A baby changes everything...

This was my first thought over 9 years ago when one of my best friends, Kate, announced she was having her first child. This was the first time one of my closest friends was pregnant. I was really excited for her and happy that she was taking this amazing journey. As a single friend among other married couples, I could only wonder, how would this important event affect our friendship? It felt selfish to think this. What about Kate and what she was feeling and going through? I’m sure it was a rush of emotions for her as well.

The fact was, my life wasn't close to being on the same path as hers. I was playing the game of life and was still stuck on square one. When everyone in our friend group was getting married, it felt like nothing had changed. We still hung out at each other's houses until the wee hours, playing board games, reminiscing, and laughing as we made new memories together. But a baby changes everything. Things would be different now. Would we start drifting apart? Would we still have late night parties where we laughed until our stomachs hurt? Would we have anything in common to talk about? Would Kate outgrow me as a friend?

I was never one to give in to a negative voice. This was a positive change and a new beginning in Kate's life. I thought of her and what she would need from a friend. I wanted to be there for her, to participate, and be present for the journey she was on. I joined her multiple times when she exercised to DVD routines for expecting moms. It was a great way to stay in shape and to spend time together doing something fun. I would laugh and admit how I was winded from a "easy level" routine. I offered to photograph her maternity pictures in Washington Park in Albany. We came up with fun poses as we made our way through the park. It was one of the first maternity shoots I photographed as a newer photographer and it helped me to build up my portfolio.

I loved helping decorate and plan activities for Kate's baby shower. I took the opportunity to design these jungle themed labels for the food trays which were really fun to create.

As I spent more time with Kate during her pregnancy, I realized I shouldn't have been worried about our friendship. As I held her new baby boy in my arms for the first time, I couldn't help but feel love towards this new little person for creating a reason to spend quality time with my friend. We'd have so many new things to talk about now. I thought about how I'd become an "Aunt Rachel," and watch as this little boy grew up, started walking, talking, and developing his own personality.

Babies do change everything, but these changes can enrich the lives of those around you as you grow with friends and family who love and support you.

To see more photos from Kate, Matt, and Lincoln's Fall session, visit their album here.

Location: Washington Park, Albany, NY

Special Thanks to the Bishop Family for being wonderful people, great friends, and for including me as family and allowing me to be a part of so many special moments in their lives.

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