"What do you do for a living?" It's a question I'm asked from time to time. "I'm a photographer!" is my average response. More often than not, I'm then asked what type of photos I take. Here we go. Should I just leave it out? Do I slip it in quietly or boldly proclaim BIRTH? Truth be told it would be easier just to say I am a family photographer and leave it at that! Yeah... where's the fun in that?? Quiet and mousy are terms that are rarely attached to my name. "I photograph families, newborns and maternity sessions; Although my main passion is birth photography!" I proudly proclaim and wait for the response back. Oh man, the looks and the confusion I sometimes get. "Wait... like you take pictures of it actually happening?" This is often said with an emphasis on the word "it." I think a lot of people think of photos and videos they may have seen in a science class. The science of the act itself. They envision my camera aimed directly between the legs essentially capturing vagina shots of themselves (or their spouse). I get it. It sounds strange and unflattering. It's so much more than that, just hear me out!
Childbirth is full of so many emotions. It's many months of dreaming, hoping and anticipation all bursting forth at the same time. Sometimes it's painful and scary. It's a strange kind of pain though, not like anything you have ever experienced. It's pain mixed with joy, true genuine joy. You get to meet your baby now. Every single wave (contraction) brings your baby closer. This is it. It's happening. While you are breathing through waves and focusing all of your strength on bringing this life into the world your partner is experiencing his own set of emotions. He is full of excitement and nerves. He's working with you through it all. His face is pained as you are in pain. He breaths a subtle sigh of relief as your wave falls.
As your sweet baby emerges and is placed in your arms love pours out of your soul and rests on your face. It's so inexplicable. This look. This first moment. Nothing can replicate it and no two parents show it in the same way. In my eyes it's the most beautiful look in the world. This is the sweetest moment that I have the honor of photographing. Nothing I could ever photograph could begin to touch this moment. It's an emotional high that I can ride for days, even weeks later.
It doesn't end there though. You haven't seen your photos yet. You haven't seen how amazing and powerful that you are! You haven't seen the way your partner experienced these moments with you. You haven't seen the sheer look of love on your face as you held your baby for the first time. These photos are so empowering you. No matter how your baby enters the world it shows the strength you have as a women. I get to photograph women during the most intense, vulnerable and emotionally charged day in their life. I don't just snap a few crowning shots and call it a day. I capture a story of strength. I capture a story of joy. I capture a story of true love.
Looking back on the birth of my own three children I regret not having these moments captured. If I could go back knowing what I know now I would have hired a birth photographer! My youngest was born partially "en caul" or wrapped in the amniotic sack. It's a rare phenomenon that occurs when the bag of waters doesn't break during labor or pushing. It's really amazing! I hardly remember the moment seems how I had just given birth and all. I wish this moment and many more were captured from my births. There are so many details that have long since been forgotten or blurred. Its only been 17 months and its already such a blur. It would be amazing to look back on my own birth photos and take it in all in again. I did this. I brought three incredible little humans into this world. Each birth had its own story and all three were completely different.
Birth photography truly is my passion. I can't wait to be at my next birth session. I am eagerly awaiting "the call" right now as we speak. I've gotten the chance to work with some amazing expecting moms lately. Beautiful, glowing maternity sessions and lots of anticipation. No two births will be alike and that adds on to the amazingness. I love what I do and I'm only just getting started.