Friday, February 22, 2013

A New Venture {Birth Photography}

I feel like I have been neglecting my blog and all of you as my readers. I've been so incredibly busy since Christmas, that my time blogging has been limited. I figure it's only fair that I give you a bit of an update on my life.

I struggled a bit with depression when I came home from Washington, D.C. The weather here turned incredibly cold and we have gotten snow, snow, and more snow! So far it isn't going away. However, after a few weeks of what literally felt like a cloud of depression on and around me, I feel like it is finally lifting. I'm just two weeks away from March, and March can mean Spring (or at least I'm hoping so).

I've also taken on an additional new project. In August, my sister gave me one of the best gifts she could have ever given me, I was able to be at the birth of her son, my first nephew's birth, as the birth photographer.

As long as I can remember, I have loved photography. As a little girl, my Grandparents gave me a Polaroid camera as a gift. I think I was 8 years old. I took that camera everywhere and used my own money to buy the film for it. It was a treasure for me and I still have that camera today.

If you asked me as a child what I wanted to be when I grew up, the answer was always either a teacher or an OB/GYN (and yes I used that term even when I was little). I loved babies. I ended up deciding that a teacher better fit me, although I still would love to go back to school to be a doula or midwife.

However, while I chose to go to school to be a teacher, I still pursued my love of photography. When my sister gave birth, a passion was ignited inside me and suddenly I realized I loved it! I got to be part of the birth process and use my love of photography.

At first I thought maybe I loved it so much only because it was my nephew's birth. In October, I had another couple contact me about doing birth photography for the birth of their daughter. The passion was still there. I went home from that birth knowing that for the first time since being a teacher and being a mom, I found something I loved to do with all my heart!!

After a third, and subsequent fourth birth, I can honestly say, I knew that I should become an official birth photographer. The honor, the joy, the passion was all there and I had to do it. I've been working on creating a logo, getting business cards made, and doing everything I can to establish a business. The last few weeks have been very busy doing these things. Thus, my blog has taken a back burner as I've learned all about establishing a business and worked on starting it up.

I promise in the coming weeks I will be back to a normal schedule. In the meantime, if you want to follow my birth photography, feel free to check out my Facebook page, At First Sight Photography.

Have the last few weeks been crazy for any of you? Are you ready for winter to be over with, or is it nice where you live?

Friday, February 8, 2013

Sweet Memories {On Weaning Meridian}

*I started writing this letter back in October. I just haven't been able to officially post it until now. Partly because she has nursed some since then, but also because posting makes it real that she really did wean. This mama is going to go cry now!*

Dear Meridian,

Hi little ringlet girl! :) In a way, I can't believe I'm writing this. But in my heart, I know it's time.

My heart is breaking a bit tonight. On Friday, mommy decided to nurse you for the last time. We talked for months about it. But every time I talked about it, you would cry or tell me that, "You just feel so loved when nursing". Because of that, I couldn't take away that special time for you. Even if it meant you sometimes only taking three little drinks on each side. Three because you are three and like that number the most!

However, on Friday mommy was leaving for the weekend to visit a friend, and decided that this may be a good time to at least try. Daddy said you did well when I was away. You only told Zoelle once that you were sad because mommy weaned you. When I came home Sunday afternoon, you never even asked. I saw you glance at my chest as if you were going to, but instead you kept playing. It wasn't until bedtime when you saw Xiomara briefly nursing that you said you wanted it too. I reminded you that you weaned and within minutes you were calmed down and reminding me that you wanted to go to Target to pick out a weaning present. You keep telling me you want either a Tom & Jerry movie (I'm sure in part to your older sister telling you what to choose) or a new lipstick (which sounds much more like you).

As with Zoelle's weaning, I feel a bit panicky and maybe even more so because you rushed through that last nursing without really even caring that this was it. I guess maybe that is my clue that you were truly ready?

I know I was. I mean here you are, almost three and a half, an age I never thought you would make it to with nursing, yet you still nursed away. I never thought we would get this far. You were so different from your older sister who only nursed for 2.5 years. She was attached to nursing. You never cared for it from day one. Even as a newborn, I could hardly get you to stay latched on long enough to nurse. I eventually just let you do your own thing and we created a semi-normal pattern of how nursing would go for the next three years. You still only nursed in short fragments of time, but you learned to love the emotional connection we formed.

Your favorite time to nurse was in the middle of the night, or early in the morning. Thus, I was ready for you to be done. I look back now though, and wish I would have cherished your sleepy little body next to mine as we both fell back to sleep, you from the warm milk that you said tasted like chocolate, and me from the oxytocin released from nursing.

You are fiercely independent and I realize now that you are done nursing, that one of my strongest connections to you was through our special nursing time. I will miss it. My only regret with you is not having professional nursing pictures taken or at least more pictures taken with you nursing.

My favorite part of nursing you is the fact that you got to tandem nurse not just once, but twice. You and your big sister, Zoelle tandem nursed for 8 months and you and your little sister, Xiomara tandem nursed for over two years. For the most part, you girls liked your own separate time nursing, a time to just connect with mama and no one else. But the sweetest moments for me were when you would nurse together, and you would reach over and rub Xiomara's head, or hold Zoelle's hand. I hope that when I am an old woman, I can remember those precious times. It is because of you not weaning before one year (something I was convinced would happen), that Xiomara was able to nurse. Without ever knowing it, you gave me one of the biggest gifts ever! Thank you!!

So while our nursing journey looked different than your big sister's did and while I'm a bit sad, I can honestly say you did this on your own. You were ready, I was ready and a thousand times over it was more peaceful than Zoelle's ever was. I'm thankful because it leaves me with a smile on my face rather than tears.

I love you big girl! Thank you for three and a half precious years of connecting through nursing. I can't wait to journey into this next phase of your life, forever loving and holding onto the precious memories of breastfeeding you.