Working to Feed My Soul

By Aggie Armstrong

As far as I can remember, I've always been a creative person and a creative person who worked. It was something I had to do... After I had left the corporate world of marketing and communications, I became a creative entrepreneur as a photographer and blogger. I had incorporated my photography business and blogged part-time, and both seemed to feed my need for creative expression happily.

As I finished off a huge wedding shoot and had a few clients booked for several months, the universe decided to throw somewhat of a wrench in my plans, and I got pregnant. Let me preface this by saying that we have tried having a child for years before this but it was of course during a time when my energies moved from wanting to mother a human to nurturing a small business that came about. She's cheeky, the Universe, isn't she?

I worked till I was eight months pregnant, feeling large and not so in charge. My spirits were up, though; I was happy that my business was gaining traction, and I thought that I could keep up working right away after a few months of maternity leave. 

I tried after six months. But it wasn't quite as easy as I thought it would be. I felt extreme guilt that I had to go away for a couple of hours, even if the shoot was right in my backyard. The post-production process was a bit of a nightmare because I wasn't getting enough sleep, and when I got back to editing, I felt uninspired but rushed to finish the project.

The timing didn't seem right to me, and I wasn't exactly jumping at the notion of being behind the camera. After another six months of still feeling not like myself, I finally went to see my doctor to discuss the state of my health, and she diagnosed me with postpartum depression. It totally made sense - I was constantly anxious about the baby's well-being, but I felt a sense of annoyance whenever she cried and wanted me. I was also very detached from all the things I used to find pleasure in life, like spending time with my husband, going out to meet with friends, and even something menial as reading a book.

It was difficult to focus, and it seemed like my emotions were all over the place. After seeking help, and taking some medication, I started to feel better again. Bit by bit, I thought of going back to work and was getting some of the same fire in my gut to do something creative. I took all of these as significant signs that I was on the right path to good health.

Within the year of getting better, I slowly made changes about how to go about getting back to work. I am very fortunate in the sense that I have my husband's great support, not only emotionally but also financially to take my time to heal and get back on my feet with regards to my business. I am quite aware of this. And this has added fuel to my desire to get back to the trenches. 

Motherhood changes one's life; there's no doubt about that. But I'm of the persuasion that motherhood should not stop you from being who you were before you had children, it should enhance you. As I take my role as a mother with great responsibility and privilege, I do too as a creative thinking person, as it rounds me up as a complex human. 

I've been taking workshops to better my online presence as a blogger, photographer and as an entrepreneur. And it has been quite helpful to get my confidence back to attain success by my design. What I'm finding with these business workshops is that the lessons are all encompassing with one's personal life too. Shouldn't that be the primary purpose of continuous learning, though? So that we can apply it in all aspects of our lives?

Working with my confidence as a business owner makes me a more secure version of myself. When I do my creative work, it fulfills a different side of myself that motherhood can't. In the same respect, it makes me extremely excited and grateful that I have my role as a mother that inflates my heart like no other job I've ever had can.

Aggie Armstrong is a city-bred mama but now a bucolic countryside transplant. As a mother who's had a child later in life, she's finding it hard to be solely “just a mom” after having a career before hand. As a writer and blogger, she shares her mothering triumphs and mishaps – all of it; steeped in humour, vulnerability and more often than not, in expletive-laden tirades. As a photographer, she captures all the great moments of family life not in a perfectly posed frame, but with the imperfections that make life real, beautiful and full of emotion. Join her in her celebration of women as mothers, creatives, entrepreneurs, and perfectly imperfect beauties on her website, Instagram, and Twitter