I am often asked ‘why birth photography?’ The answer is simple:
My own birth story.
We’ll be celebrating my child’s 10th birthday at the end of the month, and each year I always reflect on the impact she has had on my life.
It was the day that changed me. It changed who I was. My path, my entire life, and who I would be was turned in an entirely different direction.
I was about to be a single mother.
I was alone in that hospital room for most of the night with only my mother there, but she often stayed in the waiting room. I think.
I don’t remember.
What I do remember is being scared. I didn’t breath through contractions; I held my breath like I do when riding the tallest, fastest roller coaster in the amusement park. I wasn’t nearly as scared of labor pains and childbirth as I was about the reality of life after we left the safety and security of the hospital.
Friends had been awaiting my calls in excitement, but I didn’t feel like calling anyone. I just wanted to sit there and hold my breath.
After getting an epidural at about 7 a.m., I fell asleep, waking only when a nurse would come to check on me.
I have no idea when my water broke, only that it was during a nurse’s check. I woke up when my dad arrived, saying hello before heading to the waiting room and then fell back to sleep when he left.
I do know I woke up at noon, and something felt different. I felt like I needed to push. The nurse came in, and yep, it was time to push. My mother stood behind me, over my shoulder. I couldn’t see her. Instead, I was staring at all these complete strangers stare at my netheryea while I sat there in the most vulnerable moment of my life. Did I mention the window blinds were open? Yeah. I remember that. And then 43 minutes later…
She was here.
This tiny, pink, lovely baby was here. And she was mine. And I was hers.
For a moment, every fear and worry disappeared. It was the most amazing moment of my life. Everything changed because of her. For the better. I had done it, by myself. I was empowered. I had this precious little soul to care for, and nothing would ever stand in my way of doing so. I was a mother. And it all happened in a matter of minutes.
My only regret from that day was I have no hard memories other than what I have just told you.
There is nothing tangible to hold and look through. It was before the days of smartphones, and flip phone cameras weren’t nearly as convenient. The hospital took her picture, but they were awful, as you can see. The only details of my birth experience I knew were written on a little pink 3×5 card: 8 lbs. 7 oz, 21 inches long. 12:43 p.m.
Thanks to a friend who visited later that day, I have one good photograph of the day she was born.
One photograph. That’s it.
You see, the answer to ‘why birth photography’ is this:
It the moment when a woman becomes a whole new person in what seems like a few, very short minutes, their entire reason for living enters the world. She becomes a new person. She is now stronger and her life richer because of a tiny, pink, lovely baby.
No mother should ever forget that moment.
Every mother should have more than one good photograph.