Four words I hear too often, ” I am so sorry.”
When you tell people “I can’t have kids,” that is a response you can pretty much anticipate.
Two years ago, that was a very touchy subject for me and I did everything to avoid it. I never even gave people an opportunity to express sympathy because if they asked about kids, I lied. I was still in a dark place. I thought to be happy in life, I had to be a mother.
Fast forward two years and …wow, could I have not been more wrong. To say it was a difficult lesson to learn might be an understatement, but it is probably one of the most valuable lessons I have learned yet. It caused me to question everything about who I am, what I do and why I do what I do. Why in the world does a woman who can’t have children wake up every morning and photograph pregnant mamas and newborns? I mean, you plan your entire life post-high-school in preparation for starting a family from the degree you choose, the cars you buy, the home you choose and even the dog you adopt. All for nothing now? Apparently, so. Now what happens? As a person with 3 planners, an organized filing cabinet and an assistant this was a scary concept to realistically think about but nonetheless is something you can’t quit thinking about.
At some point you have to get off your feet and quit dwelling on what could be and live in moment. Why am I working from home, driving a mom car, in a 4 bedroom home with two thousand square feet without any children? I realized that my need to plan ahead (which had always worked for me in the past) was inhibiting my ability to live and love in the moment I was in. After serious consideration and growth during our grieving process, we decided together to live now and do things that married couples with children would give anything to do be able to do… give my full undivided attention to my businesses, get my dream car, live in a high rise condo in the entertainment district of Fayetteville , wake up on Sunday morning and impromptu 6-hour drive to Dallas for Tacos from Rusty Taco.
I love photographing pregnant mama’s and newborns because it’s the most beautiful thing in my eyes. I am not envious. I am not angry. I am not sad. Those babies are their gift. I am a woman who knows the alternative and when moms come to me with fear about their appearance and low confidence, I am able to tell them my story. I think a pregnant woman is one of the most beautiful things in the world. She is beautiful. She is strong. She has two heart beats. Sue Bryce once said that it is important for mothers to exist in images for their children. My goal as a photographer is to capture these moms through their children’s eyes. Your children don’t see flaws, they see the person who fixes them breakfast every morning, helps with homework, fixes their cuts and stays up with them when they are sick. Your children love you for everything you are and so should you. What better gift can I give moms than that of being in the moment with their babies and connecting with their children and making those memories last forever? That is a gift every mom needs to have and look at every day.
When people say, ” I am so sorry,” I don’t get defensive and I don’t get weepy. These are people who care about me and they express sympathy because to them it is sad and they don’t know my happiness. It makes me grateful to have people tell me they are sorry, because I know they are a person that cares. That makes them a compassionate human. It is so much better than the alternative that some people respond with such as “You can always adopt or When you least expect it…” Those are responses that are insulting. Of course adoption is something that can occur, it’s not like I had never heard of this grand idea before you mentioned it. “When I least expect it…” Really? I know much more about my situation and I don’t need your medical advice of ignorant high hopes. So when people respond with ” I am so sorry,” I accept your sympathy, but I don’t need it. I am happier than I have ever been in my life. I have learned to be happy and grateful with the cards I have been given in life. My cards are beautiful and they are mine.