Erika Ray Photography » blog


People don’t get the birth photographer.

Why do you want someone else in the room?  Why do you want someone to see you so vulnerable?  Why do you want someone to see you poop?  Why do you want someone there if something unexpected happens?  Oh for the baby?  Get pictures afterwards…  Sorry I don’t get it.

But I only need one person to get and to see that all those questions and concerns are ridiculous  You need one person to understand a photographer is the person who will show you the glory of your birth day.  It’s always the Mom.

At the time our reasons are different, but that doesn’t matter.

Here’s what I know is true.  She won’t be vulnerable.  I know she’ll be the most beautiful and strongest creature on earth.  I know that it really isn’t the baby that needs to be celebrated that day.  It’s her.  It’s her triumph over pain.  It’s how her partner helped her during the labor.  It’s their connection.  But it’s her perseverance, strength, and beauty through it all that needs to be photographed.  She needs to witness it forever.  And I love that I’m able to give her that reminder.

Staci called me and told me they were planning a home birth with their first child.  They didn’t know what they were having and wanted it to be a very private day.  She wasn’t sure if one more person (me) would ruin that, but she wanted the first moments captured.  I gave me my speech: It’s about you.  And your husband.  Baby’s a cherry on top of the day.  I’ll be quiet.  You won’t even notice me.  You’ll be incredible.  She said yes.  And I waited.  My last two births happened within minutes of my arrival.  I begged Staci to give me a heads up.  She did and then some.  Staci went almost two weeks past her due date.  I received a few texts saying: Nothing yet, but make yourself comfortable when you’re here…

Finally, I got the text and drove over at about 1 a.m..  The house was calm and quiet.  The midwives were helping her along and her husband knelt besides her.  He was holding her hand while I crept in and took a few photos.  Those first couple clicks are always irritating for me because it’s always so loud.

But that loud click keeps me with the story of a birth.  You know it’s going to be obtrusive, so you listen and use it only when necessary.  You listen for the silence and click around it.  When she was quiet, I stopped taking pictures.  She needed that silence.  When it’s quiet you listen for their tone with the dog.  The sweet sound of their voice showed how much they love the pup.  In the silence, you heard her husband talk about his lucky socks.  In the silence, you listen to the husband whisper, “Staci this is only pain.  Pain is the only thing stopping you from seeing our baby.  You got this.”  In that silence you watch her look up at him and push again for the umpteenth time.  In the silence you hear her ask the midwives, “Am I doing anything wrong?”  And their very powerful, “No” echos through the silent room.  The silence is again filled with her determination and power to birth her child.  And in the silence you heard the baby’s heartbeat get a little faster.

After 27 hours, Staci and Adam went to the hospital.  When they got there, the baby was turned just a bit and out came a very healthy and huge baby boy! Owen weighed 10 lb. 3 oz. and the OB looked up to tell Staci she was badass and congratulated her choice to stay home for as long as she did.  I left the hospital in awe of her power because I was able to witness it all day.  But I assumed that maybe Staci might think otherwise.  She didn’t have the home birth she planned for months.  Maybe she’d be upset about it or maybe not.  I didn’t really know, but just in case it upset her, I wanted her to see what I saw all day long.  She needed to see the power she possessed all day.  She needed to see how badass she actually was.

I’m so honored that I was able to be apart of Owen’s birth day.

I saw Badassry personified.

Come back tomorrow for some newborn photos.  He’s delicious.

Having a baby?  Please check out Choice.  They are fantastic.









  • Jen - Beautiful pics. And I’m happy to see my midwife, Amy. Love her!March 18, 2013 – 10:21 amReplyCancel

  • Tina - oh goodness. your words and these photos are amazing. i love birth photography for exactly the reasons you said. you rock. :)March 18, 2013 – 11:18 amReplyCancel

  • skeller - sniff. and now my heart is puddled all over my desk. what an amazing piece of life to have documented – and, Erika, you documented it awesomely. Badass, indeed. Congrats to this beautiful, strong family.March 18, 2013 – 12:16 pmReplyCancel

  • Mary - My friend, I believe you have found your calling. Truly.March 18, 2013 – 7:01 pmReplyCancel

  • Cherish - I just recently found out that you photographed births. I love your work and I was so pleased to hear your take on how women should get their birth photographed that I posted it to my my FB biz page. I just recently started documenting birth stories and I am quite frankly still a little in awe. It’s so powerful and I always feel so special and honoured to be a part of it all. You captured this birth with such honestly and truth. Keep up the beautiful work.March 19, 2013 – 1:25 amReplyCancel

  • xanthe - Speechless.
    You are just as amazing as the birthing mama.
    THIS IS YOUR THING xxxMarch 19, 2013 – 9:55 amReplyCancel

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