Beautiful Birth

October13

I had the most incredible and lovely experience today.  I must say that it is in the top 5 experiences that have changed and shaped my view of the world as I see it.  I was invited into the world of a friend and asked to document the birth of her baby.

When I was pregnant, I sought out someone who would be willing to take photos of my birth so that I could see it from the outside.  I was certain that if I had a VBAC that it would be a victorious experience for me, and I wanted some photos to look at to remind myself what a birth warrior I was.  My birth photos have gone to great lengths to heal the trauma from my first birth.  I no longer feel like I have a large hole in my life as a mother who “failed” birthing my first baby.  I just wanted some great photography from the birth and maybe help heal some trama when I asked a photographer to join me at the birth.  I never imagined that this would spark my interest in documenting the births of others.  In the interim after my birth, before I got my photos, I was sent a lovely slideshow of birth photos.  I started searching out birth photographers from around the world and looking at their work.  I was truly hooked.  When I started to show the photos to my friend who was about to have a baby, she said that she was ABSOLUTELY interested in having me attend to create some beautiful photos.

I’m not the kind of person who knows where my cell phone is for days at a time, so I had to make quite a few changes being on call to attend a birth.  Finally, last night, as I was getting ready to go to bed, I got a phone call that she was headed to the birth center and she would like me to join her.  I’m so glad I got the call.  I put Cyprus in the car and headed out.

Things were slow going at first, but eventually active labor kicked in and I got into my groove as a birth photographer.  My classical training in photography mixed with my experience with over 100 weddings had me very comfortable photographing even though I had never been to a birth before.  My photo journalistic viewpoint was well suited to me tiptoeing around, allowing things to happen, documenting what did happen well without staging anything or getting in the way.  I must say that I was successful.

Photography aside, I am so honored that I was asked to be a part of this birth.  There are few things in life that have the pure, raw emotions involved than birthing a child.  A mom that is committed to having an unmedicated birth outside of the hospital has made an agreement with her baby to  come into the world and start life with respect and dignity.  Birth is incredibly hard work, but it was magical seeing a mama labor and birth in a way that was collected and respectful.  There were no interventions telling her that she needed to get things going or that something wasn’t normal about what she was doing.  She was allowed to listen to her body and not be restricted in any way.  My birth was intervention free, but when you are the one giving birth, you end up in your own “labor land” that doesn’t allow you to look from outside and see what a miraculous experience it is.

The fact that I was allowed to share the birth experience was incredibly special to me.  It reinforces to me the strength involved in being a mother.  The first test to being a parent is birthing a baby.  With that successfully completed, a mom and a baby have started a journey together that includes mutual respect.  I got to witness the love that moms everywhere experience when they agree to become a mother.  Though I have been a mom for over 2 years now, the past two months have really given me a new outlook on what that means.  I feel like I have a much stronger connection with my son and especially my daughter after watching the miracle of giving life.

I have had several incredible experiences in my life that have changed me completely as a person, graduating from Delphi, spending a year studying art in Greece, the birth of my children and my wedding.  This is an experience that I will have to add to the list of important influential experiences.  I can’t thank this mama enough for allowing me to be a part of her birth experience.  It is something that is incredibly personal, and asking someone to share is a great honor.  I only hope that I showed that I deserved it and that I was able to document it in a way that she can see how lovely she was.  A woman who is 9 months pregnant feels waddly and frumpy, but a birthing mom looks gorgeous no matter what.

Congratulations Julie on the birth of your 3rd baby.  Thank you so much for allowing me to be a part of your birth team.  Your photos are very special to me, and I hope that they will help you see and understand what an incredible warrior you were today, the day your 3rd daughter was born.  Your experience was very profound for me, and I have been brought to tears today more times than I care to admit in this public forum.

I am writing this the day that it happened, but I am postponing the publication for 2 weeks so that the mama has a chance to announce the birth in her own time.

posted under Babies, Photography

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