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project 52:1 | messy

Aw. She is getting SO BIG!

yes. she is. [sad face] It goes too fast.

time for another one! right?

This is what has convinced me to do this project. Conversations like these. Which I seem to be having every single day.

I know they all mean well. Everyone asking for “news.” Asking when caroline is going to get a sibling. Begging for the inside information. Well here’s a newsflash: I do not control my ovaries. nor my uterus. I didn’t three years ago & I am reminded over & over that I still have no control. I had a mirena for six months. And then I didn’t. And my hopes for it being easy the second time around swiftly went out the window. So if there is news…you will most certainly not have to ask me. Because I will be glowing.

On to baby making round two. In a doctor’s office. Awesome.

I questioned whether to be open or closed about my [in]fertility. I was very closed the first time around. Extremely private. I was not at a place where I could talk about it because the fear that I would never become a mother was the greatest sorrow I could think of & talking about it openly seemed like it would be more of a detriment to my mental health than a benefit. But once I did open up, I found support. Support at a time that felt like the loneliest time in my life. Everyone around me was pregnant. Seemingly the second they decided they wanted to be. & I was just sad. and angry. and frustrated. & it all put me in a very bad place. But I am not there anymore. Because I get to be a mom. I don’t know how many babes will call me that, but one is enough to be plenty grateful for.

Everyone around me is pregnant again. But this time, I can be happy. I do not wish the struggle of infertility on anyone. It sucks. It hurts. But now, I can be a supporter. Maybe I will need support again, we’ll see how it all goes. But for now, I open up about this in an effort to encourage those who struggle. To tell you that you are not alone. & it does suck. & no one ever says the right thing because no one ever can.

So, Project 52. When reading about themes on the website, I liked the idea of finishing this off as a coffee table book filled with 52 images that somehow went together. I knew I needed to find a cohesive way to weave my story. & I needed it to be something deeper than just another picture of my daughter. Because I take those all the time. I need to push myself to find beauty in the un-beautiful. & there is a lot of un-beautiful in my life right now.

So I have a theme. I have a purpose. This is going to be a documentary. Just in case I never get to experience this phase of life as a mother again. Hopefully, I am being pessimistic, but it’s easier for me to expect the worst & be pleasantly surprised than to carry on hoping for something I cannot control. In any case, I am going to be forced to find things about motherhood that I want to remember, that otherwise would go undocumented. & I think that is pretty neat. These will make up a book someday. & it will sit on my coffee table. & it will remind me of the joy that is this crazy ride full of all kinds of feelings & emotions. I am very excited to share with you…installment #1:

Metadata: f/2.8, 1/125, ISO 6400


Are you doing a Project 52? Will you link below? Can’t wait to see what you all look at through your lens!

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  • Jodi R. - Beautifully written.ReplyCancel

  • Charlie - Another great photo and post! I love the idea of this project, but my pics aren’t good enough yet–maybe next year. ;) My heart hurts for you because what you went through was/is my biggest fear. I love you attitude about it; you are a (great) mom, and, for some of us, that is the ultimate accomplishment. It will happen for you again! I will be praying for you and your family.ReplyCancel

  • Charlie - Another great photo and post!I love the idea of this project, but my pics aren’t good enough yet–maybe next year. My heart hurts for you; what you went through was/is my biggest fear. I love your attitude toward it; you are a (great) mom, and, for some of us, that is the ultimate accomplishment. It will happen for you again; I will be praying for you and your family!ReplyCancel

  • Charlie - sorry it posted twice! ;)ReplyCancel

  • Chelsea McCown - amazing and perfect. Thank you :)ReplyCancel

  • anne - Sending lots of good thoughts your way for a successfully quick journey the next time around.ReplyCancel

  • Kristyn - Heartfelt, real and beautifully written. I’ve enjoyed reading your journey from when you first started sharing. Thank you for reminding others to be supportive and respectful and to be mindful of what you say. My best friend started clomid this month and it’s your story that has allowed me to be the most supportive friend I can be. I don’t understand what its like. The words I say won’t make it better, but I can be there to listen and that’s what I do. Thank you for being the voice that so many women aren’t ready to use.ReplyCancel

  • Megan - Beautiful! I continue to be in awe of your ability to write (among the many other things you do!). I don’t know if I can committ to do 52 and I am definitely not a photographer, but I really love the idea – capturing your life! We went through this once before together – I hope that you find in opening up there is much support for you and your family – you are definiately in my thoughts!ReplyCancel

  • Jen G - What an amazing post and very inspiring. Thank you for letting us be a part of this journey of yours. Thanks to your blog I have decided to do my own project 52. You can check it out here if you’d like.

  • Erinn - Your openness is a testament to us all. Thank you for being real and honest.

    I took a similiar picture today of the playroom floor! I am attempting to take at least one picture a day. I don’t plan on posting them anywhere on a daily basis, but I had a similiar idea of making a book at the end of the year. Like you, I want to capture the things I usually wouldn’t take pictures of.ReplyCancel

  • Tammy - Very real…love it and you couldn’t have said it better! I completely understand where you’re at :) I’m starting that whole process next week and you are so right about the support. I’m happy and hopeful for you! Thanks for sharing!ReplyCancel

  • Jaimie - I know how nervous you were to share this, but I’m glad you did. Mostly I am so glad that you get to be a mom because you seem to be a darn good one! Your project 52 looks lovely so far!ReplyCancel

  • Jen G - What a beautiful post. I am amazed at your journey and
    can’t wait to see where it leads you. Here is my first post for my
    own project 52. Thanks for the inspiration!ReplyCancel

  • debbie - i am humbled by your words… what a wonderfully written
    post, so candid and sincere. i look forward to seeing your project
    52 evolveReplyCancel

  • Nicole - Love your post…. so honest. Looking forward to the project. Thanks for the inspiration :)

  • The Up North Writer Mama - Beautiful post… thank you for sharing this part of you with us. And I love your idea for this project. :)ReplyCancel

  • Casey - Shawna, you are such an incredible, amazing, inspiring mama!! It’s mother’s, wives and women like you that help keep us all sane and know that we are not on this crazy incredible journey ALONE!! MANY BLESSINGS upon your family!!


  • Rachael - Wonderful post Shawna. I think that however you chose to share your story it will definitely impact others struggling with infertility. I know your support for me during my time was so greatly appreciated and ecouraging. We already have people (family mostly) asking us about baby #2?!? First of all, Quinn will be three months old next week and after the experience we just had of him spending the first six weeks of his life in the NICU I can’t even fathom going through something like that again. Words can’t even describe how blessed I feel to be able to call myself a mother now and I am perfectly content with our miracle. Would I like more children? Sure, maybe, one day, we’ll see. We already said that if we ever get pregnant again we are not going to “try” for anymore children and it will be a happy surprise. I pray that you are able to have siblings for Caroline but I am right there with you at taking the practical approach. I don’t think that’s pessimistic at all.ReplyCancel

  • Shannon Paras - Great shot Shawna, love the framing. I’m on the bandwagon too, focusing on my hubby:

  • Lilli - Shawna, thanks for sharing. The picture captures this stage beautifully. It is in this state of messiness that they seem to learn and grow best.

    When you and I had lunch the time I had the pleasure of meeting you in person I don’t remember if I shared with you that we were struggling. What made it so frustrating for me was that our first time it took six months and this here we were 2 yrs later and no second child and there was no medical reason why we couldn’t conceive. I heard all the same questions until I couldn’t take it and started responding with, “well, we’ve been trying but it seems God has other plans”. Maybe that was harsh on my part but my heart was aching. I told myself that if blessing #2 didn’t come before I turned 36 (March of this year) we wouldn’t try anymore and baby making at the docs office wasn’t even an option for us.

    Well… this is the first place I’m sharing this publicly… I’m 9 almost 10 weeks pregnant. I’m scared to think this might be for real. I keep thinking maybe the worse will happen. Have had a few complications and this pregnancy is very different than my first but regardless a tiny piece of my heart can’t stop thanking God. I had almost given up… and only the stories of other friends that were or are still struggling kept my hope alive, kept me sane… reminded me that I wasn’t alone.

    I hope your journey this second time (and mine) comes with as big a reward as the first but if it doesn’t you hit the nail on the head by reminding us that one blessing is reason enough to rejoice the rest of our lives.ReplyCancel

  • Katie Clay - So beautiful, Shawna. I’m joining too – thank you for inspiring me! Trying to capture my first year of motherhood.

  • Shibahn - I love this… a lot :)ReplyCancel

  • Tracy - thank you for such an honest post. i hope your journey continues and i pray that all works out!ReplyCancel

  • Rebecca - I admire your posting and your honesty. Infertility is something so many people struggle with, yet something that isn’t talked about enough. We see shows like “16 and Pregnant” on TV, but nothing about infertility – at least not on mainstream TV. Those of us who’ve been there get it and I, along with you, believe we can use our experiences to help those out there who are hurting from it as well.

    Enjoy your moments with Caroline. As I was nursing Luke yesterday, I began having somewhat of the same thoughts as you. What if this is it? What if I never get to nurse another babe in my arms? Whatever the case, we, along with the other women who commented on this post, have beautiful children with whom we need to relish every moment. Because, even though I swore I’d never sound like my mom:), they grow up SO quickly!ReplyCancel

  • annie - i love how open and honest you are about this shawna. my heart aches for you and i hope and pray for you that it goes smoothly for you this time! you are such a great mommy and i know you will be blessed with another sweet babe!ReplyCancel

  • Dawn Chandler - Just found your blog this week and I have been soaking it up as quickly as I can. What an amazing story. We have genetic issues and I still struggle with my fertility though it has been almost ten years since we made the decision not to have anymore. I am truly inspired by Project 52 and hope to join in. Working on my theme at the moment.ReplyCancel

  • Erin - I’m happy to be in the infertility club with you:) Not
    happy about the infertility of course but to know that going
    through infertility makes us realize how lucky we are to have a
    beautiful child and how lucky that beautiful child will know how
    badly they were wanted and how all the hard days with that
    beautiful child are not nearly as hard as the hardest days without
    one. Ok I just made myself cry. LOL!ReplyCancel

  • Janalin - Your honesty is amazing. Hugs, love, and prayers to you. xoxo.ReplyCancel

  • Amy - Thank you for sharing this with us Shawna. I have many friends struggling w/ infertility and it is heartbreaking for me to witness. It also leaves me fearing that someday when we want a family that it won’t come easy for us either, we’ve already had one miscarriage which always leaves your fearing another. So, thank you for your honesty and giving many women the opportunity to have someone to relate to. I will pray for you and your family and that God blesses you with another baby, or He helps change your heart to accept the thought of only having one.ReplyCancel

  • Andrea - I read this post (via your post on June 17th) while waiting at the infertility doc’s office. I can totally relate to everything you said. Especially with your “the first time around” post. I have a wonderful four and a half year old boy, Max. He is my love! And after two and a half years of trying for number 2, people have stopped asking about when Max will get a sibling. It makes me a bit sad. I’ve done 7 rounds of clomid (didn’t work), one round of IUI (didn’t work) and we are now beginning our journey with IVF. I never thought I’d be in this place. I read all the stories about secondary infertility and thought – Wow. That’d be awful. And now here I am. And it’s awful. Friends all around have gotten pregnant and “accidentally” gotten pregnant. And it was hard to hear.
    So, without rambling further, let me just say Thank YOU! for talking about this and sharing your journey. It means so much to those of us going through it.
    Thank you!
    Blessings – AndreaReplyCancel

  • Kayla Nicole - I just wanted to say that I love your blog and everything that goes with it. I have been thinking about doing the Project 52 for some weeks now but every time I saw one it’s about the first years of a child life, I have one child who is almost six but he is my everything ( we tried for another one and it just hasn’t happened) So I suddenly realized how old my son was and decided I will be doing it on my 5 months shy of six year old, So I have this too look back on. Thank you for the inspiration !ReplyCancel

  • Kristi - Hi, I love the photography and the honesty of the misery that surrounds infertility. I too was battling it alone for a while…quite amazed at how many people could understand it completely once I started to talk…It’s a secret society. Just wanted to share that the Colorado Center for Reproductive Medicine helped me and others that have struggled. Being from MN and doctoring in Colorado wasn’t convenient but was every bit worth it when I got to hold my first baby after 8 years of trying. You know the love a child brings…remain hopeful!ReplyCancel

  • Heather Meyers - Not sure how I ended up here, but so glad I did ;o) I, too, have started a weekly project called the {BLESSING BOOK} that I will compile into a book at the end of the year. It started off as one photo a week then to a photo a week with bonuses, and then into too many special BLESSING moments to pick just one BLESSING. I’ve fallen off the wagon a few times in the blogging of it, but I did a big catch up, so I’m back on track ;o) Thanks for inspiring me to keep on a’goin! ;o)ReplyCancel

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