I thought this blog post would be the perfect time to show off some of the gorgeous photos I had taken a few months back. They were shot by Portland photographer Morgan Bruneel (she graciously gifted this photoshoot to me) and I can honestly say I am going to treasure these photos for a lifetime. If you are thinking of getting photos done you should take a look at this blog post where Morgan breaks down how a family photoshoot works and why you don’t need to stress or worry. She’s got your back!
This might be a long blog post, so you can feel free to skim (or skip if you’re here for beauty and fashion stuff) but if you’re curious at all about being a new mom I encourage you to stick with me to the end. Motherhood realness coming at ya!
I’ve had many jobs through the years. Barista, waitress, office manager, blogger, and so many others. But the role of mother was the one I was always sure I wanted. I was so confident that I was meant to be a mom, I mean, I loved kids! I even scored a gig as a part-time nanny when I first moved to Toronto while scraping together shifts at Starbucks on evenings and weekends. I was so happy being a wife and dog-mom, but going through pregnancy and having a baby was a right of passage I craved. I’m sure my mom can confirm that even as a kid I wanted to grow up and be a “store lady” (aka work in a clothing store) and have a bunch of babies.
After a relatively easy pregnancy, Piper Joy came into this world fast and furious after just 2 hours of labour. I was 30-year-old when Piper was born, but at that exact moment I felt like an inexperience teenager who had just been given the most precious gift… for which I was now responsible… for the rest of my life.
Nothing came easy those first few months and I often doubted whether I was ever going to be the mom I had always hoped to be. Breastfeeding was a painful struggle that had me dreading each nursing session. It was not the bonding activity everyone promised. In fact, it was sheer determination to reach my goal (nursing to 1 year) that kept me going. She had tongue-tie surgery and we finally hit our stride around 3 months. It felt amazing to finally be able to enjoy nursing her. In fact, I ended up nursing her until she was 14 months old. We just weaned a few weeks ago! And honestly? I would do it all again. Not because motherhood is supposed to be hard (although it often is) but rather because it became an opportunity to show myself how strong I can really be. Motherhood is full of moments like that.
Once we had breastfeeding on lockdown, the 4-month sleep regression hit like a brick to the face (my face). Piper always slept 3-4 hour chunks at night, even as a newborn, but at 4-months she became hysterical any time we tried to put her down to sleep. This was the point most parents reach which is called the “I will try anything” stage.
Soothers, waddling, bassinets that rock, bassinets that vibrate, music, white noise and the list goes on. Nothing worked. I remember holding her in my arms and literally swinging her from side to side until my arms would shake and still, she would scream. If I nursed her to sleep, she would wake up the second I unlatched her. If you can think it, we tried it.
After talking to our doctor she suggested we look into sleep training and alarm bells went off in my head. I had always thought sleep training wasn’t for us and felt like I was letting myself down by resorting to it. I felt like a failure that I didn’t have the magic answer to soothe my baby and make her sleep. This was the first of many moments like this where I realized I don’t have all the answers, and simply being her mom wasn’t enough to fix all her problems. Sometimes we need help. It seems like common sense but it was a true revelation for me! Also I felt terrified to tell people because it can be a super touchy topic and people have a lot of opinions about it. I was so scared of being judged.
We did a gentle sleep training method and after 3 nights (!!) she was falling asleep within 2 minutes of us putting her down. The intention was never to force her to sleep through the night since she only got up once to nurse. However, by 6 months old she was sleeping through the night and had dropped her nighttime feeding. It’s not for everyone, but it was right for us. It helped Piper and I both sleep better and she was so much happier during the day!
As the months went on Piper went from rolling to crawling to walking. Each step felt like a huge milestone and the pride I felt made me think my heart might literally burst. Getting to know her as a person has been the most amazing part of all. She didn’t end up being the snuggly baby I thought she would be. As someone who is a huge cuddler, it felt like a little rejection each time I would try to get her to rest her head on my shoulder (she literally wouldn’t even do it as a newborn). She would push off of me, more interested in looking at her surroundings than nuzzling into my chest. It’s crazy how my expectations of HER were just as unrealistic as my expectations of myself. Instead of being sad that she didn’t want to be curled up in my arms all the time, I chose to embrace the inquisitive, feisty girl she was becoming.
She has grown into such a strong-willed, independent, curious little girl. There are days I see so much of myself in her and other days she seems like an alien sent here to test my patience and push my buttons. Either way, it’s been a wild ride. Motherhood is way better and way harder than I ever thought it would be. I’m still not the mom I wanted to be, I’m something better. I’m the mom Piper needs me to be.
It was so hard narrowing down the photos to include in this post since every picture Morgan took captured a beautiful moment and memory. I feel like you can see so much of Piper’s personality shining through, from her serious investigation of a flower to a sassy open-mouth kiss! I’m so proud to be her Mama.
Thank you again Morgan for creating these wonderful memories!
*You can receive $50 off your first session with Morgan by clicking here and entering your email!