Dear Friends, On the eve of my baby’s arrival, gift me photographs. An open letter by Geelong photographer, Michelle McKay
Whether it be baby one or number three, the long standing tradition of gathering with well wishes, wisdom and an assortment of miscellaneous baby goods is a beautiful way to arm new mamas on their journey into motherhood.
When the gorgeous day of kindred connection and pastel patterned bunting comes to a close, pregnant women the country over are left with a belly full of cake and a gift table piled high with lotions, onesies, cloth nappies and an assortment of brightly coloured infant paraphernalia.
Some of these things will make the wake of babe’s arrival a little easier to navigate. Some will make those first few weeks of stumbling dumbly through the fog of parenthood more survivable.
But despite the presence of an apparently limitless supply of talcum powder, those sleepy weeks and months will come and go in a blurry din, none the less.
As a mama whose babies have long since left that fresh and squishy phase, what I now wish I had more of from back then is photographs.
The truth is that even the second time around, when I knew exactly what I was in for, those first days, weeks and even months were so overwhelming and endlessly exhausting that even I - a photo obsessed sentimentalist - took barely any pictures.
I had online shopping delivering boxes of nappies, and a freezer filled to the gills with Bolognese and chicken stir fry, but through the bleariness of mama brain I didn’t have the energy or the forethought to document my baby’s quickly growing, fleetingly tiny toes.
I wish I’d known to ask.
If only I’d realised what I wanted.
It’s been almost two years since I brought my final baby home. We’ve no more need for duck shaped thermometers, fluffy booties or laced basinet bedding.
The flowers I came home to that first week are long decomposed, and more plush teddies than I’d like to admit have been stealthily disappeared, palmed off to pals or donated to the local goodwill.
The sentiment wasn’t lost to me - each friend’s gesture of love still warms me like the warmest of warm hugs. But still, there’s nothing left of it now.
Nothing from those momentous and momentary months remain, beyond my all too misty memories.
Sweet, darling, thoughtful, kindhearted, loving friends.
On the eve of her baby’s arrival, gift her photographs.
Pass the hat around.
Gather to give a gift that cannot be matched by a precarious tower consisting of all the other things; something she’ll cherish from now until the end of days.
Take the precious piece of her heart she hasn’t yet met and preserve it.
Keep it safe for her.
Because one day, any unknown number of days from now, the tired will pass.
And only with photographs will a record of those first few months of sublime yet muddled motherhood remain.
Imagine it - actual memories, caught.
The most delicate of petals, lovingly pressed and preserved between the pages of her heart.
To organise a gift certificate for a friend or love one, get in touch here.
Oh, and if you'd love to see even more new baby goodness, have a look at this glorious Fresh 48 story session, shot right here at our own Geelong district hospital.