If you don't know Hannah yet, you’re going to want to. She’s a photographer, a content creator, a seeker of beautiful things. A knitter, a calligrapher, a surfer, a skier, a freaking medical doctor, and, of course, she’s also mom to two little boys, Oscar and Wilf.
Basically she's a quintessential also mom. I say that partially because she has this awesome, multi-layered identity that I admire big time, but mostly I say that because her approach to doing everything she does—which is A LOT by the way—is positively enlightened.
We talk about how and why she used her long British maternity leave to re-engage with her creative side, how that helped ground and recenter her as she redefined her new postpartum identity, and her thoughts on Instagram in general, which I personally find to be quite refreshing.
- 1:52 – Hannah discusses why she didn't originally tell her followers she's a freaking medical doctor in addition to all the beautiful, artsy, crafty, clever things she shares on Instagram
- 4:30 – British maternity leave > American maternity leave
- 8:10 – I embarrass Hannah by rightly calling her a Renaissance woman, and she reveals more about her personality type.
- 12:35 – Hannah's tips for becoming a better photographer.
- 14:33 – Hannah's thoughts on Instagram cliches and Instagram vs. reality.
- 20:47 – Hannah shares details about the ugliest space in her home right now. (We all have one!)
- 29:00 – Why Hannah feels more like herself and more recharged this year.
- 31:06 – Hannah shares her baby must haves, including a non-parenting book parenting book she's loving.
- @hannah.straughan – Go follow her! (And check out her gorgeous blog.)
- Call the Midwife – You've all seen this and are as obsessed with it as I am, right? (It's on Netflix.)
- NHS – Short for the National Health Service, the U.K.'s version of universal healthcare.
- @thisisjules – Hannah's BFF. Huge (not) surprise… her Instagram is lovely too.
- 16 Personalities – Hannah is a Campaigner through and through. I'm a Consul and maybe don't totally agree but also don't totally disagree. What about you?
- Lost in the Light Photography Course by James & Jo Melia – The photography course Hannah took most recently.
- SnuzPod Co-Sleeper – This specific co-sleeper is a U.K. thing, but regardless of which you choose, Hannah votes yes on co-sleepers and no on beautiful, impractical Moses baskets.
- Solly Baby Wrap – You don't say? Another Solly lover!?
- Ring Sling – Hannah switched from the Solly to a ring sling when her babies were a bit older.
- Haakaa Pump – The most genius little breast pump ever.
- The Danish Way of Parenting – The Danes do a lot of things right, parenting included.
What Hannah Said
Weirdly, even though work is incredibly intense, I feel like I'm having respite from being a mother in going to work. And that's why being a mom some of the time and a doctor some of the time works so well for me, because each bit recharges me for the next bit.
It took quite a long time to re-find myself, who I was, as this completely new persona. I was now Hannah, who was a mother and who was rediscovering creative interests. And it just genuinely felt like a completely different person than the career Hannah that I had been.
As adults and as parents we don't do enough playing and anything that makes you feel silly and fun and makes you forget the everyday stresses of life is a good thing.
Initially, the reason I loved Instagram and taking photos and blogging so much was because it allowed me to have a complete escape from [medicine]. Medicine as a career can all too easily become all consuming. So when I first went on maternity leave with Oscar, it just felt like a shock leaving. It had been at least ten years of living and breathing medicine from when I first started training through graduating and being a junior doctor which is really, really intense. And I really wanted just a complete break from it.
I do follow some Instagram accounts who are 99% positive all the time in their photos and their captions, and I enjoy that. But that's, I think, because I've gotten to a place where I'm confident and comfortable knowing that that doesn't mean that their life is perfect. It means that that's what they choose to share.
It's really difficult to picture yourself without children when you have children. You think, “What did I do with my time?” I must've just slept whenever I wanted. I mean, was I bored? I had so much time on my hands. What did I do?
I've never met a parent who's said, “Oh this is really hard and I wish I'd never done this.”