This blog post has been a long time coming. It’s hard to know where to start. I’ve changed, and experienced so much this past year. It’s almost too difficult to wrap my mind around who I used to be, and who I am now. I’m going to attempt it. I started my first business in high school. I loved it. The thrill of making something with a talent I had and then making money from it, and making my customers happy was just so amazing! I was involved in everything in high school. From cheerleading to NHS to Yearbook to youth group… I was busy. That was my way of life and it kept me focused on the good things of life and out of trouble.
I went to college and made new friends and got involved all over again. Go, go, go. Every week was full and every weekend had an activity. Plus, when you throw in the fact that I was dating Michael and that I have a super close family that loves being together… life was FULL!
So, during my Junior year of college, I started my business and that quickly became one of my top priorities. I was so committed to making this thing happen! I knew some people thought I was crazy, but ten years later I’m pretty sure they see why I was so intense in the early years! It paid off!!! We have clients and students that we love, and our business brings us so much joy!
I worked hard on this little business of mine and it quickly became the biggest part of my life. It was exciting… people were proud of me… it was succeeding.. but it was my everything. I didn’t mean for that to happen. But that is what HAS to happen when you book 42 weddings in a year and a 1/3 of them require travel, and then they ALL come with engagement sessions, and then I also started speaking and teaching and hosting workshops. I’m so thankful for that season of hustle, because it was temporary. We slowly took less and less weddings and trusted that bookings would come as we raised our prices.
It was in this season of doing just a little bit less that we started to talk more about starting a family. Those were scary words to even speak in our house. Michael knew that I wasn’t going to be ready when he was. I have never viewed myself in a “motherly” roll. I’m not a natural caregiver… I’m not a natural homemaker… so many things about being a mom didn’t seem like something that “fit” me as well as they fit other people. I had college roommates who could just naturally talk about having babies like it was no big deal, but I couldn’t. I think that’s because when they were dreaming of having babies, I was thinking about my business. I had so many things that I wanted to accomplish. I had too many levels to hit and records to break.
The thing is, I don’t think that my motivation in my business was a BAD thing. It’s a gift to be able to grow a thriving business and start it from literally nothing. I truly believe that my business is 100% a gift from God. What was hard was that I was so good at it that I started to believe that THAT WAS MY THING! I thought ” Ok, I’m going to kill-it in the small business world and that’s going to be a huge part of my identity!”. It quickly became a part of my identity that was SAFE and FAMILIAR and CAME EASILY to me…. so it’s no wonder that I wanted to stay in that safe role as long as possible!
The idea of starting a family and being a mom did not seem safe and surely wasn’t familiar, and it definitely wasn’t something that I knew anything about. Thinking back to the pre- “trying for a baby” years, I remember viewing having a baby as this HUGE, monumental accomplishment that would change EVERY aspect of my life in really hard ways. My body, my marriage, my time, my ability to work, my priorities, my goals. Everything had to change. I specifically remember thinking “There is no way I’m nursing because that is just WAY too demanding!!!!”.
It’s hard to read what I just typed.
I had no earthly idea what I was talking about.
Sure, the fears were real. If you’re in a season of life where you resonate with the fear of giving up what is familiar in your life in order to start a family, I get it. Those are VERY real fears. You don’t have to feel bad for feeling that way. I remember talking to my friend Nancy Ray about this two years before ever trying to get pregnant and feeling such a flood of relief to know that I wasn’t alone. You HAVE to read this post she wrote before having Milly! There were other women who LOVED their business and their life, and who were nervous about what it would mean to be a mom. Nancy and I also talked about how hard it was to actually SHARE fears like this because we were so afraid that it would come across in a hurtful way to those that are desperately trying to start a family. It’s because of that fear that I never really talked about it that much. I didn’t want to accidentally bring it up in conversation with someone trying to start a family and for it to seem offensive, and so I just kept it to myself.
Nancy’s vulnerability and willingness to share her fears with me was such a gift that I didn’t know that I needed. It made me realize that it was ok to feel this way and that I wasn’t bad, broken, or wrong. That’s the main reason I’m writing this blog post . . . because I think that there are so many women who are thriving in their businesses and in their pre-kid life, and they are so scared to take the next step into motherhood. Well…. I have good news for you.
I WOULD NEVER GO BACK.
When Michael and I started trying for a baby, it wasn’t an instant thing. It look us about half a year to get pregnant with our sweet Evy, and I know that that was totally the Lord. Why? Because I went from being so nervous to get pregnant to PRAYING and PLEADING with God to give us two blue lines. Something happened in those 6 months of trying. I went from being fearful to hopeful. I had always had this underlying fear that we wouldn’t be able to have children and every month that it was a “no”, God taught me what it meant to trust and wait and know that He’s in control. I know 6 months is nothing compared to other couple’s stories… but when your sister and best friend get pregnant accidentally two weeks apart from one another while you’re the one still trying…. it can make you start to think that something is up!
So let’s fast forward to May. I saw the double blue lines that we had prayed for and I couldn’t believe it. I honestly was in shock but I was so thankful!! I cry every time I read my journal entry from that day! We spent the next nine months preparing for this little person to enter our lives and it wasn’t an easy journey. I had diabetes and a tumor and emergency surgery while 9 months pregnant. It just wasn’t the “ideal” pregnancy…. but then she came.
WE GOT TO MEET HER.
If you resonate with my personality and my fears and my story, and you’re looking for some hope for your next season… listen to this next part of the story.
THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NO WAY TO PREPARE YOUR HEART FOR WHAT’S ABOUT TO HAPPEN TO YOU WHEN YOU HAVE YOUR FIRST BABY.
Before having Evy, my brain could only process the WORK, the CHANGE, the STRESS, the SLEEPLESS NIGHTS, and the DEMANDS. That’s all I could wrap my mind around, because WORK was all that I really did. I worked SO hard on my business and now I was about to quadruple my workload by being a MOM?! That sounds terrifying! I honestly remember my best friend Jill saying on the afternoon that I was being induced “Katelyn!!! Aren’t you SO EXCITED to MEET HER??!?!?!” …. And if I’m being honest, I was excited to not be pregnant… and to get the delivery over with! I couldn’t understand the excitement she had because I had never known a love like that.
Something changed the moment that she entered this world. The fears and anxiety I had about this new season of life seemed instantly silly and unimportant. (But they definitely weren’t silly or unimportant beforehand!) I remember the nurses bringing her into our room at 3am and I had only had about 4 hours of sleep since delivering her and yet I couldn’t wait to see her again.
WHO WAS I?!
Where did the girl go who had barely changed a diaper and never desired to hold other friend’s babies go?! How could I love a little baby THIS MUCH!!?
I really don’t have words to explain it…. but the love I have for her trumps any fear about what is going to happen to my business. That’s something that was actually impossible to understand before holding her in my arms.
We came home from the hospital and, like I had expected, life was VERY different. My new top priority was Evy and nursing and being a mom. The cool thing about my story is that even though God had been preparing me for motherhood for a long time, I still hadn’t mastered the art of finding peace in not being productive. Even at 8 months pregnant, I still NEEDED to feel productive in order to feel valuable and like I was doing something with my time. Then my aggressive hand tumor happened RIGHT before I had Evy, and I literally couldn’t type anymore. I couldn’t work AT ALL. I couldn’t even put up an auto-responder… Michael had to type that for me! In those weeks post-surgery, before Evy was born, I learned what it meant to rest and just being ok with not accomplishing much of ANYTHING.
I realized later that my post-surgery time was actually a pre-Evy prep time!! What I learned being down for the count with a hand tumor was actually God’s way of teaching me to be ok with days when nothing goes my way… when I don’t have time to blog like I want… when Evy won’t nap…. when she throws up and needs a bath and suddenly my 45mins to work just doesn’t exist anymore.
There are definitely struggles with being a mom and running a business. I had a pretty intense identity crisis when Evy was about 8 weeks old. Did I still love my business? What am I really good at? Do I still love shooting weddings? I actually got a website overhaul around that time frame and it helped A LOT! ha! It was like I got a confidence boost and an online facelift at the same time! I cried when we it went live because I felt like I still had a business-side to me!!
I still have to fight the urge to compare myself to other business owners who are doing crazy stuff because they have the time to and I don’t. I still have to constantly be ok with pushing some things back and extending deadlines and giving myself grace. But you know what makes it all worth it??? ….
Remembering that Evy is the greatest legacy of my LIFE.
She’s what I’m going to care about when KJP doesn’t really exist one day. My business is creating a legacy (and it’s an important legacy!)… but it doesn’t compare to the impact that Evy and her future family will have on the world.
I love being a momma to Evy.
Believe it or not… I LOVE nursing, and I have been nursing Evy for over 9 months now. I NEVER thought that would be my story but it is and I’m thankful! I’m actually going to be kind of sad when that special thing that only I can share with her is over!
I’m a different person than the go-getter that I was in high school and college and as a newlywed. I’m still accomplishing big things, but my greatest daily task is raising a little girl who loves the Lord and knows that she’s loved by Him and us!
Every story is different… and everyone’s purpose is life is unique to them. For those of you who don’t desire children, there is absolutely nothing wrong with that and your purpose in life is JUST as important as those raising a family. For those of you still waiting on children… whether that be biological or through adoption, God has a beautiful story unfolding for you as well. No one can escape the fact that we all have a reason that were put here on this planet! If we didn’t have a purpose, life would be meaningless!!
So if you resonate with any of this and you’re thinking about starting a family, but you’re fearful because you love your current life and your business and your freedom, then be encouraged that I was just like you and I wouldn’t want to go back! Like I said, everyone’s story is different, but I hope that my experience as a go-getter turned baby lover will give you hope and excitement for the future season of your life!!!!! You can still be passionate about your business… you can still make dreams happen… but don’t be surprised if your idea of a BIG DREAM starts to change and transform as your heart is being pulled in a new direction. I still have big goals for our business… but those goals don’t overshadow the hopes and dreams I have for the legacy of our family. :) Be encouraged, friends! Change is a good thing!!!
And a post is never any good without a few pictures!!! Here are a few of my favorite images as a momma…..
I’m so excited to share this final 2020 Wedding with you all!! It’s a special one! We photographed this beautiful wedding day on our own 10 year anniversary! Ten years ago on this day, we were celebrating in my parent’s backyard under a massive white tent too! This was my brother-in-law’s baby sister’s wedding day and celebrating with the Malizia family was such a treat! They are a family MADE for weddings!
Well, I realize this isn’t normal for KJ! I don’t shoot portraits these days but this session was my first non-wedding shoot with my new Canon R6 and I’m obsessed with how these images turned out! It was the most perfect evening for this early fall shoot and the light was incredible!
I’m so excited to share another addition of Student Spotlights from our KJ Education community! It’s so funny to us, but quite often, we find that our friends who know us in everyday life but aren’t in our industry really have no clue what we do! They think we shoot 10 weddings a year and that’s the extent of our work these days but oh… that couldn’t be further from the truth!
When we first decide if we’re a good fit with our potential KJ Couples, we’re looking for a few things…. one of those things is that this couple keeps joyful! We’ve found over the years that couples what take themselves super seriously aren’t always the best fit for us! We love it when couples let their guard down and allow us to get to know them during their engagement session.
For some photographers, bridal details seem like a fun part of the wedding day… but for many others, it’s stressful. It’s the part of the day that throws them off, makes them wonder if they’re actually artistic and leaves them feeling flustered and panicked because they never get everything done in the time they have allotted for detail shooting. In my opinion, this is a REALLY tough way to start a wedding day.
Oh, this wedding day!! What a beautiful Texan dream! I met Melanie when she attended one of our workshops years ago in our home. She had the sweetest spirit and such a kindness about her. I remember loving how she made personal marketing her own and did headshots in a pile of Skinny Pop!! I loved her creativity and her ability to envision what she wanted in her brand.