Pinterest Fail DIY Newborn Photos

DIYing our newborn photos was not my original plan.

I was pregnant with my first baby and, not surprisingly, very excited. I poured over newborn photos online, dreaming of adorable backdrops and props and positions in which my baby’s heavenly cuteness would be immortalized.

My due date came and went and I wasn’t shocked. I myself was born  quite “late”…I didn’t feel entitled to an on-time baby. Almost 2 weeks later though, at just shy of 42 weeks pregnant, I heard from our photographer: she was going on vacation. Vacation? I hadn’t even had the baby yet! “Oh well,” I thought. “I’ll probably be pregnant for another two to nine weeks so I’ll connect with her when she gets back.” That’s what it feels like, by the way, when you’re 10 months pregnant. It feels like you’ll never not be pregnant.

Happily, I was wrong. Baby arrived. At that point, by the time we had our rescheduled photo session he was going to be almost three weeks old. But everyone said the ideal time to capture the newborn sleepy stage was in the first nine days! In hindsight, I think the smartest move would have been to cancel our original session and book with another photographer who was available within that window. What we decided to do – looking back, I blame sleep deprivation – was keep our rescheduled session with the original photographer and take some DIY newborn photos in the meantime.

“How hard could it be?”  I thought. Hubby’s pretty good with the camera, baby’s pretty sleepy, we’ll get  at least a few good shots. I turned up the heat and the white noise just like The Internet told me to, nursed him to sleep, and we gave it whirl.

How hard could it be? 

As it turns out, newborn photography is quite challenging. I will venture to say that two sleep deprived parents, one of whom is recovering from a massive physical ordeal, are not equipped to take newborn portraits in their living room on their shag rug. If you’re not sure, examine the evidence:

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This is not exactly what I pictured when I proposed the idea.

To be honest, I didn’t give it a lot of forethought. I figured we would just arrange his sleepy little body with his tiny little fists tucked under his tiny little chin and he would look just like all those Pinterest babies.

Since propping him up was more challenging than we’d anticipated, we let him get comfortable:

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Naked in a sea of shag, quietly protesting his idiot parents.
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But hey! At least we captured the first of 200 failed attempts at tummy time.

“Baskets!” I thought. “The Pinterest babies are always hanging out in baskets.” I grabbed the only basket we had and carefully laid him down. That’s when he woke up like a hungry bear:

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This idea also did not pan out.

This was the exact moment when we decided to call it quits. I accepted that we were out of our league and this was one hell of a Pinterest Fail.

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Concerned, yet relieved.

The lesson is obvious: don’t DIY your newborn photos. This is a job for a professional. Your baby will thank you!

 Have you ever been a Pinterest failure? 

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23

TPFT (Too Pregnant For This)

Pregnancy can be beautiful and enchanting but let’s be honest. It can also be awkward and strenuous. There were a few times in particular when I felt like I’d had just about enough:

Went out with friends. Hubby wanted me to be his DD for the ride home but I was so tired, I fell asleep in the car on the way there. I’m too pregnant for this.

Decided to renovate before the baby comes because if not, then when?  Now it feels like I have to summit Kilimanjaro every time I want a snack, which is all the time. I’m too pregnant for this.

Signed up for prenatal yoga. Hoped it would boost my energy but I shavasana’d myself into a near coma and had to call my neighbour for a ride home. I’m TPFT.

Wanted to maintain some semblance of a sex life. Slipped into something a little less comfortable to get freaky but now I just feel like a freak. I’m way too pregnant (and sober) for this.

35 weeks along. Tried to potty train the 2 year old but his “gotta pee” face turned into his “sorry about your shag rug” face faster than I could awkwardly roll off the couch. I’m too damn pregnant for this!

Dropped my phone on the floor. Thought about picking it up but it’s not worth the effort it takes to bend over only to be bombarded with “do you think you’re dilated?” texts from my sisters. TPFT!

Tried to keep up with workouts. Squeezed myself and my enormous belly into my Lulu crops and dragged myself to the gym but people are staring at me as if my water is about to break all over their elliptical machines. Yep, TPFT.

41 weeks along. Read that I should walk to bring on labour but every step I take, I feel more certain that the swelling is permanent and I’ll never see my ankle bones again. Will this pregnancy ever end?

Happily, after our babies are born we (mostly) forget about these small burdens. The fatigue, the discomfort, the pain…they’re all worth it when we look into those big beautiful baby eyes.

When did you feel like you were “Too Pregnant For This”?

 

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I Don’t Care About Your Birth Choices

I don’t care about your birth choices. For example, here are several things I don’t care about:

  • Whether you’re cared for by an OB-GYN or a midwife
  • Whether you’re planning a hospital birth or a homebirth
  • Whether you intend to have a medicated or non-medicated birth
  • Whether or not you prepare a birth plan

When it comes time for your labour and birth, here are more things I don’t care about:

  • Whether your labour starts on its own or you are induced
  • Whether or not you follow your birth plan
  • Whether your birthing noises sound mostly like “Ommmm” or mostly like “SWEAR WORD SWEAR WORD SWEAR WORD”

“What kind of heartless robot doula is this?” I can almost hear you asking yourself.

Actually, I care SO much. About you. 

As your doula, I care about you. Specifically, I care about you feeling good about your choices. I care about you looking back on your birth with positive memories. Birth matters! It really does. Your birth experience will influence your recovery, your postpartum period, your parenting, your mental wellness and more.

That said, I don’t believe it’s the perfect execution of an ideal birth plan that matters most. I think what matters most is that you have the support you need as you traverse the unknown. As your doula I will help you and your partner to navigate the information presented to you by your care providers and to connect with your inner voice in order to make choices for your birth. I will be a shoulder to lean on when emotions (positive, negative just alllll the emotions) are running high. I will encourage you, validate you, and celebrate with you. I will use my best tricks to make you feel as comfortable as possible.

And hey. In birth, as in life, things don’t always go the way we planned. Sometimes that means the things we thought we cared about (“My birthing playlist features Bach’s Cello Suites”) weren’t actually very helpful  (“On second thought, put on Super Bass and turn it UP”). Sometimes it means letting go of what you thought was “best” in order to do what’s safest or most manageable for you and/or your baby. If you change your mind about something you thought you wanted or you have to adapt to an unexpected turn in your birth, I won’t skip a beat – I’ll switch tracks right along with you. If in the end you’re disappointed, I’m disappointed too. I can’t make your hurt feelings go away but I will be right there to support you. I will make sure you’re reminded of your strength.

It’s my mission to provide unbiased, wholehearted support. Unbiased because that’s my job as your doula. Wholehearted because, truly, I’m not a robot! I care so much about you.

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*Those* Doula Statistics

Have you ever heard someone refer to a doula as an advocate? I have. It usually sounds something like this:

“We hired a doula because we want someone to advocate for us if the doctor tries to force us to have an induction/epidural/Cesarean.”

You may have read statistics linking doula support to certain birth outcomes: decreased use of Pitocin, decreased likelihood of Cesarean birth, increased likelihood of spontaneous vaginal birth, and decreased use of pain medication. In fact, many doulas feature those exact statistics prominently on their websites.

Those statistics are drawn from a reliable source: a recent Cochrane systematic review, which is an analysis of all the available evidence on health care  interventions, held to the highest academic standard.  I’m pretty familiar with systematic reviews and I can tell you that this is certainly not pseudoscience. Here’s the problem: when these numbers are used to sell doula services, there’s a risk of misleading clients (you!). Specifically, presenting the numbers in this way confuses correlation with causation. The statistical tests used in the studies included in the Cochrane review calculate the correlation between variables. They do not imply causation; that is, the statistics do not tell us that doulas actively prevent unwanted interventions. Doula support is not correlated with happy and healthy births because of advocacy. The relationship between doula support and “better” birth outcomes is more nuanced than that.

So. How to explain it?

A doula can positively impact your birth experience no matter what type of birth you have. This is not because the doula will fight for you, challenging your care providers and convincing you to make decisions to support a certain agenda. Rather, it’s because with a doula on your team, you and your partner will feel calm and confident. You’ll be comforted in every way. You will never be alone. When you feel calm and confident, happy hormones will help you to relax and enjoy the journey. They may even allow you to cope better with the sensations of labour and delivery. Relaxation and happiness can actually help you to cope with pain! With the help of a birth doula you’ll feel good about yourself no matter what happens.

It’s not my job to make sure you get to check off every item on your plan. I’m not an advocate. My job is to support you every step of the way. As your doula I’ll slow down time for you, so to speak, when you need to make a decision. I’ll encourage you and help prepare you to ask your questions. If things aren’t going according to plan I’ll help you to accept, to adapt, to process, and to revise your plan. All the while, I’ll help you to maintain those calm and confident feelings.

I don’t consider it a success when you have a “natural birth”; I consider it a success when you look back on your birth with fond memories. I want you to feel like you handled it like a boss, made your own choices, spoke up for yourself. I want you to look back at your birth and know that you were strong. That’s what doulas do, and it’s not something *those* statistics can capture.

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