On Saturday night, skirts twirled and hips twisted as we all celebrated the union of Peter’s sister in Maryland. The wedding was easy, meaningful, and so beautiful. I was a bridesmaid and River was a flower girl. Since Oak is still so very tiny, I was able to wear him down the aisle in a sling and that alone meant so much to me. Throughout the ceremony I cried like a baby, and unfortunately for the audience I am a total ugly crier. I can’t help it. Peter has been videotaping many weddings lately, and always comes home with a story about the bride and groom and their family. We try and apply whatever he heard and learned in our marriage, and always reminisce on the way we felt on our day. This time, I got to witness a wedding for myself, and took away so much for my own marriage. Even though we’ve been married for a few years, it’s always good to take in all of those little reminders from others, and even instill new values that others may have that you did not.
We initially planned a five day trip, where the last leg of it would be spent with Peter’s best friends. But with two kids and a sick mama, we couldn’t follow through with our plans. Even though we had to change our plans, that feeling I get when coming back to the city never ceases to amaze me. It’s still the same as it was when I was a kid and we spent a brief time living out of state, and we would drive hours to visit my grandmother. It’s always like magic. As our car pulled off of the ramp and as both kids soundly slept, and Peter and I held hands, I got that feeling again. With all that good I felt, I also arrived feeling a bit heavy in thought. This blog, where it’s headed, my lack of desire to post, and feeling guarded on what to share and not share. When I lost my baby, I reluctantly jotted down my various waves of emotions in this space. I remember sitting with my loss therapist a few weeks after and just started balling my eyes out. I didn’t want to talk to her about what had happened, I didn’t want to be there… but I stayed and I talked. One of the things that I will always remember saying is ” I don’t want this to be my story. ” I didn’t want to become the girl who lost the baby well into her second trimester. But after more talking with her and sharing on this blog, I was proud that I was that girl. Through sharing I was able to help others and heal myself. And with that this blog grew organically. I was comfortable sharing bits about River, my loss, and eventually my pregnancy. The support outweighed any doubts I had in regards to the negativity that also comes with blogging. I had genuinely fell in love with where the space was at during that time of my life.
When asked, I would quickly say that once blogging became like a “job” for me I would stop. I only want to do things that I am truly passionate about, and if the time arrived that I felt like I was half ass-ing it I would just change it or stop. Life’s just too short to waste time. When Oak arrived I didn’t feel like I wanted to share my kids on my blog anymore. I didn’t want them to be overexposed, I didn’t want people to assume they knew my kids without actually knowing them. And with all that and the obvious joy of a newborn, I wanted to just spend the first few weeks of Oak’s life living in the now, and enjoying this wonderful family I’m so lucky to have. That’s when this blog felt like a job.
And there we were, at my sister in-laws wedding, where we all catch up and all of my supportive and astonishingly loving family that I inherited met me with love about this space. My honesty, and how it truly is my space, and how seeing bits of River and my life through fashion was a favorite topic. Our natural birth and wether or not I would share more about how awesome it was to birth without fear also came up quite a few times as well. I felt myself talking with confidence and yearning for that feeling I once had when I shared here when it was just River, when I ignored the negativity. I found myself eating my words in reference to no longer sharing parts of my kid’s lives on here (I mentioned completely cutting them out of the blog on Instagram and it became a comment frenzy. The picture was later deleted.) I truly felt bad for those of you who followed along with my loss and subsequent pregnancy, and the amazing birth of Oak. In that moment I felt as if I cheated you all. As if I was dishonest. I let you in and then shut you out once I got what I wanted, my baby. For that I’m sorry, that was never my intention.
This space, the space that I share with you all, it will encompass things that are in fact all of me from now on, just how it was right before Oak. This blog is a lifestyle blog. My kids are very much a part of me. They push me daily, and how could I blog honestly without acknowledging them from time to time? I don’t think referencing them, and having their pictures shown once in a while is over exposure in the slightest. I think the topic of such is such a long and heated one, and that each parent has to look deeply within and make the decision for what they feel is best for their kids.
I still find it quite disturbing that others will flat out fabricate stories, assume, and speak negatively about someone and their family they know nothing of. Why? I spent my teenage years fighting. And naturally, the fighter in me wants to defend every lie with the truth, but since all are lies, that would take days. Days that I don’t want to spend addressing negativity when I could spend that time cuddling my loves. I live a really good life, a life I’m proud of, a life of happiness, wholeness, and honesty. A life that I will continue to share in this space in bits that I feel comfortable with. This space will be a for-profit blog, as it was before. This space will include fashion, something I’ve been involved in for 8 years of my life. I hope you all know that this is only a very tiny portion of my life, and even though we feel as though we truly know someone, we in fact can’t possibly really know someone through bits they share on the internet. This space will ultimately be a happy and honest space that I enjoy it being, a reflection of me. I’ve grown so much here. I know I’m not the best at responding to your comments and emails, but do know that I love you guys and I’m so very thankful for all of your support!
What a sweet post…thanks for sharing!
Thank you Heather!
Such a sweet post indeed! You seem like such a genuine person, in this and all that you post.
Your top paragraph actually reminded me of a documentary Joanna Goddard blogged about recently (http://joannagoddard.blogspot.com/2014/07/marriage-documentary.html). I'm not married, but I watched it this weekend and it was such an interesting watch! Definitely had me thinking lots after. Perhaps it'd be of interest to you too.
Hi there! I am a new reader but I just wanted to let you know I LOVED this post and I'm looking forward to following along. Thanks for sharing!
What an awesome post, Latonya. Lately, I have been questioning the importance of my blog, and the effort of posting, but then I look back on the posts of my trips and the quality of my posts from a few years ago, and I remember the importance of my blog, and how passionate I am about it. I don't have kids yet, but I was thinking about when I do have children, how much should I put them on my blog? I don't want to overexpose them either, but they will be a part of my life, much like your children are a part of your life. I for one enjoy reading updates on your life, and my other favorite blogger's lives. I care about regular people rather than celebrities, getting advice on life, parenting, or even blogging advice. Your life is beautiful, but I know there are ups and downs. I have to remind myself that the bloggers I follow do not have perfect lives, but they do have beautiful lives. And you are right about another thing, the blogging community can be extremely supportive, but some people try to push their negativity onto other people, and you just have to move on and ignore their negativity. Keep on keeping on, Latonya. Your blog is wonderful! And you helped me with a little trick, when it becomes work, I will stop. It is something I am passionate about, and something I love doing. This post was a great reminder. Thank you!
courtney from Barefoot in Blue Jeans
I got teary eyed reading this post. It's beautiful just like your blog. I can relate to what you're saying. I myself have a blog and I have had over-share moments and then I don't want to share as much. I've had my fair share of negativity from sharing my life and it's very unfair for people to judge when they know very little about who or what you are. It sickens me and my heart goes out to anyone who has to deal with it. You're doing a beautiful job!!
Thank you so much for the recommendation! I will for sure check it out with Peter.
Thank you Madelyn!
Courtney, thank you so much for your thoughtful comment, it really means a lot to me.
"Your life is beautiful, but I know there are ups and downs. I have to remind myself that the bloggers I follow do not have perfect lives, but they do have beautiful lives." Yes. Yes. Yes!!!
Thank you again!
This is one of the most honest blog posts I've read in a while. I'm a new reader, but you've just made me into a devoted one.
I love this post and your honesty in sharing what God laid on your heart to share with us! I am new to your blog and found you on IG….
I love your blog and look forward to seeing how your content evolves!
Thanks for stopping by Frederica!
Loved reading this Clare, thank you so much!
Fantastic post! I have been blogging for a long time, and though my following is pretty much limited to people I know in real life, I found it to be a true place of reflection when I really needed it to be. Life got hard for a bit there, and blogging about it was my way of coping. I really, really feel that it helped me come out of that situation with a clear head. I don't think you need to apologize to your readers for anything. I have been following for a few years and I cried with you when you lost your baby. I know a lot of us did. Wanting to protect your kids from media exposure is smart; I think about it from time to time as well. It can be hard to find a balance, and I think you're doing a fantastic job. This is why so many of us keep coming back.
Charlotte, thank you, you made me cry! I really appreciate you understanding and also sticking around through all the ups and downs. Truly, I'm not sure I could have went through such a rough patch in my life if I didn't share on here. I was able to empty out all the weird thoughts, that I'm sure would have eaten me up at some point in my life. Exactly what I did not want is what healed me. And knowing I have such a fantastic team- like you guys- keeps those sad feelings away. I'm able to look at life differently, and my babies, and just enjoy it. I've read so many emails from women on the other side of loss and other rough patches and it's seriously the best coping tool. Thanks so much! Xoxo
Oh Rachel, thank you for this!
Hello, LaTonya! This is Deneen (I don’t know why my name is showing up anonymous since I submitted this comment using WordPress). Thank you for sharing your heart at it's very core! Happened upon your blog for the first time in June & enjoyed how you shared your style, your life & yourself … sweeeeet, real writing & stunning photos that spoke for themselves. I instantly pinned your blog to my Blog Love Pinterest board. Fast forward to tonight/this morning … precious surprise to discover your most recent baby blessing, Oak, had arrived. River and Oak are beautiful and adorable. This is my first time commenting & I apologize for this long comment (I won’t make it a habit).
LaTonya, thank you for sharing your heart about your reluctance to write after Oak was born and your questions about how much/little to share your babies & family on your blog. I believe that that is perfectly natural & wise to reevaluate from time to time. As a mother myself, I remember the sacred time discovering & loving our beautiful baby girl after she was born … there’s nothing like it. Basking in all of that love for Oak and your new family of four … of course, the world stops & you want to take it alllll in. Girrrrrrl, please … I’m not surprised that blogging was the furthest from your mind.
Your transparency here was helpful to me … I have gone through similar thought processes trying to decide how much to share about my family, loss, etc. while planning my own new blog and writing content. Your wisdom about yourself, your family & your vision(s) for your blog fortified your decisions … and all the while you are swaddled in love with Oak. Just beautiful!!! That’s what we do as mothers. Love and prayers for you and yours!