Recently I have had several prospective clients who were considering a Welcome to the World session bring up a common concern; What if I don’t feel like being in pictures right after having a baby? “I just feel kind of gross after giving birth, so I’m not sure I will feel up for a photo shoot”, one mama told me. And I get that, I really do. Having had two kiddos of my own, I definitely sympathize with those women who don’t feel their prettiest after squeezing a human being out of their body. Now, some women feel awesome after giving birth, all empowered and feminine and strong. If that is you, well then this blog post isn’t really for you. You can still read along, though, and enjoy the pictures. But for now, I want to speak to those mamas who either have already gone through the experience of labor and delivery and know that they will feel gross and unattractive and just plain exhausted, and to those first-time mamas who worry that this will be their experience.
Having just had a baby is a vulnerable time. You are just getting to know this tiny person, who is completely dependent on you for his or her every need, and at the same time you are getting reacquainted with your own body, recuperating after labor, maybe even recovering after a c-section, which is a pretty major surgery, figuring out breastfeeding, and, if you are not a first-time mom, trying to balance loving several little humans all of whom crave your attention. Plus, you likely have a line of family members and friends lining up to come visit to meet your newest addition. There is a lot going on. So why should you consider adding a photographer to that mix?
Well, I believe there are a couple of reasons.
1. This is truly a once in a lifetime moment. Whether this is your first or your fourth baby, the birth of your child is without a doubt one of the biggest days of your life, and big moments like that are worth capturing. Your family changes forever the day that new life is born, and having someone document those first moments together is priceless.
2. As once in a lifetime as those first days with a new baby are, they are hard to remember. Between hormones, exhaustion after labor, the steady stream of visitors, and lack of sleep, you will find that those days in the hospital go by in a blur. Having a visual reminder of what those days were like will help you recall the beauty and intimacy of that time you and your new baby spent together as you were just getting to know each other.
3. While you might not feel your prettiest, and while I understand that you want to look good in these pictures, at the heart of it a Welcome to the World session is not about you being pretty. It is about you, it is about your family, and is is about the new life you brought into the world and the immense love you feel for each other. And that is what those pictures are going show. Sure, they may also show some puffiness on your face or that your baby still had quite a lot of that red newborn look going, but I am certain that when you look back at the pictures, none of that is going to matter to you. And also, I promise that you will look much prettier in a picture I capture with my camera than in the one your father-in-law snapped with his iPhone. Having a professional taking your photo just makes a difference.
Finally, I will just be really honest with you. Not getting hospital pictures done when we had our babies is one of my greatest regrets. Sure, I took some pictures in the hospital, but I really wish I had invited someone to come and document those fleeting days, because truthfully, I don’t remember much from those first few days with my little ones (and as we just went over, all those hormones kind of mess you up, which also greatly affected the quality of any pictures I did manage to take). And I would hate for any of you to end up with the same regret because you were worried about not looking pretty enough. Because let me assure you, when you look back at those pictures, you are not going to think about how messy your hair was or how uncomfortable your boobs felt. Instead, you are going to remember what it was like when you first held your child in your arms and what it felt like to fall in love with that tiny human. And that is all that matters.