WHY YOU SHOULD DOCUMENT YOUR PREGNANCY, YOUR BABIES, YOUR LIFE, WITH ZERO GUILT
I was 8 months pregnant here with my firstborn. I distinctly remember it being extremely hot and humid that day. But I also remember feeling so happy. So grateful to be finally carrying a child. I also clearly remember seeing a photo of my mother pregnant with me and I thought, woah that was a really long time ago.
I’m watching “This Is Us” on Nbc and if you’re not, I suggest you get your remote and set your DVR immediately.
The hype surrounding this show was remotely forcing me to get on board because “Parenthood” is gone and we needed a replacement. It’s not “Parenthood”, but for the record, it’s a close second. And it’s got me thinking. And crying.
Spoiler alert: the show is set up in two time periods. When a young couple are pregnant with triplets and having their first children and present day when those children are now adults and resuming life normally. Yep, it's like seeing life happen and unfold, one moment at a time, frame by frame, and then flashing to now and watching the relationships blossom, or fall apart as they may and everything that goes along with that. It's everything that relates to the human heart. And it’s got my emotions running on empty. Because it’s brilliant. And now I'm nostalgic. Crazy nostalgic.
My Dad has been talking about an 8 mm film that is lost somewhere in their attic. He says it’s of me in a yellow bathing suit dancing around to ‘grease lightening’ in our old living room in our old house where we had the orange shag carpet. He says it’s priceless. He tries to explain it, but he can’t, he says you just have to see it.
In a day and age where taking pictures and video is second nature to any one with a hand held, many people say it’s narcissistic, it’s too much and maybe it is, but documenting my life in photos and film, goes way back. Way before Instagram, way before reality tv, way before internet. It goes back to my parents documenting their life, which was my life, my brother’s life, my sister’s life and my little brother’s life. And in their house, there are probably about 200 photo books filled with polaroids and glossy pics like below that have turned yellow in color because of age and smell like dust and an old rusted attic. But they are my life and I want them all.
When I look back on just 5 1/2 years ago, being pregnant with my firstborn like you can see at the top, I’m astonished at time. And when I see me just months old sitting on my Dad's lap at Christmas, I'm beside myself. And so if you’re hesitant about documenting life about your pregnancy, or your babies birth, or your entire life as it unfolds, here’s a breakdown of why I think you should.
Because you only have this life, right now. Because you may never be pregnant again. Because this exact moment in time, you can’t get back. Because 25 years from now, you’ll be looking through your office for a picture of your pregnancy and or post pregnancy to show to your daughter as she’s complaining of pain in her back and too much weight on her hips and you will want to show her and remind her how amazing it was to be pregnant with her and how grateful you were to give birth to her on a hot summer day.
Because this will be you, exhausted, out of your mind, drinking beer to help make milk while holding a baby on your boob and simultaneously putting a syringe of pumped milk in the corner of her mouth so she will learn to suck and if you’re mom snaps a photo of you in this ridiculous state of motherhood, just smile and say cheese.
Because you might end up pregnant again after years of not being pregnant and fighting about getting pregnant and your marriage might be feeling like it’s failing and then one day by the grace of God you end up pregnant with identical twins and you’re scared as shit and you’re frightened the marriage will crumble even more because you’re having twins and everything will feel crazy, chaotic and unbalanced.
Because if you have a friend who’s a photographer and you ask her to take a couple pictures of you 8 months pregnant with twins in the middle of another hot Tennessee summer and you do, you can look back and say yes, I actually carried identical twins full term through the hottest summer in the south..
Because if you have another friend who loves to take pictures and you invite him and his wife (also your bestie) to snap some pictures hours after your twins are born, but you barely remember a thing because you are on multiple drugs and nervous and sore and scared, but you get these images.
Because many years from now, you will be my Dad, saying to your son or daughter, “you don’t remember this, but this was the absolute best day in any July that I can remember.”
Because some day you’ll be sitting on your front porch with your spouse and you will see your little grandchildren that will be the same sizes as the kids you see above and they will be running around the yard and you will reflect back and see your life flash before your eyes and see it in color like it was yesterday. Because you will want to show them the history of your life right then and there. Because your life will move as fast as it’s supposed to and you want to document it because you will want to see life as it was in the moment. Because it's your life. It's your "This Is Us". And that is why you should document it.
I’m not sure my Dad will ever find that 8 mm of me in the yellow bathing suit, but I’m certain I know exactly how it made him feel. And this is precisely why if I can grab a moment of my life that makes me feel something so good it can last a lifetime, you better believe my family is ready for their closeup.