All we didn’t know…

We were so naive.

newparents-1I don’t think it mattered that we were “older” parents. Educated by collegiate institutions, and graduates of notable best seller parent books…

Nope.

I think some things you are only educated by experience.

Jacob’s arrival was completely different than the playbook we had so dutifully planned and expected. Not only did he come two weeks later than we all thought he would, the “all natural” delivery I had prepped for was short lived after 20 hours of unsuccessful labor. An entire list of medical surprises put us into a cesarean delivery and three days in the NICU.

I should have come to expect “surprises” as the new phase of my life.

I still vividly remember our drive home from the hospital. Two bright eyed and excited parents eagerly packing this new baby into the infant car seat for the ride home.

The twelve minute drive could be viewed in our life movie with the subtitle of “NAIVE” as an appropriate underscore to our expectations for what awaited us. We cheerfully smiled at each other in our new role as parents, driving through the quiet Sunday evening streets while singing songs with the lyrics “We are a happy family!”

All was calm.

All was right with the world. And we fully expected it to stay that way.

We proudly laid him into his new bassinet, beaming with new parent pride, and told him to go to sleep.

An alert puppy dog face stared up at us with obvious expectations that did not involve slumber in the options. We were beginning to find out what went on “behind the scenes” at the hospital… when we weren’t separated an entire floor apart, when there wasn’t a trained medical staff caring for him at all times while I caught up on sleep and tended to my own needs while his were so expertly met…

And thus ensued the next three weeks of delightful discovery. A journey of getting to know one another: Learning to know this new spirited person in our home. Getting to know each other as a married couple in a new role. Getting to know our life with new responsibilities.

And its been nothing like I expected.
In many ways its better!

I had no idea I would be able to love this new person so completely. I was pleased to discover that the maternal instincts myself and those who knew me may have suspected were never installed into my system, have delightfully surfaced!

In other ways, its been a bit of a culture shock…

Gaining a reverent respect for my own mother and all mothers throughout the world has been just one of the results of the events of the last few weeks. Wow. Motherhood is A LOT OF WORK. And TIME.

Lots of time.

So much time.

I used to measure my daily success by a long list of completed tasks I could check off.

Suddenly that list began to involve very basic things:

Shower.
Get dressed.
Eat.
Sleep.

If all were checked by the end of the day I felt very proud.

To further illustrate my naivety, I ironically recall a comment I had made only a few weeks earlier concerning photographing my very own newborn:

“I’m sure its so much easier when its your own child… you know them, you’re on your own clock…”

Five days after Jacob was born, it took all the energy I could muster for the fastest 5 minute session ever.

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Both of us still in our old pajamas and hanging between the world of deep sleep and cranky alertness. I hadn’t counted on the physical impairments undergoing major surgery of a c-section would cause to my ability. Bending over wasn’t an option. Either was moving heavy items. Did you know photography uses your core muscles? Something I hadn’t realized until I went to use them only to find them missing.

Yep.

My lofty ideas of artistic perfection would need to be abandoned, much like my lofty idea of climbing the stairs in our house (only made it to the middle landing before deciding it was a very bad idea…)

So now I’m stuck with less than perfect images. Certainly not my best work or best cooperation of subjects.

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Unless…

Unless you know the effort that it took to get something so simple.

newparents-5Yes, it looks like his finger is up his nose.

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Unless you find yourself drawn more to the character and emotion of a story more than the styling flaws.

newparents-2Unless you consider it a reflection of real life–full of surprises and glitches that throw us onto a new path, that in the long run teaches us more than the one we were continuing on before.

newparents-1Yep. I didn’t know a thing about what I was in for.

newparents-6But sometimes what we don’t know can end up to be our greatest joy.

21 Responses

  1. Glad you are back. I’ve missed you. C-sections are tough, but the 2nd and 3rd aren’t as bad as the first. (My first one was after 24 hours of labor, so I can relate.)

  2. Oh Brooke! He is so dang cute! Congrats. Your post was absolutely beautiful. I cried… totally going to admit it (I’m not ashamed) Being a mom is one of the most wonderful things that any woman can EVER do with her life. The images of you holding your son are what really sent my tears over the edge. Just gorgeous. Again, congrats!

  3. Congrats and welcome to parenthood! He is simply beautiful (and so are these lovely pictures). I’m glad you’re back. I need a little Magic in my Mondays!

  4. This was a beautiful post and I got a little teary! Your son is beautiful and the pictures are amazing. Congratulations to you and your husband!

  5. Congratulations! He is beautiful. Being a mother is one of the hardest & most fulfilling things you’ll ever experience (as it sounds like you are finding out.) Good luck with that sweet little guy & give him a squeeze from me.

  6. My thoughts almost exactly after Liam was born. It’s a humbling experience… appreciating your own mother the way she has deserved for so many years is a big one. Absolutely beautiful post, Brooke. You are a wonderful new mother and so pretty too! Glad you are savoring this experience… even through blood-shot eyes. Keep up the good work!

  7. P.S. You don’t have blood-shot eyes, but you know what I mean when I say that… when your eyes can’t stay open, but you open them anyway to take care of your sweet baby.

  8. Brooke I think the pictures turned out beautiful. I had my third child a couple of months ago (my first baby with some real photography skills and an SLR) and I just “knew” I was going to come right home from the hospital and try every newborn pose known to man. Ha 😀 I was very lucky to get the handful that I did before she grew any bigger. Isn’t it amazing how such a little thing can take so much time and energy — and that you would love (almost 😉 every minute of it all? Congrats!

  9. So glad to see your precious little one! I know it’s tough and you are very tired but enjoy every single second of this little tiny person! They grow up so fast and those moments where it’s just the two of you rocking are so precious that you’ll wish for them back someday! Congrats!

  10. He’s just as cute as I remember! It is an adjustment period for sure. When you need a break, give me a call. I’ve been itching to play some duets! Beautiful pictures, by the way.

  11. I loved every single picture. My favorite thing as a first time parent was watching my husband turn into this amazing….i don’t know the word for it, man seems to simple, father still isn’t enough. These wonderful men we marry just somehow transform into more of their true selfs when fatherhood curls up into those strong arms. it’s a wonderful thing and to be honest in your pix of your hubby and son I can almost feel every ounce of that emotion coming from you behind the lens. Congrats Brooke and enjoy the marvelous adventure you’re in for (you’re in it for all eternity!)

  12. Congratulations on your new arrival Brooke! I found your website on Jackie’s blog and I just had to comment on this post. I just loved it. I think all of us, especially as new moms know exactly how you feel. Thanks for expressing it perfectly. It is such and amazing adventure, challenging, but so wonderful. Good Luck with your recovery and getting to know that cute little boy even better.

  13. ah I love them all. They make me happy for the two of you. It’s so different that what you thought eh? All of motherhood is. That sooooo sucks about the long labour and then C-section on top! ouchies!!! The first three months are a bit of a gong show and then you start to all get used to each other a bit. It’s hard but it’s good. Huge huge congrats!!!

  14. I am so glad you’re “back”…he’s just such a handsome little thing…
    Let me tell you, no one is EVER prepared for motherhood…even on the next ones!! I bet you are a super awesome mom, and Jacob is so lucky to have been brought to your family…
    I am very impressed that you shower daily!!!! With my first one, I was lucky to shower every 2 or 3 days 🙂 I can’t wait to hear more stories and see more pictures!!
    Get some sleep…

  15. Oh heaven’s you all look soo beautiful! Congratulations friend. He’s a cutie. And just sleep when he does…even if you have to do it with him beside you.

    xo

  16. I totally know what you are talking about. I just had my 3rd 5 months ago & had so many high hopes for great photos of her. Reality is…no time to photograph her! Too busy! AND now I am toying with the idea that perhaps there just isn’t time for my photography business anymore either! Being a mom is your #1 job. Enjoy is. Everything else can wait because his growth won’t!

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