December 23, 2017
A couple of snow flakes began to descend from the grey sky that Saturday morning as I pulled up to the Smith’s home in Wilmington. They moved into this gorgeous house in 2015, a year after their first son Nathaniel was born. Now, Amanda and Mike are expecting their second son in February. So, despite the weather, it was the perfect timing to capture images of their growing family and celebrate this new season of their lives.
Amanda and I met in 2016 during a weekly playgroup called “Learning Lab” at Wilmington Friends School. My daughter Fola quickly gravitated to her son Nathaniel and we enjoyed the occasional play date and relished in the opportunity to interact with another mom. We opened up to each other about many things from entrepreneurship and IVF to the election of 2016. Amanda is a fellow creative entrepreneur and owner of Inspired on 16th where you can find her custom “hand stamped jewelry from the heart”.
It’s an honor to share Amanda’s story here and I’m thankful that she is willing to share some of her thoughts and part of her journey through words and images.
What story do you want these images to tell?
Life is a journey and a process and kids definitely remind you of that. During my infertility journey, I started making my own metal stamped jewelry. I have always been an artistic, creative person and I did take some jewelry classes in high school and from then on wanted to be a jewelry designer. I decided not to pursue it full time, but always knew that I wanted to do it in some capacity. My friend and I happened upon the metal stamping at the same time and taught ourselves using YouTube videos. I made a lot of inspirational pieces that really helped me to go through the difficult times. I also created a lot of gifts for people and it was something that brought me a lot of peace and happiness and creativity that I was craving in my life. I toyed with the idea of starting my own Etsy shop, but always let the negatives outweigh the positives.
After the outcome of the 2016 Presidential Election, I felt that I had to do something to show my support for Hilary Clinton and women in general. I created a lot of politically focused pieces and decided to just go for it and start my shop. I also continue to create all kinds of other pieces, so there is definitely something for everyone. I can do custom orders as well so it has been very fun to see what comes out of that. I still have so much that I want to do, but the great thing about Etsy is that it is always there for me to continue to work on at my own pace. I slowed down a bit during the pregnancy and I imagine it will be challenging once the baby is born as well, but I am so thankful to have something that is just for me. It’s only the beginning and I plan to nurture and grow my business along with my children.
Fun fact: Mike plays the cello for the Newark Symphony Orchestra.
What have been your favorite memories during this pregnancy?
I think my favorite memories have definitely been talking to Nathaniel about the baby (certainly the first time we told him he would have a new baby brother coming) and hearing what he has to say about it. It has been really fun for us to talk about the kinds of things we will all do together when the baby is born, like go to the park or to a Phillies game.
What do you anticipate will change once the baby arrives?
The biggest most obvious change will be sleep. We did sleep training for Nathaniel around 4 months old and he did pretty well from the start. So for the most part, we have been very fortunate to get great sleep for a long time. it will be quite a shock to go back to that beginning period again. I have gotten very used to staying up late and getting everything done that I can’t do during the day including cleaning and organizing, working on my jewelry, just spending time with each other, etc. And I remember in the beginning you just need to sleep whenever you can so I am not looking forward to the feeling of missing out on things or not getting my own “me time”
Is the baby a boy, a girl, or a surprise?
The baby is a boy! We wanted to be surprised the first time but since this pregnancy was such a surprise, I just had to find out the gender so that I could get used to it:) For me, it never had anything to do with the stuff you buy for the baby. I do think there is something magical about being surprised at such a miracle. Because we had been planning to do IVF again, we were planning on getting our embryos genetically tested and therefore would have been able to find out the genders of the embryos. I have always wanted a daughter and always pictured having a little girl, so we intended on trying to put in a female embryo when we did our IVF cycle. So, since I really thought we could do that and would probably just have two kids, I was truly thrown for a loop to be having another boy. I absolutely needed this time during the pregnancy to get used to the idea of having another boy and eventually embrace it. That has certainly been challenging for me, but of course I know that I will love this little boy with all of my heart.
How has this baby affected your everyday?
Well for me, my everyday is greatly affected because I have to test my blood sugar four times a day and I have to put in so much planning and thought into my meals. I am always going to the grocery to stock up on fresh vegetables and the whole grain carbs that I am allowed and need to eat. I time my meals so that I can also fit in the snacks that I am supposed to have. At night, I need to give myself an insulin shot as well as take pills and then 30 minutes later eat a bedtime snack of mostly protein. I record all of my numbers and everything I eat into my phone and I am always setting my timer for one hour after my meals so I know exactly when to test my blood sugar. It is very time consuming and annoying for sure. But when I look at my cute baby bump in the mirror, I am reminded of the baby who is coming and I remember that how much I am looking forward to that. I do enjoy wearing cute maternity clothes and showing off my little miracle. It is also quite amazing to feel him moving around inside of me (and he is quite a mover right now!). But I do actually think I will be less stressed out once the baby is born, even though I will be sleep deprived and we will be taking care of two children instead of one!
What will Nathaniel teach his baby brother to do?
Nathaniel wants to teach the baby to run and play basketball and how to watch something on tv while he is holding him on the couch:)
How has the pregnancy affected Mike?
He’s been really great with Nathaniel during this pregnancy when I really needed that. Because it has been challenging for me to deal with Nathaniel when he has been acting up, Mike has really been the calming force and energy. Nathaniel has gotten very into sports and just loves when daddy comes home to play with him. They have done a lot of things together on the weekend so Mommy can have some alone time. And Mike has really started to be the one responsible for putting Nathaniel to bed whenever he is home. That has been wonderful and so helpful because we are both realizing that is what will have to happen once the baby is here.
If you’ve chosen a name, how did you come up with the baby’s name?
I think we have finally agreed on a name and that is saying a lot for us! Basically I pored over websites trying to find anything that I liked. When we had Nathaniel, that was really the only boys name that we liked. I can think of so many girls names but so few boys names so it has been challenging for me. Plus Mike tends to go for a more traditional sounding name, which is fine, but I really crave something more interesting. I have felt very strongly that I cannot feel lukewarm about the name so I am so glad that we both came to an agreement on this one. Nothing is set in stone yet, but I admit that I keep calling the baby this name in my own head now:)
Thanks Amanda for sharing!
Learn more about Amanda’s custom made jewelry shop Inspired on 16th: