It’s hard to believe that we’ve only been taking impromptu photos of ourselves in all the selfies since 2002. Yep. 2002, says Merriam Webster. A mere 14 years of memories, planting ourselves firmly in the middle of the action, receiving both props and criticism for our self-centered portraits.
The reason this strikes me as interesting is because well, I am slightly older than 14 years old and my childhood was not littered with photographs of my beautiful mother. I can count on one hand how many pictures I’ve seen of her while she was pregnant with me. And unless a loved one was astute enough to click a precious candid of us, the snapshots of her and I together are few and far between. I’d be lying if I said this didn’t make me a little bit sad.
I’ve been fairly vague about my postpartum journey, but if you’ve been following the blog for any amount of time, you know that I struggled. Someday I will reveal the complex details, but until then, all you need to know was that it was hard on my identity. Postpartum depression not only made me question who I was, but caused me to want to go into hiding until I found her.
I didn’t want anyone to see me because quite frankly, I couldn’t see me. I didn’t WANT to see me. I was embarrassed of my body, my lack of energy, my clothes… you name it. The LAST thing I wanted to do was hold my little girl and dance for the camera.
It was after nursing became more bearable (All hail the nipple shield!) that I was able to relax a bit as my daughter
I would often whip out my cell phone (You thought I was going to say something else, didn’t you?! ;)) and we’d play music, read devotions, and of course, take pictures.
I remember the first time that I was snapping photographs of her baby blues and thought, “What the heck. I don’t look that bad. Let’s take a picture together!”
And so it began.
Now that she’s 19 months old (!?!?!?), I look back on her baby pictures often, and I am so grateful for those photographs.
The only time I felt comfortable posing with Lil’ AC for that entire first year, was when we were alone together, snapping selfies. Truth be told, I don’t have many pictures of the two of us that aren’t.
Are we all dolled up and dressed to the nines? Heck no! Are we behind beautiful scenery with perfect props? Unless you count the Boppy and burp cloths, then that’s a negative. But when I look at our selfies, I remember a precious piece of our history. I recall moments when it was Us Against the World. I reflect on a time when she was the only person on earth with whom I could truly be myself. It may sound dramatic, but those selfies represent the beginning of our unbreakable bond.
Lil’ AC and I still selfie a lot. Thanks be to God, it is no longer because of my identity insecurities. It is now simply because sometimes, there is no one else around to take our picture!
If I could go back in time and talk to AC as a brand new mommy, I would urge her to confidently pose with her sweet girl, no matter who was taking the picture.
But I would also empower her to embrace the selfie! I would encourage her to shut out the judgmental voices that say selfies are only for the self-absorbed. I would brush off the lack of perfect lighting. I would tell her to forget about the makeup and the shirt (yes, ONE shirt) that doesn’t have spit-up on it. I would say, “Snap away, Momma! THIS is a memory!”
14 years and counting, selfies are still going strong. Whether you love ’em or hate ’em, you can’t deny that they provide physical proof that we are living, loving, and making memories. If you are a mommy, I especially urge YOU to adopt the selfie. You (and your littles) will be so glad that you did.