Last week I had the pleasure of reconnecting with a former classmate from my days at Poquoson High School. Now a teacher herself, Irene is also a mother of three children who all share the same birthdate! (How crazy is that?!)
With the newest addition of Miss Margaret, this mama wanted to try a different approach to the standard newborn session (which is where I come in), and to capture who they are in their new family dynamic.
This family was incredibly authentic in every way. Irene was so at ease in her role as a new mom of THREE! I loved that when I asked her if she needed any help with outfit choices prior to the session--which is something that comes up quite a bit--she replied with, "Are yoga pants OK?"
I was taken back by this response because it's one I've never received. Irene immediately shot up to EXTREME MATERNAL GODDESS status when she asked me this question.
I know some people reading this may be thinking, Why would a client wearing yoga pants make you so excited? So often, I hear from people who worry a lot about their clothes for their photography session. They worry about their house being untidy, or their children not cooperating; they are concerned about their hair being a mess, or whether or not they're looking "natural". All the while, everything truly natural and authentic is being stripped away. Irene just rolled with it all. Baby spit up, mid-session Frozen tea parties, a million and one snack breaks...
Children are messy beasts, especially when there is more than one of them. Adults get tired. Even when they sometimes don't do too much. (In my opinion, just having the title 'parent' is an automatic acceptable excuse for exhaustion for at least 18 years). Life happens; flat tires, unexpected illness, irritating bosses. Hair doesn't stay put, lipstick gets on our teeth, and sometimes we forget to match our socks.
THESE ARE THE DETAILS OF OUR LIFE STORY.
When we go around trying to change things to make them more "acceptable" or visually pleasing, what we are really doing is altering our life story. We are watering down what makes us unique, relatable, real, and incredibly gorgeous.
I appreciated so much Irene's ability to keep it real. To be herself, in those moments, fresh out of the hospital, with a tiny new being, and established mama to two other babes. I was in awe, if I'm being totally honest. Inspired. Leaving their session, I felt that I needed to incorporate some "Irene" into Lindsay.
I've stated before that I always try to look for my personal "take away" from every session. I learn so much about other people in this position that I'm constantly reflecting on what I've gained in my experience. This newborn session made me pause like no other, and for that I am sincerely grateful.
More real moments: Irene's little boy, Declan, kept asking, "Isn't this supposed to be over by now?" HA! I wish we could all be so frank.
One of my favorite moments of the day was when I was taking some photos of Baby Margaret in her nursery. Behind me, mom, dad, and big sister Victoria were standing around talking. Tori was standing on a stool, and started to slow dance with her mom. Once I saw these images after I uploaded them, I decided that every mom needs to stop and slow dance with her child, every parent should look at their children the way Irene looks at hers, and every child should look at their parent the way Tori looks at Irene.
Again, there was another moment, in a different room, where I was taking the standard up-close shots of Baby Margaret. She was lying on the floor, near the window. Irene was lying on her bed, chatting with me as I worked. I heard Declan climb onto the bed and as I turned around, I saw him lean down, stroke his mother's face, and kiss her. I immediately snapped the shot, and he immediately said, "I'm embarrassed." But that moment lives on, and it's moments like these which make me obsessive about this job.
Thank you, Irene & Family.
You've given me permission to be even more relentless in my pursuit of authenticity, and allowed me to be more kind to myself in the process.
I cannot stress enough how much I enjoyed getting to reconnect with you at this beautiful time in your life.