This newborn session was the final session in the Pregnancy & Newborn Collection that Renee & Kaine purchased to document the arrival of their gorgeous little man, Jesse Jack.
Jesse was fifteen days old for this session, and considering how unpredictable newborn babies can be, and my love for the real moments in life, we decided on approaching this session in a very documentary manner. Aside from a few suggestions of where to move to (the bedroom to snuggle up together and interact with their very alert little man, or by the window for a few last family frames at the end of our session), and the small collection of more posed photographs of Jesse wrapped (which we only attempted because he slept so soundly and Renee & Kaine had requested we give it a go), we stuck true to the fly-on-the wall style of documentary photography. I hovered around the edges of this new family figuring out a very tiny and very slippery baby at bath time, when we paused for multiple feeds throughout the morning, I snapped away, and when dad was consoling an unsettled little man curled up on his chest. These are how our days as parents of newborns are spent - doing what needs to be done for this tiny new person, and figuring out the routine of our previous lives around that. For me, this is very best way to photograph a newborn, because when you're in the thick of it yourself, the tasks you often look upon as just that - a chore to be completed for the day - or something seemingly mundane in it's familiarity and repetition, it's so easy to overlook the beauty in those moments.
Once your baby grows a little bigger, becomes a little more adept at holding himself up, and undressing them doesn't feel so worrying - memories of what it felt like to bathe your delicate newborn fade a just a little. Once you've established breastfeeding and those feeds begin to spread further apart, the memory of dad topping up a breastfeed with a bottle, when before you know it you're breastfeeding him again - those days when cluster feeding and growth spurts make you feel like all you've achieved all day long is feed your baby - those days begin to fade a little too, and you wonder if your mind is playing tricks on you when you think back on how much your life revolved around milk.
When I sent these guys a couple of photographs from this session for a quick look before the whole set was complete, Renee commented that she looked so tired. For the most part, I don't think she looks overly tired, she looks a bit smitten mostly. Though towards the end there are one or two where Renee does look tired, which is just what life was like for them then in those newborn weeks. Only days after an intense labour and delivery, which of course sends you immediately into an exhaustion beyond what you imagined, alongside meeting the almost unrelenting needs and demands of your baby - it's only natural. I for one am glad that there are those few photographs amongst this set that show that very real part of new parenthood, because through all of that, she still can't wipe the grin off her face. When Jesse is old enough to recognise his mother's exhaustion, he will also see her pride at being his mama beaming from her face.
May every woman be looked upon with such obvious adoration, pride and love, as Renee is in this photograph.
I say this for most parents I work with, because it's absolutely true, and parents are making their experience their own and everyone is doing their very best. But, these guys are doing parenthood SO WELL. Not only that, but they're doing marriage, so well, all at the same time. They're laying it all out there for you too, they both blog about parenthood, and their lives in general, over at NOT SO SECRET LIFE OF US. Go check it out, follow them on Facebook HERE for their latest updates and cheer them on! It's an entertaining, heart-strings-tugging and very honest account of their life right now. xx
If you've missed any of the sessions from their Pregnancy & Newborn Collection, you can find their previous blog posts below.
Pregnancy Session - 29 weeks
Pregnancy Session - 35 weeks, part I
First Days Session - 22 hours old