From the moment your little one arrives in the world, eyes screwed tight, rosy mouth wide open, hands the size of coins wrapped tight around your finger clinging on, any parent will know the joy of that moment – that feeling of being emotionally filled to the brim by it all.
For a mother, physically drained from the exertion of bringing this tiny little being, blinking and vulnerable, into the world, that moment is at once both intensely vivid and dreamlike. The weight that has disappeared from the safe nest inside you, instantly descends as a new and different weight, this time on your heart. A hundred sensations threaten to drown you in that moment: of wonderment, awe, joy, love, fear, tenderness and hope. And like an arrow to your heart, you are reminded that your world is most beautiful at it’s most fragile – you know that if anything happens to this little life, so helpless and so dependant on you for everything, your world will at once be nothing: crushed and hopeless. It’s moments like these, when you cherish a soul so much that you know you couldn’t bare to know a life without them, that we’re reminded with striking clarity just how delicate life really is.
I knew the same all-consuming emotions when I found and fell for my soulmate. When I realised that my happiness was now dependant on another’s. When I understood how I needed him to be happy, for me to be happy. When I knew that life could not go on, without him there beside me. And when you hold your newborn in your arms for the very first time, the feelings only intensify: now there are two souls to watch over and protect with everything you have in you.
The pressures of motherhood hit you suddenly and with the most incredible force that first night. No longer indulged by your body automatically supplying your little one with all they require, the responsibility seems enormous, and you find a new respect for life. For the power and mechanics of the body. For the brilliance of what it has achieved all on its own the last nine months. For caring so admirably for this little piece of your heart without much gratitude from you. The journey is nothing short of extraordinary.
For me, becoming a mother has been the most humbling experience life has given me. As parents we’re given no manual when the little one arrives. No guidebook or set of instructions. You learn on the job and instinct takes over from the get-go. The moment our little one arrived in the world, my whole perspective on life shifted almost instantly: from that second, I knew that I had been blessed with a task much more important that my own life. This tiny little soul would take priority over everything else. He needed us just to survive. Needed our warmth. Needed our care. Needed nurturing and cherishing and loving. Our lives had changed and would be filled with a host of new challenges and joys to embrace every day with never-ending love and commitment to guide us through. Now, for as long as we live, this little life will always be more important. So important that even when we’re sleeping, we’ll never truly rest in the same way again – our minds will be always reaching out to know that he is safe and happy and well.
Our little boy’s arrival has also been a constant reminder to appreciate the little moments, the special ones, and to enjoy them to their fullest, simply because the hand of time seems to march so fast when you see the difference that every month makes, their features and developments changing almost daily. You barely blink and they’ve grown. If we forget to record these times together, we’ll never get them back again. Be it a simple touch, a trusting smile, a happy giggle or a hopeful stretch as our baby boy’s arms reach out for one of us for comfort, these are the things that bring a smile to my face everyday and light up my heart – and I never want to forget them, as long as I live.
They’re the things I want to remember when I’m old one day, the memories I want to see as my mind steps back in time for a while to recall our special times together and the way things were. Capturing our life together on camera has become a real joy and portraits of the little moments, the fleeting ones, the ones we’ll ache to remember as our little one grows up and the wheel of time rolls on, seems to me an invaluable way of collecting our memories. I know that these photos that we have to look back on will one day tell our story in the most poignant and evocative of ways.