Today we welcome another new columnist here at Chickadee Road. Each month, Darrah Parker is going to share stories about how she uses her camera to document the everyday in her life. We are so excited to have her point of view and wisdom as part of our community here. We just know you are going to be inspired to pick up your camera and bravely document your world.
Settle in and soak up her words...
The first few months of Sadie’s life were hard for me. After years of dreaming of motherhood, I found myself in the throws of postpartum depression. All my dreams had come true, but I wanted to be anywhere but where I was. Of course, this had nothing to do with my love for my daughter and my family. In retrospect, I wanted to escape the feeling I had, not the life that I had. I wondered when I would have fun with my daughter, when I would feel a deep connection, and when my motherly instincts would kick in. I wanted the heavy veil to lift and to feel like my happy, light self again.
Some time during the healing process, I picked up my trusty camera. Photography has been my lifeline for many years. When I first picked up a camera, I was at a crossroads in my life. It helped me appreciate the life I was living instead of searching for something that wasn’t there.
Once again, my camera was just what the doctor ordered. I didn’t keep a baby book and barely had time to shower, let alone journal about the ins and outs of motherhood. Instead, I used my iPhone as a visual journal to document my everyday life with a baby.
I was amazed to discover so many sacred moments. Hidden beneath the never-ending laundry, the sleepless nights, and constancy of motherhood, there was beauty to be found. Photography it pulled the heavy veil from my eyes and helped me see the subtle beauty in my routines. It helped me be kinder to myself and opened me up to joy at a time when I desperately needed it. Most important, it helped me connect with my daughter and reconnect with myself.
It was important for me to document my every day slices of life, as if every time I took a picture I said to myself, “See? This is your life. Amazing, isn’t it?” It isn’t always perfect. It isn’t always pretty. But tucked away in the midst of it all are sacred moments that I want to remember.
Walks around the neighborhood. Baby naps in the car when she refused to sleep anywhere else. Nursing her in dressing rooms. Piles of toys. Story time at the library. Snuggles with her daddy. And the oh-so-sacred alone time that I had at my favorite café, in my favorite corner seat. Yes, I had my camera there for all of it.
Now, ten months into motherhood, there are still days when I find myself in the thick of it – exhausted, sitting on the floor in my maternity yoga pants, feeling sorry for myself. (It’s not a good look, let me tell you.) But most of the time, I am in awe of this little human that is growing right before my very eyes.
I know this time with my daughter is fleeting. The important thing is that I acknowledge the sacred moments now. The act of lifting my camera is a meditation, a prayer. With each photo, I take a deep breath and sink into the present moment.
Where do you find sacred space in your everyday life? Share in the comments below…or better yet, pick up your camera and take a photo. (Feel free to share your photos in the Chickadee Road Flickr group.)
Darrah is a photographer, writer, and new mama. Armed with her camera, she is on a constant search for joy in everyday Slices of Life and magic in simple moments. She specializes in photographing babies, families, and artists of all types and is the creator of the popular e-course, the Slice of Life Project. She enjoys spending time giggling with her baby girl, wandering Seattle’s farmer’s markets with her hubby, and sipping lattes – always with a camera close at hand!