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before expectant parents have their baby they try their best to prepare themselves. they visit with friends about the pregnancy, birthing, and first day’s processes. they are showered with diapers, clothes, and baby gadgets that experienced parents swear by. they read books, blogs, and the most recent articles on the pros to laboring at home instead of in a hospital and the benefits of natural over epidural. they attend classes at the hospital, practice breathing and hypnosis techniques, and the mother takes her pre-natal regularly in the morning or evening depending on if it adds to the morning sickness or not.  they think they are ready and have, due to all the dialoguing and discussing, created idyllic visions of bringing a happy baby home from the hospital, an infant that sleeps at two week, and effortless days of watching the new addition adjust perfectly to the already established and functioning routine. the truth of the matter is that all the books that profess to share what to expect while expecting really only glaze over the very top of what can happen after the little creature is born.

unfortunately, a user’s guide does not accompany each baby. and some, are born and then shortly after shatter every perfect reverie the expectant parents had so delicately created. 

having and adjusting to a baby, no matter the disposition, i don’t care what any book says, is a very difficult thing to do, on several levels. having a baby with colic, acid reflux, allergies, sleep issues, and a whole slew of other problems, is a completely different baby stroller. it is more challenging to adjust to life after the pregnancy when your child cries for no apparent reason. all. the. day. and. night. i know. both of mine were time bombs. they would tick, tick, tick and then explode! and the shrapnel that fired when they exploded left wounds i think we are still recovering from.

they should play the sound of a shrieking baby in the cells on death row; that would teach them. it is torture in it’s most innocent sense.

the parents themselves can at times feel like prisoners; there is very little escape when a baby is born “fussy.” it is agony listening to your child cry, without reprieve. it is deflating to be a parent and not be able to quell the aches of your baby. it is exhausting to try thing after thing only to find yourself in the same place you were at in the beginning: with an inconsolable infant who only wants to return to the rush and sway of the womb.

before meg and scott had baby elle they had no idea of what was going to come after.





their baby has affectionally been given the title, “fuss bag”. because that is what she does every minute of every day. i understand wholeheartedly how hard it is to be in the middle of all these emotions. my heart was aching as I listened to everything they experienced thus far. and the more i listened the more it sounded like i was re-reading the first six months of my daughter’s biography. the more i listened the more i wanted to take that baby for a day or two and let them rest, because i know what it feels like and how hard it is. before baby comes you just don’t always consider what will happen after.









it felt unfair to me at certain times. i wanted to do all i could to make my child comfortable. i wanted to ease the discomfort with hours of shushing and swaddled swaying, but i was just so exhausted of it all, and on top of that i was recovering from the train wreck we call child birth. right now it just feels a bit unfair for meg and scott, feelings i empathize with too clearly. i remember laying down any exponential amount of money if it made claims that it would, “calm even the fussiest of babies”. i know meg and scott are doing the same, and that is ok. before they were blinded to the romantic ideals of raising a child, after they have become realists that will do whatever it takes to make baby, and themselves happy.













there are moments however, glimpses mind you, of when “fuss bags” remove the fussy facade and show what’s beneath the grippy stomach, reflux, allergies, and crankiness. for a few instances they remind their parents who they will be when their little bodies get it all sorted out. before the sun, after all the tumultuous rain comes a moment like this:


that reminds them it is all worth it.



and several afters:




meg and scott, it won’t always feel like you are turning, going around and around with no way of getting off. the infancy ride will slow, and one day  you will step off the nauseating spin, you will sleep again, your baby will be peaceful and pleasant, and you will be that much closer to her and each other because of all you endured helping her come and acclimate to this life.





the only sign i ever saw of her “fuss bag-i-ness”. 


i wished the first six months of gunnar’s and larkin’s lives away. it is embarrassing to admit, but i just wanted to feel normal again and have babies that weren’t hurting and smiled more than they cried. it is tricky mire to walk through and it feels endless at times. it was difficult to be present and do what i needed to do for them and for me. ironically enough that has become my advice to all parents whose babies parallel ours: just be present; do what you need to do to survive and make it to the next day.




shush as long as you have to (it started to comfort me after a while…:)) kiss her and hold her tight, because she is YOUR fuss bag, and that makes her wonderful and special and smart and talented and witty and glamorous. (now, i hope i am helping you smile meg!!)


kiss each other a lot too… before you forget you are a team, and in it together. 


meg and scott, before you know it fuss bag will be turing 1 and after the candles are blown out and the cake is smashed you will reminisce on the incredible journey you have been on. before you wish it away contemplate the storm it takes to create those beautiful rays of light that come after. may you find joy in the brief smiles and giggles; may they come more often. may you endure. may you find laughter in each day even if it has to be louder than the crying. may the little sleep you do get be lasting and restful. may you know you are not alone and totally, completely, and wholeheartedly understood. may you live to appreciate others and life because of what you are experiencing now.

elle, may you always enjoy the sound of your own voice.

before i forget, thank you! after-all you have reminded me of the progress i have made through my own sweet children. love to all three of you. sending you lots of positive love thoughts. thank you for the opportunity to photograph your spirited family!! xoxo kj


p.s. before you steer away from the page leave this family some love and encouragement. a few extra smiles go a long way with a fuss bag in the house. 😉