I wrapped up 2020 with a lot of mixed feelings; gratitude, mourning, disbelief, joy, worry, hope, determination, doubt, it all mixed together with my fresh postpartum hormones and was kept in perspective with some sweet newborn snuggles.
2020 was TOUGH on my little business, friends, tough. I had to readjust a lot (most) of the goals and dreams I’d settled on this time last year as the months events unfolded – COVID, getting pregnant, and moving from Utah to Colorado (for the husbie’s graduate program) all kept me from working for about half the year. Looking back, I can see myself go through the stages of grief, mourning the lost opportunities to support and document birth as hospitals restricted visitors (keeping both doulas & photographers out of L&D), mourning all the families I wouldn’t get to serve as non-essential businesses were urged to close their doors and so many lost their source of income.
Yet, there were so many little miracles and JOYFUL things in this business that I can’t help but be grateful for! March brought COVID, yes, but it was also the beginning of a profoundly meaningful postpartum project, and the month I finally completed my training as a birth doula. While I didn’t complete my doula certification, I DID complete my certification as a birth photographer with Birth Becomes You, and the one birth I supported – my first doula clients! – was absolutely INCREDIBLE. Though many of our in-person birthy get-togethers and retreats were canceled, I’ve still connected with some of the most beautiful souls (both here in Colorado and back in Utah). We’ve supported each other and listened to each other as we’ve navigated every turn, making the most of Zoom chats and virtual parties. And, though I didn’t get to pay myself this year, I watched my books turn from red to green the WEEK before my maternity leave started – literally, I had just enough clients to pay for all my business costs just in time to take time off to birth and snuggle our sweet Sofie. (I take a lot of pride in running a debt-free business, so that was a HUGE relief and meaningful miracle.)
And, OH, what beautiful families I got to document and serve this year! 2020’s sessions documented 5 pregnancies, 1 birth, 4 newborns, 8 families, and 2 seniors. I hosted 2 mock births, 9 branding sessions for my fellow photographers and birth workers, a postpartum body image project, and a Hope Project for October Infant & Pregnancy Loss Awareness month. And I launched motherhood films, completing my first 5 films for my beautiful families. ALL of my 2020 clients were true GEMS. Understanding when things went wild, and courageous in the face of all the changes each of them had to adjust to. These 20 images – my favorite 20 from 2020 – represent little pieces of all of those joys and little accomplishments that made this year marvelous (marvelously hard, but marvelous).
Here’s to 2021! I’m hopefully determined to keep stepping forward, giving space and grace, and embracing what our next cycle around the sun will give us while not giving up on my dreams and hopes. Here we go!