The best pose for newborns

These photos popped up in my October memories this week, 12 long but short years ago.  Sam took them early one morning, unplanned and unprompted.  I remember where I was sitting, the orange curtains casting a warm glow over the rocking chair in the nursery.  I was exhausted: another late night had rolled into an early morning. But I was also feeling peace in the morning light.

I don’t know why it has taken me so long to make the connection.  I literally just realized that these photos changed how I documented your newborn.  There is no “pose” more important or beautiful than your baby on your body and in parents’ arms. 

I still pose them alone when they let me.  I’m even pretty good at it, I can mold a sleeping newborn like clay.  But if I’m honest, I’ve been going through the motions with this lately. I stopped posing during COVID because the hands-off approach was much safer. I haven’t felt compelled to return and I wasn’t sure why.

You are where your baby will rest most comfortably and look most beautiful, all snuggled up and smelling your smell and listening to your heartbeat and your voice.  You are the safest, warmest place. And the photos here are beautiful, fully worthy of your birth announcement. There is no need for blankets or bean bags or props. You are the very best setting.

Of the many adorable, beautiful photos I took of my infant son posed alone its the shots above I love the most.  Its not because I’m in them, he just looks so beautiful and content.  He was never a piece of clay to be molded, he was my heart resting comfortably just outside my body.

And now, at age 12, I respect the sanctity of that more than ever.

These days I watch him move through the world on his own, as his own.  I cringe when he makes bad decisions, its like watching a car crash happening in slow motion. When he is in pain, I am too. I don’t know when to give or withhold advice when he is struggling: I want to rush to soothe tears but he pushes me back and asks for space. It is time for him to make mistakes, get hurt, sort out his own feelings and handle consequence. He is separating. He is becoming.

And it is this process of separation that makes parenting the very hardest thing I’ve ever done, incrementally harder with every passing year. 

So here I am, deeply grateful to have a document of that time when I *thought* he and I had separated when in fact the process had only just begun. And here I am, deeply grateful to create that memory for you to hold as well. They will forge their own selves soon enough. They will grin in school pics soon enough. Newborn time is not yet that time.

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