The Muldoon's family session was at one of my favorite spots to photograph in the Pittsburgh area - Mellon Park's Walled Garden. It was a beautiful sunny fall day perfect for family photos.
Today I am sharing with you Monika's story as a new mom. When I finally met Monika in person she embraced me with the biggest hug and smile. Her heart is full of kindness and she is one of the most genuine people I have met. As you read her story you'll be able to feel what I am talking about. There is a rawness in her responses that you can't help but pay attention to.
The way she describes what she wants to remember in 20 years literally had me loling and when she talks about her biggest challenges I could feel her exhaustion. Being a mom is hard enough but being a new mom is even harder.
In sharing the stories of the woman in the family it is my hope that more moms feel empowered to share theirs. The way of the future is where women are heard and seen. If you know of someone who could use encouragement or needs some solace in knowing they aren't alone - share Monika's story with them.
Monika's Story as New Mom
What's your favorite part about being a mom?
The love I have for my daughter is unconditional, patient, and ever-growing. It does not matter how exhausted I am, the moment I put her to bed, I cannot wait to see her smiling face in the morning.
I never knew I could love someone so much.
She brings me so much joy. It is the overwhelming feeling of happiness and love I feel when I even think about her, THAT is the best part of being a mom.
20 Years from now what do you hope to remember?
20 years from now, I will want to remember how she was my little shadow- crawling behind me as I go from room to room, playing with my makeup brushes as I get ready, reaching for my food,
trying to help me fold clothes even though she smiles and just throws them around her.
I will want to remember her as my baby. She is still so young so as of now, I would want her to remember the quality family time we have: family walks, sitting down and eating meals together, storytime, playing, etc.
What are some challenges you've faced as a mom? How have you worked through them?
The delivery was not what I expected. I was induced after 41 weeks, my epidural only worked on the right side of body, and my labor was stopped multiple times due to complications which resulted in an emergency c-section.
As a new mom, I remember the first 10 days were the most challenging. Vivienne was too lethargic to eat and was losing too much weight, terrible acid-reflux, and she had hip dysplasia in both hips.
I remember crying because I was exhausted, physically in pain, and I felt helpless.
She had to wear a harness 24 hours a day for her hips for the first three months of her life. We had to elevate her mattress for her reflux. I was pumping every hour and supplementing formula trying to get her to maintain/gain weight. It was tough. I was overwhelmed and exhausted.
I had to take it one day at a time. I relied a lot on my husband for support (physical and emotional). He would make meals, clean the house, and listen to my worries/frustrations. In time, she gained weight, her reflux was non-existent, and after 3months the harness was removed.
If you knew then what you know now, what advice would you give yourself about being a mother?
I would tell myself to be patient, take deep breathes, and when you are exhausted or need a break ask for help.