For Shelby Lohman, it was her husband who opened the door to telling her story.
As her first year of marriage was wrapping up, Lohman, ‘19, was looking for a way to express her various thoughts and musings on the joys and challenges of her life post-grad. In November of 2019, she started toying with the idea of starting a blog. But after “quietly made a website,” she hesitated to do anything with it.
When the coronavirus shutdowns began a few months later, however, the role her husband Andrew played in caring for their household inspired her to revisit the project.
“The first post that I publicized was talking about Andrew; how he was so husband-like during quarantine and stepped into being the caretaker,” said Lohman, who teaches high school math. “Suddenly, he was the only one going grocery shopping and I was staying home so that he was the only one putting himself out there.”
As she was putting these thoughts together, Andrew saw her writing and asked what she was doing. When she told him about her idea for the blog, she said “he gave me the kick in the butt to actually commit to it.”
“I also understand the desire to share things with other people — especially aquarium stuff,” Andrew said, who is pursuing a masters degree in aquaculture and aquatic science. “I can understand her desire to share what is important to her.”
Thus, Lohman’s blog and related Instagram account “Womanhood Unveiled” got rolling. She posts blog updates every Sunday, and uses the Instagram page to promote her blog as well as an outlet for shorter musings and photography. She discusses her Catholic faith, marriage, homemaking, Natural Family Planning, and life as a young professional in a candid and conversational manner.
“The name of the blog was really important to me, and though I knew it would include the word ‘womanhood,’ I wasn’t sure what the other word should be,” Lohman said. “I settled on ‘unveiled’ because it’s typically associated with unveiling a sculpture or a beautiful piece of artwork or something like that. I liked the fact that it was alluding to the beauty of womanhood.”
When starting the platform, Lohman said that her initial intention was “to fill a space I didn’t feel like was filled.” Now, over seven months into the project, she has connected with other accounts within her sphere.
“There are a lot of women out there trying to build it in their own way that I’m way more aware of now than I was eight or nine months ago, which is a good thing,” Lohman said. “And I’ve ended up falling in with a whole bunch of other women who also share about NFP, or that will share about marriage or Catholicism, that I’ve found along the way.”
‘Womanhood Unveiled’ gained over 1,300 followers during its first few months, mostly from Hillsdale social circles but more recently from online spaces dedicated to Catholic womanhood and Natural Family Planning, which is one of the things Lohman wants to be very candid about on her platform.
“I try to just be really no bullcrap. Not like blunt or crass or anything, but I’m going to tell you my honest thoughts and experiences,” she said. “I just want a really open account for the 20 something or 30 something women to relate to, or for the high school and college women to look forward to.”
Regan Meyer, a Hillsdale senior, is one of those young women with whom Lohman’s platform connects.
“Everything she writes is so beautiful, especially in how she connects seemingly mundane things to her Catholic faith,” Meyer said. “I really value her insights, especially because there have been instances of me and [my boyfriend] having a discussion and then seeing that Shelby had commented on exactly what we were talking about. It’s also really great to see a Hillsdale alumna talk about both her profession and her vocation to marriage.”
One of Lohman’s challenges in curating her brand’s aesthetic was coming to terms with the fact that her apartment isn’t the most Instagramable. The stereotypical influencer’s living space is open, white-washed, and bathed in natural light, and Lohman said she spent a lot of time at the beginning editing her pictures taken inside her home to match that look.
“Eventually I realized that if I really want to share an honest, real account of womanhood, then my pictures should reflect that honesty,” she said. “And I’ve been trying to keep that in mind when it comes to things like, ‘Can I get a photo that doesn’t include all the stuff in the background in our apartment?’ and the answer is probably no. And my response needs to be, ‘that’s okay, because our apartment is our apartment.’”
Ultimately, coming to terms with her living space was a lesson in accepting and rejoicing in your life as it, she said, not as you wish it might be.
By far, her favorite part about sharing her thoughts is hearing from people who were encouraged by or resonated with something she wrote. When people reach out in the comments of an Instagram post or through direct message, it “makes [her] day.” Though by nature of her subject matter the majority of her audience is women, Lohman said she especially enjoys hearing from men.
Overall, Lohman said she wants to know that other people are with her in reflecting on the feminine mystery as she “unveils” it in small ways.
“It’s the epitome of what I was going for,” she said.