Meghan Stewart Photography » Jacksonville Florida Award Winning Wedding and Portrait Photographer

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I feel like this has been far too long in coming & there’s no good way to begin except to just come right out and say it. We had a miscarriage. I think anyone who has had one never expects it to happen to them and then it does and you kind of somehow feel lost, at least that’s how I felt, I think. I’m still processing and probably will be for some time but I kind of needed to share. I wanted to because I feel like I’ve been a little MIA, off my game, and I’ve learned that there are so many women who have gone through what I have or worse.

So, a little back story I suppose. Growing up, all I ever wanted was to be married & have a family. I’ve loved children my whole life. I love playing with them, loving them, & helping shape who they will become. I dreamed of taking my children to church, soccer or ballet, Christmas mornings, & more but those dreams were delayed according to my timeline but God knew.

I finally found the my love again in 2015, married him in April of 2016, became a step mom to the most adorable & sweetest little girl I could have prayed for, & began our journey to begin a family. We just decided to see what God did in expanding our family so we just lived our lives, figured out marriage (thus far), step-parenthood for me, and just kept dreaming and praying. I admit I cried a few times to Gabe & to God wondering & asking when or if we’d have children of our own. But we kept trusting God’s plan & timing.

Then the end of September things got a little weird & we was surprised & overjoyed to find out that I was pregnant!!!!!! He had answered! I wasn’t too old! My hormones weren’t to wonky! We were gonna give Violet a sibling & maybe Gabe a son & me my first born!!! We didn’t wait long to tell family & close friends. We wanted those who were “cheering” us on to celebrate with us & they did! I started a registry for baby things on Amazon, walking the baby aisles at Target, & praying over this child of ours. I dreamed of decorating the nursery, holding my child in the middle of the night just he (a lot of us thought it was gonna be a boy) & I, started playing with names, and then things just weren’t what I would consider normal. We had a couple of ER visits and had blood work with rising HCG levels & an ultrasound that showed the tech the heartbeat, 139 beats a minute, but I was alone & wanted to hear it with Gabe so I never heard the heartbeat.

From the first ER trip Gabe was amazing! He held my hand & reminded me that no matter the outcome it was gonna be okay & that God was still good. I needed to hear these words over & over again. He knew what I needed. I’ll spare you the details but we went into the initial appointment to hear the heartbeat & get some answers as to why things had been going the way they were & then the ultrasound tech didn’t say anything about a heartbeat and told me I was measuring behind what we had thought where we should be. The mood was somber but I thought maybe different techs, different machines maybe she was wrong. She took us to another room to meet with the doctor. As soon as she walked in I knew something was wrong. She was great. She told me nothing was my fault & this didn’t dictate how any future pregnancy would go. She gave me my options & we walked to the car numb, sat there, cried, & held each other. Our baby was gone.

I had had some pregnancy symptoms but nothing too crazy so the whole pregnancy didn’t seem too real to me. So, when the loss happened it took some time to sink in that we had actually had our own little miracle growing inside me – a person with a purpose and a plan for his life…his very short life. I was thankful it happened early before we even heard the heartbeat or felt him. I think it would have been harder to walk through the loss then. I have heard stories far more painful than ours & I can’t imagine walking through them. There are some very strong couples out there.

7 weeks from finding out that we were not going to meet our baby & I’m still processing it all. I’m not ashamed, I don’t feel like it was my fault (most of the time – I don’t let my mind sit there very long), I’ve been angry & felt like it wasn’t fair, & I’ve wondered why. I still don’t understand & my heart still hurts & I think my hormones are still getting the better of me but I do know this. . . NO MATTER WHAT GOD IS GOOD! He has a plan, a good plan for us! He does not give us more than we can handle & I am stronger, more compassionate, & thankful that I do have a child of my own and we will meet him one day.

It is funny how the holidays can kind of get you in different ways. We wouldn’t have had a baby to watch open presents or snuggle on Christmas morning but I probably would have been showing more & the thoughts of next Christmas with a little one would have been so joyful but this Christmas season I’m feeling the loss & it hurts. I’m trying to keep my mind occupied with other things but I know I need to process & walk through the loss & pain to heal. I know one day we’ll wake up on a Christmas morning with more little scampering feet, a tired preteen, & a house full of warmth & joy. For now I’m thankful for my amazing husband & the precious gift of my step daughter & friends & family who listen, who cry, encourage, who love well.

If you know me, you know I find peace and God in music. This week I bought Jeremy Riddle’s new album on a whim & this song has been my source of hope & strength the last few days. I haven’t been perfect with the hope & strength but I’m finding it again.

Also, my friend Sam took some pictures of me not very long after we lost the baby. I needed headshots but I also believe that pictures are wonderful for documenting seasons and I needed my life at that moment to permanently captured. Thank you, Sam, for being so sensitive & kind.

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It’s been 11+ years since I first met my photography mentor, Naomi, who changed my life & began me on my journey into becoming a professional photographer. I never planned on being a photographer but somehow God had this great idea for my life & I followed & low & behold here I am. I love my job! I love meeting new people, hearing their stories, & creating art out of their lives so they can see just how beautiful they are inside & out. I am truly honored any time a person, couple, or family asks me to document their life.

But…life happens, things change, & you question whether it’s time to do something different. With getting married, becoming a step mom, & moving to a new city, photography got put aside as I figured out this new life of mine that isn’t all about me anymore. Honestly, I lost the passion & drive to build my business again. My body hurt (that gear is heavy), I was tired & overwhelmed with the thought of starting again. I knew I needed to bring in money for my family but how could I make it work while being the present wife & mom I dreamed of being? I tried doing other things to bring in the dough to help pay the bills – Beachbody Coaching (which I’m still doing because, well it works & I need it to stay healthy & strong), I sold furniture I redid (still a fun hobby), I’ve done some painting for a couple of friends but it felt like I was spinning my wheels trying to make something work. Every time I thought about how it was just so hard to make photography work for me & our family I’d run into someone who’d tell me what a gift I had. How annoying is it to hear that when you just want to lay it all down! How frustrating to not have a clear direction & have your hands in so many things but going nowhere! SUPER frustrating & annoying!

So, a few weeks ago I was home visiting my parents & doing my yearly Christmas mini sessions in Selma, AL when I had an eye opening conversation with my parents. It began with my dad asking what brought in the most money for me & of course it was photography (when I’m shooting). It then flowed into my heart for ministry & showing people that they are important, beautiful, & so worthy of being loved. My dad said something to the effect of my photography is actually a ministry even though I may not see that it is. Then I began to think of the relationships I’ve built over the years with people, how they’re watching my life when I don’t realize (thank you social media & my need to communicate), I felt that feeling I get when a client tears down the walls of insecurity & lets me into their life & allows me to capture them (and the yummy light doesn’t hurt either) and I knew I was meant to be a photographer. It was time to put all the stuff I was trying to make work down & pick up my camera & do what I was created to do.

Of course there’s still the questions of how I’ll make it work & if I’m really meant to do this or do I actually make a difference. Enter my God moment. So, I went to Jacksonville for my yearly Christmas mini sessions & I was blessed to have my husband join me toward the end of my trip. For some reason I decided to book us the cutest airbnb in a part of the city we had never stayed in & that was kind of far away from the beach we love. Our first day there we wondered around Little Five Points & before my next round of sessions that day we wondered into a cute restaurant for a snack. It was a nice day so after some debating we decided to sit outside & they sat us right on the edge of the patio by the sidewalk. We were just about to leave when I see this woman walking up behind my husband. She’s carrying a basket of snacks & has a backpack on & I’m thinking she’s about to try to sell me a bag of cheetos to raise money for something. Oh the dread… She approaches us, looks directly at me, and says, “I know this seems creeperish but I know you. You’re a photographer, you guys just got married, you have a daughter, & you recently moved to GA.” Um, hello! This woman does know me & I have know idea who she is. She goes on to tell me she began following my journey when my friend, Naomi, had cancer. By this time I’m crying & Gabe ushers us off the patio onto the sidewalk to continue this God ordained conversation. She said she’s watched my journey over the years & the things I’ve shared & posted have helped her walk through 3 years of brain cancer with her brother. She said she loves how I’m authentic & real in a world where everyone tries to make their lives look picture perfect. She said, “Don’t stop doing what you’re doing. You make a difference.” Gabe & I & even a woman on the patio looked on in amazement with tears streaming down our faces wondering what was going on. I told my new friend, Jennifer Lewis, that she was a God send & complete confirmation to all I had been thinking about the last couple of weeks. That one encounter made my entire week (besides the one-on-one time with my hubby).

People, God hears & He sees. You are not floundering around, lost in a world without someone beside you. You may feel alone but you aren’t. He’s right there waiting for just the right time to show you that He loves you in a way that only you’ll truly understand. I so long to be a vessel that is willing to speak up, reach out, & be His hands & feet. I want to do for others what Jennifer did for me that day. I never expected to be on the receiving end of that kind of God encounter. I’m blessed beyond measure & I’m so so so excited to pick up my camera, see where God takes this, make a difference, & continue to love on the people God created so beautifully…all of them!

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What fun it was to go to Clemson to document this sweet couple’s love story where it all began! I was excited to meet them but also see the campus! It’s beautiful! Kristyn & Alex showed me some of their favorite places & shared some of the history of the campus…like Kristyn’s parents met there too! How sweet is that!

It’s fun to watch each couple interact & kind of figure out how their relationship works. These two were no different. I loved catching the vibe they have, they are each other’s greatest cheerleaders & supporters. They believe in each other, allow each one to be their own self, but are stronger together! I love the way they laugh together, they trust one another,  & respect each other! I think this is going to be a beautiful marriage! I’m so excited for their spring wedding in Kristyn’s home town which just so happens to be MY BEACH (aka Jacksonville).

Thanks  you guys for welcoming me into your lives, allowing me a glimpse into your history, & make the evening so great! You guys rock!
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Yet again I got to meet a pretty sweet family here in Peachtree City, GA. The Tofanellis were great to hang out with! There little A was so super adorable & is gonna be a great big sister. She’s pretty excited about her sister coming soon!

I love maternity sessions that aren’t all about the bump. This baby is coming into a family that is made of more than just mom & dad but a family full of love & laughter & dreams for this little one. I love capturing the moments when it’s just the three of them but knowing that more joy is on it’s way.

Thanks, you guys, for allowing me to capture your family before the little one arrives. Enjoy your last few days as a family of 3!
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Meghan-Stewart-Photography-Peachtree-City-Photographer-My-Life_0001.jpgFor years I dreamed of not just photographing other people’s families but my own. I now have in laws, nieces & nephews, a step daughter, & husband to document as well as make them be “test subjects”. I can’t say I’m the best at remembering to pull out the camera when we’re just doing life but Labor Day was such a gorgeous day & the kids were out having fun, the men were grilling out (yes, those are jalapenos – we are Mexican Irish – bahahahahaha), & I was kind of relaxing. It was a great day to document. So, here’s my family. I sure do love them all!
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The boys are SUCH boys! Did you know that cicadas live under the ground for 17 years, come out, & die? My daughter told me this. Crazy!
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I sure do love this girl! I love us some girl time making some homemade bath bombs! I think next time we’ll cook something.
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So, we have a great rental, the best landlord, & so much space. The kids love treasure hunting in the woods & swinging from the vines. I love seeing them outside having fun!
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And I had to do one sit and look at the camera picture. I had to get give the evil eye ones but we got it! Love you, López!

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