Wait For The Smile | Photography by Billye Donya

March 29, 2017

“It was important to us to document our pregnancy, because it is difficult to capture how beautiful pregnancy actually is. Most often the case, the pictures are not very flattering and seldom do you feel like being in front of the camera at all. In the hands of someone like Billye, we knew she could take what was in front of her – a loving, excited couple – and translate this occasion into wonderful shots without going through the trouble of photoshopping out all of the empty ice cream pints. The experience was amazing. We are fortunate to live in such a naturally beautifully area and so we took advantage of that by deciding to hold the photoshoot on the beach. We were lucky enough to have the opportunity to work with Billye whose incredible talent and eye allowed us to be ourselves and created some truly memorable moments.” Jackie, Expectant Mother

“I struggle to find a good way to articulate what motherhood means to me while keeping in with the parameters of today’s attention span of only a paragraph or two. Even still, offering up my anecdotal experience is what made my introduction to motherhood feel the way that it ultimately did: inadequate. I am hesitant to perpetuate this idea along to another excited expecting mother or couple.

Wait for the smile.

In the plastic world of social media, we get the good, but never the frustration. The sweet, but never the exhaustion. The most common thread that I held on to and was most excited to feel myself upon meeting my son was the sentiment of “I am so in love”. It didn’t come. But why didn’t it come? The moment my son was handed to me and was laid on my chest was the most incredible moment of my life. And sure, after going through an intense labor I am flushed with all kinds of emotions… but where is that overwhelming love I was conditioned to believe I am supposed to feel? Is there something wrong with me? But what about all those social media posts of a newborn wrapped in a blanket next to a caption of “I am so in love”?

The point is this is your, and if applicable, and your partner’s, own moment. Every personal story you either heard or read is not your story. The feelings described by someone else as they experienced what you are now experiencing are neither relevant nor a unit of measure. Whatever you feel – love, fear, anxiety, etc. – those are real and those are yours.

The lack of sleep, the helplessness, and the frustration of being unable to sooth your hysterical baby. The struggle of trying to coordinate a proper latch with this creature who has been on Earth for less than a week so you can properly breastfeed. Motherhood is extremely difficult, especially early on when your reward system has not yet been developed. Your baby will cry, sleep, eat, poop and do very little else in the beginning. It is difficult to feel that attachment. He lived and grew inside of me for almost 10 months so why does it feel like I am holding a stranger’s baby?

Wait for the smile.

Other than the amazement of keeping a baby alive for months, it never felt how I thought it would… until it did. One day your baby will lock eyes with you and give you a big gummy smile… and everything changes. I am so in love.” Jackie, Expectant Mother

“It was really lovely working with Jackie and Pat for their maternity session. They were very sweet and visibly in love with each other, the little glances they shared and the gentle way Pat took care of her were heart warming. Part of my job as I photograph people is to notice their mannerisms and expressions. It helps as I am guiding people through a session to notice these things about them and use that to allow the emotions and tenderness to display themselves. They were very trusting of my direction and willing to do anything for the photos which really opened up a great variety of beautiful moments for their images.

As an outsider to the lives of those I photograph I have a really unique perspective in that I’m included in the most intimate parts of peoples lives for a small amount of time. It’s a really lovely privilege to step into someone’s most private part of life, their family, and document it. The moments that maybe get overlooked, the small gestures a couple shares, the beautiful shape a woman’s body takes as she creates a new life are all really special and deserve to be remembered. Nine months may feel like a long time for the woman carrying the baby, but in the grand scheme of things it’s a fleeting moment, and a really big, remarkable time in life – creating a human is magical. How two people take their love and together it grows into a tiny baby with toes, finger and a personality all its own is quite amazing! The most fulfilling part of capturing motherhood is being witness to these intimate moments and making them timeless for them to cherish for years to come. To take a part of their lives that may feel like a challenge and show them the beauty of their every day. Perspective and gratitude are the gifts I am able to share and it is so rewarding.” Billye, Photographer

BILLYE DONYA PHOTOGRAPHY | Canon 5d MK III – EF 35, f1.4 , EF 50, f1.2, EF 70-200, f2.8 IS II Canon EOS 3, EF 35, f1.4 , EF 50, f1.2, EF 70-200, f2.8 IS II, FUJI 400H film

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