When I tell people that I'm a birth photographer I get one of three reactions:
1) *blink blink blink* (these people don't even know what it means) sometimes these people assume I mean newborn photography.
2) ew, why would you want to take pictures of that?!
3) That's so cool! Can I see some shots?!
My goal is to eliminate those first 2 reactions! Not everyone needs to love birth photography or even has to have birth photography but I hope to show the value of it.
So, without further ado, here are my 5 reasons you should have a birth photographer document your birth story!
1) You miss a lot while you're in labor.
Have you heard of the phrase "labor land"? This is the state most women in labor go into while in active labor. When in labor land, you're withdrawn with very little awareness of what's happening around you. It's actually a beautiful thing because you are also not as aware of the pain your body is experiencing. But you also have no concept of time passing (also a good thing) so timelines are fuzzy, you may not be completely aware of how your partner is supporting you, you miss the emotions in the room (including your own).
When you have a photographer there, storytelling is the goal. You will see the sequence of events, all the ways your partner supported you, the emotions from everyone in the room as your baby is born, and your "I did it!" moment after you hold your baby and realize this just happened.
Here's a super cute example, this home birth mom got crafts for her older girls to do while she was in labor. She would have missed this sweet moment of her girl's creativity and concentration!
2) Birth photography will help you process your birth story.
Sometimes our birth plan has to go out of the window. Sometimes it goes way way way out of the window! I don't like to dwell on this aspect during consultations because I want to keep it positive but the truth is birth can be traumatic. Even if it wasn't traumatic, you may grieve the birth you didn't get to have for one reason or another.
When you have your birth documented processing what happened and how things happened is so much easier. When I surveyed people about birth photography this is the most common reason they were glad they did it or wish they had! It makes me a little sad that so many have had hard births that they have to process but I feel so honored that I can help them later when they are ready.
This mama planned a homebirth, she met her baby in a very different way than she ever imagined.
3) It's a great way to help older siblings adjust!
When my son was born it was February, flu season. The hospital didn't allow anyone under 18 to visit. That meant my daughter couldn't meet her baby brother until we were home. With the pandemic, I know so many people have had to deal with this too. My daughter went from being an only child to a big sister without even knowing how it happened! She loved her baby brother and she was excited to see him when we finally were home but it was hard for both of us that she couldn't be there.
When our wonderful photographer sent me the slideshow with all the photos from the birth my daughter watched it over and over. She got to see how her little brother went from in my tummy to home with us (not graphically). It really helped her adjust to having a little sibling and being a big sister! I'll always be grateful for that, and 3 years later she still asks to watch it.
Me saying goodbye to Myla, the last kiss as an only child.
4) Your partner/family can focus on you and not the camera.
When my daughter was born I asked my mom to be in charge of taking photos. She took some in early labor before the hospital and then 2 super blurry, but cherished, photos right after I pulled my baby on my chest. She was more worried about how I was doing than taking photos. She was there to support me and in her own way that's what she did, but that didn't involve taking many pictures. I've heard many similar stories. Missed focus, bad lighting, too graphic, and on and on. When your partner is in charge of the photos that means they aren't in the photos! They may have to choose between supporting you or getting the shot.
Fast forward to my son's birth 3 years and photographer later, my mom got to just be with us. And now I have all the details to look back on whenever I want, including her! You'll get all the shots and all the support. As a birthkeeper, I get to show your family how to best support you and later you get to see your strength and their love for you.
My husband and mom got to support me in labor, it was all hands on deck!
5) It's one of the most important days of your life, the day you become a parent.
Most people wouldn't think of getting married without a photographer. In fact, your wedding day and the birth of your child have a lot in common. You may have fantasized about how your wedding day would go and how it would look. You may not know everyone there, you are probably nervous before it happens, you wouldn't ask your maid of honor or officiant to take photos! Looking back on that day, it's a blur but your wedding photos take you right back to the moment and you feel that love for your partner.
For 9 months your baby grew inside of you, attached to you. Your body protected, nourished, and created this little being. During those months you dreamt about the day you get to hold your baby for the first time. You fantasized about what it will look like, who will be there, how it will feel. Looking back on that day, it's a blur but your birth photos take you right back to the moment and you feel that same overwhelming love, strength, and happiness.
What do you think? Did you have a photographer at your birth? Are you considering it? What questions do you have about birth photography?
Feel free to send this post to people who are on the fence about birth photography!
You can always reach me by email: Oliviasensphotography@gmail.com
Find me on insta and FB @oliviasensphotography
"The moment a child is born, a mother is born also"