A Letter to the Brand New Mama
Exhausted beyond description. As overwhelmed as you are overjoyed. Entirely elated. And entirely emotional about EVERYTHING.
Perhaps fearful that you’re already doing it wrong. That you won’t be enough for her. That you won’t be enough for him.
Perhaps feeling guilty that you aren’t sliding into this new lifestyle as quickly or as easily as you thought you would, because truthfully it’s nothing at all like what you expected. Or what you were told. Or what you prepared for. Or how it was for her.
Perhaps you are already feeling left out. Feeling stuck at home, while at the same time desiring to go no where at all. Caught in the tension of what your days must look like now. Quietly comparing your motherhood to hers.
Perhaps disappointed in the honesty of admitting this is nothing like your Pinterest board. Dreams of perfectly folded linens now overshadowed with crumpled piles of used burp cloths both clean and used, and more laundry than you ever thought possible to accumulate.
I just wanted to send you a little reminder this morning that you are enough. That you are all she needs. That you are all he needs. And you know what, it may feel scary sometimes. You may doubt your instincts more than you trust them. But you’re doing just fine. You’re going to be just fine.
I often photograph brand new mothers. Each different. Each facing different struggles of a terrifyingly new season. Each facing their own real life version of a life they pinned.
I don’t encourage brand new mothers to be in photographs during this time because your life is perfectly beautiful. You aren’t the focus of my work and the art I create because you have it all together. Or because you’re doing it better than others.
You’re in these photographs for her. For him. And for you. When you choose to be in the photographs you not only choose what matters most now, but you choose what matters most in 50 years. And honestly folded cream and grey linens have nothing to do with that story.
I have never photographed a mother with her baby, brand new or years old, who has ever expressed her sincere regret. Who wished she didn’t have that black and white photograph of the two of them. Those cherished portraits of her motherhood.
I have however, met many women who regretted their choice of saying no. So many stories of mothers I have met, who said they wish they knew then just how much they would change if they could go back. Who vulnerably shared that they felt too overwhelmed to even consider professional photographs after their little one was born and now have next to none. Who chose to only photograph their baby, and never any of the two of them, or the three of them as brand new family. Who didn’t feel beautiful enough, or worthy enough to ask for more.