When I had my first 3 kids, birth photography wasn’t even a ‘thing’ (or at least I don’t think it was!). There are so many things about the birth that I don’t remember (or wasn’t aware of) and I’d constantly ask my husband and mum questions so I could piece it all together. It was such a huge experience that happened to me, yet I was totally not aware of what was happening around me. When my babies were born, I of course had those blissful moments of cuddling them – but pretty quickly I was demanding that my husband get the camera and the phone, as I knew I’d want to relive those first few moments even just hours later.
It was not long after I had my third, that I started seeing birth photography pop up on my facebook and instagram, and I specifically started following a birth photographer in my area. The images were always tasteful and beautiful, and documented the EXPERIENCE of birth. The story. It wasn’t all about the graphic part of birth – and in fact most of it wasn’t even about that at all – it was all about the emotion, the details, the beauty, the story. I am a storyteller by nature, and I always love to re-experience life through memories captured in images. It’s my way of really experiencing it all. I knew that if I were to get pregnant again, I needed a birth photographer. And then I got pregnant! I contacted her straight away. My husband took a little more convincing (mainly due to the cost), but at the end of the day, he knew it was something that was so important to me. And so we hired her, and it was the best thing I ever did. I will forever love her for the memories she’s given to our family. My baby is now 18 months old, and is worlds away from that fresh newborn who breathed his first breath. While some of it remains in my memory, a lot of the details fade with time and with the chaos of life. However, through the images, they’re never lost.
When I became a professional photographer, I knew that one day I’d love to capture a birth. I didn’t know when, but I knew that it would be a huge passion for me. My birth experiences were each so unique and so special, and have become a part of who I am, and part of my story. I’m still amazed that I was even able to do it – that women can be so strong – that I could be so strong! I wasn’t specifically chasing it, when it fell into my lap twice in one week. First my sister in law asked me if I’d consider being there for the birth of their first baby, and then second a lovely couple I met at their maternity shoot asked me the same. It truly felt like it was meant to be. I was able to be there for those births – one a natural birth, the other a c-section. I was able to tell both of their stories, and it left me completely addicted. There is nothing more beautiful than birth. These are some of the reasons I am so glad that I hired my birth photographer, and why I’d encourage anyone to do the same:
- Birth is the biggest experience of your life, and the most emotional. You’ll never get to meet your child for the first time again. You’ll never get to hear them cry for the first time again, or to hold them and kiss them for the first time. Even if you have more children, you will never have that one again. They’re only born once. The images captured will forever keep that experience alive, and you’ll be able to relive all the emotions of the biggest day of your life. You’d never consider not hiring a photographer for your wedding to capture the story of that day, so why not your birth story as well?
- You can’t change your mind. You can never go back and decide to hire one – it’s now or never. I remember when we were deciding whether to have our third baby, someone said to me ‘You’ll never regret the children you have, only the ones you don’t have’. The same can be said for birth photography. You will never regret having those memories, but you might regret not having them. I regret not having a birth photographer for my first 3 – even though it wasn’t a choice at the time.
- You can see things from different perspectives. During labour or a c-section, you usually become quite inward focused and lose awareness of what’s happening around you. The sequence of events gets lost, the fact that your partner is massaging you and holding your hand might be forgotten, the expressions and emotions might go unnoticed. There is a roller coaster of emotions during birth, and while you think you’ll remember it all, you usually don’t. By having the images, you’re able to piece it all together, and to relive all of those emotions and experiences you’ve forgotten.
- Memories fade. Memories of the labour and those first few moments and hours fade even faster. Adrenaline, medication, exhaustion, pain, euphoria – all cloud your ability to remember it all.
- Just as memories fade, babies change SUPER FAST. They are only the fresh newborns for such a brief moment, and then they start growing and changing. Even the next day they’ve already changed from the fresh newborn. Their fingers and toes become less wrinkled, their skin colour changes, and they already start becoming more alert. Capturing those first moments is so special, and impossible to recreate.
- You’ll get quality images. Light in hospital rooms is notoriously terrible. By hiring a professional, you get someone who knows how to work with the light and to capture quality images for you to look back on.
- It allows you to be truly in the moment. You don’t need to worry about what’s being captured, your partner doesn’t need to worry about rushing to pull out the phone or camera as soon as your little one is born. Both of you can just truly be in the moment and focus on this life changing event. This is not to say that you won’t take your own photos as well – you most likely will – but you won’t have to until you’re ready and until the moment has truly been experienced. .
- You can show your child one day the experience of their birth. This after all, is their first moments in the world.
- In those tough moments – whether they be the emotional roller coaster of the first few weeks after birth – or the challenges of the future years of raising a child – you can always look back and relive that experience. You can feel those emotions again and refocus on what’s truly important in life.
- Most of all, this is your story. This is not only your new baby and their story – this is YOUR story. Your partner’s story and your family’s story. This is where you either create a family, or grow your existing family. This is life. We capture important events such as weddings, engagements and birthdays – but it doesn’t get much bigger than birth!
If you’d like to book me as your birth photographer, I’d love to help tell your story. Contact me here to book or ask me any questions! You can also view a Video of me explaining why I love Birth Photography, a Video example of a Birth Story photo book which comes with all birth stories, and my Birth Portfolio.