Journey To Motherhood, my first year being a mama...

September 14, 2012

The responses to our Journey To Motherhood post series have been a-ma-zing, we are happy to hear that people love them. Big thank you’s to Aria Newton of arianewtonthephotoproject for sharing her journey with us and offering a 20% discount to our readers on her photo shoot packages, here is her website of her beautiful photography. Happy Friday!

Name: Aria Newton

Hometown: Boston

How long have you been living in Brooklyn? I moved here 7 years ago. My husband and I live in Fort Greene with our son. I love it here.

Occupation: Photographer and Photo Retoucher

When did you first become a mother? My son Nico was born during a heat wave in the summer of 2010 in New York City.

Before becoming a mother, what did you know about motherhood? Was the reality close to your personal image/ idea? I thought that I knew a lot about being a mother before I had Nico, then I actually became a mom and realized that I didn’t know that much. It is such a major transition, that it is hard to actually anticipate how new and exciting everything will feel once it happens. I come from a big family and have 3 nephews, so I had a fair understanding of the struggles you have to go through the first year when the baby is so young. For me the biggest shock was not sleeping. There is no way to do a test run of what it will feel like to be woken up all night and then need to function in the world the next day. Coffee became my very, very close friend. Te quiero mucho café.

How would you describe the first year? We slept so little that first year, but it was pretty amazing. I completely fell in love in a way that I couldn’t have planned. I felt like I joined a secret society of people that hang out at 7 am and always have food on their clothes. I took more pictures than I can ever remember taking that year and still felt like I wasn’t capturing this incredible time with enough tenacity. Each month was so different and special. I had always been close to others with young babies and was used to photographing their lives. It changed everything when it happened to us though. The first time that I photographed a newborn after Nico was born, I felt like I finally got it. I knew which pictures those women would want. I knew which ones they wouldn’t care about. It all went by so quickly. All of a sudden we were drinking champagne at Nico’s first birthday, high fiving that we made it through the first year. I think that everyone should drink champagne at their kid’s 1st birthday. It’s a big deal. Take a picture of yourself doing it too. And wear a pretty dress. You won’t regret it.

What helped you get through it? Starting a new business in this first year was a challenge, but it was what got me through it. I am a photographer by trade, but had worked in retouching studios since moving to the city. Working with fashion and advertizing deadlines often meant that I was at work until 10 pm. Starting my own company meant that I had more flexibility with my own schedule, but that I needed to be in real control of it. When I wasn’t working, I made a point of spending a lot of time with friends.

Did you have a support system near you? My family is in Boston and my husband’s family is in New Zealand. Being far away from family meant that our friends in the city really became like our family. Even though it is hard to not have lots of family around, once you deal with some of the craziness of being a mother you feel like you can do anything.

How do you juggle work and family? It’s all about the naps in our house. I transitioned Nico to one long nap before most of my friends with other babies did. The two naps didn’t give me a big enough chunk of time to work. Just as I was getting started on something he would wake up. I don’t do anything but work while he is napping. I don’t pick up the phone or respond to emails unless they are work related. Knowing that I have 3 uninterrupted hours during the day when I am fresh, caffeinated and able to work has really improved my time management skills. Most nights, I also work when he is in bed too, but it’s that nap time where I get the best work done. My husband and Nico have lots of special things that they do on the weekends together so I can also shoot and finish up whatever I couldn’t get done during the week.

Tips for new moms? Meet other women with babies. It is so important to have a support system of other women in your same situation.  I was really lucky and had a friend that had her daughter 3 weeks after I had Nico. Before you have a baby, it is hard to listen to someone talk about breastfeeding and dirty diapers for 2 hours, so you can’t expect your friends without kids to do that. Go to playgroups and just talk to other people in the parks and coffee shops. All new parents are looking to make new friends. They’re all in the same boat as you. Don’t be shy. It can be kind of awkward like dating to meet new people and make plans to hang out, but it is really important.

Photo, Aria Newton