Dear January,

This is going to be a real, honest, and most likely, emotional post because our January was AMAZING and awful all in one. So if you're not wanting to see a bit into our lives, you may just want to skip this post. I warned you. 

January started of great! It was full of promise and excitement! We started it off by seeing the MOST amazing movie!! (The Greatest Showman). If you've seen it, I think you'll agree with me when I say the production value was INCREDIBLE! I could go on and on about it but I won't. If you DO want to chat about it LMK and I'd be all over that!

The second week of January was the BEST week of our lives! On January 11th we found out that we were GOING TO BE PARENTS!!! We were shocked! We definitely didn't think it would happen as quickly as it did (only a few months). And Nick came up with the best way to tell our families! Since we're in Texas and they're alll in Utah (and one in Idaho-rebel ;p) we got a family Skype session planned. Nick and I made these t-shirts and when we gave them an update on our lives we started talking all about how Nick is "on track for getting a promotion" and I am "starting a new position soon" and that we made shirts to celebrate (kind of a weird thing to make t-shirts for buuuttt... hey. Don't judge.) We had made sure that no one could see our shirts up until we told them about this and when we panned down to show them our shirts everyone went WILD! It was the best, most exciting time! Luckily, we recorded their reactions and I think I watched each family's reactions at least 5 times right after we were done talking to them. 

We were allll in. I started taking photos to show the progress my belly would make over then next 9 months (first photo I didn't really understand how to pose like a preggers but I was making progress by the second). We started planning family vacations around it and figuring out when my mom would come to help organize my house to get ready for baby. I started getting the low down from my good friend who just had a baby on what to expect and which products I just HAD to get! I even started reading What to Expect When You're Expecting and alllll the pregnancy apps/articles I could find! 

I had 2 wonderful, long, glorious weeks of being pregnant (and knowing it) before I miscarried. But I need to be clear about something. I'm not writing this and telling ya'll about the worst thing that's ever happened to me in any plea for sympathy, encouragement or anything of the like. I'm sharing because THIS IS MY LIFE. It's important to me to share it with my family and friends and maybe because I share my life (even the bad) it'll help someone. 

Nick and I were DEVASTATED. This Little One. This baby the size of a pea had become our ENTIRE LIVES! All we could think about was this baby and then suddenly, it was gone. It was so extremely hard and I can't begin to tell you what it is like going through that. It's still hard. I find myself distracting myself so that I don't have to think about it because the second I do, I'm a mess reliving it all over again. 

But for as hard as this experience is, we have been immensely blessed. Our families and friends have rallied around us, supporting us, bringing us meals, sending us flowers, visiting us and just letting us know how much they love us. And we have felt an enormous peace through it all. 

When I was little, I remember my mom asking me if I could keep a secret. Of course I told her yes because I wanted to know what that secret was SOOO badly! She told me that I was going to have another little sibling soon and I was sooo excited! I wanted a baby sister soo bad! And then a little while later she came back to me and told me that the baby had died. I remember so vividly my mom explaining that the baby couldn't come because they needed a perfect body and the body that had been growing wasn't perfect so it needed to start over again. And a little while later she did get pregnant and had my perfect baby sister!

My baby sister & me ^^

I have clung to that experience as I've gone through my own miscarriage. And as I've talked to people I've realized that my outlook might be a little unique. For many people miscarriage means the baby just simply isn't coming. For me, I prayed every day that I knew I was pregnant for my Little One to have a perfect little body and my prayers are being answered. This body wasn't going to be perfect and my body knew that so it simply hit the "Start Over" button. And you might be reading this, having experienced a miscarriage and felt like you lost a baby that isn't going to come. And you may be right. I really believe Mothers have an intuition and know. But for me, this isn't a goodbye to the most precious little person that I've never met before, it's a "we'll see you soon because I'm going to do everything I can to get you here." 

 I'm extremely grateful to all of my friends and family who have experienced this loss and have reached out or even just shared your stories. I don't think it's talked about enough. ONE in every FOUR pregnancies end in miscarriage or stillbirth. It's a startling fact and I understand why it's not talked about. It's HARD to open up about your loss. It's HARD to relive it. It's HARD to admit that every time you watch a show and a woman finds out she's pregnant/has a big bump/has a baby you find yourself bawling with grief and envy. I went to the doctors and on the elevator it opened to a woman DAYS away from having her baby in her arms and I LOST IT. Nick had to stare me down so that I didn't break down in front of the whole (crowded) elevator but the second I got to the car you bet I was done for. It's just not something that we want to go through over and over again if you don't have to. 

But I wonder if talking about it and being open about it would help us heal. I'm not sure if it will but this is me trying. I've been dreading writing this post because I didn't have much to share about my January besides this and I'm STILL not sure if I'm ready to share this with the world, but I want to heal. I want to be excited to start my little family again. I want to ONLY feel joy and peace holding my friends' adorable babies instead of a mix of joy, peace, and outrageous envy. (I'm honestly surprised I haven't turned into the Hulk yet.) I know it will happen but being patient has ALWAYS been hard for me and it's especially hard now. 

Nick and I have experienced a MILLION tender mercies though this hard time and want to thank each of you for your love and support! My wish is that I can help someone somewhere though a hard time as well. If you need to talk, PLEASE reach out!! Let's fight the good fight together!

 

XOXO meli

Pierre Family

Meet the Pierres! They are such a fun couple and their little girl could NOT be any cuter!! This session was soo fun to shoot! And the location (Dallas Arboretum & Botanical Garden) is to DIE for! I STILL have yet to think it's ugly (even when there aren't any leaves on the trees and everything is brown). 

One of the challenges I face is photographing little babies. You wouldn't think it would be hard since they're just a sleeping-mush-of-joy but it can be hard to position them just right! So my go to is taking a documentary-style approach! Have Mom & Dad hold baby however they normally do! Or pose Mom & Dad and then have them hold her however is most comfortable for them! You might be surprised and how photogenic people are naturally!! 

Another thing that has helped me is something my film professor, Brenda, taught us (film as in 35mm black & white not video). She taught us about Robert Capa, a FAMOUS war photographer. You might know him from this photo: 

D-day

Click the photo to read about his experience in WWII. 

So here's a guy who PHOTOGRAPHED June 6, 1944- one of the SCARIEST experiences I think anyone could ever have (but especially a photographer) and what did he say? 

If your pictures aren’t good enough, you’re not close enough.

Like, WHAT? Here's a guy that wanted to get CLOSE to war to get good pictures. That's dedication! So if you're thinking, alright Meli, this is cool and all but HOW does a photographer from WWII help you photograph little babies? 

If your pictures aren’t good enough, you’re not close enough.

Just get closer! Closeness increases the sense of familiarity, intimacy, emotionality, and if nothing else, envoys a reaction from it's viewers. It may be a different reaction from every viewer, or a different one than you expected. But good photography ALWAYS evokes a reaction. So GET CLOSER. 

XOXO meli