Skip to main content

Amy Woodward – Milk Teeth

Stories 2022 Shortlist

By July 7, 2022Stories 2022

Based in

Photographed in

This series is a cross section from my body of work, Milk Teeth. When my second son was born I wasn’t prepared for how massively the relationship with my firstborn would change, how big and distant he would suddenly seem and how much it would break my heart. Little emphasis is put on the transition the mother and firstborn go through when a newborn comes along – a largely unseen struggle that swings between immense joy for what has been gained, and profound sadness for what has been lost. I remember sitting at the foot of my eldest child’s bed when I came home with my newborn and sobbed, wondering what I had done – wondering if anything would ever be the same again, no matter how much I adored our new child. As I caressed my eldest son’s comparatively large face, I felt so confronted and shocked – it felt as though my hands had shrunk overnight and like the terrain of his face was no longer familiar, when merely eight hours earlier he had been my only babe. I felt as if I had betrayed him. He was both the most familiar person to me, and a complete stranger all at once. My fractured emotional state and longing for familiarity within the chaos of this time, is what largely drove my desire to investigate the contradictions that exist within the motherhood experience. The discovery of my own and my eldest sons neurodivergence has also opened up entirely new narratives and perspectives within my work; a slowly unfolding story of learning and unlearning, ruptures and repairs, a weaving of the filaments of this truth throughout my personal work as we navigate this challenging terrain. This story is textural, emotionally rich and tender, traveling in two directions and stretching out across two postpartum experiences – expanding and shrinking time, paying tribute to the haze of sleep deprivation, the magic, the endless half eaten fruit and apple cores strewn about, the relentlessness, the beauty, and all that is lost and gained in parenthood.

Photo Collective

Photo collective represents photographers, advocates, educators and curators working towards the collective goal of celebrating and contributing to the changing ecology of Australian photography. We achieve this through award recognition, publications, exhibitions, community engagement initiatives and educational programs.

To add unlimited projects, unlock offers and resources, sign up to Member+