I’ve always planned to do a photography series for my baby, envisioning them from way back when I was pregnant. The idea was to print the photos and hang them on one of our walls at home, possibly in some Warhol-inspired artsy style.
And so when our little Orked arrived, it not only marked the beginning of my motherhood adventure, but also the much-anticipated project to document her growth.
The photos are created occasionally, pretty much on days when I’m not too worn out learning the ropes of motherhood and parenting.
As I crafted, drew and coloured the props for the photos, I realised that I wasn’t just going to capture memories but I was still creating them along the way. Perhaps the act of crafting and drawing could in a way expose and instill the love of art in my baby even from birth. Because it wasn’t just these crafty photographs that I’ve been envisioning myself doing. There’s also this pretty image of me and my daughter doing some art activities together someday. That’s a dream. And I am hoping that the time spent to create these photographs of her now would in a way kickstart that dream. Maybe in a year or two as she grows and looks back at these photos, she will be looking at them in marvel. And hopefully, she’ll get even more interested to engage in art.
When I began doing this series though, I admit I was pretty much in an overwhelmed state and still transitioning into my new role as a mother. But that soon became a strong reason to continue creating these photos. The earlier weeks of motherhood found me mourning the loss of independence and not fancying the idea of being cooped up indoors during the confinement period. I felt like I was losing my identity and began missing who I was: my hobbies, my me-time and the things I enjoyed doing freely. As I desperately wanted to get that part of me back, I made sure my camera, drawing pads, markers and painting set were always with me. They slowly brought back photography, a little art and some fun into my new life with a baby.
Creating art between my daughter’s feeding times not only helped me kick away the baby blues, but it also helped me celebrate this new journey. As I got into the daily grind of trying to understand my baby’s cries and changing her diapers every so often, I began to appreciate further her tiny movements and the morning sunlight shining upon her feet through the window. These are the days that I will miss someday, and these photographs shall beautifully remind me of them.
Azalia Suhaimi is a poet, a photographer and a first-time mum trying hard to write poems in between diaper changes while enjoying all the surprises that motherhood has to offer.