Young and In Love: Q+A with Stephanie Abeyta

I'd like to introduce you all to Stephanie Abeyta. She and her partner Matt met in their early twenties, through a totally chance encounter that now feels a whole lot like fate. She was waitressing when a friend told her about this guy he knew whose truck had been broken into - all his stuff was stolen. "Poor guy," she says, "I'll buy him a drink. It sounds like he needs it." Matt walked into her life that night and he's been there ever since.

At first, Stephanie and Matt had your typical on-again off-again young relationship. That is until a weekend getaway changed the course of their lives entirely, and they found themselves bringing another life into the world. Learning they were going to have a baby solidified their bond, the fact they were meant to be, and they've been building their life together ever since.

Here's a bit of Stephanie's story in her words:

Boudoir Maternity Photography by Merci B Photos

1.       Tell us about your journey to motherhood. How old were you when you had your first child?

I was 24, turning 25 when I had my first child, Henry Joseph. Matt and I went away to San Francisco, to get away and see a Giants game. When we went on that trip we were in a very young twenties mindset, and we came back with no clue that our lives had been turned upside down (for the better, of course). After we found out I was pregnant, I spent the next 8 or so months learning everything I possibly could about how to be the best mother possible. From learning modern to natural/crunchy ways of motherhood. I'm a planner, so I also prepped my brain as much as I could for any and every type of child birth possibility.  

2.      How did your family and friends react to the news of your pregnancy?

Shocked. The news was totally out of left field. But I kept assuring them things only happen when they are supposed to happen. I still fully believe that. I actually had to laugh because I was told (at 24/25) that I was too young to have kids. I then pointed out that I was the "oldest" to get pregnant and have children in the family. Regardless of the shock, since day one the love and support has been tremendous. I am so thankful for them. 

3.      Tell us a little about your love story. How have you and Matt evolved over the course of your relationship?

Evolved. That's a funny term, but exact. I've definitely “found myself” through bringing a child into the world, and seeing Matt go through the same change has been eye opening. I always knew he had a big heart, but I must say I've seen it grow 4 times over. His interactions with Henry, his ability to get through to Henry, and the fact that Henry goes bananas when he knows Daddy's almost home is amazing to witness. 

As the mother of his children and his partner in this crazy life, it just makes things extra sweet and fuzzy seeing how much he loves Henry. He's definitely grown since becoming a father. Being parents has taught us the power of love and what matters in a relationship. (It’s not the little, petty things you think about when it’s just the two of you.) We've found the important moments are us as a family. Building that bond. 

4.      What sort of life changes did you guys go through during your pregnancy and after Henry was born?

Oh man, changes. Just in the last 3 years, we have moved four times and Matt's found a stable job. I lost my job as an assistant, but built up my own business! I've truly embraced the power of positivity that my children have given me to succeed. With each set back, I push myself harder and harder to accomplish more. I’ve focused a lot on my wedding planning business, especially in the last year or so. I saw it as a chance to do what I love and still be able to be with Henry during his "early learning" years. I have been able to really see him become a little boy. I thank God for that, and I’m thankful for Matt's support every day too. 

5.      You’re a wonderful wedding planner (one of my secret dream jobs). How have you balanced motherhood and building a successful career?

Thank you! Truthfully I never thought this business would become what it's become. I try to plan everything around Henry and being freelance has truly helped me do that.

I tend to treat each wedding like my own child. I have to make sure everything is handled perfectly; every vendor, every detail, every minute must be carefully thought out. Just like Henry being able to have mommy 24/7, I make sure my clients feel I am constantly there for them too. That kind of customer service has led to referral after referral. I am so grateful for my past and present clients, without them I'd be nothing (and be spending thousands on advertising). I also love and believe in what I do. I believe in love so much. I get giddy listening to clients talk about their dream wedding and marrying their soul mate. 

6.      How has motherhood changed you?

Well I will say this: as much as I love traveling, dancing, and visiting with people, when I'm not working, I'd prefer to be at home coloring with Henry.

7.      You have a little girl, Claire, on the way in December. How are you feeling about the second time around?

It’s 100%  different this time around. It's hilarious. I have energy like I'm 16 again. (Not to mention cravings like a teenager, seriously…I'd kill for some Tacobell and jerky.) I'm much smaller and feel less deathly and sick. This little girl’s energy has helped with business too. I have wedding guests, vendors, clients, my entire family asking me to slow down. It's almost like I can't sit still, a feeling I haven't had since high school. With Henry, I was low-energy, ridiculously round, always sick and couldn't drive. Whew! Go Claire! I just hope I can keep up with her when she's here in little mini me form.

8.      What do you most love about your life right now?

I love every bit. I'm content, and 3/4’s complete. Once Claire is here I am betting total euphoria will set in. Claire, Henry and Matt have been my whole reason to push forward and succeed in life. I even took on hosting and planning the 1st Annual Sierra Winter Wedding Faire just 6 weeks(!) after Claire arrives. If I don't succeed I feel like I've failed my family. I love them so much. They’re my drive. My motivation. I'm smitten. 

You can find out more about Stephanie's amazing wedding planning business here