On October 18th we welcomed our baby girl, Juniper Violet, into the world. Over the past month we have been getting to know her – what she needs and how she expresses it – as well as what it means for us to be parents. It is such a miraculous thing to give birth; one day it was just the two of us and the next, we were responsible for this new life.
I was blessed with an easy pregnancy (if we can forget about that morning sickness part) so my weeks were still filled with camping, canoeing, travel, etc just at a slightly more cautious level than before. We photographed our last wedding only a week before she arrived (with backup plans in place of course). I loved thatÂ I had a partner with whom I could share myÂ experiences,Â especially asÂ I got further along and she would respond to touches, sounds, and food. Still, little swishes of movement across my belly and a baby out in the world – squirming, crying, and learning to eat – are two very different things.Â I remember lying in the hospital bed the night she was born, looking at her as she slept between usÂ in the little plastic bassinet, thinking how is this possible?
One month later, the feeling of awe still comes over me in waves. There are good portions of my day where I am too busy to dwell on itÂ – one feeding will stretch into the next (punctuated by diaper changes) and suddenly it’s the middle of the afternoonÂ and I still haven’t showered. And inÂ quiet moments, when I’m deep in work or writing (or Stranger Things, let’s be real), and it’s easy to forget that she is two feet away snoozing in her rocker, I’m too preoccupied to dwell on it. It’s as I unwrap herÂ swaddle blankets at 3:00 am that it will hit me. She will let out little squawks, archÂ her back,Â stretch her arms, and open her eyes, and I will think, wow, this is my baby.
There are so many worthwhile experiences in life, andÂ rather than feeling that parenthood has trumped them all, I just feel like it has made each of themÂ more valuable. I am looking forward to sharing so many things with Juniper – impartingÂ a love of art, music, travel, and the outdoors, as well as watching her discover things to love all her own. But for now, we’re immersing ourselvesÂ inÂ this newborn stage and learning to be flexible beyond our expectations so we can appreciate it, mess and all.
Photos by KP Photography www.kirstenpetersonphotography.com