Self Portrait/Asheville Newborn Baby Photographer

Yesterday I decided to take some self portraits.  I needed a new photo for my About Me section here on my website since my other one was from years ago.  I have to have more skin cancer removed on my face coming up so I figured now was a good time, before I have a big ugly scar!  (Wear your sunscreen!)  It was quite interesting.  I can’t tell you how many pictures contain our dog walking around or me getting up to move him.  lol  I’m sure he was wondering what in the world I was doing!  So HI!  I’m Brandy!

Because Sometimes Life Isn’t How You Imagined It!/Asheville Newborn Baby Photographer

When I was a little girl, the one thing that I couldn’t wait to be when I grew up was a mom.  I loved baby dolls more than anything and to me, they were real.  They were my babies!  We celebrated their birthdays.  They went everywhere with me.  I named them, first and middle name.  I loved babies and would dote on them anytime I saw one.  People always commented to my mom that I was going to be the best mother someday.  So imagine my excitement, just one month after our wedding, when my husband and I found out that we were going to have a baby!  My husband still makes fun of the way I ran into the room with tears in my eyes and said, “Aren’t you excited?!”  Those were 9 very long months.  I couldn’t wait to hold her and snuggle her and rock her in her room while we gazed at each other lovingly.  I would stare in the rear view mirror at her carseat, that we installed way too early like lots of first time parents, while I drove to work each day and would just imagine how amazing it was going to be to have her there with me all of the time.

The time finally came for her birth and I was a nervous wreck but so ready to get this love story started.  As soon as she was born, they put her on my chest and I grabbed her and sobbed.  I was so happy.  She was finally with us and she was perfect.  I was instantly in love, the way I knew I would be.

That night, I was exhausted.  I just wanted to sleep.  Our daughter,…well, she just wanted to scream, and scream and scream.  She was so unhappy and I didn’t know why.  She wasn’t latching on well but I didn’t know that at the time.  Lactation consultants had come by and said things looked great so I thought everything was fine.  So why was she screaming?!  A nurse finally came and took her to the nursery for a while (something they had back then).  But when they took her, I bawled.  I felt like she needed me.  Why was I letting them take her away?  My husband convinced me to sleep.

When we got home, I felt like my life was finally complete.  We had our home, our dog, our new baby.  But our new baby was miserable.  She was up all night.  I still thought I was feeding her, so again, why wasn’t she sleeping?  After our first visit to the pediatrician, we found out why.  She was quickly losing so much weight.  She was starving!  The pediatrician looked at me and said that she needed to come back in a few days and if she was still losing weight, we would need to supplement with formula.  I was so angry.  Formula….the one thing that I was so against.  I mean, wasn’t that the stuff that they told us all about in the breastfeeding classes?  Wasn’t that the stuff that they pretty much referred to as Satan’s milk?  Our breastfeeding teacher was a breastfeeding nazi.  She made me feel that formula should never be an option.  Breastfeeding is natural, something that all women and babies could do.  So we went home and I started pumping and we fed our baby girl a bottle.  And she was so happy and she slept,….finally!  I spent that next entire Saturday at a lactation consultant’s house trying to get everything worked out.  Nothing was solved.  She said the latch looked good. I was producing plenty (thank you fenugreek for your magic) but still our baby wasn’t getting much.  I felt defeated.  My husband didn’t understand why we couldn’t just stop at the store and buy some formula and call it a day.  I just couldn’t do it.  It wasn’t what I had planned.  But at the same time, why couldn’t I just do what our baby needed?  I saw a woman at Costco that week with a cart full of formula and she looked so happy.  Her baby was happy.  She and her husband just seemed to bounce along through the store, living the dream, the dream that I had wanted.  So why couldn’t I do it?  I still don’t know.  Hormones?  I blame everything about how irrational I was back then on hormones.  They can make you nuts!

So I pumped, every 3 hours, for 3 long months, at home, in the car, wherever we had to go.  It was awful.  I felt like a slave.  I was so unhappy.  Our baby girl was finally eating and was gaining weight but she was still miserable.  She screamed anytime we went in the car, the ENTIRE time.  She screamed if we went out in public.  She screamed if we went to friend’s houses where there were too many people, or we had family or friends over to our house.  She was so tense, so angry and always had this very serious look on her face like she was going to punch the next person that came near her.  We couldn’t do anything.  I couldn’t do anything.  My husband worked at home, upstairs.  My days consisted of helping our baby girl roll over one way, then the other, then back again and then I had to video it and then take her pictures.  Then I would take her pictures in her cute outfit and then change her and get more pictures.  Meanwhile, I was still in my pajamas.  I tried so hard to be this happy mom that I always wanted to be.  I tried to rock her but she would just cry.  She never slept.  I never ate or got dressed or left the house unless it was to check the mail.  And then everything changed.  My mom came to visit.  I finally had company.  I had someone to go places with, even if our baby was unhappy.  I had someone else to help me settle her.  We went to the pool!  She helped take care of her at night because I had finally given in and switched to formula.  Life was so great.  And then it wasn’t.  My mom went back home.  The day that she left was one of the worst days of my life.  I cried all day.  I just couldn’t stop.  The next day, I cried more.  I was so sad, like more than just sad, but really depressed.  It finally hit me.  I had some pretty severe postpartum depression.  I had been a kindergarten teacher before having our baby.  I was used to working and being around people and dressing up for work and being gone from 6:45 in the morning until 6:30 at night.  I was so busy.  I never stopped.  I was never alone.  I loved it.  And now suddenly, I was isolated all day every day.  I called my doctor that day and started on some medication right away.  It didn’t take long until I felt a million times better.  I felt like I could handle so much more without feeling like I was going to break down.  A teacher that I had worked with put a playgroup together.  We started going once a week.  And then I joined a Meetup group for stay at home moms and I met more and more friends and life improved so much.  I met other moms who were also going through the same things.  We could talk and relate and laugh and cry to each other.  I finally had my “village”.

I see moms come into my studio all of the time who just have that look in their eyes.  They are where I was.  I can see it.  I can sense their fear when they talk about their spouse returning to work.  I see moms who struggle with breastfeeding and are afraid to use formula.  And I see the front they put on like I tried to do because nobody wants to be sad after having a baby, during the time that is supposed to be the most joyful time in your life.  Nobody tells you that you might go through some really hard, hormonal, depressing times.  Nobody tells you that breastfeeding might not work and that formula is OKAY.  People just want to see you living the dream.  So that’s what we try to do.  But it’s not always that way.  I want all moms out there to know that if you are going through some of the things that I have been through, you are not alone.  You are surrounded by so many other moms out there going through the exact same things.  Don’t be afraid or ashamed to get some help or to join some moms’ groups.  We all need help.  We are not super heroes.  We are all just doing the best that we can.

While going to sleep last night, I started thinking about all of this.  I have no idea why but I feel like moms out in the world need to know that postpartum depression isn’t just something that you read about in a magazine.  It’s real.  It affects many of us.  So let’s all be the village that we need for each other.  When you meet a new mom.  Give her a hug.  She probably needs it more than you realize!

Contest Winner!

Wow, this was really close!!  And it’s funny but the two families that were running neck and neck are actually family members!  Congratulations goes to Beth and Josh with “Perfection”!  I have to say, I do really love this picture!  I will be contacting you guys about how to get your free prints!  Congratulations!  Thanks for all of the votes.  This was fun!

Why Not to Marry a Photographer!

Saw this on Facebook and thought it was too funny not to post.  *  Guilty  **VERY guilty!  😉

They rather hold their bulky camera, than hold hands with you.
*On a romantic date, you’ll watch the sun go down and think “Wow this is gorgeous” and they’ll go “mirror lock, tripod, and stop down f/8 at 1/125.”
**You’ll never be able to enjoy tv, movies, or magazines because they’ll point out all the visual flaws.
**They like to sit in obscure coffee shop and voyeuristically watch people for great lengths of time.
**If you’re taking a walk outside and you come across some “interesting light” they will make you sit/stand/pose in public so that they can take a photo.
You’ll never get to enjoy freshly cooked meals because they’ll spend 15 minutes taking 20 variations of the same dish with their iPhone.
*They get angry when your friends go up to them and say “I am interested in photography, can you recommend a good camera for me? Nothing professional I just want to take pretty pictures.”
You’ll wait longer for them to finish analyzing art in a museum than you’ll wait at the dmv
Same goes with old used bookstores.
*When you think they’re giving you their undivided attention, they’re really wondering how they could fix you with a little Clone Tool and Patch Tool.
Or they are actually using you to not look so creepy as they people watch everything going on around you.
**They rather drop $1,000+ on new glass than a purse.
**You can’t take a photo with them without taking at least five more.
If you ask them if you look fat, they’ll say “don’t worry I can photoshop you later.”
**They’ll never photoshop something simple for you if the content is not up to their “standards.”
That photo they randomly took of you yesterday? Good luck getting them to send it to you.
**They spend all their time on the computer (and not for porn.)
They can’t have a normal conversation with throwing acronyms and random numbers.
They still use film cameras.
They spend a lot of time with people cooler than you i.e. models, actors, musicians, successful rich people.
**They’ll be fussy over the position of a common household object, like a coffee cup.
*They won’t return your calls or text messages, but you can bet they’re still posting pics on Instagram.
They like watching old films that you’ve never heard or will ever understand.
They like looking at weird things in general.
If there’s a natural disaster in a far away land, they’re already on a plane going over there.
Everything is watermarked.
They think everyone else’s photos suck.
*They want to color correct a lot of scenes from Twilight and Jersey Shore.
They hate rainbows, especially ones spinning in a circle.
**They like trespassing into old abandoned buildings filled with health hazards.
*They always want to show a new photo they took, but don’t really care if you like it or not.
**They hate your n00bie friend’s new artsy profile picture.
*Bright, sunny days make them sad, but cloudy, overcast days are apparently great!
They’ll take you into places that have “culture” as well a high chance of getting mugged.
Your birthday present will be a portrait that they’ve taken of you.
You can’t go anywhere new without them stopping to take a photo of everything and anything.
They will always bug you to be a test subject.
*Nothing can ever be naturally pretty, everything must be fixed in Photoshop.
Bringing their camera means, bringing 50lbs of equipment.
If you break any of their things on accident, you’ll owe them thousands of dollars.
You can’t get them a birthday/Christmas present without spending at least $500
**They are natural hoarders, collecting and keeping piles of old newspapers, packaging, magazines, and other things that “inspire” them.
They are weird and geeky.
They have hard drives of photos, but probably have printed 10 images.
They are always secretly judging your creativity.
If you’re ever in auto mode, they laugh at you.
**They orgasm every time they learn a new lighting technique.


Haven’t Disappeared!

Sorry for the lack in posts!  I haven’t disappeared.  We are moving!  Yes, moving, AGAIN!  But this time, it’s not across the country, it’s just in town.  😉  We finally found a house that we love in an area that we love and man, it was hard!  Houses in this town are rather expensive and don’t have yards.  So not what we were expecting.  But we finally found one with a yard and a room perfect for a studio for me and everything else that we could ever need.  Wahoo!  So excited to get my studio together.  I won’t be using an empty dining room any longer.  lol  We hope to actually have dining room furniture.  No more NYC furniture, or midget furniture as I’ve called it in the past.  So I do have a session coming up soon, but until then, cheers to new beginnings, again.  😉