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5 Lessons Learned on Maternity Leave

Video Transcript

Hello friends! I am Kristina of Bozanich Photography and this is Skyler. And I am going to talk about the five things that I learned as a photographer on my maternity leave.

So, I’ve been taking care of this little guy for two months on maternity leave and I am going back to work very soon here. So, this video is just to talk about the lessons that I learned specifically for female photographers out there that might be going through the same thing and also just general knowledge that I am sure lots of other women have experienced as well.

After giving birth to my son, I was pretty naive in thinking that I could be superwoman and just get up and do whatever I wanted – to clean the house, make dinner – after delivering. First thing I learned was that my recovery was much longer than what I expected. It took me about a week to even just to feel more like myself in terms of strength and to get over some of the pain that I had. It took a full month and a half to really get back into an every day routine – feeling more normal – and being able to handle washing dishes, and cleaning floors, and lifting and carrying lots of things.

Second lesson that I learned was the amount of sleep. I know that was warned by lots of people about how little sleep I was going to get, and I know I believed them, but I didn’t truly know until it happened to me. Basically to get six or seven hours of sleep, and that is being a little generous, it would take me about twelve hours out of my day to get that amount. Between the diaper changes, the feeding, putting back to sleep, and getting up, and repeat, it took half my day just to get some rest. So that when it came to the time that I had to myself, obviously that went to other things like doing laundry and, if you’re pumping, pumping! So, those are some things that I never considered.

Third thing – this is specifically for photographers – I did a test photoshoot and I wanted to know how my baby would behave at a shoot in carrier. And, the thing that I learned here was the prep time. It takes about an hour before you even leave the house to make sure, or at least for me, to make sure that my baby was ready to go. I had to make sure that he was well fed, that he had a clean diaper, that I had everything packed and ready on top of my gear. And then when I got to shoot, I had to maybe give him a snack – to make sure that he was a little lethargic by the time that I put him in the carrier so that he would sleep the whole time. So I did not plan for a half hour shoot that I did for a test run – it really took me an hour and half just to get things done. That’s not even including editing and everything else on top of that.

So the fourth thing that I learned was actually a plus in a way. Because I was getting up so much in the night, I learned that I could edit photos in the middle of the night while pumping. So, hey, A+ for efficiency! So in that way I was a little extra productive on top of my routine because I couldn’t really do that in the normal parts of my days. Editing at three in the morning, and then again at four in the morning – no problem.

Last thing is another general lesson that a lot of us women struggle with. And that was just getting my body back. Yes, I no longer have this human being inside of me, but I have all of this extra baby weight. And, I hadn’t basically exercised in nine months. And, so even climbing up steps, or jumping over logs, or crouching down in the sand for a photoshoot that I recently had – I felt my knees were weak. I was like “Oh my goodness, I am carrying all of this extra weight and I am not used to bending down like this like I used to be able to”. So was the biggest adjustment for me. It affects my wardrobe. I’ve been wearing yoga pants and maternity clothes still. It is going to be a while before I get into regular jeans that I used to wear. And then obviously, the self-esteem. Looking in the mirror and knowing that, yes, my body gave life and that’s a beautiful thing, but also seeing the destruction, if you will, and having to recover from that. Trying implement exercise and a good diet back in. Because when I was pregnant, I was letting loose! I was eating whatever I wanted. I am still pretty loose with my diet because I am doing the breast milk so I am burning extra calories and that way I have a little more give. If I wasn’t pumping, then it would be a lot different. But it has been a really great maternity leave here. I am going back to work in a couple days, and I just wanted to share a video on what my experience was like. And hopefully, provide some lessons on what was learned, especially to the female photographers out there that have to consider all of these things when booking clients and getting back into the scene. Check out my website and if you like my video, give me a thumbs up and feel free to comment!