Let me start by saying, as a Birth Photographer, I believe each and every birth is truly unique to each of my clients. It is one of the very rare moments in life where absolute raw, real, true emotion and character is revealed. Birth can be empowering, beautiful, healing, emotional, and humbling. Birth is normal and yet, awe-inspiring.
I never knew I would be able to witness the miracle of life multiple times over. It is a miracle to see what the human body is capable of. I see it in a laboring person deep in labor land, the strength in a partner's eyes and hands as they care for the love of their life while simultaneously tending to their new child, the brave faces that medical professionals put forward to tend to their patients in regular and dire circumstances, and the emotional and physical support that comes from Doulas as they seek to center their clients. It is my joy and absolute honor to be a birth photographer in this ever-changing world that has begun to accept birth and all it's variations of normal.
I love birth and all things related to birth. One might even say I’m a “birth junkie”. There was a time in my life where I seriously considered becoming an OBGYN because even at a young age, pregnancy and birth astounded me. I have channeled my love for birth into Birth Photography and am fiercely passionate about it. I swoon over other birth photographer’s work, I love hearing labor and delivery stories, and one of my favorite things is to sit down with a client and hear about how their pregnancy is going and what they envision for their birth.
I have had the honor of witnessing birth in an OR of a hospital. It is fascinating. I watched as a client of mine labored for hours trying to work her baby out of her body as her husband and best friends stood by her side. She had words of encouragement, she was supported, she was loved. After it was determined that her baby wasn’t progressing as she had hoped, she and her husband spoke at length to their doctor about their available choices. They then had some time to themselves to discuss what a cesarean section might mean for them and if they were ok with it. It was beautiful seeing the communication on all fronts. This couple was then brought to the OR where her team of medical professionals got to work. They spoke to her, they reviewed protocol with her, they asked her if she was comfortable, and they made sure her husband was ok. Cold washcloths were provided to the mom and dry ones to the dad to wipe his tears of joy. Within minutes, she birthed and met her beautiful baby girl surrounded by a team that loved her, cared for her, and genuinely had her, her husband’s, and their baby’s best interests in mind. She gave birth. Period.
As a birth photographer, I feel it is extremely important for ALL pregnant persons to feel supported in their birth choices. My goal as a birth photographer is always to capture the story as it unfolds because each story is unique and beautiful. It is always an honor to be allowed in to *any* birth space-- be that in an operating room for a cesarean section, a traditional hospital room, a birthing center, a home birth, or wherever. It is tragic that there is a stigma surrounding certain ways of giving birth. And so it is in the parenting community. There are mommy wars about birth, vaccinations, cloth diapering, co-sleeping, natural and organic foods, pureed verses solid, breastfeeding verses formula. It seems there will always be someone out there that has something negative to say about any choices available for a parent to make. And when it comes to something such as how a person chooses to birth their child, it is absolutely not up for judgment, shaming, or discussion from any outside source. This is not ok. Birth shaming in any form IS NOT OK.
Recently birth photography has made a wave in the news. Great, right? Well, maybe, maybe not. This depends on how you choose to look at it and how you choose to take what the media and the Internet tells you. Maybe you’ve seen this possible publicity stunt making its way around the Internet. A screenshot of a text was taken regarding someone’s birth. It is reported to be a conversation between a birth photographer and a potential client with the photographer shaming the person for how they were to give birth.
Why am I writing this? It is in defense of birth. In defense of the birth community. In defense of every person who has given birth, has longed to give birth, who will give birth. In defense of every Birth Photographer, Midwife, Doctor, team of nurses, Doulas, husbands, wives, partners, intended parents, and anyone who partakes in birth.
What true birth professionals care about is whether a pregnant person feels supported in their birth, that they had a voice in the decisions surrounding their birth, that they felt loved and cared for, and they were treated with the respect a human being deserves.
I am a birth photographer and I care about how my clients are treated from the moment they first contact me to discuss birth photography to the moment they receive their images from their birth. It is my promise, my vow, and my duty as a Birth Photographer to make sure pregnant people feel supported and never judged. If someone looking for a birth photographer were ever shamed for how they were going to give birth, I would advise that person to immediately look elsewhere. Birth is birth is birth and NO ONE deserves to EVER have such hurtful words said about how they brought or plan to bring their child into the world.
Cesarean section births, I support you. Home births, I support you. Hospital births, I support you. Births accompanied by an epidural, I support you. Natural birth, I support you. OR births, I support you. Surrogate births, I support you. Free births, I support you. I support ALL forms of birth because ALL birth is beautiful. I am your birth photographer. I support you.