In the pre-children mind of Molly, those first few days of new parenthood were joy-filled days where you blissfully gaze at your new baby. Oh how naive I was!
When Baxter was born I immediately fell in love with him, no doubt about that. But the main feelings I remember feeling as a new mother were exhaustion, stress, and anxiety. In the first few days Baxter and I struggled to figure out breastfeeding and he rapidly lost weight and became dehydrated. I clearly remember standing in the pediatricians office crying when they weighed him. I loved him so much and felt so much responsibility to care for him, and it was like a blinking beacon to show that I’d failed him. All the stress and anxiety built up and not long after I came down with the shingles followed by two more infections. I was spent in every way possible. Physically from pregnancy, delivery, illnesses, and lack of sleep from nursing him around the clock. Emotionally from feeling like I’d somehow failed for not breezing straight into motherhood and having to stumble to figure it all out instead of just instinctively knowing what to do. After a few weeks we eventually got the hang of our new relationship, he started nursing well and growing, and I finally began to recover. I slowly figured out the whole parenting thing and slowly built up my confidence in my new role.
Since then, I have had two more children, and added even more experiences to my journey of being a mother. With each I have these little moments I won’t ever forget. The sweet smell of fresh baby hair. The way they fit on your chest and snuggle their heads into your neck. So many little sweet memories. But I also remember how depleted I felt physically. How isolating the constant nursing can feel. Concerns about how the older kids were adjusting to a having a new sibling. The worries about jaundice and weight gain and whether or not visitors were exposing us to germs.
All of these experiences have prepared my heart and provided me a discerning perspective for newborn sessions. I pray that every mom I meet has a smooth and easy transition into motherhood. That you feel fantastic after delivery and that your baby is healthy and growing and joy fills your home. BUT, if that’s not the case, and you are just depleted of all the good things and filled with anxieties about feeding the baby and whether or not he will cry the whole session…..I get it. I’ve experienced it, I remember all the feelings and I don’t think I’ll ever forget them. But it’s made me stronger and given a heart for new mothers. This is why I ask for the nearest bathroom to thoroughly wash my hands when I enter your home. This is why I patiently take time to calm babies during sessions. This is why I encourage mothers to feed their baby any time they need to do so during a session, and I will sit and wait until the baby is full. This is why I gently move or adjust things in the room as needed, then carefully go behind myself and replace anything I moved after the session. I remember all the hard parts of my experience, so my goal in a newborn session is to alleviate any stressors, to serve the new parents in every way I can, and to capture timeless images of your baby in their new family.
Even if you are exhausted and worried, the memories captured during your newborn session are absolutely worth it. I capture images that show those little toes, the curl of her eyelashes, the little fuzz of hair, the nursery you thoughtfully prepared for her, the way your husband looks down at her, and how tiny she looked in your arms. And trust me when I say it all changes so fast, and you are so exhausted you may forget some of the little things as you are busy caring for your baby in this new season of life, but those photos will be cherished by you and your baby as he or she grows up. Parenthood and the newborn phase is hard, but friends it is SO worth it.
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Molly is a Greenville, SC newborn photographer based in Easley who photographs families in the Upstate. She is known for capturing joy with a classic southern style. Photo sessions with Molly turn family memories into artwork for your home and for generations to come.