About getting guilt out of the picture

19/07/2019

Of all the things that worried me most in my life during my second pregnancy, there was one that didn’t let me sleep, daydream, watch a movie or just eat a little candy:

I was terrified of doing things wrong.

I had failed so many times with my first daughter that I couldn’t afford to feel like a bad mother again.

Mom breastfeeding her six month old baby in their home, while baby holds her finger in a documentary family photoshoot

So, with Helena, things were going to be different. They had to.

I was still pregnant when I already had made the decision of applying baby-led-weaning, co-sleeping, breastfeeding at least for 1 year, I had made my own Pinterest board with healthy recipes, I was considering just buying clothes made out of organic cotton, Montessori wood toys, and I could go on and on because, you know… it’s an endless list.

But parenting it’s not exactly applying recipes, right?

During these last 3 years, since my daughter was born, I did all I said I would but also. I aldo did all the things I said I would never ever let my child or myself do: she watches Peppa in a daily basis, she eats sugar and chips.

We do co-sleep and she’s still breastfeeding, but sometimes I spend way too much time with my phone when I’m with her. And healthy food is almost completely off of my to-do list.

Dad holding pacifier in baby's mouth trying to confort him while he cries. Family photographer in Amsterdam, Netherlands.

The epidemic of parents guilt

How do I feel every evening after putting her to bed? GUILTY. I feel guilty. I feel like a horrible mom and start thinking about all the things I didn’t do during the day that I knew I should.

And after a few hours of self-punishment, I’m already convinced that my daughter has just been alone all day because of her horrible absent mother.

Every day is almost the same, especially during school holidays when I still have job to do and my daughter is at home.

From talking to other moms and dads, I found we all struggle with the same thing: we agonize in guiltiness. We worry about how we rate as parents, how our actions will affect our kids and sometimes, this feeling is so painful we can’t even talk about it.

Mom conforting her toddler who is crying in her birthday party in Amsterdam

We do have to be conscious of how our behavior affects our children, but we also have to be fair to ourselves.

We strongly focus on the things we do wrong, or the things we consider are wrong (it is not the same), on top of that, we deal with the pressure of other people letting us know that whatever we choose to do, we could choose better.

This is something I started talking more often with some friends and also, with some of my clients.

Take comfort in knowing that every parent who is conscious of what their child needs, feels this way. Because we have much more information about how to do parenting “right“, it is hard to feel like we do enough.

Especially women feel so much pressure for being good moms while dealing with hormones, fears, sleep deprivation, relatives’ opinions… We just can’t see all the little and enormous things we do for our kids on a daily basis.

Mom cooking with her toddler on the countertop in a documentary family photoshoot in Amsterdam, Noord-Holland
Mom having breakfast in the floor with her baby

And while I take pictures, I get to capture moms and dads just contemplating their baby for hours while he/she is completely asleep; holding the pain of the first days of breastfeeding as if nothing happens; cooking patiently with their toddler on the countertop, while they ambient the kitchen with the music of pans being knocked by wood spoons; or just laughing out loud while their children jump from the couch pretending to be a superhero.

They are so much in love that they don’t even care about how the living room became that big mess.

Toddler helping her dad to make breakfast on the countertop of their home, having fun during their spontaneous and honest photoshoot

Documenting the beauty in the chaos.

Documentary family sessions allow me to show parents how much they do for their children every day from when they wake up until they go to bed.

All parents do their very best – we’re all humans after all, and all humans make mistakes.

But you don’t need a line to look like a good and happy parent in your pictures.

You already are one.

Toddler and her dad with their cat, smiling and being happy in a "Morning in your life" photoshoot, Amsterdam, Noord-Holland

You just have to be you

In the end, to have honest family photos is not only about being unique and authentic. It’s also about realizing that being beautiful is nothing like Pinterest and Instagram want us to believe.

Documentary photography shows parents how beautifull and good they are with their children and how much love they have in their homes

Beauty can be found in how we enjoy and grow with our loved ones every day, while we learn how to love them with empathy and respect.

I would love to show you, through my photos, how hard you work as a parent through the highs and the lows – and how beautiful it all is.

Let’s get that guilt out of your pictures. Contact me here for a session of your own.

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