Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The Next Chapter

From the moment Hope was born, I began photographing me and me with her. It was never completely clear to me at the time as to why I was doing this. I only knew that I wanted a record of something, but I wasn’t sure of what. The other day I took a few moments to look back on these nine months in pictures. For perhaps the first time, I see them for what they were. My smile tells the story: it was a true season of healing and gratitude. I don't see myself standing in the mirror pinching my stretched and soft stomach. I am wearing my smile.

Indeed as is often the case, the pictures tell a story I did not realize was unfolding or fully appreciate when I was taking them, and living them. For this gift of perspective and hindsight, I am so grateful for each of these shots, in each of their blurry imperfectness.

This first photo was taken 24 hours after my c-section. There were complications during my surgery and what is usually a routine procedure lasted more than 3 hours. I am standing up on my own in this photo. Initially, it took two nurses and my husband to just help me get vertical. To be able to stand on my own two feet by myself, was an amazing accomplishment.
 


Here, we are getting ready to go home a few days later. I am still standing, and this time strong enough to do so while I am holding her. She is wearing the tiny ducky outfit my mother picked out for Dylan all those years ago. I am bringing a third baby home in this outfit, and am proud that my mother has been a part of each of those trips from hospital to home, even when I couldn’t have her with me.


Post haircut. It’s my first outing to take care of me after the baby and somehow the cutting of my hair shocks my whole system and reminds me to feel alive. I do not feel whole, but feel a slow return to something like that.


I am still in maternity pants here. She is nearly two months old in this picture, and I’m still in maternity pants. I remember this really bothering me, yet when I see myself I appear genuinely happier than I recall. It was special then. And I suspect I was too tired to realize some of this specialness. I can see her cradle in the background. She is wearing the ducky pants, a personal favorite for each of my babies.



She’s holding herself up. I suppose I'm doing more of that too. I am stronger.



I love how she’s looking at me here.


 

She’s becoming more curious, trying to grab the camera.
 


Hope steps in front. The picture is becoming less about me, and more about me trying to capture some piece of her.


It’s the last shot. We’re sitting because she squirms too much when I try to hold her. It’s blurry because she is moving on, literally and figuratively. Not so newly born, getting ready to toddle on to the next chapter. We both are.