The day that changed everything. The day I found out I’m going to be a mom.

23 January 2015

A letter to my boy

With heavy, sleepy eyes I can feel the fullness coming back to me in drips. Wholeness seeps through my body despite the last 48 hours of purging poison from my body.

Sickness always knocks me for six and for the time that I'm really struggling with illness (and it is always a struggle) I forget. I forget how complete and wholehearted my life has become since you joined your father and I. And, as the fog of sickness begins to lift and rise away from my body, I can see quite clearly the everyday blessings that we as a family are lucky to enjoy and acknowledge. For joy is in the little things that life brings us; togetherness, laughter, support, affection. All these things we have in abundance and you are most certainly a catalyst for this. I think your father and I will always be grateful to you for enlightening us to the purest and simplest joys of life.

I considered many times, while pregnant with you, what you would look like (I was wrong) or what type of person you might be (which is all still in the making and for you to decide and reach for) but I never considered how hearing your laughter would drown me in glee, how your soft skin and boney elbows would comfort me, how generous or sensitive or giving you might be and how utterly proud that would make me.

Your father and I sometimes find it difficult to articulate to each other how special you are and how we feel about you and often (most evenings after you've settled to sleep) we look at each other and simply say, "isn't he amazing?", and goodness boy, you are. I don't have enough words to express your greatness, but I think you make it speak for itself every day.

You are a light little man. You are a light. Keep burning bright.

Linking up with The 52 Project.

26 October 2014

Mother's meeting - week 39

Week 39 | 2014

It took Chuck and I a long time to find a baby group that we could be part of. When he was a wee baby he was a nap monster. He wouldn't nap on the move, he wouldn't settle in a pram or in my arms and, if he fell asleep in the car, he would almost certainly wake when the wheels of the car came to a standstill.

He was a baby that needed his naps and I was [and remain to be] a mother who needed them just as much as he did. This made getting out and socialising with my bebe difficult for a long while. Even now he has a good two or three hours in the afternoon. These days I'm more relaxed about timings and have even been known [on rare occasions] to let him miss his nap if we have a very good social event as an excuse.

We were well into Chuck's second year of being when I finally found a local group of mamas who met regularly at a time that suited our nap regimen. You never really know how these meets are going to go - lord knows I've been to my fair share of them and have come away bored and feeling isolated, so often they are clingy affairs. I usually find myself on the side lines, struggling to integrate. I even had a stab at starting a local mama and baby group which fell flat on its face when the 4 members of the group [of which I was one of them] failed to ascertain a time and day for us all to meet regularly.

So I was very pleased when another local lady reignited the fire of the local NCT coffee morning and it was a success! Finally Chuck and I are part of something familiar, something regular. Friendships are being forged and, for the first time, I feel as though we belong; we are welcome; we are accepted. We are home.

I am seeing my son grow, develop in personality and in independence. And somehow, it is rubbing off on me.

I will forever be the person who questions themselves. I am learning to accept this about myself while trying not to let it hold me back as I have done for so so long. Such wonderful things can happen when you feel comfortable with people.

I have felt comfortable enough to share my passion and interest in photography with the group and, encouraged by my mama compadres, I have taken photographs in public, of other people's children - for the first time ever. Some of which you see here - today. I cannot underestimate the value of this personal milestone.

To say I was anxious would not be an understatement. But I pushed myself to do it and I'm so glad I did. I'm beginning to develop my craft in ways I had never expected and this group's influence cannot be denied. And subsequently, I am nervously looking forward to taking some more private shots of some of these amazing kiddos and their families. I'm scared but I am trying to embrace the fear and not hide from it. This is a fundamental change in personality.

My first-born son, Chuck, is really the catalyst for all of this change. I owe him everything.

Belatedly linking up with Jodi.

9 September 2014


Cornwall 2014 from Stephanie Barker on Vimeo.

July you were kind to us. The weather was sweet and holidays with friends expanded and simultaneously shrunk our horizons. New ways of life were shown to us. Birthdays and birthday celebrations were had. Love was here. Siblings came into the picture. Life changed forever, again.

We will not forget you in a hurry July. We will not.


Week 36 | 2014

Three months ago I downed tools, literally, and abandoned my camera with no good reason but fear and rejection. I'd fallen into a self-propelling trap of seeking reassurance and acceptance from those that I admire and as such I made the mistake of seeking validation from a very dear and talented friend.

She did not make the noises I was hoping to hear, and through no fault of her own, it left me feeling hurt and unmotivated to continue on my journey. It railroaded me. It stopped me dead in my tracks and I lost all desire to continue because I'd filled myself up with self-doubt. My own worst enemy.

While I was disappointed with my friend's reaction to my work, I realise that my reactions to her comments were nothing but my own doing. I alone am the one that can take myself on this journey.

I spent some time abstaining from photographing altogether while I ironed out the creases in my damaged, delicate mind and finally, after about a month, I picked up my camera again. I realised that the only person missing out here is me. I'm the one missing the moments I want to cherish on film. I'm the one who will have months' worth of gaps in my 52 project photobook. I'm the one who will not be able to look back on these pictures and remember; remember that I was there, I pressed the shutter, I was the one privileged enough to be present for all these moments with my son. For that reason alone, I need to pick up that camera and push through my inadequacies.

This is a constant issue for me and while it remains I'm not going to progress to anything, not that this means I know how to overcome it. All I can do is try and carry on trying until it feels like second nature. Like breathing. I don't question myself every time I take a breath do I, so why for everything else?

Seeking affirmation and praise from others has got to stop - it's a brick wall that I trip over every time. So what if somebody doesn't like my images? I'm not taking pictures of our life as a family for anyone else's benefit but our own. So it stops here. M'kay?

Linking up with Jodi at Practising Simplicity

4 June 2014


Since taking part in the 52 project and Living Arrows I have been taking an abundance of photos and choosing just one image per week is proving difficult. I'm trying so hard to force myself to be better at self-editing but it leaves so many images that I like behind that I have decided I have to do something with them.

I'm planning a monthly round-up of the outtakes, like a 'month in the life of' sort-a-thing - a bit like my ten on ten contributions so far.. I'm certain there's a linky going round that already does this - I need to find it! But expect that to be appearing shortly, even if I do have a lot of work to do - I'll be going back all the way to April at least and that's going to be a lot of photies.

A photo of my son | once a week | every week | in 2014

Chuck: you are blossoming my dear. You are like the seasons. You have a natural force and a sweet determination behind you pushing you forward every day.

You are fast becoming a little boy and we converse now, all the time. You told me your first story the other day. It talked about how our cat, Squeasel, was flitting between being trapped inside our kitchen bin and playing on the ipad. We needed to get her out of the bin and when we did, she put our other cat, Fat Pat, into the bin in her place. Obviously Pat now needed saving from the bin and from Squeasel, who kept putting her back into the bin; when she wasn't busy on the ipad. Obviously.

As each day progresses though, my respect for you grows. I'm working, constantly, on remaining compassionate and patient. I genuinely believe it's paying dividends though. You are so pleasant, friendly, calm, confident. I believe that having somebody you can constantly depend upon and trust is really enabling you to be yourself; without fear. Even though you probably aren't yet able to understand it fully, I think you know I always have your back. In fact, I don't think you have any clue of the alternative and that fills my soul. This is my goal.

Linking up with Jodi and Living Arrows.

28 May 2014


A portrait of my son | once a week |every week | in 2014

Your beloved blanket is well and truly on its way out. I've tried to find resources to fix it but so far I've failed. I'm told it can't be done so I guess the only option is to make you a new one. I'd like to try and make it myself, even though I can't [yet] crochet, so that if [when] you reject it can, at least, remain as a handmade token of love. Even if you don't [won't?] love it. I'll understand if you can't love you new 'Bee'. Afterall, you've lived with and loved this blanket of yours from the day you were born. You love it so much you have embraced the giant hole in the centre and have incorporated it into your relationship with the soft [and smelly] blanket. You wear it as a poncho and run around chasing the cats. You are accepting of the changes this blanket is presenting to you.

Perhaps watching your blanket disappear before your eyes will be a good lesson in loss for you but until then I'll do my best to find something to help keep your relationship with your best friend going strong.

And despite appearances here, you were having fun when I took this photo.

Linking up with Jodi and Living Arrows

20 May 2014


A portrait of my son | once a week | every week | in 2014

Here you are - showing the world - your true and natural glow. You are not a serious boy, despite how many of these photographs are depicting you. Here you are in your element. Joy is never far from your face. You are a light, my child. You are a light.

Linking up with Jodi and Living Arrows.


The day that changed everything. The day I found out I'm going to be a mom.

Powered by Blogger.