If you're in the throes of new motherhood, and hell even if you've been a mom for a while now, today's blog post is going to resonate with you. Today's blog is a guest post by Jenna Low, the lovely mama in today's featured family. I'd like to give a huge thank you and shout out to her for writing such an incredibly moving piece, and sharing and bearing a bit of her soul with me during her photo session, and with all of us right here in this beautiful blog she's written.
The Motherhood Dance
"A reoccurring dream (I might even call it nightmare) I used to have when I was young was being backstage before a dance recital about to perform, quickly realizing I didn’t know the dance at all. The music would start, I would follow the rest of the girls on stage, and I would try to keep up, plastering an “I got this” smile on my face, all while having zero idea what I was doing or what was coming next. I think I would say this is exactly what starting a new family felt like.
When Katie picked us to be a part of her family project, my little family was ecstatic. I originally just thought this would be an opportunity to snap some lovely pictures for my family for my walls, but when I met with Katie to discuss what our session would look like, it turned out to be so much more.
The meaning of family really hit deep
Katie told me she wanted to encapsulate what being a family was to me. We talked a bit about posed pictures, with staged smiles, and how of course those are lovely to have, however being a family is what happens in between those shots. We talked about family being raw, full of emotion, the highs and lows, the great adventures, the slow mundane times, so much happiness, an overwhelming sense of love, and even heartache. It was around this time in our conversation that the meaning of family really hit deep and I got a bit emotional, because over the past few years my family and I really have felt all those things.
We were the last of my family to have kids. My husband and I always loved being the aunt and uncle to all the little ones. And well, let's be honest, being an aunt and uncle is pretty fun and easy! It was fun to spoil them with goodies, love, and our energy (because we still had it). Being an aunt and uncle was fun because it was also naive. We didn't have to think about a schedule, what the nights might look like, or continuous appointments to ensure babes are healthy and growing as they should. We didn't “know” the dance per se, but as aunts and uncles you don’t care - it’s more like dancing on the speakers at Sound Garden when you’re pleasantly pissed with no cares in the world.
Enduring those moments of heartache with my family helped reframe what is important
We got pregnant in November of 2020, this was both exciting and nerve wracking for us as we had already been pregnant earlier that year until it was diagnosed ectopic. Despite being nervous, we were excited to tell our family as they had been nagging us for years to make babies, so we just couldn’t keep it a secret. In hindsight, this premature excitement was a blessing in disguise because we then unexpectedly lost my little brother right at Christmas time. There is not a day that goes by that I am not grateful that my grief from the previous pregnancy did not hold me back from sharing our news, or I would have never had the opportunity to share that with my brother before he passed. Enduring these moments of heartache with my family really helped us reframe what is important, focus on enjoying and cherishing every moment, and remembering to hold those you love extra close even the overwhelming moments seem to consume you.
For us, being a new family has been a wild ride and I am sure any new family can relate. Every day is like taking part in that dance where you really do not know all the moves and even when you think you have it a little bit figured out, you lose your footing, are off beat, or the choreographer decides to change the steps. I guess you could call it a beautiful chaos. But it is true what they say, it does take a village! I would have never survived these months without the love and support of my family and friends, because unlike my recurring nightmare, this reality has been filled with people happy to step in and tag out, loved ones who remind you to have grace when you fall and take your hand to show the way when you are extra lost.
As a mom, growth and change has been unique
Parenting has definitely been an adventure with so many complexities along the way. Beyond trying to figure out the dance you never quite have the footing for, as a mom, growth and change has been unique. Recovery for me was beyond humbling, adapting to my new body and this new normal was and is a rollercoaster, and I think I am still learning that I cannot do it all. BUT let’s be honest, seeing other moms killing it makes it hard to not compare or feel you have some sorts of deficits (like not knowing the steps), especially with social media being a big social connection sometimes.
It is however, so beautiful, when between all this chaos, you can slow down and enjoy the dance. Katie really gave us that opportunity when she walked into our home on Valentine’s Day to snap memories of my family. She didn’t make us pose or expect us to recreate the dance she had envisioned in her mind. She let us be us. We got to enjoy each other so mindfully and she captured moments that were raw, real, and true. She encouraged us to indulge in the kisses, the cuddles, and the meaningful places in our home that we love. She gave us space and time to cherish and love one another and for this we are so grateful!
Thank you Katie for giving us this memory, and capturing some beautiful moments from our little family’s dance."
Written by Jenna Low
Thank you, Jenna, for sharing this story with us. The idea of motherhood being a dance to which we barely know the steps is such a perfect metaphor for this journey. From one mama to another though, your dance looks like it was made perfectly just for you and your family Jenna. Thank you for letting me photograph it, so that you can always remember the steps.