Motherhood is a teacher. She teaches you patience. She teaches you flexibility. She teaches you hard work and joy and rest. She teaches you what is important… like savoring those days when you rock your little one to sleep on you because sleep is precious in any way you can get it. This time last year I was waddling into my biggest learning year yet.
We photographed Trace’s newborn session just two weeks after his birth. That is the timeline I schedule my newborn clients on as well, but experiencing a session as a first time mama is completely different than wearing the hat of a photographer. As expected our session went beautifully, and I absolutely loved our images!
I decided earlier this year that I would wait to share Trace’s newborn photographs until I had some really good words to write with them. Maybe some words about motherhood or something good that matched how much I loved this season of my life. Needless to say, another month would pass. I would be word less. And tired. I never shared some of my favorite photographs of our family. And do you ever get that feeling that you missed your time to share something? Like I should have shared these right when it happened, but instead I waited and the moment has passed. What is that feeling?! Why does it matter? I am ignoring that feeling today.
It is usually the moment that I take the pressure off myself when things will fall into place like I originally hoped.
On this day last year, I became a mother. Quicker than I expected with a short delivery (so thankful for that!). More tired than I expected. And more in love with a tiny-little-just-shy-of-eight-pounds baby boy. I still remember our first days in the hospital so clearly. Still in awe of what we created, and the fact that we were chosen to be his parents.
Motherhood is like that. She surprises you in ways you least expected and changes into the person you were always meant to become. She is sneaky like that.
One month in, I realized what people meant when they suggested to sleep when the baby sleeps. Little did I know that this year would be the year I would sleep the least and still have to function and take care of a growing a baby boy.
On month two, I questioned whether breastfeeding was the right choice for me. On month three, I questioned whether I could give up dairy in my diet to continue breastfeeding. And on month four, I questioned whether I read enough baby books during pregnancy because that four month sleep regression was rough. Month five was a blur. Then month six came. Month six was a blessing.
Just when you question what you got yourself into and will life ever be normal again, she appears with open arms and a gentle embrace. Motherhood is so full of love. She is kind and gentle and patient.
Month six is when it got easier. Sleeping through the night became a weekly thing. I dropped breastfeeding and openly embraced formula. Regardless of what people will tell you, fed is best. Whether it is breastfeeding or formula, fed is best and forget everything else you were told while pregnant. Naps were easier, and he could entertain himself more. I settled into our new norm and finally felt like me again. It was good.
Month seven was enjoyed with weekly pool trips and lots of playing with pureed foods. Teething hit on month eight. Two bottom teeth each appearing within a week of each other. We survived. On month nine, I ordered his first halloween outfit and planned his first birthday. I was a little excited about those to say the least. We enjoyed everything fall brought to us during month ten and eleven. Month twelve was when I realized all that we did over this last year.
She is flexible. She shows you what hard work looks like. And although it may not be how you expected, she cheers you on and gives you encouragement even on the days where you feel the weakest. Motherhood is like that. She is filled with joy.
I am who I am because of the women in my life. My mother. My grandmother. My aunts. I was raised by a single mother who did everything in her power to show me the opportunities in life and to believe beyond what I could see. I now walk in their shoes. Very humbly, of course. Very grateful for their sacrifices, excited to pass on their traditions, and looking forward to what this season of life has in store for me.
These were the words I was waiting to write. These were the words I was hoping to share as I pulled together my favorite images from those newborn days and my first experience as a mother. I had a love and passion for photographs of motherhood prior to being a mom. And, now that I have experienced motherhood on my own, I value what I do even more. I am so thankful I have these to look back on and cherish as we celebrate Trace’s first year!
XOXO – Ashley
Photographed by LeeKay Photography