When Jo was born, we were desperately poor. Twenty dollars a week for groceries poor. You have no business having a baby poor. Clearly, we made it. But no, there was no room in the budget for anything extra. Heck, there was no room in the budget for half of the essentials.
I went through that amazing, God-sent pregnancy regretting so many things that I would have loved to experience. I listened to people talk about their little babymoon getaways, and plan out their elaborate nurseries, and pick up sweet little outfits, and my heart ached. I felt like somehow, I was missing out. Then Jo was born, and I realized that I could have been in a mud hut with nothing but a straw mat to sleep on and my husband by my side, my baby in my arms ... and I would have still been blissfully happy.
The only thing I walked away feeling like I would have liked to have done differently was the photographs of that time. Thirteen years ago, most of the public was still shooting film. It was the age of the awful point-and-shoot. Stand four feet from your subject, hope the focus is right, and hit the button. Sometimes you got the shot. Sometimes you didn't. You had no idea until the photos came back from the drug store--or, if you were poor like me, you had no idea until the relatives sent you their cast-offs ... and those slightly out of focus or badly lit images are what your memories are made of to this day.
This was a special tragedy to me because in college, photography was one of my favorite hobbies. I lugged my cheap, clunky Pentax with me everywhere. I spent hours in cramped darkrooms. I even entertained going to photography school for a while, but followed the advice of a dear friend who said, "Becoming a photographer was the best way to kill my love of taking good pictures."
Being dirt poor, however, meant no money to buy decent film. No access to processing chemicals. Nothing. Because folks, photography is a pricey hobby.
Things were better--both financially and photographically--with Atticus and Logan. I could buy our own film for our little point and shoot, and sometimes, I even got it processed. We got our very first digital camera when Logan was seven months old, and from there, things were, well--a lot clearer. From the moment we were placed with Oli and Mani, we've had decent shots. Eight years of digital. Woo-hoo!
But still, the newborn days were gone. And you know, I've been saddened by that on many an occasion. Mr. Blandings doesn't understand this pang, but maybe some other mothers will. The window of time when your babies are sweet, sleeping little peanuts is so short. You can never get it back. But, if you're blessed, you can at least look back on proof that the time existed.
This time, I told myself that I would have the proof.
I started shopping for a photographer mid-way through my pregnancy with Seven. There are so many styles, so many approaches, so much to choose from. I decided that I wanted shots of just my baby, despite the obvious beauty of the lovely Momma and Baby themes, or even the Family and Baby approach. Along the way, I fell in love with Renee Bergeron's work. And, generously, she worked with me to preserve my memories of this beautiful, fleeting time with Seven.
Renee has posted a sampling of some of the shots on her photo blog, and I'm delighted to share them with you. I'm also happy to pass on a hearty endorsement of her as a photographer. Not only is her work incredible, but she's just a neat person all around--someone you want to sip coffee with and get to know better. If you're in the market for a professional photographer, drop her a line.
Trust me, you'll be glad you did. Memories are precious. But the photos to back up those once-in-a-lifetime mental images are just as priceless.