Last year, I had the idea to cut simple hearts out of brightly colored construction paper, write little love notes on them (one for each kid), and stick them to their doors every morning starting Feb. 1 and leading up to Valentine's Day.
I thought it would be a cute idea, I knew they would like it. But I guess I didn't quite expect how much it would mean to them.
When I say it made a difference, I truly mean it.
They had a little more pep in their step, it brought the biggest smile to their faces, and most importantly- it highlighted something special and unique to them that I loved so much.
It just filled their little love tanks right up and gave them a wonderful, positive affirmation to start the day with.
Have you read (or heard of) The 5 Love Languages? Well, mine is words of affirmation for sure. I need that verbal affirmation! One of my kids is also words of affirmation, so this really, really resonated with them.
So, what kinds of things did I write on their little hearts?
I wrote things about them that I liked:
- I love the way your smile lights up a room.
-You are the most kind human being on this planet.
-I love the way you laugh!
-You are such a great friend.
-You make my life so much better.
-I love when we do xyz together.
-You are doing really great at learning to read!
-You are so brave.
-You are so loving.
No treats, no trinkets- just my words handwritten on a cut out heart taped to their door.
If you do this for your kids (or other family members, spouse) let me know! Tag me on Instagram @jess.nicole.photography because I want to see! Tell me your experience with it! Also, I've got a reel on this project from last year on IG if you want to see it in action!
Oh mama, the newborn period goes by so fast. It's such a whirlwind of emotions. Birth and the Fourth Trimester (as I like to call the post-partum period) can be truly unpredictable and really, no two experiences are the same. But motherhood is the common thread that weaves us all together. Rest assured that generations of women have come before you and shared in this experience.
With something so monumental, it seems fitting that we document the occasion with photographs.
Time Doesn't Wait:
I know for sure one thing that we all experience, no matter our journey, is the fact that every time you blink, they change a little. They grow a little. Something about them is just a tad bit different.
And the funny thing about this Fourth Trimester is that it will quickly grow a bit hazy for us mamas. We won't remember some things, but other things we will remember so clearly. I suppose it's nature's way of things, getting us excited and yearning for the next little bundle of joy.
Having an in-home newborn session gives us something to hold onto. It gives us a beautiful record of this time. It gives us something physical to see- something we normally only envision and reminisce in our minds. Because once this time is gone, it's gone. There's no going back.
Photographs Can Help You Heal:
For some of us (myself included) that have experienced birth trauma, photos may help you heal from that experience. It can help you sift through your emotions, reflect on the process, and begin the process of healing. Together, in the comfort of your home, we can photograph your body and baby in a way that honors and speaks to your experience- we can give that pain a voice. Where birth can be uncontrollable, you will be in control of this process.
Helps Older Siblings to Adjust to New Baby:
I have 3 children and luckily, I have been very fortunate to have easy transitions with my children (if I'm being honest, I am the one that probably had the hardest time). But I've worked with a lot of families and I have a lot of friends with different experiences than my own. I can tell you it will be okay. Truly. One way that I have found that photography helps is that it allows the mom and dad to take a step back and view the situation from the outside looking in. Seeing what I see through my lens helps to shift prospective a bit. Likewise, while I am there (as an outsider), I help show the big siblings just how important they are to the big picture. It makes a difference when someone other than mom or dad says it and 100% of the time they love seeing themselves in the pictures. It just solidifies their place in the family when they see themselves in the pictures and even moreso when those pictures are proudly displayed.
You Deserve More Than Cell Phone Selfies:
You've been through a lot. Your journey and your story deserve to be told. Your voice matters. It matters to you, your family, me, and let's not forget to future generations. One day your great-granddaughter will look through these photos and feel that familiar connection and draw strength from your experience. That's powerful.
This experience and these moments deserve to be preserved in the best way possible. Motherhood is an important part of history. And you deserve more than the front facing camera on your phone.
They Are Important to Extended Family Members:
At the time of writing this, it is February 2022. We're 2 years into the pandemic that has shaken our lives and knocked our world around. Some of our family members may be immunocompromised and have to keep their distance. It's so hard. Some family members may live too far away to visit easily. Some friends may not be able to make it to see baby because they live far away or sick. Whatever the reason, sometimes the ones who are important to us are not able to visit baby. Pictures, especially in home and documentary images, give them the ability to get a real glimpse into your life and to lay eyes on that beautiful babe. It's important to them.
This is from a grandparent I spoke with: "I wouldn't ever print cell phone pictures and put them on my wall. I've tried it. They are awful and blurry. I love being able to show off pictures of my grandchildren and I love being able to keep up with them (the grandchildren) from far away. I don't live right next door, it makes me feel better to have beautiful pictures of them."
You Want To Avoid Regret Later:
Honestly, it's now or never. They will never be a newborn again. They just won't be. She won't have an umbilical stump. He won't be scrunched in a tiny ball and fit perfectly on your chest. They won't smell like a newborn (I know you can't smell a picture, but your brain will take care of that for you). They won't nurse forever. The flaky skin will disappear. The wrinkles will fade away.
It's sad, but life goes on and they change every day...that's just the way of things. If you don't take the photos now and make the record today, you'll never again have the chance to do it.
But in all honesty, I've never had anyone say they regretted having photos done...only that they regret not doing them.
If this speaks to you and you know that this is something you want, please reach out to me. You can do that by clicking here or on the Contact tab above. The ideal time to inquire about your newborn session is about mid-way through your pregnancy. Because birth is unpredictable, the earlier I can get you on my to-photograph list, the better, as I only take a limited number of sessions per month.
Wondering what a Newborn Storytelling Session with me is like? Check out this blog:
What to Expect at Your Newborn Session with Jess Nicole Photography
To see more of my work with newborns, please click here to visit my Newborn Gallery.
I am so excited to be able to announce these super sweet sessions with you all! I am so passionate about getting moms in front of the camera with the ones they love the most. I want to show you how you look to them. We can be so hard on ourselves from everything from our appearance to our parenting, but at the root of it all is love- and it doesn't get more beautiful than that.
The Mini Sessions with Mom will take place in your home or on location here in Hampton Roads. They are 45 minutes long and will include an online digital gallery with 10 images for you to download and print as you wish. For this session only, I am also including a 5x7 vintage brass hanging frame with a hand torn 4x6 print of your choice within. This frame is so dainty and beautiful, it really adds a special touch to smaller spaces. (You can read more about the frame here.)
These sessions are priced at $249. They will be available from March 20, 2021 - May 8, 2021 only.
These would make such a wonderful gift for the motherly figure in your life. This is a gift full of meaning and the memories documented will last more than one lifetime. Your memories matter, they are important to your family and your legacy. Something she will truly enjoy and appreciate.
If you're ready to book your session, contact me here or use the Contact tab above. Or, if you'd like to purchase a gift certificate in lieu of flowers or candy this year, I also offer Gift Certificates!
Jess is a photographer serving families located in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia. She specializes in documentary and storytelling photography.