A friend’s birth is a special thing, but it is different. There are some pros and cons…
Here are the cons: I’m very aware of my role at a birth. It’s to be quiet and photograph the story. With clients, it’s easy. They don’t ask about my boys’ school year. But a friend knows my kids started new schools. So I try to be very quiet, but if they ask questions, I can’t NOT talk back. That’s rude to a woman in labor. You should always be polite to a woman in labor. But every time I talk, it feels intrusive. In a client’s birth, I’m not worried about where I stand. Even though I realize my friend is not worried about what I see, I still like to give her some privacy. I always remind myself, “She asked me to be here.” But I still worry that she’s worried about what I’ll see or experience. My worry is only for about 4 seconds because truly Ladies, I can’t stress this enough: this is my job. Everything is 100% normal and comfortable to me. I won’t see you at a BBQ and think of your placenta. When I’m at a BBQ, I hope my birth photography gave you memories for life and a tangible vision of your love and strength. So at the BBQ, I think about the Pros of shooting a friends’ birth…
I got to see you at your greatest and most beautiful. Prior to your birth, I thought, “Those are some nice Folks.” After the birth, I think, “I knew they were nice, but WOAH they’re amazing!” I witness the sweetness and love usually reserved for private moments. I get to hang out with their family and see exactly where that sweetness and love comes from. It’s taught, learned and genetic. And I get to witness it from the source: their parents. I also see my friends’ love for their first son. And how important it was for them to include and remind him, he’s still their baby. I’m able to hear that little boy exclaim, “You’re finally here! I’ve waited so long for you.” And I melt along with every other person in the room.
Watching a friend give birth is a true honor. It amplifies what I already knew: their goodness, bravery, strength, humor, and love. At the next BBQ and I see little Charlie, I’ll always remember his first loud cry, his Daddy’s smile at his first glance, and how his Momma’s heart swelled the second he was born. I’ll remember his grandparents’ adoration and how his big brother couldn’t wait to meet him.
Kid, you are deeply loved and it was beautiful from the start. I’ll never forget it because I was lucky to be there.
And at a future BBQ, if you want an extra cookie?
Ask me, Champ.
I’m a sucker for kids I’ve known from their first seconds on Earth.