|Hi, I'm Julie ... artist, photographer, potter, etc. I am so happy you are here! I consider this blog my creative journal where I can share my recent work, ideas and dreams, and lots of little details about my life. Please make yourself at home. Whether you are a bride-to-be, a photographer, or just a visitor, I hope you will find inspiration here and even become a friend.
My friends Paige Hankla and Marcus Wilkerson recently welcomed a beautiful baby boy into their lives. I was thrilled to meet Odin Zen and photograph him when he was only 10 days old. I love documenting the precious connection and quickly changing moments between newborn babies and their families. Having welcomed two of them into my own life over the past three years, I am no stranger to the fresh magic straight from heaven that they bring with them and sprinkle on the lives of everyone they meet.
So I am very excited to share this documentary-style newborn session ... as well as an interview with Paige. Rarely do new moms have the time or energy to participate in something like this so this is a beautiful gift that Paige is sharing. Enjoy!
Thoughts about being a new mom: I feel lucky. I hear stories from other people about lack of sleep, about postpartum depression, about a myriad of hurdles that people encounter. So far, my biggest hurdle has been PUPPPS (Pruritic Urticarial Papules and Plaques of Pregnancy) and feeling as if I have to hold the baby most all of the time to where I can't get up and move as much as I would like. Ultimately, I feel well! I feel healthy, happy, and social. I do feel like taking the encapsulated placenta that Marcus was so intent on dehydrating and preparing for me are an integral part to feeling well. I feel much like before I was pregnant, that I was meant to be a mom. I've wanted to have a baby for as long as I can remember. It's very fulfilling, even at the two week mark.
What is Odin like? Odin is unbelievably perfect. His face is round and full of expression. His smiles make my heart glow. I just want to hold him, cuddle him, and watch him grow into the perfect person he already is. I can't believe how grown up he already seems. He's rarely fussy. He mainly cries when we change his diaper which is getting better day by day as he gets a little more used to the world. He also gets a little fussy after company. I think he prefers to be cocooned with just us but I suspect this will get easier as time goes on as well. It's hard to adjust to a new world.
Things that are really great: Odin sleeps through the night almost every night! Filling out the baby book with my partner makes me fall more in love with him. Community has swarmed in with great abundance and has offered Marcus and I support, food, diapers, clothes, and anything that a baby could ever need including house cleaning gift certificates. We've loved seeing everyone's generosity and are constantly feeling incredibly loved and blessed.
Things that are difficult: Not having a few minutes of alone time to clean up the house, use the bathroom, or just have a moment. The insecurity of feeling like you're not doing it right. I'm constantly feeling like I'm either feeding him too much or not enough. It's also difficult setting boundaries with family and even strangers to keep our version of safety intact for Odin. These means not letting grandparents keep him solo while we're still breastfeeding or keeping strangers from touching/kissing him. It's also difficult giving all of your energy and attention to this new little being all the time. I'm so used to multi-tasking and having time to do everything. I'm still learning how to do this with an infant while still giving him everything he needs. I do feel like there is a good balance, but that the "fourth trimester" is the time to 100% be focused on Odin.
Advice/Thoughts for moms to be: Follow your intuition/your own path. Don't be afraid to ask for a little alone/down time without the baby. That five minutes could be a lifesaver. Stare at that little face and body as much you can. Relish your time with the new little and your new family. Don't take any of it too seriously. Trust yourself and know that everything will turn out just fine.