Dear Mom, You’re doing great! – Marlton Newborn Photographer
I’m writing this post for all the moms who I’ve met over the years. The new mom so full of joy and hope and promise as well as the as well as the moms who come in tired, overwhelmed and unsure. You are ALL doing great! Take it from me, your local Marlton newborn photographer who’s been meeting new moms for 15 years. Babies don’t come with instructions, and it doesn’t really get easier as they grow. We just learn as we go and we adapt. Every child is different.
MOST babies are not great sleepers. In fact I’m always shocked when someone comes in for their newborn photography session looking well rested and says their baby is sleeping 8 hours at night. That is not the norm. YOU are not doing ANYTHING wrong if your baby is not sleeping well, or likes to cluster feed or won’t latch or WHATEVER your obstacle may be. THEY ARE ALL DIFFERENT and it’s OK. No, you are probably not going to recognize your baby’s different cries at first. Technically, you just met this baby and this baby JUST learned to cry. Lol. So all of that takes time. Please stop comparing yourself to your friends who seem to have it all together with their babies. Stop putting so much pressure on yourself. It isn’t fair to you and stress is only going to make things harder. ENJOY this time as much as you can.
Let’s talk a little about nursing. Ladies, please stop putting so much pressure on yourselves. You are NOT A BAD MOM or any less of a mom if you don’t nurse. If you have your heart set on it, then go for it. But know that just because you WANT to nurse, doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy. And if it’s too stressful, there is no shame in bottle feeding. NONE. Do what is best for you and best for your baby. And having a stressed mom is not best.
See this little guy right here?
He was my third baby and he was also the most challenging to nurse. The first one I stopped after about 4 months because he was a little chunker and I couldn’t keep up with his feeding demands. The second, I got mastitis when he was 2 months old and, long story short, I had to stop nursing. So when the last baby came around, I was DETERMINED to nurse him for the long haul. It was going to be a cake walk because I had done it twice before. I was going to be home with him and although I had a 2 and 8 year old to care for, I would have more time to dedicate to getting this nursing thing down. But he was DIFFICULT. He didn’t want to latch on, I had to wear nipple cones (I don’t even remember what they’re called) and it took a good 3 weeks for him to get the hang of it. THEN he got so comfortable that he wouldn’t take a bottle or pacifier. I became a human pacifier and that is NO FUN. I did manage to nurse him successfully but, even though I was now a veteran mother of 3, I constantly worried if he was getting enough, am I eating the right things, and since he wasn’t a good sleeper I thought he must be hungry, he’s not getting enough.
My point is all babies are different and each have their own reasons that cause us to doubt our abilities as a mom, you won’t even imagine the amount of times I had moms with the “Baby Blues” in their newborn’s portrait session, you know what I mean, when you just can’t get ahold of your hormones and tears are streaming like there is no tomorrow. Trust me it happens to the best of us.
Baby Blues: Hey there Moms who can’t stop crying all day. IT’S OK. Having ‘Baby Blues’ is no monster I haven’t heard of and I know you’re tired. Your responsibilities are piled a mile high, on top of trying to get your hormones (that are all out of wack) to regulate themselves. AGAIN, It’s OK!! Your body has been through 9 months of change and it’s still going through changes. You grew a human, gave them life and now, as if that isn’t hard enough, your body is working overtime to produce food for this new little human. No wonder you’re tired! No wonder you need to sit and cry a bit. You are just getting all those emotions out. You’re not weird, you’re not dramatic, and you’re NOT ALONE. But if you feel depressed or too overwhelmed, you may have postpartum depression. And there’s no shame in that either! It’s not like you can help it. And it doesn’t mean that you don’t love your baby. It’s just and unfortunate side effect of what your body has been through. And there’s no shame in seeking out help. We populate the world and we should have EVERY service available to us. Do you know that in Korea they have a service where they basically take care of mom and baby for the first 4 months or so and they nurse mom back to health so she can bounce back easier? I mean, that should be a service ALL OVER the world! Learned that from one of my maternity clients who purposely delivered her baby in Korea so she could take advantage of that service.
I can’t begin to tell you HOW MANY moms come in to my studio and when I ask how it’s going, they’re kind of hesitant. Like they’re afraid to be judged because they’re too tired or overwhelmed to feel elated. And my response is always the same. I’d be surprised if you came in here all bouncy and said you were feeling amazing. Moms need to stop this pretense that their lives are AMAZING now that this little baby has made an appearance. The truth is, it’s wonderful but it’s HARD. They hand you this little person and they just LET YOU LEAVE with them. Lol. No instructions, no step by step manual, no “if this happens do this” pamphlet … nothing. Just here you go, good luck with the next 25 years. Yeah, because most live at home after college. And you’re like, Really?? I just get to leave and now we’re basically on our own to figure this out? At least that’s how I felt with my first baby. You feel like you’re under the care and guidance of all these nurses, and then suddenly you’re tossed into the ocean without a paddle. Yep, welcome to parenthood.
Let me let you in on a little secret. I don’t know a single mother who has not felt overwhelmed at one point or another. And I’ve met THOUSANDS of new and veteran moms over my 15 years in the newborn photography business. It’s never going to be perfect. If you’re fortunate enough to have a sweet, quiet, eat every 3 hours like clockwork little baby, then you’re probably overwhelmed by other things. The thought of going back to work OR the thought of now being a stay at home mom which can be REALLY hard. At least it was for me and that’s how I discovered my love for photography. But I was CLIMBING THE WALLS as a new stay at home mom. Or by all the advice that can sometimes feel like a command rather than a suggestion. Let me just tell you right now, that’s not going to change. My parents live in another state and they still like to try to dictate how I should handle my kids who MIND YOU are 23, 17 and 15!
Stay at home mom vs. working mom: NEITHER IS BETTER THAN THE OTHER. We all have different lives and different goals. You choose what’s best for you and your family. I was always torn between WANTING to be home with my kids and also WANTING to have something for myself. I was in a new town, I knew NO ONE here and honestly, I was bored. I was so used to talking to adults all day and now I was home with 3 kids. My life consisted of baby talk, class parties and mac and cheese. Some people LOVE that lifestyle but it just wasn’t who I was. And I needed to do something about it because I was going nuts. I’m not ashamed to say it. Of course I wanted to do what was best for my kids but I also needed to stay true to who I was. This stay at home mom vs. working mom thing is nonsense. We’re all just moms who want to do their best. That’s really all any of us want.
So please, please, please if you listen to no one else listen to someone who’s done it 3 times herself and as a newborn photographer talks to moms every single week and hears their stories. From struggles with infertility, to delivery not going as planned, to not knowing if they’re coming or going. We all go through something. Honestly, it’s almost NOT normal to have the perfect pregnancy, perfect delivery and perfect baby. I don’t think I’ve ever met that unicorn. What I have met is moms who get so stressed that their hair literally falls out. Stop doing this to yourselves! Be at peace. Roll with the punches and stop comparing yourselves. It’s not fair to you. Cry when you need to, let the house get messy, have a glass of wine if you need it and do what you need to do FOR YOU. Of course it’s important to care for that precious little baby but it’s JUST AS IMPORTANT to take care of YOU. These kids will give you so much more to worry about later on in life. TRUST ME. Lol. So try to relax and enjoy these days when they can’t talk back yet or refuse to wear underwear when they’re 4-5 years old. Yeah, that really happened with one of my kids. And if relaxation means leaving the kids with grandma for an hour so you can sit and watch Good Girls for an hour with a slice of cake then DO IT. If it means handing baby over to dad so you can cry in the shower for 15 minutes, DO IT. Give yourself a minute to breathe and don’t feel one bit guilty about it. And don’t compare yourself to anyone. Everyone’s situation is unique and you have to take care of yourself in order to be your best for your child. Just a some thoughts from your favorite Marlton newborn photographer.
And I’d like to say THANK YOU to all of you. I never got newborn photos of my boys because it just wasn’t a thing back then. And I would have thought it really difficult to bring them in just days after giving birth for newborn photos. Which is why I try my best to make the sessions very easy and relaxed for the parents. I want you to come in and relax and catch your breath for a few hours while I work to create a gorgeous heirloom for your child. So thank you for taking time out during this very busy and very special time with your newborn baby to allow me to photograph them. You’re doing great and DON’T YOU FORGET IT!