Growth

The camera roll on my iPhone is totally out of control.

I haven’t been able to bring myself to remove photos from it since Charlotte was born. I want them all. All the time.

BUT, both my phone and iCloud are totally out of space, and I’m not about to pay for more iCloud space than I’m already paying for.

So this week, I started the overwhelming task of going through my photos one by one and deleting the ones that are repeats (am I the only one who takes 10 shots of one pose?), blurry, or things that I just don’t need to keep. I’ve been using my pump time to do this (an hour a day), so as of right now I’m 2.5 hours into this project. I started with the day Charlotte was born (July 26th) and I’ve made it all the way to… August 16th.

Yeah. I have a bit of a problem when it comes to taking pictures.

I mean, I’m grateful for the memories and all, but do I really need to remember every time Charlotte drooled? My brain says no, but my heart says yes. I’m working on it.

In the meantime, I’ve now logged several hours in front of Charlotte’s tiniest baby pictures and I feel like I’m being drowned by a wave of nostalgia. It’s actually physically painful to look at these pictures and know that my tiny baby will never be that tiny ever again.

Even worse are the feelings of regret. I look back to that time and I remember the battle with breastfeeding and all of the pressure I put on myself to make it work. It was a constant struggle—I was always worried about it. It made it so hard to just be in the moment with my newborn baby.

I want a do-over. I don’t want another baby, I just want to go back and re-live Charlotte’s first months. I want to hold my littlest love complete with all of the knowledge I have now. I want to let go of the anxiety and the worry and just be present in those weeks with her. I want to totally lose myself in her new baby smell and squeaky little coos.

I’d probably still make the decision to breastfeed, but at least I’d know how to make it work and I wouldn’t have to worry so damn much.

Today, Timehop showed me that one year ago (Charlotte was 5 days old) I was diagnosed with double mastitis and a raging UTI. (A UTI that it would take 3 different cycles of antibiotics to kick.)

I remember those days. I remember the tears and the frustration and the hormones. The bleeding and the pain. The desperation. The anxiety.

Looking back, it’s hard to believe that that poor mess of a new mother was me. I’d give just about anything to be able to wrap that mama up in my arms and show her a glimpse of life right now. I wish she could have seen how it would all be okay. I wish she could have understood how second nature it would all become… how time would heal more than just the stitches and the infections.

The pictures show Charlotte growing before our very eyes, but it’s easy to forget how much we grow as mamas, too.

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15 thoughts on “Growth

  1. A thousand times this. I have to admit to keeping one of my favorite baby pictures (there are so many) on my desktop at work so I can peer into her little-er face whenever I want to. I think that makes me a mom-stalker. I started using Google Photos to manage my camera roll. It doesn’t stop me from being a picture hoarder but it frees up space and does some neat things with groups of pics!

  2. Oh my gosh, I can totally relate to the photo crazy! I use my camera and my phone! It’s a real problem!! I’m pretty good on my cell phone to only keep one copy of each photo, but I have gigabites of Baby MPB photos on my computer and back-up harddrive. It’s a real problem. And, I just started working on my one photo a day for a year album which means I’m looking at all of Baby MPB’s old photos. I too am amazed at how much baby has changed and how much I wish I could go back in time and hug and snuggle that little baby even more!

  3. I feel you on the photos. I have to delete a few here and few there all the time to free up space. I love going back and looking at those tiny newborn pictures and it’s so weird to me because even though I know it’s my baby, the same big old 2 year old I have now, it’s so hard to really KNOW that. It’s weird.

  4. A friend was telling me about GrooveBook today – it’s an app that prints your phone’s photos each month. It’s a $3 monthly subscription and you can select up to 100 photos per month to go into a printed book that they mail you. Its a good reminder to sort your photos AND gives you hard copy backups. BUT, you would have to stay on top of it or I think it might print whatever photos you have in your camera role – doubles and all.

  5. This, totally, on growth as a mama. I think it’s a huge milestone as a parent when you are at the point where you can say for the first time, “If I knew then what I know now.”

  6. Plug your phone into your computer and move the photos to a folder there. If you have a MAC and iPhone you can use iPhoto. I do that and I just name the album with the date I backed it up. Then I go through my phone and delete all the random pics I don’t need on a day to day but keep the ones I want to look back on. I refuse to delete pictures entirely so backing them up to my computer helps me keep all the memories. Just burn a CD after you backup the images that way if something ever happens to the computer they are still on a disc somewhere (aka my fireproof safe) 🙂

  7. This is a really lovely post. I do hope you’re not beating yourself up for not “savoring every moment” of Charlotte’s newborn phase, though. I’m not sure it is possible to be as present as we wish we had been–the distraction and the learning is an inherent part of parenting a newborn. I was really aware of that when Julia was born, having missed a big part of Clementine’s early weeks and months for annoying work-related reasons. Even knowing this was the closest thing I was going to have to a do-over, having the comfort of knowing it would all turn out okay, realizing it was probably my last chance to parent a newborn, and being 100% cognizant of the fact that time spent with the baby was the most important thing, the competing priorities didn’t go away. And I don’t think it was just that I was postpartum for the first time. The newborn period is HARD no matter how many times you do it, and I’m convinced that feeling like you’ve missed out on parts of it is actually a crucial part of the experience. But then, I’m trying very hard to make peace with that across the board, the whole “days are long, years are short” thing. Good post, in any case. And good luck with the pictures. You’ve inspired me to go back through my camera roll and start another round of purging. I made it almost one month back! Woohoo!

  8. As I’m reading this, I’m thinking to myself, “I wish there were snap shots of us as parents on day 1 vs day 10, and then again day 1 vs. day 365, day 500, day 10,000! I have to say friend, as much as Charlotte has changed, so have you! You sound more confident, more in tune with Mama-ing, you’re just KILLIN IT! Good for you! Rock on friend! Just thought i’d let ya know 😉

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