Facebook kindly reminded me that a year ago today I was filming a gorgeous bride and groom in the grounds of Oulton Hall near Leeds (In case you didn’t know I’m what they call as ‘Wedding Videographer’ and my company is called ‘Love Gets Sweeter Wedding Films‘). It was technically my first wedding back after giving birth to Paisley less than 3 months before. I say technically because I’d actually been editing a wedding that happened less than 2 weeks after she was born, along with other work that has carried over from before my brief maternity leave (2-3 weeks…that counts, right?).
This is Oulton Hall in the image I posted on the day!
I remember that day so clearly. I remember packing up my kit the day before and by belly filling with butterflies. I still get that before every wedding and always have but, this time my head was filled with all sort of extra worries and ‘what if’s’ as it was my first long day away from Miss Paisley. How would I cope? How would she cope? How would Dad cope? I climbed out of my assistants van, scooped up my camera and little bag of essentials (including snacks, water and all important Ardo breastpump) and was welcomed in to the bride’s parents home like I was one of the family. From that point it was like I’d never been away and had fun filming the family get ready for what would be an AMAZING day (you can see their wedding blog and Highlights film here).
During the day I’d made plans to pump and also brought in an additional assistant to be there for the core part of the day in case I needed more breaks that I’d made time for or simply needed a rest. He took over when I needed to express, the first break being when they left the church and enjoyed some photos in the grounds. I disappeared in to the back of my assistants van and sat on a bench, adrenaline pumping and attempted to ease some of the pressure of over 4 hours of not feeding! I sat there for what felt like forever and nothing was happening and I got even more worked up as I knew I had a small window to express. I checked my phone to see I’d been WhatsApp’ed some lovely photos of Paisley having fun with Daddy and even a video and suddenly my body kicked in and that bottle filled! That was the trick for the rest of the day and it worked wonders. Our bodies are amazing, aren’t they?
My first ‘negative’ experience did happen at the venue when I asked where I would be able to express whilst the guests enjoyed their day and I was directed to the only disabled toilet on the ground floor…I’d hope that if I had the baby with me the gentleman may have considered directing me elsewhere. I ended up going to the co-ordinator and she found me a little conference room and that was my private room for the rest of the day which was lovely. After that I tended to email venues ahead of the day to ‘warn’ them of my situation and they were always really supportive and it helped any pre-wedding nerves I had about where and when I’d need to express. Worth considering if you move around with work a lot too!
Wedding days can be very intense and I may leave the house at 8am and not sit down to eat until gone 5pm once guests have been seated. It was hard before the baby but add expressing and more calorie burning to the mix and a bag of snacks is essential to keep the blood sugar stable! That and lots of water…and comfy shoes!
I’ve already had my first wedding back this year and I’m due to start the joys of an intense wedding season in a couple of weeks. Even a year on I still worry about those long days and how Paisley will get on and, although it’s easier it doesn’t stop that anxious Mummy voice kicking in and that wonderful Mummy guilt. Thankfully filming a wedding is something I love and that, coupled with the adrenaline, gets me through it even on those days I’m gone so long she’s asleep when I leave and when I return.
I know it’s hard being a Mum and going back to work. I’m not saying I’m having a tougher time or I’m a better Mum for going through all this self-employed craziness but I do hope sharing my stories and advice from what I’ve learnt so far will help someone out there who’s worrying about how they will manage. Even at the stage of discussing getting pregnant we were worried about ‘scheduling’ it in and how it’d work being pregnant and filming, then feeding a baby and working from home and long days away if I was still breastfeeding…there’s a lot more to consider when you work for yourself and although it can be overwhelming it’s totally possible and with careful planning it can be done (with a little stress but I think that’s part of being a new Mum anyway!). I have an older post you can read too about working with a baby, take a look.