Mommy Encouragement | Columbus Ohio Photographer

How I stay encouraged as a mom

As a mom, it is easy to become discouraged. Over the past few weeks I have posted about my struggles in becoming a mom as well as some indulgences to get me through those rough days. Today, I wanted to write about how I stay encouraged as a mom. Here are a few methods I use to stay positive that I want to share with you.

Mommy Friends

I have found that one of the best ways to stay positive is to talk to someone who has been where you are. It helps you realize that what you are going through is completely normal and you are not alone. I have a few friends that I talk to about what is going on with me, as well as what is going on with my baby. They often offer advice that really puts things into perspective. It is also really helpful to know that someone is there to talk to and lean on when you just need to let it all out. Sometimes you aren’t looking for advice, and an “I’m sorry” and a hug is all you really need to lift your spirits.

Writing down the good stuff

One of the things I really struggle with when I am going through a rough patch, is remembering all of the happy moments I have had with my son. It’s sort of like the dark cloud over me is so thick that I don’t even remember that the sun exists. So, I have started writing down some of the things I love most about being a mom to my son. It helps me reflect on the good times instead of dwelling on the hard ones. Pictures and videos also offer a lot of encouragement. If I am feeling down, I watch a video of my son cracking up and it immediately makes me smile.

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Mommy Books

Motherhood is HARD. Because of that, there are a lot of books about motherhood and dealing with all of the difficulties that come with it. I am currently reading a book titled Desperate: Hope for the Mom Who Needs to Breathe by Sarah Mae. I highly recommend it! I plan to write my thoughts on the book in future posts. Again, reading books like this help remind you that you are not alone. So many other moms have been where you are and lived to tell about it.

Music

I love music. It always seems to lift my spirits and put me in a good mood. My parents bought me an Amazon Echo Dot for Christmas this past year so through out the day I say, “Alexa, play Christian music.” It has really helped keep me uplifted and encouraged throughout the day. I have to give my husband credit for this one, he is the one who suggested it.

Prayer & Love

I would be amiss if I did not mention prayer. I believe that God is the supplier of my joy. He holds my every tear in His hands. He promised in His word that He would never leave me nor forsake me (Hebrews 13:5 KJV). That means when I am having a rough day, I can call out to Him and He is always there. I also have to mention love because without the love of my God, family and friends, there is absolutely no way I could survive.


Mommy Indulgence | Columbus Ohio Photographer

The guilty pleasures of motherhood

I have written a few articles lately (like this one and this one) about some tough days as a mom. Today, I want to talk about some of my mommy indulgences that help me through the bad days.

I am pretty sure I am addicted to chocolate, especially when paired with peanut butter. I have several peanut butter chocolate loves in my life. Here are a list of a few of them (in no particular order).

  • Dove Peanut Butter & Dark Chocolate. Melt in your mouth dark chocolate with a creamy peanut butter center. Yum!Columbus-Ohio-Photographer
  • Peanut Butter M&M’s. I love the crunchy shell and the delicious combination of creamy peanut butter and milk chocolate. (No picture because I just finished them last night.)
  • Snickers Peanut Butter bar. Caramel, nougat, creamy peanut butter, and crunchy peanuts all covered in chocolate. Can’t go wrong there. (no picture of these either, they don’t last long in my house)
  • Chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter frosting. (my sister made these for my dad’s birthday)Columbus-Ohio-Photographer
  • Even my morning Larabar is peanut butter and chocolate. Columbus-Ohio-Photographer
  • Can’t forget about cereal. Peanut Butter Chocolate Cheerios for the win.Columbus-Ohio-Photographer

Do you have a mommy indulgence to get you through your rough days? Maybe it’s chocolate like me, or perhaps it’s coffee, or maybe tea. I would love to hear what you do to survive as a mommy.

 


Starting Solids | Columbus Ohio Photographer

Introducing Baby to Solids

After doing a bit of research, and after consulting with our son’s pediatrician, we decided to introduce solids to my son at 5 months old. We chose to purchase baby food from several different local stores including Kroger, Target, and Baby’s “R” Us. The very first solid our son tried was baby rice cereal. He was a little hesitant at first but eventually got the hang of it and started eating it several times a day.

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Next, we could start feeding him yellow vegetables. We chose to start with carrots. He loved them! A few days later we offered him carrots again only for him to start gagging and refusing to eat them. We discovered he is very picky about textures and will only eat certain brands. All of his foods must be very smooth and creamy. His absolute favorite vegetable is sweet potatoes. He devours them within a few short minutes.

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After the introduction of yellow vegetables, we could start on green veggies.  I was a little worried about this one since a lot of babies don’t enjoy green vegetables. Thankfully, as long as the texture is right, Josiah likes green beans and peas. I don’t have a photo of him eating any green veggies, so I will move on to fruit. We started with apples because most babies LOVE applesauce. Not our kid. Remember me saying he is picky about textures? Well, that means he doesn’t like apples or pears because they aren’t creamy. They have more of a gritty or grainy texture which he does not like. That limited us a little for stage one fruits as there aren’t a whole lot available. So, he likes three fruits, bananas, peaches, and mangoes.

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Josiah now enjoys rice cereal mixed with banana puree for breakfast every morning. For lunch he eats a yellow vegetable and for dinner he eats a green vegetable and a fruit. We are currently still giving him stage one sized jars as we want to make sure he also still gets enough milk. We offer him breast milk after each meal as well as an afternoon and a bedtime feeding.

Read more articles about our baby adventures here.

Click here to view the Joyful Moments Photography baby portrait gallery.

*Images in this article are cell phone pictures


A Mother’s Regret | Columbus Ohio Photographer

The Regret of Motherhood

Most mom’s will admit that there is something they regret about the way they raised their children or a decision they made. Some moms regret the way they disciplined their kids, while others might regret the way they chose to feed them (bottle or breast). Many mothers wish they would have changed the way they got their children to sleep when they were babies. Maybe you can relate to some of these, or perhaps you regret something completely different. I am only six months in to motherhood, but I too have regrets. Specifically, I have one really big one.

My Regret

Last week I wrote this article about my encounter with postpartum depression. I, of course, regret having ppd, but that isn’t my big regret. At the end of that article, I did hint at my big regret though. I regret not enjoying the first several months of my son’s life. I regret missing out on so much joy because I will clouded with so much anxiety. I have to really work hard to remember good things about him as a newborn. Often times, in order to remember those good times, I have to look back at photographs and videos. That’s one of the reasons why photographs are so important to me and why I decided to become a photographer. This experience has just shown me once again why they are so necessary.

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Yes, that was a shameless plug for photography.

Anyway…

Even now, when I have an episode of depression, my husband has to help me remember all the joy my son has brought into our lives. When the darkness comes, I just can’t see any light. Due to my depression, I missed out on enjoying my son as a newborn. I didn’t really want to take care of him or snuggle him while he slept. So, regretfully, I only held my sleeping boy a few times. I can never get that stage of his life back. While I was there in body during all of those sweet little newborn moments, I wasn’t mentally there. I can look back at pictures or watch a video to remind me of that time, but I can’t actually go back and experience those moments with joy like I wish I had the first time around.

I know this all sounds quite sad, but there is hope. I am learning to be present for each and every moment. When my son is awake and when my husband is home, I put everything else aside and spend time with them. You see, other things will always be there but my son won’t always be in this stage. One day, he will be all grown up and I don’t want to look back any more and regret missing time with him. I want to be present not just physically, but also mentally.

I am still a work in progress, but I hope to encourage another mother of young children or a momma-to-be, to actively be a part of your child’s life as much as possible. If you aren’t mentally present due to an illness like depression, like I was, please do whatever it takes to fix that. You don’t want to look back a realize how much you missed.


Postpartum Depression Is Real | Columbus Ohio Photographer

What is Postpartum Depression?

According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), “postpartum depression is a mood disorder that can affect women after childbirth. Mothers with postpartum depression experience feelings of extreme sadness, anxiety, and exhaustion that may make it difficult for them to complete daily care activities for themselves or for others.”

The Statistics

The American Psychological Association states that “up to 1 in 7 experience postpartum depression”.

I don’t know about you, but that statistic surprised me. I had no idea postpartum depression was so common.

Treatment

Treatments options include therapy and antidepressant medications. According to NIMH, “Without treatment, postpartum depression can last for months or years. In addition to affecting the mother’s health, it can interfere with her ability to connect with and care for her baby.”

My story

*sigh*

This is the hard part.

This is where I have to swallow my pride, wipe away the tears, and leave myself wide open for everyone to see. It’s not easy. I debated writing this article for a LONG time. But God kept telling me I needed to do it. He wanted to use my experience to help someone else. I even asked my husband if he thought it was a good idea and secretly hoped he would say it wasn’t. But alas the time has come. As I sit here with tear stained cheeks, I still don’t know what to say.

Here goes…

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This was a planned pregnancy. We waited five years for this (by choice). Pregnancy itself wasn’t easy, but I was still beyond excited to be a mother. Labor and delivery went well and there were no major complications for Josiah or I. I had a perfect baby boy. The first two weeks at home after his birth went as expected, sleepless nights and exhausting days, but lots of help from my husband. Then he went back to work and things got a little harder. My son wasn’t a good napper and he never did what all the books said he should. So, like any new mom, I thought I was doing something wrong. I thought I was a terrible mother, incapable of properly caring for my newborn son. My life drastically changed within a blink of an eye and I suddenly had no idea who I was or what my purpose was outside of caring for this tiny human. It all went downhill from there.

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I constantly stressed about his sleeping patterns or lack thereof. I spent countless hours browsing the internet for some magic cure to help my son sleep better. The more I read, the more I thought it was my fault. My husband constantly reassured me that it wasn’t and that I was doing my best, but I just didn’t listen. One little thing led to another and before I knew it my mind had turned on me. I was telling myself I was worthless and I didn’t deserve to be a mom. I thought this was a mistake and my son and husband deserved better. I never felt that instant connection with my son and I didn’t feel overwhelmed with love for him like everyone said I would. Remember that quote from NIMH above? It said that depression makes it difficult to connect with your baby. That was me. I didn’t even feel like he was mine. There were times when I felt absolutely nothing towards him. That was the depression talking. I told my husband I wanted to give our son away. That’s how bad it got. I didn’t want my own son. How awful is that?

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I often found myself sitting on the couch with tears pouring down my face for what later seemed like no reason at all. I just couldn’t help it. I would literally talk myself into being depressed. Now don’t get me wrong, I had moments of pure joy. My son has always been a happy baby, and my heart would melt when he smiled at something I did. I knew he loved me and I knew I loved him. But when an episode of depression hit, I couldn’t see past the darkness.

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I hid it from everyone, or at least I tried. I know a few people wondered. I only ever discussed it with my husband. Not my mom, not my close friends, not my son’s pediatrician (even though he asked), and not my OB. I kept it inside. All bottled up. Eventually, at three months postpartum, my husband convinced me to call my doctor’s office to see what they recommended. The only reason I finally made the call was because I was afraid of my son growing up without a mother.

*Image by Gable Photography*

My doctor was out of the office when I called, so the nurse spoke to the on-call doctor. He prescribed me an antidepressant and recommended a follow up visit with my doctor in two months. Seemed simple enough. I took the first dose and hoped for the best. I was going to be a good mom. I was going to be happy and enjoy every moment of my son’s life. Unfortunately, I had almost every side effect from the medication including a few serious ones like difficulty breathing and heart palpitations. When I notified my doctors office, they of course told me to stop taking the medication. I was told “hopefully it will get better after you settle into your new routine with a baby”. If not, they suggested I see my family care doctor because there wasn’t much else they could do for me. So, that was that. I was stuck like this until I could work through it on my own.

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My son is now six months old and I still have an episode about once a month. It’s a lot better than what it was and I am finding ways to work through it. I wish I would have let more people in and talked about what was going on. I was so afraid of being judged that I let it cloud my judgement and ignored my husband’s advice. I should have talked to other moms and surrounded myself with friends and family. Instead, I shut myself in. If I had to go out I plastered a smile on my face and played the part. Please, if you feel even slightly depressed, talk to someone right away. It’s not worth missing out on such important moments. Believe me, I would know.

 


Motherhood: The Daily Grind

First of all, can I just say that being a mom is HARD WORK!!! Can I get an AMEN from the mom crowd?!?!

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The moment I became a mom, life forever changed. I was used to being a part time CT technologist at a local hospital and running a photography business. I was NOT used to being home all day, every day, doing the same things, all day, every day. I’m talking about the daily grind of motherhood. Specifically, a stay at home mom (sahm). Being a sahm has taken a lot of getting used to… and I’m still not 100% there.

Anyone else feel this way??? or is it just me? please tell me it’s not just me…

Anyway, while I absolutely ADORE my little guy, staying home with him (especially in the winter) at this age where he doesn’t really do a whole lot, can become quite… what’s the word… boring. Yes, I said it, being a sahm can be a little boring at times. Why is this? is it because I don’t have anything to do? CERTAINLY NOT!!! I have a business to-do list the size of Texas. O.k., that might be a slight exaggeration but it is three pages long, so close enough. So how can I be so busy yet so bored at the same time?

Here is a look into my typical day:

  • pump
  • get Josiah up & change him
  • feed Josiah solids and a bottle
  • lay Josiah down to play
  • wash bottles and spoons
  • flip Josiah from belly to back because he can’t do it himself and is screaming his head off
  • fill a few bottles with milk to have them ready for later
  • clean up spit up on Josiah’s hands, face, and toy
  • change Josiah’s clothes and bib again because they are now covered in sweet potatoes
  • put Josiah in exersaucer
  • eat some breakfast in peace… hahahahahaha… in peace… that’s funny
  • clean off Josiah’s hands, face, and toy because he spit up again
  • put Josiah in his play yard
  • empty the diaper pail
  • flip Josiah over because once again he is on his belly with his face covered in orange spit up and can’t roll over
  • clean and change Josiah… again
  • Finally put Josiah back down for a nap

phew…..now I get some me time to relax and enjoy my day… you know what I’m going to say… hahahahahahaha!

This is how it feels: pump, wash bottles, clean spit up, flip baby over, entertain baby, fill bottles, change baby, do laundry, take out the trash, repeat. In other words, I do the same things over and over and over and over… you get the idea.

BUT

when I look up a see this face      Columbus-Ohio-baby-photographer    it is COMPLETELY worth it!

Remember moms, you are not the only one who feels this way, and it’s o.k. to feel a little bored and overwhelmed sometimes.

well, gotta go… mom duty calls… my son woke up and he’s on his belly.


Maternity Pictures | Columbus Ohio Photographer

My Maternity Pictures | Columbus Ohio Photographer

At 30 weeks pregnant I talked my husband into following me around at a park, in the heat, to take my maternity pictures. He was such a good sport! I am so blessed to have such a wonderful husband. He did an awesome job taking the photos and I edited them. Now that I am off work I finally have time to post them.  I hope to get around to editing and posting the pictures of us together before our little man arrives.

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My 1st Trimester | Galloway Ohio Photographer

My 1st Trimester | Galloway Ohio Photographer

On Friday, January 6th, around 3:15 pm, I found out that we were expecting our first child. When my husband, Jay, arrived at home about an hour later, I told him the good news. He was just as excited as I was.

The first sign of pregnancy symptoms began when I was about 5 1/2 weeks along, with nausea and fatigue. As the first trimester progressed, the nausea grew worse and I got a sick a few times. I had an awful taste in my mouth 24/7 and I always seemed tired.

At around 8 weeks, I had my OB coordinators appointment where the nurse practitioner discussed the do’s and dont’s of pregnancy.  At that time, she also gave me an estimated due date of September 14th. At 9 weeks, I had my first ultrasound where the tech confirmed the due date of September 14th. We also got to hear the heartbeat for the very first time. Our baby had a strong healthy heartbeat of 156 bmp. At the 10 week mark, I took a genetic blood test. February 24th was my first doctor’s appointment where we once again heard our little peanut’s heartbeat. On Monday, February 27th we closed on our new house and made the move. Then, on March 12th we hosted a gender reveal party for our family and friends to announce the gender of our baby. It’s a boy!

The 2nd trimester started off with a bang. I came down with some sort of a stomach virus all while my husband was passing a kidney stone and we were travelling to NYC for a work-related trip. I was finally feeling better and we had a few good days in NYC. When we arrived home, my allergies flared up really bad and I couldn’t breathe through my nose for several days. My allergies are finally under control and mild heartburn has begun. My belly bump is starting to show, which makes finding the right clothes a little more difficult, but we are thankful for our little blessing and can’t wait until September.

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All Moved In | Galloway Ohio Photographer

Joyful Moments Photography Has Officially Moved To Galloway Ohio

Last Monday, February 27th, we signed our life away and officially moved into our new home in Galloway Ohio. The first session in the new studio was a newborn session and it took place on Thursday March 2nd followed by another newborn session on Saturday March 4th. We are so excited about this new phase in our life and we can’t wait to bring our little one home in September.

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