The moment before the photo is taken

When you become a parent some internal switch changes and you begin taking pictures of one subject all the time. Suddenly you realize you’re phone storage is maxed and there are not enough hours in a day to weed through the thousands of photos you’ve taken of your one month old! Warning: this post contains a lot of photos.

Edie and me the first day home from the NICU at 1 week old. (not seen, the 20 minutes of crying previous to this moment)
Edie and me the first day home from the NICU at 1 week old. (not seen, the 20 minutes of crying previous to this moment)

What I quickly realized after reminiscing over a photo taken an hour previously was what was left out of the picture: the crying (sometimes baby, sometimes mom), the pooping, the feeding. When Edith was born, she spent the first week of her life in the NICU. She was not held 24/7 like most newborns during their first week of life. I don’t know if this is the reason she screamed and cried nonstop unless being held the first 4 months of her life … and continues to do so at certain times during the day even at 14 months. Or maybe it is simply her personality and when she wants what she wants it’s intensely apparent.

If you look closely, you can see the exhaustion in my eyes in this photo. Here she is at 2 weeks old and I've quickly learned that she prefers to be held ALL the time. It's amazing how much you can love a baby and yet still feel guilty about wanting or needing a break from her.
If you look closely, you can see the exhaustion in my eyes in this photo. Here she is at 2 weeks old and I’ve quickly learned that she prefers to be held ALL the time. It’s amazing how much you can love a baby and yet still feel guilty about wanting or needing a break from her.

Either way, I began to take pictures of her falling asleep on me. Mostly because I wanted to document the post-fight moments. The moments when after 45 minutes of screaming and crying, she would finally fall asleep. The moments when I really  wanted to put her down, but if I did she would wake up crying again and I would have to start all over. When I tried letting her “cry-it-out” out of exhaustion or frustration, she would turn purple and stop breathing from crying so hard after just 3 minutes! So I quickly abandoned that idea.

My neighbor toke this photo. It was a warm summer day and I was sweating profusely while wearing Edie. She loved every minute of sleep in this wrap. I think she's around 4 weeks old here and I've succumbed to her strength and need to be worn while sleeping during the day. (Not pictured are the tears I shed just wanting a break to snuggle my 2 year old without having my 1 month old strapped to me - mom guilt big time started to kick in! Guilt for desiring a break and guilt for not spending quality time with Frederick)
My neighbor took this photo. It was a warm summer day and I was sweating profusely while wearing Edie. She loved every minute of sleep in this wrap. I think she’s around 4 weeks old here and I’ve succumbed to her strength and need to be worn while sleeping during the day. (Not pictured are the tears I shed just wanting a break to snuggle my 2 year old without having my 1 month old strapped to me – mom guilt big time started to kick in! Guilt for desiring a break and guilt for not spending quality time with Frederick).

Thankfully after month 4, I was able to wean her from falling asleep only on me (and only after a great deal of fighting and screaming) and she (for the most part) has been going to bed easily and quickly without tears since 5 months. There are still times when only mom will do, but for the most part she prefers to snuggle throughout the day and doesn’t need any help falling asleep! To any moms out there feeling the pressure or the guilt: it gets better! And one day, you’ll look back at photos and remember the good with the bad. Every single one of the snapshots below was preceded by long bouts of crying and screaming! It just became funny to me after a while. You can either laugh or cry. I chose to laugh.

As much as I love the feeling of having a sleeping baby on me, I really disliked all the work it took to calm her down to get to this point! It was worth all the effort though!
As much as I love the feeling of having a sleeping baby on me, I really disliked all the work it took to calm her down to get to this point! It was worth all the effort though!
This is probably my favorite photo of our snuggles. Prior to this, a 1 year old Edie spent 30 full minutes screaming on an airplane because she was tired and fought sleep so much. I later found out, the couple sitting directly behind us were the photographers for my sisters wedding. I apologized for being
This is probably my favorite photo of our snuggles. Prior to this, a 1 year old Edie spent 30 full minutes screaming on an airplane because she was tired and fought sleep so much. I later found out, the couple sitting directly behind us were the photographers for my sister’s wedding. I apologized for being “those people” at the wedding when I found out. Life with kids is never dull and always an adventure!

One of my favorite verses of all time is Isaiah 40:11 where we see a picture of God as a shepherd holding and carrying lambs. It is a beautiful picture of what the first year of parenting is like – lots of close attention and bonding:

He will tend his flock like a shepherd;
    he will gather the lambs in his arms;
he will carry them in his bosom,
    and gently lead those that are with young.

When I first became a mom, God really began to speak to me through this verse about how He takes care of those who are young and helpless. He carries them close to His heart – it’s such a beautiful picture of how loving He is towards us! What I love about this verse even more is the last part that says he will “gently lead those that are with young.”

As a mom with babies and kids, it is easy to feel like the whole world is moving forward at a rapid pace and you’re somehow frozen in time doing the same thing everyday at home. God has grace for every season of our lives and His grace for the season when we have young kids is a gentle leading. He doesn’t drag us along or chastise us. He gently leads us and where He leads us is close to Him so we can feel His heartbeat.

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