I vaguely heard the wail of a hungry baby as my sleep deprived body slowly woke. I looked at the clock and sighed, 4:00am. We rocked and nursed as both of us drifted in and out of exhausted sleep. A few hours later I’m balancing a baby on one hip, preparing food for both kids, answering the millionth “Why?” question and desperately trying to drink my coffee before it gets cold. It’s amazing to me how life can change in just a few years. I vaguely remember what life was like before kids. But it’s true when they say, you’ll wonder what you did before you had kids.’ My husband and I were married for 6 years before D came along. Six years! Seriously what did we do with our time?
This whole thought got me thinking about the photos we take and why. We all love posed photos, the pretty Pinterest ones. We marvel over the gorgeous maternity photos of mamas looking radiant in open fields at sunset. And Mamas you are radiant and stunning 40 weeks pregnant! But why do we stop at just what your beautiful bump looks like? What about what life looks like? What about the heart centered rituals you have with your spouse? What about the quietness of your house on a Saturday morning? The evening walks or the rearranging of life to make room for a little bundle of joy?
The things I remember from our pre-baby days are blurry at best. I do remember a few details that I wish I had photos of now. I can only imagine over time these memories will fade too. That time before kids was a time we built a foundation for our family. We found a place of rock solid earth to build our family on so that it would stand the test of parenthood. That time is not to be taken lightly.
There are three memories I wish we had photos of;
1. The last few weeks of pregnancy can be tough. You’re not sleeping well (precursor to what’s to come), your body aches, you’re a mess of joy, excitement, sweaty palm nervous, and deer in the head lights scared. At least that’s how I felt, all while just wanting to get the show on the road! Every evening my husband would come home and I’d come out of my office, we’d collapse on the couch to talk about our day. Sometimes he’d rub my feet or my back. We’d cuddle until we were hungry enough to eat. I loved those moments of quiet connection.
2. My parents live on a farm that my Grandpa bought in the early 60’s. My Dad grew up there and still lives there. Naturally, when you live somewhere for over 50 years you’ll accumulate some hidden treasures. And wood is the hidden treasure at my parents. Beautiful wood. We found the perfect pieces to make a wall hanging with a stencil of an elephant on it. My Dad sanded and finished each piece then took the photo I had of the elephant and hand drew it. The art piece is 2’x3′ and he hand drew it! I LOVE this art piece and even long after the kids are older I will always keep it. I just wish I had photos of my dad making it.
3. In the months leading up to having D my husband and I would take walks around City Park and it’s lake. We’d talk about what life will be like once she’s here. We dreamed about what she’d look like and what her name would be. We talked about the past 2 years of struggling to get pregnant and then finally having our baby almost here. We held hands and Cody tried to walk slow enough for my waddling body. It was the quiet foundation of what was to become our family of three.
Everyone wants to get to the next chapter. I get it, I do to, especially at 40 weeks! But I bet you want to have just as much joy in the now as you know you will in the future. I challenge you to stop and connect with you spouse, go back to that foundation you so lovingly built together. Take photos of the sweet rituals you have, because you never know when a new ritual will take it’s place.
If you’re expecting and want to learn how to approach maternity pictures from a candid, storytelling approach, let’s have a free 20 minute brainstorm session about what your session could be like. If your interested, great. If not, no pressure. Click here to connect with me.
xoxo – Rachael