To say the last year has changed me is a gross understatement to what my physical and emotional self has been through. As we approach our daughters first birthday, I have reflected on this subject many times and I am always flooded with a wave of emotion. Mainly crying, lots. of. crying. I never thought motherhood was like this. It’s the feeling of pure exhaustion with an underlying strength that you could physically move mountains for your child. The crazy thing is I don't even know that I am exhausted. I become so wrapped up into this little person that sleep is not as important. even the things I thought I needed to survive don’t seem like a big deal anymore. Your focus is sustaining a human life. Especially as a nursing mother, your body and almost sole purpose in the beginning is to keep this little human alive. It is the most overwhelming thing I have ever felt.
My main reason for writing this is because I can’t believe we are here. I cannot believe that a year ago I gave birth to our daughter and now A WHOLE FREAKIN’ YEAR has passed. While pregnant, I felt like I had been pregnant my whole life and it was never going to end. The fact that I had a shitty pregnancy, really added to the feeling of longevity. The sickness, the constant feelings of being uncomfortable, the physical changes, the insomnia, the smells, all of the smells, the nausea, the constant visits to the doctor, the overwhelming feeling that an alien was taking over my body and I had no control seemed to last forever. I did not recognize myself. I ceased being me and began living for this being inside of me. I was hers and there was no control over who I was, what I liked, or how I felt. Everything I thought would be fun about pregnancy, was not. Everything I thought I could do, I couldn’t. Everything I expected to feel, I didn’t. At the same time, I was stronger, I was more determined, and I was more in tune with my being then ever before. If you ask my husband, he will tell you that I was not the emotional being he married, but a cynical, no f**ks given person. It was pretty fun to hang out with that side of me. It was like having a new wife (my words, not his. ha ha!). All of this that seemed to last forever is now more like a distant memory. I fraction of time, gone in a single breathe.
Even her birth is but a moment now. The pain, the feelings, the events are all blurry and almost seem as if they never happened. Trust me, they happened and I can remember the thoughts and feelings of the moment. I can remember thinking that no relief would come and I would stay in this state forever. Moms often say you will forget the pain, they are CORRECT! If you asked me now, I would say that my rib tattoos hurt more then child birth. What!?! I literally birthed a baby, all natural, and my rib tattoos hurt more!?! What malarkey is this? The wave of relief that I felt after she was earth side, was so great, that everything I had just experienced was nothing. The fact that I instantly felt myself again was overwhelming. There was no longer an alien inside of me but now a precious little human, who had our features, was staring back at me and smelled the greatest fragrance I have ever experienced. I still wasn't emotional, that came a weeks later, but thinking back on it, I was in awe and in love. She was amazing. I have never loved little feet, baby poops, crying, and being on someone else’s schedule so much. I just wanted to be with her all of the time. I can remember just sitting there staring at her. I stared at her when she slept, when she ate, when she cried. Heck, I stared at her when she pooped and it was adorable. I have never created anything as perfect or as stunning as she. The creative in me knows she is my masterpiece. The one thing that will be truly all of my heart and soul. My heart lives outside my body and smiles back at me with my eyes.
Becoming a mother has fueled my passion for photography even more. After she was born, I started just taking cutesie images of her. You know, the instagram inspired ones of her laying on the bed, looking back on me in an adorable outfit. Those are actually really hard work, especially when you are a perfectionist. Reflectors, white bed spreads, step ladders, the right angle of light, the right time of day so she doesn't scream at me. It was so silly because thats not who I am as a photographer and on the flip side, I was documenting her and her visitors. Unposed, undirected, using the light that was there to show her meeting the people who had wished for her for a lifetime. I eventually stopped the “posed” (thank goodness) and started capturing what was. The real day to day, the milestones, the new, the little things that change so quickly but felt like they are going to last forever. Those little things don't last. I can remember saying she was doing something new every week but in all actuality she was doing something new EVERY. DAY. I miss the days of blob baby and snuggles. I wish I could have that little back in my arms but I know that one day I will miss the one year old baby who dances, thinks she's a puppy, and likes to test the full tonal range of her voice. I will miss the sweet little girl who just needs her mama all of the time. Before I know it she will be running around and adventuring, I will be less important, and thats ok. I know that I have done everything in my power to be in the moment with her. To sit with her, talk to her, enjoy the fleeting moments, stare at every feature of hers and I did not wish the time away. She continues to grow so fast but new adventures await us.