Monday, 6 June 2016

A Picture of Motherhood

It has been four weeks, just shy of a full month, since Kenzington entered the world as a flailing, crying newborn baby. As I write this she squirms beside me, full of personality, stretching and yawning as she wakes to start the day (or at least eat again).

Last week I decided that we needed to take a few photos of Kenzie where I was actually in them. I quickly fed her, wrapped a curling iron through my hair and put on mascara for what seemed like the first time since she was born. We headed outside and I had Brandon snap a few. After we were finished (Kenzie’s choice) we came in and I began to scroll, loving her expressions and feeling pleased with how I looked in the shots. And then I came across it, a photo that for me perfectly captures my experience of motherhood.

I was staring at myself, but it was a new version of me. I could see the details of how being a mom has changed me and shaped me into someone new, someone different from before. I looked into my tired eyes and they told me stories of lack of sleep, rocking endlessly in the middle of the night, and singing a lullaby repeatedly that consists of three words – “Go to sleep.” (I even stopped adding little Kenzie to the end... its now just a plea when that one comes out). Those eyes also speak of the mornings like this one, where my daughter and I cuddle up in bed after her early morning feeding and sleep in together. They remind me of the quiet in our apartment as I pull her out of her bassinet to feed her before the sun breaks through. They let me know that I am doing it, despite the challenges.

My half smile also strikes me. It’s not the beaming one found in the other photos, the photos I will put up on Instagram, the ones I will make into profile photos or put in an album. This half smile tells me that some days are hard. I remember the times over the past four weeks where I have just wanted to put her down for a bit, where I wanted her to work off my schedule rather than the other way around. This smile speaks to painful feedings, an unfamiliar body that I now find myself in, and walking a steep learning curve of what this little person needs from me. But this smile, this slight grin, also speaks to my joy. It isn’t loud and overwhelming, but it’s there, consistent and incredible. I keep telling people that I never knew what it would be like to have a little one who I love so much. This little baby who grabs my finger and gazes at me with her big blue eyes. It’s hard to put to words the celebration I have when she finally burps, something I really never thought I’d say (I don’t appreciate bodily humour much) or the happiness I feel when the doctor confirms that she is perfectly healthy and growing well. The smile is one of relief. I’ve made it through the start, and although I don’t know what is ahead, I am loving the journey.

And then there is her. My baby, my little girl. There she is, eating her hand because I fed her a little too quickly and she wasn’t quite satisfied (hence the short photoshoot). Eyes wide open and a headband that is still too big for her but just too cute not to wear. She has my hair and her daddy’s eyes. Her nose and mouth are a mixture of us. She definitely has her father’s lungs (ha!) Her personality is forming and I get to watch her grow and develop each day. She’s changed, this little one, and most days I feel like I want to just pause time and keep her this small. I know what is coming, I know that if I’m not careful and aware, the years will slip away much too quickly and this little girl wrapped up in my arms will be a woman.

Perhaps the most striking thing about this photo is that when I look at it, I see a little girl in myself. The one who doesn’t have it all together and doesn’t know exactly what she is doing. The one who cannot believe she is old enough to be a mother herself, or for that matter, a wife to the man behind the camera. I see a girl who is willing and eager to learn. Some days will be hard, others will make it all worth it. My greatest teacher in life has just arrived. I know that I will learn more from her than I could ever imagine. So to me this captures it, the joy, the difficulty, the tears, the beauty, the uncertainty and the love of motherhood.

1 comment:

  1. This is so beautiful, Emma! :) I love it! Thank you for sharing!!