Birth Photography: Capturing The Moment You First Became a Mother
As an expectant mother, you’ve probably been planning every detail of your birth that you possibly can. You’ve planned where you will be giving birth, you’ve selected your care provider, you’re preparing for how you want to give birth, and you may have even picked out the cutest little outfit you’ll be putting your baby in when he or she comes home. Of course you have and you should! This is going to be one of the biggest days of your life and you want to be prepared as much as possible. But have you thought of this…
If this is going to be one of the biggest days of your life, the day where you meet your baby for the first time that has been growing inside you, the day where your life changes forever, have you thought of who is going to take on the role of capturing those precious moments when he or she takes his or her first breath? Who is going to document the moment you first see the love(s) of your life? You wouldn’t get married without a photographer capturing your big day. So why would you not have a professional capture the birth of your baby and the day you become a mommy (even for the second, third, fourth time)?
Birth is incredible. I’ve gone to hundreds of births and there is not a single one that has been the same. Each is different like a fingerprint; a unique story with each baby. It’s raw, it’s vulnerable, it’s empowering, and it’s real. It’s a day where you and your life will never be the same ever again. You will then learn what if feels like to have your heart outside of your body. It’s more than you can imagine. It’s terrifyingly beautiful. On this momentous day, I couldn’t imagine not capturing these moments to cherish this transition forever. This is why I’m a huge supporter of birth photography and it’s something that I think you should consider for your birth. Here’s why.
Why You Should Hire a Birth Photographer:
1. Remember the details of your baby’s birth.
If you ask women who have given birth if they remember all of the details, they will probably say no. They may remember some of the details, but more than likely not all of it. And of course they don’t! They are working really hard and don’t have the energy to remember every single detail that happened. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard, “I don’t even remember this!” after viewing some of the photos that I’ve taken for some of my clients. (As a birth doula, I offer to take some photos for my clients if they don’t hire a birth photographer. I am not a professional photographer though! But at least they have something to keep to remember their baby’s birth-day.)
So in my opinion, just as your wedding day was documented, the birth of your baby is one of the most important days in your life and deserves to be documented in detail as well.
2. Professionals know all the perfect pictures to take, what angles to get, and they have the equipment to get the best photo and lighting.
A professional not only has the experience and knowledge to shoot the best picture, but has invested the money and countless hours learning how to edit your photos so that they can enhance the beauty of the day to be exactly as you remember it. Even if you have a great camera and an awesome lens, and you know how to shoot in manual, you still usually end up with awful lighting in the birth room. (As seen below.) A birth photographer will take capture those special moments and come back with incredible images that you will cherish forever.
3. Remember the people that helped you during your labor and giving birth.
Years down the road, sometimes even just months or weeks, it’s difficult to remember who all was there supporting you during your labor and birth and all the things that they did. Have photos to remember who your nurses were, who your doctor was (if you had a doctor on call), what your midwife looked like, the doula that supported you, who your visitors were, and the actions and emotions that were shared is priceless. It shows what everyone did and how they participated (or did not participate) in helping you give birth to your baby.
4. Allows your birth partner (and doula) to help you more.
Hiring a birth photographer also allows dads/ your birth partners to better support you. By removing the responsibility of taking photos, they are able to be 100% present to help you which is a time you will need their help the most. We have to remember that they, too, are going through a lot of emotions and are probably not the best person to take photos since they are experiencing their wife/partner go through a challenging and emotional time. They will be distracted and forget to document the moments you want captured.
When you have a birth photographer, your partner (and if you have a doula, her as well) don’t have to worry about capturing those important moments. It allows them to be fully there for you emotionally and physically. They can then focus on massaging you, help with your breathing, helping you change into different positions, and more.
5. You get to relive the moment and the emotions over and over again.
You want to always remember what it felt like when you saw your baby for the first time. It’s a powerful moment. The look on Dad’s/your partner’s face when he held his child for the first time. The photos truly capture the love in the room.
I also love that you can show your child in the future the story of their birth. They may not be interested until years down the road, but I promise that it will be special to them and they will appreciate it in the future.
6. It is not limited.
A lot of the photos that people see and find of birth photography are vaginal births, but I am here to tell you that birth photography is not limited to just mothers who are planning a natural birth. Hospitals are increasingly allowing photographers in the operating room for C-section deliveries. In the event a woman has a C-section or other emergencies happen, birth photography can help a woman have fond memories of her birth even when things don’t go as she had planned or hoped.
7. It can allow women to heal.
Birth photography can actually serve as a beautiful tool in helping a mother cope with births that didn’t go as she planned. While initially seeing the images may be difficult for her, along with other support, many mothers have found that having those images is empowering. Images of C-sections are just as beautiful as images of vaginal births because it’s birth and it’s the moment your baby came into the world. These photos allow mothers to be able to see things they wouldn’t have otherwise been able to see — such as when baby was taken to be cleaned after the C-section, or the time when they may still be sleepy from medication.
8. Appreciate how incredible birth really is.
Childbirth is the most amazing, miraculous event EVER. The moment your child enters this world is something you never want to forget. If you want to document your baby bump, and sweet newborn photos, why not document the moment your child is born? It really makes you look at how beautiful it all is and the miracle that is giving birth.
Not everyone feels that birth photography is for them, which is okay, but I do highly encourage that you capture those first moments after birth. This is where a birth photographer comes to the hospital/birth center/your home after your baby is born, and you are rested, to document you with baby and family, siblings meeting baby for the first time, extended family and guests visiting. They are beautiful photos to have as well. 🙂
If you are in search of a birth photographer in your area, check out BirthPhotographers.com. They offer a national database of professional birth photographers.
Did you hire a birth photographer for your birth? Would you hire one for your next birth? I want to know! Please share with me your experiences and thoughts in the comments below.