What? A birth photographer has a rant? How is that possible? You see new life? Don’t you want business? I mean, it’s trendy now, but not everyone gets it. Still kind of niche, Erika. Why would you rant?
I decided a long time ago that I write for me. If someone didn’t like it, I wasn’t their fit. And I want to shoot for people who really believe we’re a perfect fit. I want to be your most flattering pair of sweats. So far, so good… But I have to rant a bit about being a Birth Photographer.
It isn’t an easy job and not for the obvious reasons. Birth goo? No biggie. The sounds? Please… Staring at vagina for a couple of hours? And not even airbrushed Playboy vagina. I’m talking birth vagina. Still an easy part of the gig. Birth vagina is basically like I’m staring at the back of their neck or any other nondescript body part. You probably don’t believe me, but you also probably don’t get giddy about births. So I’m not ranting about vagina. Not today.
Here’s what’s not easy about being a birth photographer…
Being on call.
It really sucks. Your entire life goes on hold. Your entire family’s life goes on hold. As it gets closer to the due date, I get itchy. Once you pass the due date, everyone gets bitchy (I swear I’m not talking about the Mom’s, them being bitchy past their due date is completely acceptable). I’m talking family and probably friends if I push it.
- You’re going to a movie? I might need you home ASAP.
- I can’t do that holiday at your house. Come to mine?
- I really need my roots done, but I’d be in a salon for at least 2 hours. Nope. Can’t do.
- Can’t we have a Happy Hour next week? Shit the week after?
- I really shouldn’t have that third glass of wine…
- Why is my friend texting me at 2 a.m.?! They know I’ve got a birth!!
I hate being on call. About two weeks prior to the Due date, I start On-Call mode, I’m good. Prepare myself mentally and with all the extra stuff: alerting people about holidays if necessary, batteries, major plans, etc. I’m ready to handle being On-Call.
And then it gets closer to the due date… And sometimes it slides past the due date. I’m cursing myself:
- Why do I do this?!
- Seriously, Erika!! Why?
- This isn’t right.
- You’ve got a full-time job, Idiot.
- You’ve got a family that didn’t sign up for On-Call hijinx.
- This is it! The last birth!
But it never is.
I’m wrong. I’m always wrong.
The Text finally pops up and I shoot out of bed. There’s always a huge part of me that knew the Text was coming on the exact day it comes. It’s almost weird and freaky, but even that feeling doesn’t “help”. I gather everything up and hit the car. Blasting something to wake me up. Singing “This is crazy. This is crazy.” with the tune on the radio. The second I walk into “strangers'” homes and begin shooting their moment, all my On-Call ranting disappears. I don’t even remember ranting and I spend the next couple of hours photographing the most beautiful moment ever.
Why would I even consider ranting about being chosen to photograph a birth? What was it again? I forget. God, I’m a lucky woman.
Until the next time I’m on call…