep and it has no words. It can’t be described, it can only be felt.
I’m scared too. I’m scared because there has been many times when I have thought of divorce and separation. When the stress of it all has overwhelmed me and I’ve pictured walking away with my little ducklings and starting over, but something stops me and I keep fighting. Sometimes I think it’s worthless. All the time and energy spent and trying over and over again. All the pride lost in looking over things I always said I wouldn’t look over. But I do, and I stay. Because I believe that he and my babies are worth fighting for. I stay because the fight needs to be fought in the arena and the day I walk away it will only be upon defeat.
Today I’m also thankful that he is in the arena with me. That knockdown after knockdown he lifts himself back up and keeps on fighting. I’m thankful that he too believes we are all worth fighting for.
Thank you for your continuous fight.
“What do you do? I’m a photographer. Oh, what kind?”
This is a common question I hear people asking photographers. Almost as if a “kind” is specific to what you photograph. They expect to hear: I’m a wedding photographer, or I’m a portrait photographer, or I’m a newborn photographer, but really my “kind”, my “style” is not based on the people I choose to photograph, but in how and why I photograph them.
When I first started photography back in 2009 I was scared and naïve. I followed the crowd and I really thought that my “niche” was who I wanted to photograph. It took some soul searching this time around to really figure out what makes me happy and who I am as a photographer. Mind you, this is an ongoing process, but I’ve learned that my photography is more than a person. I don’t and won’t limit my craft.
I take photographs to capture moments. Not something that is, but the essence of what can or will be.
I want to capture the way you look at the man of your dreams; the way you feel when he places his hand on your belly and you realize that life will soon be different and full.
My “niche” are those who are not afraid to be themselves and don’t hold back. Those that let me in – just a little – to capture an intimate moment.
My niche is not defined by age, gender, education, or interest. They are everyday people who know the value photograph.
So what “kind” of photographer am I? I’m the one that wants you to feel something when you look back at your images. The one that pushes you to let me in and goes above and beyond to capture the essence of your life, just as it is, right now. Something that – only years later – would make you realize just how important this moment truly was.
I read this article on the Huffington Post and it expressed so well how I feel about photos in general that I need to share it with all of you.
If you’re engaged to be married, then quick, tell me why it’s worth it to have an engagement photo session?
I was reading a thread on a wedding forum where brides weighed in about that. And all the comments were offering the same two or three opinions:
“It’s a chance to get comfortable with the photographer,” “can use it for the save the date,” “it’s a way to see how I photograph.”
And there were those who saw no value in it at all. “What for?” “Why bother?” “Who needs it?”
But there’s something big about engagement photos that no one ever thinks of. No bride, no groom, no photographer, ever seems to consider.
Because consider this: here’s this little window of time in your life. A slice of time that perhaps may be only a few months to a few years long. Not a lot of time at all, really, compared to your entire life.
But yet what happened in this small, tiny, sliver window of time is disproportionately huge.
In fact, something’s happened that impacts the rest of your entire life.
In that little window of time, tiny little miracles happened.
Because in that tiny little window of time, you found someone. And they found you.
You fell in love. They fell in love with you.
And you both chose to make a life with each other. Commit to each other. Maybe bring a new family line into this world.
This changes the course of both your lives. And correspondingly like a ripple effect in a pond it affects everyone around you. And in time, the descendants you’ve brought forth by virtue of your commitment, will affect everyone in the future, until the end of time. Because as your generations go out into the world they will heal, help, sacrifice, influence, and in many ways touch the world around them.
You have literally changed the course of the world.
That’s why I can say your engagement is huge.
And to photograph this historic chapter of your life, to have this time forever preserved so it’s there to be seen whenever you wish to pull back the curtain of time and revisit this time in your life and feel the emotions again…
Because photos aren’t for today. People who see engagement photos as a mere test shoot for the wedding or as a way to get familiar with being photographed are seeing photos as only for today.
But photographs are for the rest of our lives. There’s the joy it brings when your memories have dimmed to be able to see these times again. And there’s something magical about being able to literally show your memories to someone new. Someone who probably hasn’t even been born yet. And to be able to say, “Look. This is me and your grandfather when we were young, at the beginning of our love.”
Not only to visit again the beautiful, historic times of your life, but in time, for all your generations to see from whom they came, and the love they came from, too.
And that’s the real reason to have photos like these made.
I’m always looking for soft knits for my newborn sessions, but to be honest, I’m a bit picky. I came across Petunia’s Handmade Creations on Etsy and fell in love with her beautiful selection. See for yourself:
So I did what I always do, I contacted her to get more information about the yarn itself and when I heard back from her I loved her shop even more. She uses mostly hand died yarn from small, family owned farms in Africa. Some of her items are made from fair trade organic cotton. Aren’t these amazing? If you are preparing for your newborn session, I encourage you to visit her Etsy shop.
[Tip: Make sure you order weeks in advance as most of the items are handmade to order.]
Happy Friday! Another week has flown by and I’m excited about the upcoming changes that are coming to The Crunchy Nest. I will be offering spectacular products and I can’t wait to share with you.
You can find the links to all of the dresses above on my Pinterest board.
I love when babies are photographed in natural fabrics, and knits are one of my favorites for this. While we are planning your session I will share with you a list of some of my favorite Etsy knitters that offer cruelty free and/or organic products. I will also be sharing some of them on our Vendor Spotlight series on blog.
And lastly, when dressing your newborn prior to the session, it is key that you loosen his/her diaper to make sure his skin is free of any imprints.
That is all I have for you today, make sure you visit us next Friday as I will be sharing one of my favorites knit vendors. Have a great weekend!
Ahhh newborns…I love them and everything they represent. Last week I posted Part 1 of the Tips for a beautiful newborn session series, you can click here to read, and I promised that I would post more. So let’s get started:
As you can imagine there are many more tips to share…make sure you visit us next Friday. Have a great weekend!
“Happiness is a butterfly, which when pursued, is always just beyond your grasp, but which, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you.”
This mama and baby are very dear to me and hold a special place in my heart. It seems like it was yesterday when she was this little. Baby Bella was eagerly awaited and welcomed with an insurmountable amount of love. I want to share with you a few words this lovely mama wrote in a letter to her unborn child:
” . . . When I wonder if I’m a good enough mother, please help me to know my strength again. When I fear failure, please pierce me with your eyes and smile. When I take things too seriously, I give you permission to make me laugh. Laugh often.
Please remind me that life is beautiful, when I might forget. I want you to be the best thing about me. I hope you always love me, I hope that you will be proud to be my legacy. I want to say, that you were the most amazing little lovely thing that I have ever seen before you even ever came to be. I will wait patiently for you, enjoying you on the inside. Come as you are. Come when you are ready. . . “