We recently welcomed the newest addition to our family–our beautiful baby girl Mimi. (My other daughter is thrilled, and the boys are grudgingly happy because at last we’re evenly divided between boys and girls.)
It’s been five years since my last and I was out of practice. I’d grown comfortable with a few hours of uninterrupted sleep, grown accustomed to the six hours of quiet work I had during the school day. Now it was a blur of diaper changes, night wakings, and struggling to find a balance as three became four.
But insanity or not, I wanted to capture the innocence of my little girl. I’ve always adored those professional baby pictures, Anne Geddes style, the baby wrapped tightly in a blanket, eyes scrunched tight against the world, exuding the peace and serenity so lacking in my current life.
I’d hold Mimi after another sleepless night and my stress would melt away. She exuded a peace and serenity that grabbed hold of my sleep deprived brain.
I needed to capture that moment.
The photographer came with his assistant when baby Mimi was ten days old, lugging so much equipment my building manager called me up. He sounded angry.
“Are you subletting your apartment?” he asked.
It took me a quite a few minutes to figure out what he was getting at. He’d seen them lugging in huge amounts of equipment on the security cameras and assumed we were surreptitiously subletting our apartment!
When he found out it was just a photo shoot, he wanted to know if we were filming a television show in our apartment! After all, how much equipment was needed to film a seven-pound baby?
Lots and lots it turned out, with over an hour of setup time, and piles of tiny hats, diaper covers, blankets, and swatches of linen and lace.
I wasn’t prepared for how exhausting it would be. I wouldn’t be doing any of the work…so it would be relaxing right?
There was endless rocking and putting her back to sleep between clothing changes to get that perfect sleeping innocent look.
My arms ached from holding her naked against my chest for the final shoot, I was flushing and overheated from the two portable heaters blasting to keep her warm.
It took so long to take the pictures my daughter came home from school. It was great–we got beautiful photos of her with the baby—but exhausting when she decided to tantrum in the middle of a perfect shot.
My postpartum brain felt numb and couldn’t quite remember why I decided to book a photoshoot only ten days after birth…
But then I got the pictures. And there she was–innocence captured.
For whatever it’s worth (and it’s worth a lot!) I’ve captured that moment in time, as she grows up so fast, giggling and gurgling, smiling and shaking those little hands and feet only a few short weeks later.
It reminded me of the process that goes into writing a memoir. It takes time to get those interviews down, it can often be an emotional process, a stripping down to the very essence of your life.
But then you have the book and it’s all worth it.
You’ve captured a moment in time and preserved it for all time.