I stumbled upon this snapshot on my phone as I greeted the morning sun.
At this very moment, I find myself entrenched in the whirlwind of it all—the trenches of parenthood. Yet, on that particular night, it was my husband who rose to the occasion, tending to our baby’s needs.
He captured a candid moment of my daughter and me, post-diaper change, nursing session, and the delicate task of putting the baby to sleep (who eventually found his way into our bed during the night).
Typically, I shy away from sharing self-portraits that haven’t been meticulously staged. Normally, I’d harbor some resentment towards the photographer. However, this instance feels different. This photo stands out as something truly unique.
These recent weeks have proven exceptionally challenging. The demands of a newborn can easily slip from one’s consciousness. The exhaustion permeates every fiber of your being—physically, mentally, and emotionally. When you throw two more children into the mix, the fatigue is palpable, an ever-present companion.
I find myself changing diapers, cradling babies, wiping tears, cleaning spills, tackling laundry, washing dishes, and stealing moments for food throughout the day.
Personal grooming takes a back seat, and my eyes, swollen from lack of sleep, showcase the telltale signs of a mother’s fatigue. Clothing likely bears the stains of food or baby spit. My hair is perpetually tied into a functional yet unglamorous “mom bun,” and any trace of makeup has long vanished.
And here, in this image, it’s all laid bare. Parenthood, I realize, is one of the most demanding roles in the world, devoid of glamour.
I want to use this moment to reflect on my life. This image serves as a poignant reminder, a safeguard against the tendency to forget the nuances that one might miss amid the chaos.
I won’t lament the sleepless nights as much as I’ll long for the quiet moments of cradling my newborns to sleep. Feeling their soft breaths synchronize with mine, their tiny fingers curling around mine.
More disturbing than the inevitable crying fits will be the absence of the simple solace found in a hug and a gentle kiss on the forehead.
I’ll yearn for the simplicity of cleaning up messes with just soap and water more than the exasperation of spilled milk.
Sharing a bed with my children won’t cause physical discomfort, yet the void will echo in the absence of their faces beside mine come morning. Those cherished morning hugs will be sorely missed.
I want to use this moment to reflect on my life.
I refuse to let the challenges and overwhelming nature of parenthood fade into oblivion. So, I implore you to remind your partner or that special someone in your life. Encourage them to capture these unscripted moments, and in doing so, say, “Cherish these photos.”