I have one child right now, and I’m due with my second child in 4 months. Adrian is my sweet boy, and he is one year old.

Adrian is the happiest child I’ve ever met. He is all smiles and laughs, which in turn makes everyone he’s around smile and laugh too. He’s just so joyful! Of course I’m biased, but there is no better child for me in the whole world.

Becoming a mom was something I didn’t think I wanted until I met my husband and got married. It wasn’t until I was with him that I knew I wanted a family. Having a baby is an adjustment for everyone, but being a mom has come fairly naturally to me.

My husband and I knew we wanted children and tried for two full years. At that point the process of waiting each month to see if we were successful, only to be let down every time, became too much of an emotional roller coaster for both of us and we decided it was time to stop trying. We were beginning to come to terms with our life without children when I became pregnant with Adrian. He came at just the right time, and has changed our lives tremendously. I’m grateful every day that he’s part of our family.

The way I discovered I was pregnant wasn’t too exciting, but the fact that the test had two lines on it blew my mind. After years of disappointment, I was sure it would be negative again, but decided to take a test since I knew my doctor would ask me when I called to tell her my period was late. But instead of the usual: | I saw: ||. I was speechless. Then I really wasn’t speechless and began calling my entire family to share the amazing news.

Throughout the beginning of my pregnancy I had lots of dreams related to what I was having. Sometimes it was a girl, sometimes it was a boy, but a lot of times it was a kitten. I’m still not quite sure what that means. We decided on baby names about a week before the ultrasound where we’d find out the baby’s gender, and a couple days later I had another dream. This time the baby was a boy and I called him Adrian. I knew right then that my baby was a boy. I was right!

Pregnancy does not agree with my body, and I was miserable the entire time. I had lots of complications related to my own health, but luckily Adrian was happy and healthy the whole way through. Toward the end I kept saying “I don’t know why anyone would ever do this more than once! This is awful!” But here I am, just a year later, right back in the swing of pregnancy with number two. It’s awful again, but seeing Adrian’s smiling face reminds me that the payoff is so very worth it.

My labor and delivery was very traumatic, to the point where I don’t share it with women who are currently pregnant. I hated hearing horror stories so I try very hard not to add my own to that pile. One thing I will say is that at the end of the day, labor and delivery is just one memory for me. One memory in a lifetime full of memories. It was rough, but it’s what brought my sweet boy into this world, so it’s one I’ll cherish. I was under general anesthesia for an emergency c-section, so the first time I held my baby is kind of a blur. I do remember seeing my husband hold him for the first time though. That memory still brings tears to my eyes. My strong husband, holding our tiny vulnerable boy. The love I had in my heart grew so much that I thought I would explode.

Coming home from the hospital was the scariest part of the entire newborn stage. In the hospital we were surrounded by people who were there to help, and who knew what they were doing. When they said it was time to go, my husband and I both had a feeling of “but we’re not qualified to do this!” Nothing could have really prepared us. Luckily my mom was able to come stay with us for the first week. Everything is such a blur that it’s hard to pinpoint when things happened and how. I was exhausted, and Adrian wanted to be held a lot. I have never been more grateful for my own mother than when I became a mother myself. She’s the one who taught me that being a mother doesn’t mean being flawless, it means making the best choices for your child and your family. Having permission to make mistakes took a lot of weight off of my shoulders.


I am a much better person now that I’m a mom. Before I had a great child I was a fantastic parent! I knew everything and knew exactly what I would and would never do. Once I had a child of my own though, everything changed. He didn’t want to play by the rules I’d set, so a lot of my “I’d never ever do that” things went right out the window. I learned what it felt like to be harshly judged, and I’ve tried actively to stop judging other moms. It’s a work in progress, but I’ve really taken to heart that the right choice for me doesn’t always equal the right choice for everyone else.

The best part of being a mom? The first smile, the first laugh, the first hug, the first time I heard him say “mama.” Being perfect in someone else’s eyes. Knowing that I created this little life.

The most challenging thing about being a mom is remembering to be Not Mom sometimes too. It’s easy to let my whole life get wrapped up in my sweet boy, but losing myself in the process isn’t good for either of us. I want to raise a strong and compassionate young man who has respect for women. I can’t do a great job of that unless I show him I have enough respect for myself to maintain my identity.

I have great friends and a great network of moms in my family. It has been invaluable to turn to someone more experienced and ask for guidance. Even if I don’t follow their exact advice, knowing I’m not alone in my struggles makes me feel more normal.

I had no idea how hard motherhood would be. I don’t think it’s the kind of thing anyone could have fully prepared me for, since each child is different and comes with their own set of challenges. Sleep has been a struggle sometimes, but things like feeding, and bathing, and having the right size clothes at the right time have also been hard. The hardest part has been second guessing all of my decisions. It’s something I’m learning to get better at, but when the stakes are so high, how can you not second guess some of them?

If I could hold onto the wonder I see in Adrian’s eyes, I’d be happy forever. Everything is a new adventure, and watching him experience things that I find to be so routine is fascinating. Who knew things like a refrigerator magnet or a wooden spoon could be so intriguing?

Do I have fears? Of course! The world became much scarier for me when I began seeing it through the eyes of a mother. There's danger everywhere, but I don't want my children to grow up being afraid. I'm trying to be brave in the face of those fears so my kids will learn to be brave as well.

More than anything, I want my children to grow up to be happy and compassionate people. I don’t care if their political views are different than mine, I don’t care if the careers they choose aren’t things I would pick, and I don’t care if the partners they choose aren’t people I would choose for them. At the end of the day they can say “I am happy and I choose to see the good in other people” then I feel I have done my job as a mom.

My child-rearing philosophy is “am I respecting my child?” In everything I do, I ask if what I’m doing is something I’d be happy seeing someone else do to my child. I am also a very go-with-the-flow kind of mom. You want to eat dirt? Go for it, that’s why we have a bathtub and soap. You want to practice with a spoon even though you don’t really get how it works yet? Have at it kid, I’ve got nothing but time for you. You don’t want to wear pants right now? No problem, I can make sure you’re warm enough without them. Children are only children for a short while, so I’m savoring those moments. I don’t want him to be a tiny adult, I want him to be a kid.

To all the moms out there: You’re doing great, and it’s okay to make mistakes.

Do moms have the power to change the world? Of course we do! We’re raising the future of our country. We’re raising the people who will form our society in the future. If we all just take a moment to focus on compassion, think of how much better the world could be.

Someone once told me “the days are long but the years are short.” Truer words could never be spoken, and being a mom has made me realize it just that much more.

Dear Adrian,

You’re a year old now, and I had no idea how much my life would change when you came into it. To say you’ve been the light of my life would be an understatement. Sweet boy, I love you to the moon and back, and then back again over and over. You have made my life so much richer, and you’ve made me not only a mommy, but also a better person. I’m so looking forward to watching you grow.

Love, Mommy


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indianapolis portrait photographer ashlee lauren
indianapolis portrait photographer ashlee lauren

Ashlee also provides magical and delightful services for: newborn photography, cake smash photography, baby's first year plans, maternity photography, family photography, and Newborn mentoring for photographers.

If you have a milestone or special moment you want to remember forever, let's chat! Ashlee loves to photograph in the woodlands and around downtown Indianapolis, Fishers, Carmel, Zionsville, and Greenwood. She also has a professional studio space available for sessions.