I shot this session for a beautiful friend just over a year ago – before I became pregnant with our sweet little man, Indie. Dylan, our only child at the time was three and a half.  He’s my world.  My heart.  My everything. It’s hard to remember what life was like before he joined our little tribe. Justin and I had always imagined our family with two children.  Maybe three if I caught him a few PBRs in, but we always wanted two. While we didn’t plan to space them this far apart, we didn’t not plan to either.

During the summer of 2014, in the midsts of a crazy wedding season, I miscarried our second child. After some pregnancy complications early on, I ignored my doctor’s recommendation of bed rest, shot a twelve hour wedding that Saturday, and officially lost the baby three days later. It was this very pivotal moment when motherhood slapped me square in the face. She couldn’t make it anymore apparent that my priorities were completely fucked up. Do I think anything would have changed had I not photographed that wedding? No. I knew in my heart everything wasn’t right about that pregnancy. Did I feel guilty I didn’t take better care of myself? Absolutely.  It was after this experience when we actually contemplated not having another child. We were starting to get comfortable with the idea that maybe just one little guy was meant to be in our lives. I remember telling Justin I was afraid I wouldn’t love a second child as much as I love Dyl. And I remember feeling relieved when he told me he had those very same worries. I felt awful for thinking that, but I couldn’t imagine loving anything else in the world as hard as I love Dyl.  Justin and I had talked about this frequently throughout the following year, and again had a change of heart. We both have siblings and knew we wanted Dyl to experience life with another partner in crime just as we had.  And today I will tell you with the biggest smile on my face that our worry couldn’t have been more wrong.  I had a friend once tell me, “A mom’s love is never divided.  Only multiplied.” So very true.

Motherhood. It’s a loaded role that changes as life changes.  Let’s be real.  It’s a complete emotional mindfuck. You feel on top of the world one day, and completely alone the next. Your purpose changes.  Your identity changes. Your responsibilities change. You’re now accountable for the livelihood of another human being.  Your number one job in this world (reminder: it’s unpaid) is to keep this little human alive and well.  And nurture him into this remarkable young person who may actually be able to change this world for the better someday.  To survive in today’s world is hard.  It really is hard, you guys.  It’s hard when you’re in middle school.  It’s hard when you’re in high school. It’s hard when you’re in college, and it’s hard when you’re a parent.  But you do your best.  You put your best foot forward, and love the shit out these kids each and every day.  You love them so much it hurts. This crazy thing called empathy takes over your entire mind and body, so when your kid hurts, you hurt twice as bad. Once for him, and another for not being able to take away his pain.  You realize a hug is a million more things than a simple gesture. And when you listen… When you actually put down your phone and listen to their tiny little voices…  They really do feel like they can take on anything.

Being a mom is hard.  It’s the best thing in the world, but it’s hard. You’re wiping one kid’s butt while nursing another at the same time.  Your friends list has dwindled as you find yourself having more conversations with stuffed animals than you do with adults.  The days often seem to go by slow, but then another birthday party is here before you know it and you’re wondering if your little one has learned anything from you this past year. You are constantly asking yourself, “Am I doing okay? Does he understand what I’m trying to teach him?” And you’re always comparing yourself to that mom at school who somehow has time to go to the gym before dropping her perfectly dressed kid off.  The thought of you spilling hot coffee on her crosses your mind.  But you don’t.  At least it made you smile after the morning you’ve already had. No matter how many times have you read that line, “comparison is the thief of joy”,  you still do it.  Why?  Because you’re human.  Being a mom is hard, but I wouldn’t trade my worse day for a day without them.  And I know you feel the same.

So when this Sunday roles around, and you see a lady passing by, smile at her. Because you don’t know who she has lost, where she is in her journey, what kind of week she’s just had. Be kind, and gentle, and give a little smile. It might be the 1 day out of 365 where she can feel a little bit bad for herself about getting pooped on.