The Ko Family (Ummm, how cute are they?!) was spending some time in Santa Barbara and decided they wanted to get some family photos before their adorable baby girl grew out of the baby-baby stage. They happened to come across some of my work on Instagram and contacted me to do a shoot, and i’m SO glad they did!
Me (EL): How would you sum this first year of parenthood?
Hannah (H): My husband Young says – “It gets better guys, hang in there.” Haha I think he’s partially joking? Although to be fair, he did have a rough first few months because Emilia only wanted to be held by me. On a more serious note, we both agree parenthood has been all about experiencing and enjoying a whole new kind of love. In a nutshell, it’s a lot of ups and downs but the love you have for your baby is the amazing and beautiful constant.
EL: What has been the most surprising aspect of parenting?
H: I guess it’s not a huge surprise, but you just have so little time for yourself after you become a mom. And you quickly realize how much harder everything is when you have a baby or toddler who needs you round the clock. Everything on your to-do list takes twice as long (or becomes nearly impossible). But at the same time, you may be surprised by how much love you have for this little person that sucks all your time and energy from you. My husband also say “how stinky baby poops are,” and it’s true. Lol.
EL: What has been the most challenging part of parenting? How have you grown the most in the process?
H: The hardest part of motherhood for me was breastfeeding. No one prepared me for the pain and intense levels of emotional and physical exhaustion. But I feel like I discovered just how strong and determined I could be through my breastfeeding journey. And I wouldn’t trade those middle-of-the-night snuggles for anything.
EL: Looking back on all the advice you’ve been given (welcomed or not), what was really helpful to hear?
H: The most helpful advice I’ve received (or at least what makes me feel the most at peace) is trust your instincts. You can most certainly read those baby books so you feel better prepared but sometimes, there just is no right or wrong answer–just what’s best for you.
EL: What advice would you give parents/moms during the first year?
H: It’s a wild ride. I don’t think there’s anything that can really prepare you for it. You will experience an overwhelming amount of love and joy, tremendous sadness at times realizing how quickly your little one is growing up, and if you’re like me, a huge weight on your shoulders to protect and care for a fragile new being. You’ll have moments of elation and utter failure, and everything in between. And I can’t even count how many phases your baby will go through. Just try to be present and enjoy the ride because it will pass, all too quickly.
EL: What has been the most life-giving about parenting?
H: So many things are life giving about being a mom but one of my favorite things is watching her crack up at something she finds hilarious. It makes our hearts swell and the joy it brings us as parents is too good.
EL: They say it takes a village to raise a child. What has your “village” (support system) looked like so far?
H: It absolutely takes a village! Thankfully my parents made the move out west last year and have been so incredibly helpful, beyond what I could have ever imagined. My sister and nearby friends have also been amazing. Some unsolicited advice: If you don’t have friends who are entering motherhood with you, you can always join a local mommy group. I joined a little late in the game but it was a game changer for me and I am so thankful for friends who I can empathize, learn, and grow with.