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Let’s take more photos of moms

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Thank you to my brother for this beautiful candid photo

There’s a photo of my mother and me that I know by heart. I’m in her arms in my grandparents’ backyard. I’m reaching out and smiling at someone off-camera. My mother’s blonde hair is cut short. She is wearing a lavender blouse and is looking down at me, smiling. She looks beautiful. And she looks proud.

I love this photo. There aren’t many of just the two of us. My parents didn’t own a camera back then. On top of that, three little brothers came along soon after this photo was taken. So childhood pictures of just my mother and me together are rare. And I cherish them.

I want to leave my daughter beautiful photos like this, photos of the two of us together.

So I take a lot of selfies. If I didn’t, there wouldn’t be too much to leave her.

For some reason, there seems to be something un-remarkable about my daughter being in my arms. Whether it’s a family gathering or an average day at home, chances are few people will aim their camera our way.

It began the day she was born. Family converged on our hospital room to meet this wonderful new little person and shutters clicked as she was passed from one beaming family member to the other. We turned down having the hospital photographer capture those first hours to save the money. We figured there would be a dozens of photos of just me and baby on the day she was born. Somehow, there were only two.

The trend continued through the first months of her life. Anytime a family member picked her up, the paparazzi swarmed. But the shutters fell silent whenever she was in my arms. I took to begging, sometimes in tears, for people to take more pictures of us together. When they did, I didn’t often receive a copy.

I know this is not a problem unique to me. I took to my online mom group and posted the following teary question: “Do any of you have to fight to get pictures taken of you and the baby?” The responses were an overwhelming “YES.”

Why do people seem uninterested in capturing these fleeting moments of moms and their babes? Is it because they are so used to seeing the two of us together that it no longer seems special? Does it become like white noise? Do people know how it makes us feel invisible? How it makes us feel insignificant?

What would happen if something happened to us moms? What evidence would be left behind to show our children how much we loved them?

Allison Tate wrote a beautiful piece for the Huffington Post – The Mom Stays In The Picture – about her own resolve to overcome poor body image and be in more pictures with her children. Here’s an excerpt that hits close to home:

gray-quotation-marks-hi Too much of a mama’s life goes undocumented and unseen. I’m everywhere in their young lives, and yet I have very few pictures of me with them. Someday I won’t be here — and I don’t know if that someday is tomorrow or thirty or forty or fifty years from now — but I want them to have pictures of me. … I want them to see how much I am here, how my body looks wrapped around them in a hug, how loved they are.

You see, it’s not just the remarkable moments that should be captured for posterity: babies being held by their great-grandmothers or uncles or second cousins twice removed. Posing in front of Christmas trees or blowing out first birthday candles. It’s the quiet, every-day moments of mothers and their children that we should chronicle: reading to them before bed, napping together on the couch, wrapping them in a towel and cuddling after a bath. Pictures that tell the true story of our time together.

Those are the photos I cherish in my own childhood photo album. And I reckon they’ll be the ones my daughter will cherish when she’s grown.

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