2018, A Year In Review

Fine Art Film Family Photographer | Sarah Carpenter Family Photography | Seattle, Washington Family sessions and Destinations World Wide

I told you, on my Instagram, that I wanted to post really honestly about 2018, so here it is. This year started with a bang! One day, I was doing a photoshoot for my gorgeous dancer sister in my living room/studio, and the next day (literally the next day) I was in labor with Sofie. I am still trying to decide whether to share her birth story or not, so let me know if you’re interested in hearing it. I mean reading it. You get the gist. So anyways…

Have I mentioned that change is really hard for me? I’ve probably said it more than a million times. Change is really hard for me. I met Sofie late on a Thursday night, surrounded by Ben, my mom, the OB, my delivery nurses and probably 10 NICU nurses. Sofie was not crying at first, and then she was. And it wasn’t until after my family had left, I’d eaten my Chick-fil-A sandwich, and Ben had fallen asleep, that it all hit me. It hit me hard, and all at once. I was holding Sofie in the hospital bed, and I was sobbing. I was deliriously happy and exhaustingly sad all at the same time. And the mixed emotions have been there ever since.

To say that the transition to motherhood has been an easy one would be a lie. I’ve had so many days where I feel like I’m not myself, where I am more emotional than words can describe about Sofie growing up too fast. I’ve been happier than I’ve ever been, and I’ve also had the lowest days as well. I’ve been strung out. I’ve found myself crying in the closet after an hour of trying to get Sofie to sleep. I’ve found myself laughing with her not 10 minutes later. I had horrible trouble with breastfeeding the first two months, and as a perfectionist who could study for a test and know I got the grade, who practiced my way up in the orchestra, who… well you get it, not being able to get this one thing “right” immediately was really rough for me. I was worried all the time about if it would always be painful, if Sofie was getting enough to eat, if I would ever feel “normal” again. We got it, eventually, and it was such a triumph. I’ve also had body issues. I’ve worried if I’ll ever lose the baby weight. I’ve worried about telling people I’m worried about it. Clearly I worry a lot. It’s difficult to want to lose the weight, want to fit into the mold of women who lose it just like that snaps fingers, and it’s difficult to be one of the women who isn’t losing the weight fast enough. Understanding a postpartum body (or postpartum brain) with all the hormones swirling around is a whole other ball game. I wanted to give myself grace, so many people have said this to me, told me its a must, but I didn’t feel like I could. I wasn’t happy with the way I looked or felt. I wasn’t happy wearing the same maternity jeans for months.

It was a hard transition for me as a Type A personality, not being able to complete the tasks I needed to do, not being able to focus 100% of my attention on my business every day. My business is still growing, still improving, still getting to the point where I want it to be, but I didn’t feel like I could devote time to it the way I wanted to, and I was worried I’d lose momentum. I was also worried that focusing on business would take too much away from enjoying these first moments with Sofie, with my new family of three. I felt more split than I ever have.

It’s taken a year. A whole year, a weekend escape to NYC, a trip to Europe, standing on the hill in Scotland and crying. It’s taken stepping away from home here and there to do a shoot or assist on a wedding to know that I’m still me. I’m me, and I’m a mom. I love my family, and I love my job. I love the crazy bustle that is our life now. It’s taken me all of this and more to stop, to be present, to put my computer aside, to quit cleaning up after dinner and snuggle or play or enjoy watching Sofie during her favorite activity: bath time.

2018 was incredible. And it was hard. And it was enlightening. Other than becoming a mom, I got a business coach. I learned how to market myself better. I started to figure out my brand and stretch the edges of myself creatively. I took a hiatus from shooting weddings, somewhat unintentionally, to figure out where I want my business to go, and figure out how to balance my family and my creative journey. I found that I LOVE weddings. I LOVE portraits. I LOVE teaching. I found that I love pencil skirts and blouses with puffy sleeves, and I love red lipstick. I found that I have spent so long trying to be someone else to please the people I thought it would impress, that I’d lost myself. So really, becoming a mom, taking more time, hiring that business coach. All of these things culminated in me realizing who I really am and who I want to be. It’s always the times when you think you’re really lost that you find yourself. And I stick to that.

I have one more thing I’d like to add to this. If you ever feel lost. If you feel worried or scared or hate change or need a friend to help you navigate through tough changes, please reach out to me, to someone. I know how difficult going through life’s changes and challenges can be, and I want you to know that I’m here as a friend or confident, without hesitation or judgement. I had people when I needed people. I HAVE people. And I want to pass that along.

On a lighter note (okay this is the second one more thing). Here’s to a fantastic 2019. I am looking forward to all the joys and challenges that the new year will bring. And now, I’m off to spend some extra time doing Christmas-y things for Sofie’s first Christmas.

New Headshots by Brittany of Blue Rose Photography

Sarah Carpenter