The below photos were taken at our Share Your Story pop-up, just before the lockdown issued by the Canadian government to combat Covid-19. Today, I made the following phone call to Inga, to see how she is faring during this time.
When Inga visited my pop-up back in March, I was overjoyed to see her, and felt warmed by her support. Our friendship started when I featured her almost precisely one year ago for last year's Mother's Day project. Both of us were women with small, creative businesses, and we had kept in close contact since. And every time baby Amelie was present, she became the star of our editorials.
Looking back, today's Inga was different from the woman I first met last year.
And I don't mean the drastic change in her hairstyle (though she did chop off her waist-long mane for a most stylish, curly French bob). On top of being a wedding and commercial photographer, Inga was an editor at a mother-centric magazine. She had since moved on to build her own motherhood platform. Her new approach is less about pushing and stuffing the virtual arena with content, but more focused on creating a slower, community-driven space.
Wondering how Inga and Amelie were doing during this pandemic, I dialled her number. Inga answered, and the familiar voice sounded cheerful and energetic.
Inga, is your photography work affected by the lock down?
"Before this all started I had some projects in the works that I was so excited to pursue and share them with my audience," Inga sighed, "but to respect social distancing, I had to change plans last minute."
"However, I wasn't too disappointed about it, I knew this was a good time to reassess and reevaluate. While things are still up in the air I would prefer to keep it low for now, but I might have something coming up for Mother's Day, so stay tuned," Inga added, with a little laugh.
What does life in quarantine look like to you?
"I want to say that not a lot has changed," Inga paused, then continued, "but at the same time everything has changed completely. For Solid Motherhood, I do spend a lot of time working on my own, so that remained unaffected. My husband and I ruled out daycare as an option for Amelie long ago, so we still spend our whole day with my daughter."
"However, what has changed is the isolation factor that affects us daily, the feeling of restricted freedom takes a toll on inspiration, forces us to ask questions about life in general," Inga noted.
"There is a silver lining in all of this. Interestingly, as hard as this time has been, it has also been as useful and eye opening for me. I was finally able to dive deeper into topics like the development of a child's brain, nutrition, women's health, gardening and more."
"I have realized how thirsty I was for knowledge and personal development, how precious this "free" time is and how much more it means when I now to give that "me-time" away," Inga explained with a grateful tone.
What is Solid Motherhood doing to support other moms during these difficult times?
"Reducing excess noise," Inga answered without hesitation, "and I am going to be completely honest here! When I started this platform, I wanted to support mothers with the usual tidbits — providing kids play ideas at home, continuing conversations around motherhood, sharing recipes and so on."
She went on, "but when I was completely caught up with work, I realized that I needed time off to process all of the information. More importantly, I wanted to be there for my own family."
"Sometimes, to give space is truly just as important to fill space. I feel that many would benefit from an informational detox that is critically needed during this time. I choose stillness over motion."
I like the idea that less is more. How do you connect your themes of motherhood with the rest of the community?
"Living in Canada taught me to support small local businesses. I love the culture of appreciating local products and brands here! With Solid Motherhood, I try my best to feature Canadian brands and give them support in any way I can."
"Canadians are often fine with paying a little extra to support their own economy— and that's just inspiring," Inga said.
And how is baby Amelie doing?
"I know my daughter misses social interactions so much — she misses her gymnastics classes with her favourite teacher Sarah, she misses her ballet, she misses time spent on playgrounds with her friends and neighbours."
"This is a hard time for any kids really, they are social beings, they crave social relations with others. All we can do right now is to be there for them, and come up with as many ideas as we can to support their development. We also need to be in a good state of mind ourselves."
"Amelie enjoys her Facetime calls with grandma every other day, at home gymnastics sessions, books (lots of them), some walks in nature and helping as much as she can in the kitchen. We also started a vegetable/flower garden so she is now witnessing the sprouting process, taking a part in the watering routine and learning more about plants in general."
Lastly, what would you say to other young moms who feel stuck or isolated at home right now?
"This too shall pass. Finding your own silver lining in the current scenario can help shift a focus from tough realities to some personal triumphs, even small ones."
"It may also sound crazy, but I believe helping others will also uplift your own well being. At the end of the day we are all in this together."