4.30.2015

On Expectations, Motherhood, and Brindille and Twig Bloomers

I've heard it said that with your first baby you take a million photos, have a perfectly put together baby book and chart every milestone.  But by your third(ish) child, the kid's lucky if they have their birthday photos taken.

iris + hazel


In my case, however, I feel almost the opposite has been true.  When I first had Jude, I was so overwhelmed by the enormity of motherhood I felt like I couldn't keep my head above water.  It was like I was drowning.  I was pretty much holding on for dear life.

hazel 8 months

Before I had kids, I worked as a researcher and teaching assistant at a university.  I had graduated in finance from a top ten business program and was easily working 60 hours a week.  I remember my former boss and I used to joke about how stay-at-home moms claimed to be 'busy'. Har har Because, after all, they had looooooaaaads of free time. 

hazey mae

Ooooh yes, the karma police got me back good for that one, rest assured.  ;)  Even now with five kids, where having only baby at home would feel like a vacation, I do not forget how difficult that transition was.  I really do empathize with struggling first-time mamas.  I vividly remember being one myself.

hazel 8 months

I think a big part of my difficulty acclimating then related to my expectations.  Expectations rarely end well.  Am I right?

morning walk 

For instance, I expected that my babies would sleep through the night by 6 months old.  I expected that they would nap for two hours, twice a day.  Apparently there are people out there who have babies like this because they loved to tell me all about them.  I happened to be lucky enough to have one like this : Tia.  And thank the Lord for that, because man, was that glorious.  But otherwise, I am quite certain at this point that Dan and I genetically do not create such human beings.

hazel theodora - 8 months

All of those expectations set me up for disappointment.  Where I had hoped for encouragement from others, I often received blame.  It is one of the reasons I am so, so thankful that Tia was an incredible sleeper, because it finally vindicated me from the accusations that it was otherwise all due to my faulty or indulgent parenting.

hazel theodora - 8 months 

By the time Tia joined our family, I finally let go of my expectations.   And it was totally freeing. I accepted my kids as the little people they were created to be, even if they didn't fit our societal definition of being 'good' babies. (A study of Ethiopian babies showed that the most demanding babies had the highest survival rates, perhaps turning these cultural assumptions on their heads.)


brindille and twig bloomers

When I was open to seeing my days as they were rather than how I felt they should be, it opened me up to the beauty of our everyday.  Where I once felt like what we were doing was insufficient, I now had a cup that was overflowing with joy and love.  And I realized how wildly fulfilling motherhood can be.

hazel theodora 8 months

Now that Jude is 10, I am so aware of how quickly the time passes, even though those early days of motherhood really did feel like they might last forever.  

I'm also aware of how hard it is for me to remember, at least pictorially, my children's baby and toddlerhoods.  I'm surprised at how much I have forgotten, but thankfully I have my kids, who fill in some of  the gaps for me.  :)

hazel theodora 8 months

It does motivate me to take more photos, especially during these early years where they change so much so quickly.  It inspires me to capture the details, like her tiny hands and sweet baby toes.

hazel theodora 8 months

Or her mohawk-esqe strip of hair that we all love so much.

hazel theodora 8 months 

And it's pretty cool that photography is having a moment right now, with DSLRs being so incredible and even our iPhones are downright amazing.  I am loving learning iPhoneography and capturing moments like this one that I would never have previously captured with my DSLR.  I only wish I would have had the technology back when Jude was a baby.

hazel theodora - 8 months 

Hazel is nearly three weeks past her 8 month mark, but sewing these bloomers for her was the perfect excuse to finally get around to doing an 8th month photo shoot.

Brindille and Twig bloomers

Man, this might be the toughest age to photograph!  She's not yet walking, she's a total wiggle worm, and she refuses to lay on her back.  After attempting a photoshoot on the bed, we took a break for lunch.  During this said break, Iris decided to be a hero and feed Hazel her most coveted snack : chocolate chips.  That required a wardrobe change and I scrapped the whole idea I initially had and decided to capture her in her element instead.

hazel theodora 

The girl is on the go.  She is very curious and loves to look under furniture to see what her siblings may have left behind for her to discover! 

hazel theodora 8 months

In this particular instance, she threw her rattle under the couch and then peeked under to find it again.  Sometimes our black lab does that with his ball.  Both make me laugh!

hide and seek

I really like these bloomers.  There's definitely an emphasis on the bloom - they're kind of like bubble shorts.  I might reduce the width a bit next time to make them a little less bubbly.  Not sure.  I'd also add an inch or so to the rise.  I like a higher rise on bloomers so that it covers her diaper and tights if she's wearing them.  Even the store bought ones aren't quite high enough for me.

brindille and twig bloomers

The fabric is a lawn by Robert Kaufman called London Calling that I bought from the Imagine Gnats shop.  It is such good stuff and reminds me of the Liberty fabric I worked with here, for a fraction of the cost.

hazel theodora 8 months

Hazel is one loved baby, I tell you.  Today Indigo kept repeating to her, "I couldn't love you anymore than I do."   And I know she speaks for all of us when she says that.

10 comments:

  1. Another beautiful post my sweet rachel ! I love your Outlook on motherhood : yes : expectations Kill relationships for sûre ! Also i am now certain That God sends us children who teach us how to be better persons as long as we are willing to learn And let go of our Expectations . I feel your photos are getting more And more beautiful And also That your personal style is more asserted , clearer. You are truly seeing Life with an artist's eye .

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  2. Oh yes - the photo deficit. My youngest is 27 months old and I still haven't made his first-year photo book. In our case I think it is because we only have a DSLR now, no iPhone and no point-and-shoot. The point and shoot (which I broke by dropping it repeatedly) was much easier to throw in my purse on outings. But I digress. The bloomers are so sweet and have the perfect amount of bloom. I love that photo of Hazel reaching under the couch.

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  3. Great post. You are quite amazing: five kids, and your blog expresses so much serenity! I love your photos too. What kind of camera do you use? The bokeh is great!

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  4. seriously, you're so lovely and such an inspiration and I just really adore you :) xo

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  5. I struggled with the transition to motherhood as well. My struggle was more about giving up selfishness and adjusting to being so completely responsible for someone else's growth and development. There was a lot of crying (on my part)! Especially when I contemplated not knowing when I would be able to count on a full night's sleep again. Baby #2 was so much more enjoyable with that transition already made!

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    1. Oh yes! I struggled for all of these very same reasons, too! Yes to all of that!

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  6. Lovely pictures and reflections on motherhood! I've only done babyhood twice but it was certainly much different the second time through. I'm sure that was a combination of kid personality and my growth, but I do know that I worried a heck of a lot less and enjoyed things more. Also, I really like the London Calling Lawn! This is a good reminder to buy some more.

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  7. Ah, expectations. Evil little things they are. What I experienced when R arrived was almost a total opposite to what I expected. Preparing for the arrival of the new little person I am trying so very hard to remain open-minded and not let little evil expectations to creep in. As always, thank you for sharing. And learning tricks from pets is super cute ;) R could not resist rolling in our dog's bed and chewing on his toys. Yuck, I know, but also oh so hilarious! R also had a mohawk, just like Hazel, and I also absolutely adored it. Little bloomers was one of the first things I made for her, and her little legs looked so delicious in them :) There is just something special about those little chubby legs and bloomers, don't you think?

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  8. I love Hazel searching under the couch! so sweet:)

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