Last year, we did a family photo shoot with Annie Crossman, a Bristol family photographer and friend. I’d booked the shoot as a birthday present to myself – a way to celebrate our family with one-year-old Ophelia in it.
We then considered our family complete, not expecting to have any more children. Three weeks ago, Annie beautifully documented for us in a maternity photo shoot at Clevedon sea front how our plans can change.
I didn’t do a maternity shoot with either of my first two babies so it feels extra special to anticipate this baby with one. It’s exciting to share it with you the day before our due date.
Although this has probably been my easiest pregnancy from a physical point of view, even taking exhaustion into account, it’s psychologically been my most challenging.
There have been two older children to consider, a lot of change happening in our lives outside of this pregnancy and it’s actually taken a long time to wrap my head around the idea of having a third and doing the newborn thing again. She has always been wanted. Without reservation. But it took me a few months to move on from feeling daunted.
It’s easy to get impatient in the final weeks of a pregnancy. I won’t pretend that I haven’t. Every night I go to bed wondering if surges will wake me as they did with Ophelia. Then I wake up in the morning, disappointed and annoyed.
Nine months has been long enough for us to feel as ready as we’re ever going to be, to long now to meet this whole other person who’s going to join our family.
As before, the photo shoot experience with Annie was great fun. She has a real way with children and our two warmed to her with the camera right away, which (perhaps surprisingly, considering how photographed they are!) isn’t always the case. She even got them checking out some bits we’d got for the baby, including this jumper which each of our newborns has worn and which was Laurence’s originally.
For me, this maternity shoot wasn’t just about celebrating this pregnancy for us grown ups but it was a way to involve the children in the anticipation. It was as much about focusing on them as sisters as it was on the bump.
And for us, it was a chance to slow down and reflect on this growing family of ours and this life that we are building together that we are so grateful to share. We are mindful that we need to work to good care of all we’ve been given.
This time I won’t make any grand declarations about our family being complete. It’s seriously unlikely that we will ever announce another pregnancy but life keeps reminding us that it is fluid and open, resistant to inflexible plans.
PS: Since a few people have asked, the girls’ tunics are from Mini Boden, a Christmas present from their grandmum.