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Journal Entry: July 15, 2016

Sucking at It – And Getting Back Up on the Horse


There is that quote by Steven Pressfield that has been haunting me a bit lately, that as pros “We show up every day.” The last nine months has been a real mind f**k on my career, and to be honest, since the accident I don’t even know what I’m showing up for every day.

Last November I had found peace in a wheelchair while succumbing to the time I needed to spend healing, unable to do most basic human functions without assistance, including walking. A big part of this was letting go of my work/career. Work had always defined me as a person, had always given me a sense of purpose and self-worth, it had always been my identification, and validation of self. And through nearly four months of healing, I was at peace with just building up strength learning to walk again. At the end of healing I started getting call backs for hosting an international camera company’s new photography education channel, started writing out ideas of projects I wanted to start tackling, classes I wanted to teach, and was getting back up on my horse and ride off into the sunset that I was destined for!

Then I got knocked up.

(I say that smiling, btw).

Literally, I found out I was pregnant the same day I was given permission to walk without assistance and to get back to work. And the reason I found out I was pregnant was because I had been shaking uncontrollably and throwing up nonstop for weeks on end. If you go back to my Google search history from that time, you will see a lot of what my initial thoughts were: “can bad wine cause shakiness,” “allergic reaction to wine,” “Parkinson’s disease,” “shaking hands Parkinson,” “signs that you have Parkinson’s.”

Thinking I was pregnant was definitely the last thing I thought I could be. I mean, I was just out of a wheelchair, had only had sex a few times over the last few months with my former fiancé, had just turned 40, had found myself single just a few days before, and was about to get back to work. No way was pregnancy on my mind.

Seeing the blue plus signs on three home pregnancy tests was the moment I found out that God has a funny sense of humor. Pregnant. Single. No income. HOLY S**T. There hasn’t been a moment in my life I was more scared. It wasn’t that I was scared for myself; all of a sudden I was scared for someone else. How was I going to provide as a single mom? How do I do this alone?

“Get back up on that horse and show up” I kept telling myself.

So I did. I started hustling looking for work like never before. I applied for executive jobs to a barista at Starbucks and quickly discovered a few key things in job hunting: 1) in Miami you need to speak Spanish to get nearly any job (I don’t), 2) you need to not be throwing up before/during/after interviews, and 3) not be leaving for maternity leave in a few months. Although I was qualified in so many ways, these few little hang ups were like gigantic walls I couldn’t get my quickly growing belly over.

I was-am exhausted.

In the first trimester there were countless days where my biggest feat was to make it from my bed to the refrigerator to stuff some form of nourishment in me, not because I wanted it but because my baby needed it to live. My doctor explained to me that even if I didn’t eat, the baby would take its nourishment from my body, “like a parasite” he said smiling, so I better get something in me otherwise I’d wither away and so would the baby eventually. Thank God for crackers and avocados, which I diligently ate for days on end. In the second trimester I got a surge of energy that lasted about two weeks where I got a new portfolio edited and up on my website,, shot an exclusive three-day conference in LA where I flew across country to work 16-hour days, and then knocked out most of the nursery. Now as I near my third trimester, I’m feeling a lot like my first trimester sans the throwing up and having a much healthier appetite. How to women with kids and a full-time job do this pregnant thing? I constantly wonder. Because, frankly, I feel like I’m sucking at it.

And since I haven’t been working much the last nine months, I’m wondering things like: “am I still supposed to be a photographer?” or “can I write?” or “am I a creative?” or “should I just throw in the towel on being a creative and get a boring desk job already?” and my favorite lately “am I going to be the world’s worst mother?” knowing quite well that I’m not the first one to feel like this or have these thoughts.

So that’s pretty much where I’m at in this moment. Tired all the time, discouraged from not finding work and having a solid income for myself and baby, wondering what I should be doing for work/career, what am I doing with my life, with only three months to go and freaking out at every childbirth video I see (I seriously don’t want the birth thing to happen at this point ), and honestly acknowledging that I am showing up to do the work. Because I’m doing the weekly selfie portrait series, writing, blogging, and putting it out there constantly, even on days I reeeeeeaaaallllllly don’t feel like doing any of it. Like today. I don’t want to take the weekly maternity self-portrait as I don’t feel creative about it and feel anything but the “pregnancy glow” thing going on, and I didn’t want to write because I have no idea what I’m doing or where I’m going or what my point is at this moment in life.

But I’m doing it damn it. I’m showing up.

And you know what? As I sit here writing to you, I think that sometimes when we show up and get back up on the horse, we aren’t supposed to ride off into the sunset, we are just supposed to sit in the saddle watching the sunset from a beautiful, grassy, meadow in peaceful solitude and enjoy the view.

LaRae Lobdell maternity portrait selfie week #26, Miami FL, July 15th, 2016

LaRae Lobdell maternity self-portrait week #26, Miami FL, July 15th, 2016.

LaRae Lobdell maternity portrait selfie week #26, Miami FL, July 15th, 2016

LaRae Lobdell maternity portrait selfie week #26, Miami FL, July 15th, 2016

Portrait Photographer, Writer, and Consultant LaRae Lobdell is an environmental portrait photographer, host, and instructor with over 20 years of experience photographing, directing, producing exhibits, and speaking in the photography industry. She focuses on providing artists, actors, models, and companies with lifestyle and conceptual imagery for promotional use and branding. Her approach is very contemporary, her work has a timeless elegance, and she represents the grace, distinction, and style that is possible in photography. Her curriculum vitae includes 21 photography exhibits of her own work, the curation of 15 exhibits for other artists’ and museums, the production of 13 private and community events, and two year’s experience as director of one of Seattle’s largest art walks. Her images have been published in The Huffington Post, Broadway World, Yale University Magazine, Martha Stewart Weddings Magazine, and even aired on the Colbert Report. LaRae’s position as a lead host for online educational giants such as CreativeLive and Polaroid University gave her the unique opportunity as one of an elite group of professionals to connect a live global audience to top renowned professionals in photography, video, design, business, audio, music, software design, productivity, and lifestyle. She brought her network to BLACKRAPID as their Culture Liaison, facilitating close working relationships between influencers and organizations for promotional sales and marketing. Grateful to be a stay-at-home mom while balancing a rewarding career in the photography industry, this proud single mom enjoys a nomadic traveling lifestyle between Seattle and the Florida Keys with her daughter, Emerson.


  • Val

    July 15, 2016

    I can feel your strength all the way here in California. I know you’ll figure it all out. Not everyone has the strength to be publicly vulnerable and you continue to show us what you are made of. Your little one will know what it is like to have a strong role model and how to be resilient when many others would give up. Keep on rocking beautiful (inside and out) lady!

    I can’t offer much outside of moral support from here, but I have that in spades for you.

  • Jess

    July 16, 2016

    You are doing so well, LaRae, but man do I appreciate your candor. I know you are helping other pregnant women out there by being honest, because I can recall what it felt like and your words would have helped me then! I am curious about something, if you ever feel like sharing: after finding out you were pregnant, did you consider moving to be closer to family? Especially when you mention the language barrier challenge regarding employment, I was interested to hear what factored into your decision to remain in a city where you are a relatively recent transplant. Are there things about Miami that have made it feel like home, or like you were meant to be there, etc.?
    Also, would sure love to see some nursery photos – you have such a lovely aesthetic and skill for making a big impact with small changes. I know you have created a special space, no matter what.

  • Carol Davis

    July 17, 2016

    Thank you for sharing LaRae. I needed to hear the whole get back on the horse… And if you don’t ride away, it’s ok. ?


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