Growing up, I heard this a lot: Erika, being right isn’t the most important thing in life.
That’s really good advice. Damn near Buddha-like if you ask me. My Mom was attempting to teach me one of life’s most valuable lessons. However the weight of the lesson is void after hearing her proudly tell people for years, “I’ve only been wrong twice in my life.” Twice. In her life. She probably wanted me to be wrong just so she didn’t have to change it to “three times.” But I’m guessing she’ll tell me that’s wrong…
I think I’ve gotten better with my need to be right. I hope so. But here’s one thing I won’t bend on, apologize for, or even consider that I’m wrong. I’m right that you need to have your birth photographed.
But Erika, I want my birth to be a private and intimate affair.
But Erika, I’d hate if you saw my lady bits.
But Erika, no one wants to see me in pain. I don’t even want to be there!
But Erika, my partner will take some pictures.
But Erika, someone will be there right after to take some photos of us in the hospital.
But Erika, a hospital birth won’t have the same feel as a home birth.
But Erika…nothing. I’m right.
I understand all of those concerns. I do. But you’re wrong.
Find the right photographer for your birth. All photographers should respect your need for a private birth. Ask them questions and the hint of disrespect or bad portfolio, find a new one. No photographer should attack your vagina like it’s Lady Gaga coming out of a NYC restaurant. A crowning shot isn’t a beautiful photo no matter how you shoot it. He or she will not be shoving their camera and flash between the stirrups and the OB to rapid fire the camera at your Goods. And if you’re worried about that, ask them to not shoot your vagina. You won’t be pushing and hear the photographer say, “Could you tilt your chin to the left with the next push? Thanks, doll.” The photographer should be observing the event and documenting the story with their camera. Here’s another secret… You’ll be in labor! You won’t worry about the photographer. You’ll be concentrating on doing the best for your baby. And when you receive the pictures, you don’t have to share them. I’m so grateful to the families I’ve photographed because they’ve allowed me to blog these photos. I hope it’s because they found them too beautiful to keep locked up.
Yes, you’ll be in pain. There’s no escaping it. But you know what? You’ll be supported be a loving partner and/or family members. Those people will be in awe of your capabilities. People will comfort and support you because they want the best for you and this baby. The photographer should focus on that bond and strength. And I really think that’s the point of a birth photographer. Not only to capture the first image of your baby, but to showcase the commitment of the couple. To show that rawness and connection not found in any other photography sessions. When you look at those pictures, you’ll see what they saw at the birth. You’ll see that you were magnificent. Let the photographer show you how amazing you are.
While your partner is supporting you, they can’t take pictures. They need to hold your hand. Cheer you to the finish line. Plus you want someone who knows what they’re doing with a camera. You wouldn’t hire someone who only watches car shows to fix your car. You’d hire a professional. Do the same for one of the most important moments in your life. Find a photographer you trust.
I love photography session done in the hospital. I love seeing the standard issued white, teal and pink striped blankets swaddling the newborn. I love the hospital tag that’s impossibly big on a newborn’s ankle. I love the couple squeezed into the hospital bed holding their baby. I love them. But that session has missed so much. It missed the woman determined face crumple with exuberant exhaustion as the baby is placed in her arms. It missed the tenderness the father had as he held his son for the first time. It missed the happiness that filled the entire room. Because even veteran midwives, nurses, and doctors can’t help but get swallowed up by the happiness. There’s a buzz that’s missing from those hospital sessions and you can’t duplicate that buzz.
And guess what? That buzz is in the court room if you’ve adopted, a hospital, home, or car if that’s where you delivered your baby. I’ve had the pleasure of photographing two home births. But any place you choose to become a parent is just as magical and worthy of remembering with photographs. It’s ridiculous to think otherwise.
I’m not writing this blog post for you to hiring me. I’m writing this blog post so you hire a photographer for your birth. I want you to see your power and your beauty. You can recreate blowing out candles at a birthday party. You can stage a wedding kiss. You can ask your kids to hug each other one more time. No one would know you faked it. But you can’t fake the most important day of your child’s life: the moments before he entered this world and the second you became a parent for the first time or the sixth time. It’s magical. Preserve that magic with a photographer.
Don’t invite a photographer to your birth, I’ll respect your decision. I’ll think you’re wrong, but I won’t berate you. It’s your choice.
My Mom said it isn’t important to be right.
Hire a birth photographer and tell me I got it all wrong.
You won’t. I’m usually right.