A portrait of sleep in my family, every week, in 2018

Sleep. It’s something I’ve always loved. I stayed up late and slept until noon. I took naps. It was wonderful. Then I got pregnant with my first child and about halfway through pregnancy sleep went to shit. I was up every hour to pee. Everything hurt. I couldn’t sleep. It seemed like a cruel joke, wasn’t the sleep deprivation supposed to come after, with the baby? I literally had no idea what sleep deprivation was until I had children. There’s simply no way to prepare for what having a baby does to your sleep. And honestly it’s bullshit the way we all treat it. Asking new moms if the baby is sleeping well. The answer is always no. And if it isn’t, it will be next week. Babies don’t sleep. Period. They’re not supposed to. I mean yes, they sleep, and when they do it’s a wonderful, deep sleep that we all dream about. But they wake up. A lot. And their sleep patterns change. Non stop.

It’s not just the lack of sleep that throws you when you become a parent. It’s how much time and energy you have to devote to getting another little person to sleep. And ready for sleep. And waking up. And doing it all over again in two hours. There’s a good couple of years where sleep and naps rule your life. Even if you don’t let them, they still do.

It’s different the second time. Our lives aren’t based around nap times, they can’t be. We have five year old who has school drop off and pick up, and ballet and skating lessons. So the baby naps in the car, and the stroller, and the baby carrier. She had to get used to it fast, and she did.

I’m drawn to photographing my kids while they sleep. I love to look at their sweet little faces, so calm. So peaceful, so innocent, and so much younger. I wish the five year old still took naps, if only just to photograph her. So I’ve decided to make some photos of sleep in my family over the next year. I have a feeling it will get a bit repetitive, and that’s ok with me. I’m really interested to see the finished series, as one large piece rather, than the individual photos. Don’t get me wrong the individual photos have to be good too, but I’ve always loved a series. I’m hoping to play with long exposures and self portraits again as well. Maybe I’ll even convince one of them to sleep under the stars and photograph that. So here’s to sleep in 2018, and hoping I get more than I did in 2017.

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