So, I don't actually have an answer for this. I don't know how to navigate the photography world with unexplained infertility. I just wanted to talk about it.
I'm not sure it can be done. I have zero pain when it comes to photographing families. I consider this a huge blessing. Family sessions are my favorite thing to do, and I love holding your baby so I can get a picture of mom and dad alone.
But it's not just me and you. Photography is so much about community. It's not just about me and my clients; it's about me and other photographers, photography groups and social media accounts.
As a photographer, especially when you're new to the game, you have to figure out where you fit in to all this.
Where do you belong?
You can't be a successful photographer if you live in a vacuum. You have to be active on all the pages -- getting inspiration, participating in weekly fave and themed submissions.
This is where I've started to see a disconnect. So many photographers have children of their own. So many pages are geared towards mom photographers.
It's one more way for someone struggling with infertility to be on the outside looking in.
It's one more way for someone struggling with infertility to be reminded that they don't really belong -- anywhere.
This week, I've felt like throwing in the towel. I've unfollowed a lot of important accounts. It's not just the complicated feelings that come along with constantly seeing pictures of baby bellies and peachy newborns -- it's feeling like you can't participate.
During the busy season, I had lots of client photos to share and submit, but now I don't. For most photographers, they can post photos of their children in place of clients until spring when sessions start to pick up.
I don't have that luxury.
It's not that I don't love these beautiful images. I do. I love the documentary style that comes along with photographing your children in your home. It's so, so beautiful and important.
But I implore you, photography world, to invite me in. Tell me where I belong. Help me find a way to coexist with you despite this terrible, painful thing called infertility.
Patience is the antidote to anger, a way to learn to love and care for whatever we meet on the path. By patience, we do not mean endurance -- as in “grin and bear it.”
In any situation, instead of reacting suddenly, we could chew it, smell it, look at it, and open ourselves to seeing what’s there.
The opposite of patience is aggression -- the desire to jump and move, to push against our lives, to try to fill up space.
The journey of patience involves relaxing, opening to what’s happening, experiencing a sense of wonder. -- Pema Chodron
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I wrote the letter below seven months ago. So much has changed, yet so little has. We're no longer calling you by this name. In fact, we don't know what to call you anymore.
We were officially diagnosed with unexplained infertility, which I found out people really don't believe is a thing. But it is a thing, a very real thing, a very frustrating thing. The questioning and the self-guilt consume you every. single. day.
Just stop trying.
Just stop being stressed.
Just forget about it.
It's only been ____ months!
I no longer feel like the people saying those things have good intentions.
It's not that they have bad intentions. It's just that they aren't thinking.
Frankly, they aren't listening. They aren't feeling.
Telling me to do anything is telling me that there's something I'm already doing wrong, that this is somehow my fault.
It feels like we’re giving up on you, Adelaide.
First, it was the name. Everyone else suddenly named their baby Adelynn. And we are punished, it feels, for being late bloomers.
“Sorry you couldn’t get pregnant yet, but we took your name.”
Then it was really giving up. Putting trying on hold for almost a year because there is just so much happening in life, and we want the best for you.
You seemed so close for awhile there. I could sense you. I could see you. I saw you in a vision. You had brown hair and blue eyes. Then I saw you in a dream. I saw you as a baby. I saw you as a toddler. I saw you as a pre-teen (and I was so proud of you!)
When I couldn’t sleep, racked with the anxieties of the day, I imagined rocking you close to my chest, smelling your baby head.
I thought about how my own mother would make me tea when I was sad. How she would bring a cup of tea to my room and talk to me. I thought about how we would have those moments, only more of them, and better.
I wanted to be a parent, but not a mother. But getting ready for you, making space for you, made me want to be a mother.
You are smart and creative. You’re funny, yet wise beyond your years. But you’re not here yet, and it breaks my heart. Why aren’t you here??
I can still see you, which is what makes this so hard. It feels like walking away from a real baby, a person, a future, that already exists.
But I know that you didn’t come to fruition in these past seven months because you know better.
I know that you are waiting for the right time.
You are my dream, but you are slipping through my fingers. What happens to a dream deferred? Langston Hughes wants to know. I want to know. I know you’re still there, but I feel like I’m losing you.
In the midst of all of this, I have been surrounded and held up by an entire tribe of people. The listeners. The empathizers. The prayer warriors.
I've been sent cards and trinkets that mean more to me than anyone will ever know (only some of which are pictured here.) You have texted me to see how I'm doing the night before your wedding. You have sought me and found me hiding in dark closets. You have stuck me with needles and put up with my late cards, my canceled plans, my obsession with my puppy. Thank you.
You know who you are. May I be as good a friend as you guys have been to me.