I fell in love with my children when I found out I was pregnant with them. As my body changed, as I felt them move- every hiccup, kick, roll, it only became a deeper love. I cherished carrying them and was in awe of my body and how it adapted, housed, and took care of each of them. When it came time to give birth, each of their births were uniquely different. My daughter's birth was unusually fast for a first time mom and my OBGYN barely made it into the hospital room to catch her. My son was stubborn and we joked that he was holding onto my spine and refusing to let go. Twenty four hours of labor and twelve hours of good solid labor induced by pitocin and he finally exited the comforts of my body.
Both of my births my significant other was by my side coaching me on, telling me what a good job I was doing, how he was proud of me and in awe of what I was doing. He wiped my brow with a wash cloth, held my hand through contractions that seemed to only get stronger and closer together, and cheered me on when my children were visibly entering this world. I watched the look of pride and unconditional love wash over them as their eyes met this beautiful child for the very first time. I wept in relief, exhaustion, love, and the surreal-ness of it all. How I long for photos of those moments to show my children. To not just tell them how much they were wanted, how much they were loved and are loved, the strength it took to get them into this world, but to be able to show them.
I was a modest woman. I didn't allow anyone into my birthing room with my daughter except for her father & my older sister. I dawned two gowns- one in the front and one in the back. Fifteen years has gone by since I birthed my oldest & not having photos is one of my biggest regrets.
As a birth photographer I hear a lot of reasons as to why women or people in general wouldn't consider a birth photographer. I want to mythbust some of these.
My Va-jay-jay will be front & center
Despite what most think- birth photography isn't about your lady bits. It's about the emotions and feelings surrounding the day of your child(ren)'s birth. The actual birth of your child(ren) is a very minor part in a larger overall picture. Most birth photographers are skilled and able to capture angles of the actual birth without showing any genitalia. Having a photographer there will be disrupting & annoying
Birth is definitely something private and sacred. It's one of the most intimate times a woman will experience. That said, a birth photographer's job is to capture moments and memories without being intrusive or invasive. Our goal is to be a presence that is known but not interfering or changing your story. I have photographed several births and none of the mommas remembered me even being there towards the end of labor.
I'm not one of those crunchy hippy moms who needs to be one with her body & the Earth
You don't need to be "crunchy or hippy" to love your child, to show emotion or pain during your labor, to have your significant other hold your hand... Photos are for anyone and everyone. They document the story you are experiencing. We all have a story and how great to be able to show and tell that story with your child years down the road. A birth photographer is expensive
It is true that birth photography can be costly depending on your budget, however, most birth photographers will offer payment plans. You are pregnant for 10 months (40 weeks for most- some shorter and some longer) this is a great opportunity to save or put down monthly payments for your birth photography. Birth photography involves a lot on the photographer's end- consults, check ins, hospital tour, meeting with your obgyn, on call time, the birth however long that may take, and then editing. The value of these portraits are priceless.
My significant other can take photographs. I don't need anyone else.
Your significant other may be able to take a few portraits here and there, but unless they are a professional photographer there's no telling whether you will be in focus, the exposure will be correct, etc. It is also true that your significant other's main purpose for being in the room with you is to support you and share this beautiful moment with you. They may not have much time to photograph important moments that are shared, not to mention the moments that are shared between you both- the looks or hand holding or kisses on the cheek, etc.
Mellissa is a Salem, Oregon birth photographer who serves not just Salem but McMinnville, Corvallis, Lincoln City, and Newberg. Contact her today for a complimentary consultation.