Expectations vs. Reality
When I started Om Mama Co. back in 2018, I thought I would be there right alongside the mamas in no time – pregnant, and then with my own little baby. But as the universe would have it, that isn’t how my story has played out.
I want to share my journey now, while I am still in the messy middle, to connect with other people that may be unknowingly trudging right alongside me. To hold space for conversation. To share resources. Even surrounded by the network of support I have nurtured over the last 2 years, I have often felt overwhelmingly alone.
However, the friends and providers that I have come to lean on the most have been those I have found through the Om Mama community, and I want to share that so badly with others that may be looking for answers on their own fertility path.
So here’s the truth.
I am 19 cycles in. 19 unwanted periods. 19 disappointments. Way more than 19 moments of heartbreak and tears.
I have a lot of fears about sharing our story. I fear that I will be treated differently, especially considering my work as a maternity + newborn photographer and a motherhood community leader.
However, I honestly believe that this experience is helping me treasure each and every baby and family I get to work with even more. It is a MIRACLE that a mother can grow a baby, and bring that baby into the world.
I have come to love and appreciate every way womxn I have met have become mothers, each in their own, perfect ways.
I also wanted to make sure to point out this post I shared on Instagram. Many can find it extremely difficult to be around pregnant people/babies during their fertility journey, but I want to assure my clients that this hasn’t been the case for me. I know that many of my friends and clients have struggled with infertility, miscarriage, difficult pregnancies and births, and many hardships to get to this moment and I want to celebrate the HECK out of it with them. This is far from easy for anyone.
I share this in hopes of holding space for community and showing up as my full self. If you choose to read and follow, thank you in advance for your kindness and patience as I navigate this chapter of our story!
My journey with (in)fertility.
In my early + mid-twenties, I would watch my wedding photographer friends get pregnant right on schedule so that they could give birth in “off-season”. They would be hugely pregnant at our industry holiday party, and then back at it by spring. It seemed like a pretty sweet deal to me, and what I envisioned for myself one day.
I never thought I would have any issue getting pregnant. I honestly didn’t know that many people that had any trouble getting pregnant, apart from a couple of friends that had gone through IVF. And even then, I didn’t know the questions to ask, or the stories to understand.
I’ve always been a planner.
We planned to take our 5 year wedding anniversary trip to Europe, and start trying on that trip – April 2019, hoping to conceive by June at the latest. Let’s be real: I wanted to conceive in May, and figured that was that.
I made an appointment with my doctor, made plans to take out my IUD in January, and start tracking my cycle.
A friend recommended I read “Taking Charge of Your Fertility” by Toni Weschler. Even with everything I’d learned and knew so far, I was shocked by the “fertile window” and how pregnancy + ovulation actually works. Growing up, you are taught everything to not get pregnant. I’d been on birth control since I was 15 and I felt wildly unaware of how my body and my cycles and my hormones worked.
I remember vividly having sex for the first time without protection in our nearly 10 years of being together. I knew I was in my “fertile window” and afterwards we immediately thought – holy shit – did we just conceive a baby?!
Counting the days + months
I did mental math all the time. If we were to conceive this month, when would the due date be? When would I be too-pregnant to be able to work? Too soon postpartum to work? Should I be including 2nd shooters in my wedding photography packages just in-case? Should I stop booking weddings, period?
Summer months kept inching along. I became intimately familiar with the agony of the two week wait (TWW). The anxiety of timing something that used to be spontaneous and fun.
Do we keep trying or wait a few months like we thought we would for my work?
We decided to keep trying, and throw the calendar out the window. But still in the back of my mind, I would say “Hey universe! See me prioritizing + not stressing about timing? Now I’ll get pregnant, right?”
Don’t stress. Have fun.
These are phrases I’ve heard over and over. I’ve often considered myself an anxious person, so this of course pushed me to think it was my fault we weren’t conceiving. I was too stressed. I wasn’t taking good enough care of my body. I was eating/drinking too much of this, too little of that. I continued with therapy, and started acupuncture. I meditated and practiced yoga.
But it still wasn’t working.
One day several months in, I got my period. I met up with Kevin at a fancy bar so we could drown our sorrows in $25 cocktails. We had a surprisingly great time, but the next day I was surprisingly hungover. That morning we had a walking mama meet-up for Om Mama. I drug myself out of bed, into the car and drove to Green Lake, hoping to God I wouldn’t throw up on the way over – or once I was there.
Luckily, some of my closest mama friends in our community were there that day. I told them straight up that we’d been trying to conceive for a few months and I got my period the day before, and I was hungover.
They were kind and supportive. I felt heard and understood.
I never thought I would need this community in this way, but they were there for me. I thought I would be pregnant right alongside them, sharing my own stories, but instead I was learning what it looks like to stand by someone dealing with infertility – that someone just happened to be me.
If you’re looking for community, from “trimester zero” to mama of many – you are welcome at Om Mama Co.!
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