ON THE NEST

Photos: Parents waiting for their children, from expectant moms and dads to empty-nesters

There are two huge transitions in a parent’s life: Welcoming a first child, and learning to live in an empty nest once the kids leave home. In the poignant parallel photo series Expecting and Empty Nesters, photographer Dona Schwartz shows parents sitting or standing in their children’s empty rooms. Each emotionally charged environment suggests an unexpected lens into the parents’ state of mind:

Chris & Susan, empty nest for 7 Months.
Chris & Susan, empty nest for 7 months. (Dona Schwartz)

“In shooting the series, I came to more fully appreciate what an incredible leap of faith it is to become a parent—my expecting parents are filled with hope and love and innocence,” Dona tells Quartz. “To me they are so precious—it is a charmed moment that never recurs.”

She adds: “I thought of the empty nesters as my peers—wiser, more circumspect, and just a little melancholy—turning the page on one of life’s longest chapters is no small thing. Too bad there isn’t a parenting completion party to parallel the baby shower our friends throw. But then parenting is never really done.”

Both photo series were published together in Schwarz’s moving new book On the Nest (Kehrer Verlag), out Nov. 2015.

Desiree & Karen, expecting in 68 Days
Desiree & Karen, expecting in 68 days. (Dona Schwartz)
Kathy & Lyonel, empty nest for 18 Months
Kathy & Lyonel, empty nest for 18 months. (Dona Schwartz)
Sha & E.G, expecting in18 Days
Sha & E.G, expecting in 18 days. (Dona Schwartz)
Yon & Kyung, empty nest for 1 Year
Yon & Kyung, empty nest for 1 year. (Dona Schwartz)
Yejin & Hyung-Il, expecting in 6 days
Yejin & Hyung-Il, expecting in 6 days. (Dona Schwartz)
Amy & Andy, empty nest for 2 Years
Amy & Andy, empty nest for 2 years. (Dona Schwartz)
Andrea & Brad, expecting in 16 Days
Andrea & Brad, expecting in 16 days. (Dona Schwartz)
Pam & Bill, empty nest for 2 months.
Pam & Bill, empty nest for 2 months. (Dona Schwartz)
Kristin & Ryan, expecting in 18 days
Kristin & Ryan, expecting in 18 days. (Dona Schwartz)
Gloria & Alan, empty nest for 5 years.
Gloria &Alan, empty nest for 5 years (Dona Schwartz)
Liz & Deedrick, expecting in 14 days.
Liz & Deedrick, expecting in 14 days (Dona Schwartz)
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