Leah O'Connell

motherhood, personal

A Letter to my Newborn Daughter

I'm Leah!

I’m obsessed with stories of family, creativity, and simple joys.  A nostalgia nerd, educator, wife, and mom of 3, I believe life’s most fun when you’re dreaming big and having kitchen dance parties. 

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To my baby girl, 

Before you even entered the world, you were anticipated, loved, cherished, and wanted. Now that I can hold you in my arms, those feelings have multiplied tenfold. I look at you with wonder, melt with each coo you make, and fall deeper in love every time you rest your tiny head on my chest.

You are actually ours – our perfect gift from God — a precious life whom He has trusted to our care.

Though it pulls at my conscious, I refuse to live in fear of this new beginning. Instead, I am approaching each day with overflowing thankfulness.

letter to my newborn daughter

I’m soaking in the sweetness of lullabies from the rocking chair at 2 am and the vision of your daddy holding you in the crook of his strong arm.

How you drift to sleep as I walk around the house, reading from random books on the shelf so you learn to feel safe with my voice.

I am so excited to teach you to wave and hug, to watch you open your stocking on Christmas morning, to pull a stool up to the counter and bake cookies together, to witness you chasing your puppy while giggling uncontrollably… but it can all wait.

Right now you are so innocent and soft. You are our baby girl.

And before you start growing before our very eyes, there are a few things I want you to know. 

newborn girl in crib, letter to newborn daughter
  • I love your daddy with all my heart. He is kind and warm, fiercely loyal, and the most driven man you’ll probably ever meet. On the day you were born, he held my hand and amidst the pain and fear and he made me feel like both the most beautiful and strongest woman in the world. He makes me feel like that all the time. He makes me laugh every day. We are a team and always will be.

  • It is more important to us that you explore, challenge yourself, try new things, and give your best than that you “succeed” by any score or standard. You must not let a fear of failure or of judgement ever stop you from trying. Audition for the solo. Volunteer to go first. Try out for the team. Life is full of adventures and surprises and bravery is what will allow you to experience them fully. Be brave, little one, for you were made to do great things.
letter to newborn daughter, mom holding baby after bath
  • Great things are not always big. We hope to show you the power of a kind word or simple gesture. Boldness is admirable, but so is gentleness. Many a friendship has grown because of something as simple as a hug.

  • You are beautiful. People told you this from the day you were born. But I hope as you grow, you see beauty as a rounded quality. You were created with purpose and uniqueness— crafted to stand out, not fit in. So be your own kind of beautiful, my darling. Don’t let the world tell you what that looks like. Have confidence in you – this is beauty.

  • People will continually tell you to be a lady, to smile, to behave. These are all good things, things I hope you’ll do often— but it’s also good to cry, to ball your fists, skip down the aisles of stores, tell jokes, and play in the mud. You are allowed to have emotions—they make us human. You don’t have to hide them or fear them— in fact, I’d prefer you to recognize them. Come talk to me about them. I want to help you through it. It’s okay to be heartbroken, angry, goofy, quiet, and strong-willed. You are not obligated to any certain personality type simply because of your gender and the world’s perception of it.
baby's first bath, letter to newborn daughter

And also…

  • You never have to feel alone.
  • There is delight and inspiration waiting outdoors
  • Music has healing powers.
  • Our love is unconditional.
  • God is for you, even when it doesn’t feel like it.
  • So are we.
father holding newborn baby in the hospital

We can’t wait to do life with you, sweet baby girl.

We won’t always get it right, but we promise to do our best. 

With love, 

Interested in creating natural, heartwarming photos at home with your newborn? Let’s connect and make photos that celebrate the new family you’re beginning.

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Hi, I'm Leah.
Family photographer, writer, educator.

I’m  one of the first to meet your newborn baby, the one who won't judge your clothes baskets and unmade beds, and the one who can capture the way your husband looks at you with a twinkle in his eye after 12 years of marriage. I believe in honoring people and telling stories.

I believe art has the power to light up the world in dark places, starting at home.