Birth story photography is still a new concept, an option many mothers are unaware of. Whenever an acquaintance asks me what I do, I brace myself for the awkward silence to follow my answer. When I mention birth photography specifically, I imagine an image flashing before their eyes : a "head-on" shot of baby crowning, photographer all up in mom's business, flat flash lighting. Sometimes, for fun, particularly if the inquirers are male, I don't bother to explain myself. More often, I hand them my business card and leave them to their own devices, thrilled when they come across my site and say, "Ahhhh, now I get it! I wish I'd had you at my birth!"
To those I do delve into conversation with, I LOVE explaining my mission:
1 To tastefully capture an exciting, life-changing experience, inspiring mom as she weaves together her birth story, ultimately producing a beautiful, quality storybook to hold onto forever. As a very busy momma in labor, it's guaranteed that details will be forgotten and moments missed, like the look on Dad's face when the baby comes, or baby's first peek at the world while mom is tended to and baby is cleaned up. Later in life, kiddos love flipping through their own birth stories with mom and dad!
2 To showcase mom's incredible strength and beauty. Some moms just don't feel beautiful when pregnant or giving birth, and I think it's important for them to see objectively how amazing and lovely they truly are. This is the day when a woman shows her strength and love like never before... how could one not find that to be beautiful?
3 To provide healing for mom after a Cesarean birth, or a difficult or complicated birth. I was discussing the healing power of birth stories just last week with a mom who'd had a Cesarean birth. The emotional healing process is a long one, and it's important for mom to see that, even though her birth plan went off course, it doesn't deduct from the fact that she, too, has brought a life into the world. She, too, has carried a child for 9 months, nurturing herself into an amazing mother. She, too, has a beautiful birth story to be told.
We all love to brag about our children, friends, and family. We take photos of everything, including sports tournaments where we showcase our athletic abilities, or prom to showcase a major checkpoint in our child's life, or our engagement to showcase our unmatched love, or our wedding to showcase the joining of one life to another. What I find most compelling is that the emotion derived from each one of these amazing moments comes together all at once during a birth. Why would we want to let something so powerful pass un-documented?
And if when I ask, "Why not?", you answer, "Because things happen in birth that are not beautiful, because I'm not a health class exhibit, because I'm modest about my body and private with my life", then I suspect you might be gazing at things from a different perspective. True, birth story photography is not for every mother, but it's important to understand that there's something much deeper to birth photography than the images themselves. It's about family, it's about the strength of a mother, and it's about being at peace with and owning your birth story, even if it doesn't go according to plan. And if you're still anticipating unflattering, head-on crowning shots, feel free to skip on over to my Gallery.
That's all for now :)
This image was taken during a birth where dad could not attend in-person.
I LOVE being a Denver birth photographer!