I love photos. The walls of my house are filled with family photos. Some might think we’re a little obsessed with ourselves, but I just love my family and enjoy capturing images of us at every stage. My husband is a professional photographer and videographer which only adds to my appreciation of good photography.
When I was pregnant with my first child, I knew I wanted photos of the birth, but it didn’t occur to me to hire a photographer. I assumed my husband would be able to take care of that while I labored peacefully. Well, that proved to be unsuccessful! I had a natural labor with no medical interventions whatsoever– which means I was in a world of pain and I leaned heavily on my husband for support. I barely let him take a breath, much less snap away on the camera. Thankfully, my mom was also in the room and captured some pretty decent shots as our little boy made his way into the world. I’m thankful for those few precious photos.
When I found out I was pregnant with my second baby, I knew for sure that hiring a birth photographer was the way to go. I was grateful that a friend of mine who is a professional photographer volunteered for the job. When the first pangs of labor hit, I texted her before I even called my midwife. She arrived right away and snapped photos quietly—and offered me encouragement when I needed it—as I labored. She was able to capture all the details of my daughter’s birth beautfully. It was a relief to be able to labor with the help of my husband without having to worry about the photos. We were both able to concentrate fully on the birth process instead of on on how the photos would turn out. We knew our friend had it handled. Receiving the photos of the birth a few days later made my heart jump with joy.
A friend of mine and mom of three, Rebekah McGee agrees. “I loved that my birth photographer captured the emotions of the day. I loved that my husband could be fully present without needing to document anything,” she says.
Fellow mom and writer Lauren Hartmann adds, “Birth is such a whirlwind, out of body experience, that it’s easy to forget the details. A birth photographer will capture those moments and they will be treasured always. I only had a birth photographer for one of my births, but I truly wish I’d had one for all of them.” The birth of my daughter lasted only two hours from start to finish. I couldn’t even remember everything that happened as it all occurred so quickly. Having the photos to look back on brings clarity.
Victoria Wilson, a doula and mom of two has an even deeper perspective. “We used a birth photographer with the birth of my second child, and the first reason we chose a birth photographer was because we had NO pictures of my first child’s birth!” She says, “This made me sad as a mother, and a doula, to not have a record of that day. But I came to love birth photography, not only for the memories, but also because of how it pulls the veil back on birth. For me it’s a social justice issue. Maternity care in this country will never be improved if we don’t accurately depict the wonder of childbirth. If we relegate birth to ‘war stories’ we do a huge disservice. I love that the pictures of my daughters’ births show the wonder and power and the thrill of birth.”
I love Victoria’s viewpoint. Birth is a beautiful process, and perhaps if we see more photos of it, we will come to appreciate and understand it more.
Hiring a birth photographer may seem like a silly luxury to some, but time after time, I have heard moms say how thankful they are to have the memories of that day captured for a lifetime.