At Home Beautifully, we just celebrated our one year birthday! One year ago, I launched Home Beautifully with a whole lot of passion, some big dreams, and a lot to learn. To say it’s been a heck of a year is an understatement. In the last twelve months, my “little” blog has hit some major milestones. I partnered with some amazing brands, grew my Instagram tribe to over 30,000 followers, built an amazing resource library shared by over 2500 subscribers, hit 10,000 page views per month, and, yep, even made some decent money doing it! And the idea that I could do this and make a full-time salary? It’s not a question of it, but when. I realize though, that in all of this growth, I’ve never actually shared why I started blogging and why this endeavor means so much to me. Today, I’m gonna get a little more personal and, to celebrate Home Beautifully’s one year birthday, share a gorgeous free printable as an exclusive gift to you. Want to learn more? Keep on reading.
The birth of this blog actually begins with another birth story altogether, one that forever changed my life. Let me back up a little bit.
Why I Started Blogging: A Birth Story
Almost two years ago, my son rushed into this world, like the frenzied little dervish that he is. My husband and I thought we were prepared. We’d taken all the classes the hospital offered, I read dozens of books, and night after night, positive, strengthening affirmations crooned into my headphones and lulled me to sleep. The average labor was 24 hours? I was ready.
On Your Marks, Get Set … Go!
When labor started, when I felt contractions for the first time, I remember thinking this isn’t at all like they said it would be. My contractions began about two minutes apart — so close, in fact, that I thought they were probably fake. Even when we raced to the hospital a few hours later, I asked my husband if he thought I was actually in labor.
Pretty sure ya are, babe, he said. But I was still convinced the doctors were going to send me home.
When we arrived at the hospital, the staff asked me to fill out the insurance paperwork, which was hard to do with my hands shaking from pain. But I kept yoga breathing my way through. I didn’t want to show how much it hurt in case they were going to send me home.
When the doctor saw me 20 minutes later, she confirmed I was fully dilated. Twenty more minutes and three pushes later, we met our son, and I felt joy, more joy, than I could ever possibly describe.
An Unexpected Twist
After an hour, the doctor left and the nurse stepped away. I’ll be back in ten minutes, the nurse said. She stepped out of the room, and as I looked down at my baby, another painful contraction gripped through me and whoosh. The doctors mentioned that I might feel some after pain, but I hadn’t expected that. Then a second scary contraction seized me and another whoosh.
I glanced at the clock wondering if I could make it eight more minutes til the nurse returned. I hadn’t realized that the whoosh was blood loss.
As I glanced worriedly at my husband, my vision grew blurry and blackened. Take the baby, I gasped, scared. Call the nurse.
In hindsight, it’s surprising that a postpartum hemorrhage had never come up in my reading or our classes. That an overly rapid labor would hinder my body from contracting normally? Not on my radar. That I’d lose far, far too much blood? Didn’t cross my mind. From that moment onward, our birth story became much scarier for my husband. Having the head nurse call a code, seeing dozens of doctors rush into the room, watching me fade in and out of consciousness, he remembers all that a good deal more than I do.
He and I went through battle together.
My husband took one of my most cherished photos about twenty hours after our son arrived into the world. As the blood transfusion worked its way through me, I’m trying to nurse my son, wondering if I was doing it right, knowing that I would do anything and give anything to keep him safe and care for him.
Becoming a mother changed everything.
Starting to Blog: A Blog Is Born
So what does having a baby have to do with starting a blog? Everything.
Creating a New Normal
After we made our way back home, after the weeks of sleepless nights and after the hurricane of postpartum tears, I flexed my wobbly legs as a mama and tried to find my place in our new normal. Everything felt different: my relationship with my husband, my sense of self, and even the kind of house I wanted to create for my family.
More than ever, I realized that I wanted my house to feel like a home. I craved a home that not only looked cozy but felt beautiful. I desired a space where my family could live our best lives together.
But here’s the thing: being a mama isn’t easy. Strike that, being an adult isn’t easy. Being a mama just complicates something that’s already challenging. There’s bills and groceries and laundry and work and dinner parties and holiday gifts. The list goes on and on and on. So at what point do we actually get to relax? And how do we do it in the living room that looks like a Pottery Barn catalog? How exactly do we afford that anyway?
Finding the Home Beautifully Family
All my life, I’ve loved creating beauty from the everyday, whether by upcycling thrift store treasures, building furniture from inexpensive materials, styling a space with repurposed decor, or finding calm through organization. Taking small steps and incorporating simple solutions can add infinite value and purpose to our lives and homes.
Over this past year, I’ve realized how many people long for a cozy, warm place to rest their heads after a long day. I’ve learned how many women want to create a beautiful home for their families but don’t know where to start or when to find the time. More than that, though, I’ve learned how incredible that community of people are, how we each have a unique ability to add beauty and purpose to our lives, even with the smallest of steps.
An Exclusive Free Art Print
In the spirit of gratitude for you, the Home Beautifully family, I’m thrilled to showcase this gorgeous free art print from Aliferous Letters.
Created by Michelle, the Florida based artisan with a passion and talent for calligraphy and abstract design, the print reads:
small but mighty. soft and significant. quiet yet powerful.
never underestimate your ability to evoke change, regardless of your size.
the ripple is the wave, is the ocean.
“Aliferous” means to have wings, and the designs in Michelle’s Etsy shop shine with light and vibrance like a butterfly taking flight. In addition to this free print, which you can download by clicking below or heading to the Home Beautifully Resource Collection.