My First Shoot Back From Maternity Leave

Gosh, this felt so good.

I have to admit. I was a nervous wreck as I was driving to the shoot. I picked up my camera here and there for small stuff, but this was my first major shoot since I left in December. I definitely wasn’t worried about my client. Busola was an absolute dream to work with. She was a new mom of two as well, so we understood each other there for sure. Imposter syndrome was trying to rear its ugly head. The “what if’s” and “you’re not’s” swirled in my head on my drive to the city. 

I had been feeling less than for a while, if I’m being honest. Social media moves so so quickly and I felt like I was being left behind. I have come to love and respect some of my fellow colleagues and I am so proud of the various moves they were making in my absence. I couldn’t help but feel a little left out. Instead of jumping in my car to head to multiple shoots a week, I was instead at home getting yelled at by a newborn who made me feel worthless as a mother. Instead of my signature hat and lip, I was rocking a bonnet everyday and raggedy shirts and maternity leggings. I had a small stint with the baby blues and I was missing the life I had before Evie. I missed the schedule I had down to a science. I missed connecting with clients. I missed the hustle and bustle of my job. I missed Torrence. I missed Charlie. I missed feeling pretty. I missed feeling like I mattered. 

Shooting with the lovely Busola boosted my confidence in myself, not only as a photographer, but also as a storyteller. Working with her made me realize a couple of things. First, I remembered that I am worthy. I deserve to be in this space. I have put in a lot of time and effort into my craft to be where I am now. Second, I remembered that what I do is not only for me. When she told me how she found me and that she felt a connection to me before we even spoke! Right then and there, I remembered this is so much bigger than me. My gift is connection. Third, I want something more.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the art of photography. I love telling a story through my lens. However, I do feel like I am entering a new season. I have a feeling that my photography is moving in a different direction that coincides with this new season I’m in. Honestly, I was  mourning my old life. My life is now completely different than it was before and I wasn’t sure how to cope with that. So many changes were thrown at me. The worst part of it was that I thought I was prepared for it. Boy was I wrong! Now, I can say I am finally starting to accept and embrace all of the new in my life.

And it’s all wonderful.

Erica J. Simmons