This might sound surprising since I’m you know…a mom…but I have very limited newborn experience. Very. My first experience with a newborn was my own, handed to me. I thought I knew what I was doing initially. I talked softly to her. She didn’t fall off or even cry, despite having been pushed from a warm, safe place to a cold, badly lit place in the span of minutes. However, after that initial meeting, it was slow going. I’m pretty sure I asked my husband how to hold her and how to breastfeed her. I’m pretty sure of that. My maternal instinct must have gone on a short vacation when it was most badly needed. Luckily I wised up fast and learned that while Cassidy could hold her very well, he knew very little about breastfeeding. Slow going. I got a handle on things. I never dropped her or hurt her. I may have held her at awkward angles at times but we got through it. Still I breathed a sigh of relief around three months or so when her neck was strong enough for her to control it on her own. I had passed the newborn test. I had kept her alive and well, and even happy-seeming.
Then, other newborns joined my life. In my post-birth meetings, at playgroups, at group outings with other new moms, or second time moms with newborns. Yet it wasn’t like it is today where we can just easily reach for each other’s children without a second thought. In the beginning, we all held court holding our own newborns. I was so paranoid and insecure and new-momish that I didn’t pay much attention to the other newborns. The other moms, sure. Not the other newborns. Then they all grew into strong-necked, smiley, recognizable humans and I no longer had to worry about newborns.
Until now, really.
It’s not just the fact that I’m having a newborn. I mean, it is that. I visited a friend last week with a seven-week-old and let me tell you, it was not like riding a bike to me. I could not figure out how to hold him. It wasn’t inexperience, but it was inexperience with HIM. Every baby has a different weight, a different center of gravity, and some fling their bodies and some don’t. Scarlet never once flung. He flung. His mom coaxed me gently and he was able to fall asleep in my arms. I passed the newborn test again! Except, there was another, newer, harder test for me to pass that day.
You see, I want to be a professional photographer. I guess you might know this. Slow on the action, the confidence, the learning. Moving faster on the experience. So I did a newborn shoot. It wasn’t really practice because I do want this family to have vivid, crisp shots but I had never photographed a newborn before! Sure I took pictures of my own newborn but if you look back into my archives, you’ll see this was before a professional(ish) camera, lens and speedlite came into my life.
It was something new. And I was a bit nervous. And I just..did it. For the first time ever. Here are some newborn shots.
He smiled at me!! I realize they’re not all going to be like him…
Smushy cute newborn face.
Sigh. I want mine already. 21 more weeks??? Cruel.
Got a sneak shot or two of Handsome Big Brother.
Dad got in there too! None of this was planned, you must know. This was a casual playdate that turned into me wanting to take photos of the baby. At first I used flash and then realized how naturally lit their house is. It makes me wonder just how much I could potentially do with a plan, with props, with more experience…
It was fun. And it was odd. I was there mainly to meet the newborn, chat with my friend and have the toddlers play together. I wanted to wear many hats. People often comment that when I’m with them, I’m not taking photos. And it’s true. I usually can’t do both. I’m either 100% immersed in being or 100% immersed in taking photos. So we split up our time. We chatted, snacked, played, hung out. When it was time to take photos, that was it. I was all business until the end. Every time I thought I was done, I wasn’t. A new room, a new light, a new expression.
It’s neverending, really. And it made me believe that a lot of good things are coming my way.