Capturing the Raw Emotion of Parents and the Pandemic’s ‘Zoom Babies’

“The babies gave us the full range of emotions and attitudes — smiling, crying, sleeping, fidgeting and yawning,” Ms. Ryan said. “Meanwhile, the parents’ faces demonstrated the kind of focused intensity one would expect in a professional setting.”

“There were so many moments that made us giggle,” Ms. Whitaker added.

Kat Dinar, a mother in Astoria, Queens, who appears in the photo essay, said she decided to participate because she knew her story was “a representation of what a lot of women are going through right now.”

A mother of three children under age 6, Ms. Dinar, who is employed in the financial industry, works from home. Although her family recently lost child care, she’s been able to manage with the help of a neighbor. But more often than not, Ms. Dinar shifts between working and caring for her children.

“I shouldn’t be entertaining my baby when I’m working,” she said. “But I’m able to do it because I’m a mother — I’m superhuman.”

In her portrait, Ms. Dinar breastfeeds her 18-month-old son, Aslan, while on a work call — which she says is part of an average day for her right now.

Rachel Shapiro, a mother of two in Manhattan, who works in marketing, is pictured in the photo essay with her son, Sasha, now 6 months old, who looks less than delighted to be a guest in her video meeting. She agreed to do the shoot because she thought it was important to capture this “unprecedented moment in time” and said she loved the nod to the historical paintings.

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