motherhood

On taking selfies

July 26, 2014
Mama Daughter Selfies - a spiritual practise

This first month with Kaya has been hard. Many parent-friends told me it would be of course but there is this thing about life that you can never truly understand something until you experience it yourself.

The sleep deprivation + raving hormones + trying to figure out how to be a good mother to this very dependant little person. It is all consuming and it is just plain hard. I adore Kaya. I am still a little in awe that we made someone so amazing. But still, some days, many days, it is hard to step back and remember what an incredible gift this is.

When I’m covered in spit up and poop and have only had four hours broken sleep and she’s crying again and we’ve run out of nappies and I haven’t left the flat in days and the flat itself is so dirty it’d probably be condemned if anyone from health and safety came by and I really just want an adult conversation that’s not about breast pads or sleep patterns…

So I started a new practise, by accident really. Kaya and I take daily selfies together. It started in the delivery room, in those precious two hours after the birth when they deposited my daughter on my chest skin to skin and we stayed that way, vernixey and exhausted but oh so happy. Rasmus handed me my phone for the first time in 12 hours and I held it up and took a photo of me and my girl, snuggled in close to me.

Since then I’ve taken a selfie of us every day. I may have missed a couple, but then there are days with multiple selfies. I generally look exhausted in all of them but I tell myself to smile anyway.

Already I look back through them and see my precious girl growing and see her tired mama who is doing her best. And her best is good.

It’s hard work, this fast and surreal growth into motherhood. But as my wise man keeps reminding me, hard does not equal bad. And those selfies help me to see the good in this hard. They help me to see past the bags under my eyes and the stains on my top and recognise the transformation happening in me and see that it is good.

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  • Jo Cameron Duguid

    So good to read this totally honest and real post, Fiona, and see you and your gorgeous little daughter, just as you are. I have never been a mother myself, but I currently know two young mothers of small babies and this is their story too. If it is any comfort at all to know this, I think it’s a huge sign of progress that women are now able to speak up and say, “You know what? This is really, really hard. This is harder than I ever imagined it would be, and I feel exhausted, disorientated and in constant fear of failure”. Your experience cannot be any different from that of all other women since the dawn of time, but for previous generations it was not OK to admit how tough they were finding it. Now you can speak your truth and that surely has to be a gain. It is also mighty progress that we have a new generation of men who can listen, be present and help with this most important of work.
    Love, Jo

  • Adrienne Gross

    I don’t think there’s a lot in life that can compare with the complexity of emotions such as motherhood–it is so wonderful, yet so frustrating. Such a source of joy, yet so emotionally draining. It enriches your life, but drains the life right out of you too. And adjusting to it at the beginning is very, very tough. ( I had the most difficult time going from one kids to two. We’ll see what it will be like going from two to three.) Children take everything you have to give, but somehow, through God’s strength and grace alone, we moms are able to keep giving. I always am reminded, through motherhood, that it is a small picture of just how much He loves us–we who take, and take, and take. He is so good to just keep lavishing more of Himself on us. You are doing great, mama! You are exactly the mommy that Kaya needs, and one day she will love looking at these selfies too. Way to go! And thanks, as always, for the transparency in your post.

  • Kate Reader

    You both look gorgeous! When Will was little and grumpy (he was grumpy off and on a lot until he was about 10 weeks old), I used to take a picture of a happy thing every day. It might have been a hot cup of tea I got to drink. Or a picture of his smile. Or a pile of laundry I got done. And then when I felt past tired, and a bit desperate, or when I was feeding at 4am for the 10th time, I could look back at it and remind myself that the day was good, that I was able to do things, that I had a child for whom I was doing my best. Oh, and everyone always tells you to enjoy the early days. But I found it SO hard when my house was that dirty. Next time, if there is a next time, I will be pulling in every favour going, and/or hiring a cleaner for the first 3-6 months. Because you haven’t failed, it is so hard and the cleaning has to come last! Keep going Mama. Kaya is one lucky little person xxx

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