It wasn’t that long ago that men were shoo-ed out of delivery rooms. Well, that’s if they even made into the Maternity Ward. Most had to drop their wife at the hospital doors and head to the pub to wait for a phone-call to say “Your baby has arrived. You can come back and visit your wife and baby. Tomorrow. During visiting hours.” Any woman mad enough to want her husband to stay was generally told “No man wants to see that!”
Imagine how we’d react now if a man wasn’t allowed to stay and support his wife during her labour and delivery. Society is changing. Dads want to be involved. They’re excited to be ‘hands on’. I know I couldn’t have laboured without the love and support of my husband.
Birth is beautiful. It’s beautiful because you are welcoming a tiny, amazing little person into your life.
When most people hear about Birth Photography the first thing they say is “why would anyone want to see photos of that???” And usually by ‘that‘ they mean ‘your bits’ or lots of ‘blood and guts’. And then, by the look on their face, they generally imply that any woman mad enough to want a photographer at her baby’s birth must be an exhibitionist.
There’s really no need for Birth Photography to be graphic or disturbing. Most parents don’t want images like that, and neither do their Photographers. A good Birth Photographer will find the beauty in your birth, and will quietly and unobtrusively document your birth story regardless of how it unfolds.
“That’s all well and good” I hear you say, “But, I wouldn’t even want non-graphic photos of myself in labour all over the internet!” This is something that you can discuss, at length, with your your Birth Photographer well before you have your baby.
Primarily, these images are for you. You may decide that you don’t even want to share them with family. That’s totally up to you. While your Photographer may ask to share a small selection of images with prospective Clients in private, what gets shared publicly online is completely up to you.
When I was pregnant I didn’t think I would want anyone other than my husband and the midwife with me during labour. But, in hindsight, what I was most concerned about was people not respecting my wishes and my personal space while I laboured.
It’s essential for you to meet with your Birth Photographer in person before hiring them. You’re potentially inviting them to witness an intensely personal moment in your life. You need to feel safe and respected by them.
Despite our best efforts, there are times when life doesn’t go according to plan. Women can be very hard on themselves. Feeling that they’ve failed as a mother because the path they trod was not part of the planned journey.
Having images to look back can be beneficial in helping to process what happened, and enable you to move forward in a positive way.
It’s true, Birth Photography often comes with a hefty price tag. But, keep in mind that your photographer is on-call, and puts their life on hold for you for 4-6 weeks, while they wait for your call.
With that said, it can be daunting facing this new stage of your life. You’re contemplating the challenges you will face with this new little life in your hands, as well as wondering how you’ll make ends meet on a what will more than likely be a reduced income.
Most Photographers offer Birth Packages that cater to all budgets. If it still seems out of reach, it’s good to know that some Photographers also offer payment plans, this way you get to have your ‘cake’ and eat it too!
My children have grown up in what seems like ‘the blink of an eye’. They are strong, independent, caring & loving. But, what I wouldn’t give to go back in time and freeze that moment when they were born.
My confidence as a parent falters quite regularly. Its in these moments that I would love to look back on images of when my boys came into this world. To see how strong and determined I was. To see how tender and caring my husband was. To remember how tiny and fragile my boys seemed. To re-live how incredible those first few precious moments after their births were. To have a reminder, an affirmation, that I am a good mum & I am doing a good job.
Society is constantly changing. Wouldn’t it be nice if future generations were to say ‘I can’t believe people didn’t hire Birth Photographers years ago’, in the same way that we say today ‘I can’t believe fathers weren’t allowed into the delivery room years ago’.
What do you think?
Images used with kind permission from: Sarah Anne Photography, Nuzum Photography, Black Cherry Photography, Mockingbird Photography, Storyteller Photography, Crowned Photography, Songborn Photography