Have you ever wanted something so much that when its in your grasp you just don’t know how to handle it. I never in a million years imagined I would fall pregnant after years of trying, within 2 months of giving up my full time job to grow my little wedding styling biz The White Emporium.
Finding out I was 5 weeks pregnant at the start of a fully booked wedding season was daunting to say the least. All the plans that I had put in place for the next year suddenly seemed very irrelevant and I found myself in business limbo. I was very fortunate that I wasn’t unwell in those first few months so hiding the pregnancy wasn’t difficult, until it came to height work and carrying. Now as a wedding stylist heavy lifting and climbing ladders is the daily norm, previously I wouldn’t even flinch at the thought of picking up a box full of wooden log slices, but now all of that was out of the question. It was time to call in help, for me admitting I can’t manage alone has been one of the hardest parts of this journey.
So whilst I attempted to fly the flag for strong, independent women, refusing to listen to advice to slow down and rest more I kept pushing myself to get the job done. However reality soon kicked in back in September, when after spending all day tidying The White Emporium stock and lifting boxes that were probably too heavy, I awoke the next morning in panic with server stomach cramps and the feeling I had done too much, many little prayers were said that morning and thankfully all was well. That morning I was faced with the realisation that this little wriggler maybe in my body but it isn’t just mine, it carries the hopes and dreams of my husband as well, so for him and the fast growing bump I made a conscious decision to attempt to slow down. (Notice I said attempt). This fear of slowing down and admitting to needing help is an adjustment I am not alone in struggling with, in a discussion with my pregnancy yoga group it was felt that to almost admit to not feeling great during pregnancy was a sign of weakness. Is it the strive for equality that has bought us to the point where we are too scared to suggest we need help, for risk of scorn and judgement from our male peers and women who have chosen to not have children? There is one very fundamental difference between men and women, and that is child birth, the process of growing then birthing a baby is physically and mentally demanding, one that only us women can do. It wasn’t that long ago that women were actively encouraged to have bed rest and their families, neighbours and friends rallied round them, but in today’s society there is pressure to soldier on like nothing has happened. This can of worms I feel is a post for another day.
It isn’t the physical side of being pregnant I have struggled with, it has been the mental side, I sometimes think that if I had more side effects mentally I would have adjusted a little easier and quicker. The asking for help has been a huge adjustment, as a stylist a lot of my vision is locked in my head and I have had to learn to delegate and trust others to follow my vision and styling ethos. I have also faced huge feelings of guilt which I have been told as a mum and business owner will follow me around for a good many years. The guilt of accepting weddings and styled shoots which mean I finish the end of the day shattered, fighting with the guilt of turning business down and the worry that The White Emporium will be damaged by the loss of opportunity. The constant mental wrestling when sat on the sofa or having a lazy morning during a husband enforced rest that my business to do list is constantly growing and by not constantly working I am letting my business down.
In today’s social media dominated society, it is very easy to feel like you are falling behind your competitors and that others are succeeding in life a lot easier than yourself. I will admit I am often guilty of Instagram crushing and jealousy, watching other small businesses seem to easily rise up and take the world by storm. I constantly have to remind myself that those businesses and faces behind the glossy pictures are fighting their own battles and have their own stories and that actually there is possibly someone out there drooling over my Instagram not knowing of the battles I have faced. One thing I do know is I am on one of the greatest adventures there is and I have a pretty regular reminder in the form of my little wriggler, the constant kicks and movements are the most precious feelings in the world. The very fact I have grown and kept this little bubba safe whilst still growing my business does fill me with immense pride when I make myself have those quiet moments of reflection and think of what we have achieved together over the past few months.
Decorating the nursery has helped me mentally prepare for the baby coming, having something to focus on that I could create for our new arrival and enjoying the quiet time spent, pottering around, rearranging clothing draws, picking prints and most importantly not thinking about my business. I know the baby won’t use the nursery properly for many months and a lot of the older generation haven’t understood my dedication to it, but for me it has given me precious time to bond with my bump. The notion of bump bonding seemed so obscure to me at the beginning, how could we not bond, it was growing inside me! However physically growing the baby is not the same as mentally preparing for it, whilst creating the nursey I have shared my hopes and dreams for our little one, whilst rubbing my stomach and smiling as the baby kicks back, I feel we are a team already.
Naturally I would not describe myself as maternal, I have always wanted children at some stage in life but I have relished the challenge of growing a career and in the past couple of years a business, I have always believed myself to be independent and one of my biggest fears about having a baby has been how all this will change and the potential to lose my freedom. I have put my whole heart and soul into growing The White Emporium and now my heart and soul will be shared with the newest team member. Which as the weeks come closer to the arrival I am feeling less anxious and more excited about. I know that all the hard work I put into The White Emporium will mean I can lead by example and give my child the freedom to dream.