Birth

They let you in the room. Ah. Eh. Like... When she's in labour?

This is said incredulously.

Or they say, birth photography..whats that? and I answer with ‘Exactly what you think it is’

Early on when I first started tentatively whispering to people that maybe, just maybe… I might want to be a birth photographer some of the reactions were:

UGH.

Who would do this?

I just think of the episiotomy.

What about birth trauma?

Unfortunately this is a reflection of our current birth culture where instead of an exciting event of a baby being born into the world, is clouded with fear. This is something I hope my imagery will help to change.

As Ina May Gaskin said

"It's easy to scare women. It's even profitable to scare women....But its not nice, its very bad manners so lets stop"

One of the surprising things about this work is how calm birth can be. Yes, it always looks like work or as I’ve heard some of the more experienced midwives say ‘they don’t call it labour for nothing!’ but there are really lovely moments too. I’ve seen beautiful, transformative, empowering births and I want you to know that when it comes to birth you get to choose how you go into it. You can choose to tune into the messages you like and tune out the ones you don’t. I want you to know its possible to feel confident, assured and excited!

My friend Louise from Mamma Mudra recently asked on instagram:

What if we planned our births like we plan our weddings?

When I got engaged people said oh you need Pinterest! What will your colours be? Your flowers? What kind of dress? Will it be a sit down or a cocktail wedding?

Yet so often we I ask people what they hope for when it comes to their birth they say ‘all the drugs’ or ‘I’m just going to go with the flow’ You don’t need to go with the flow, this is your body and your family and your baby. So make the plans.

Take up space.

Ask for what you want and expect to get it.

A daylight homebirth

When it comes to birth, my philosophy is that what is good for mum is good for everyone. The January Harshe quote comes to mind:

"I don't care what kind of birth you have...a homebirth, scheduled cesarean, an epidural hospital birth or if you give birth alone in the woods next to a baby deer. I care that you had options, that you were supported in your choices and that you were respected."

Im careful when I talk about birth/feeding because I don’t ever want you to think I would or could judge you for your decisions. Thats not my role. I subscribe to the concept of unconditional positive regard, which means that I believe in your decision making and will support you regardless.

So with this in mind, Im going to start sharing more birth stories on my blog (naturally, if you’re seeing it here that is because I have express permission from the families I serve)

The Arrival of Silver Lou

This particular birth I arrived just in time. Just.

We were awaiting the arrival of their third baby, mama had been on-again-off-again labour for two weeks. Dad called me around 11am and said ‘look im just heading home from work, she might be in labour…I don’t know if you want to come down?’ Since this birth was just over an hour from my home and I knew the traffic would be light I said ‘Look, id love to come down now and if I arrive and its too early or you feel like im bothering you i’ll leave.’ I found out later that as he left work the guys joked that he would be back in an hour.

As I pulled up out the front of the house and went to get my camera bag from the passenger seat I could hear mum and thought. Oh we are ON! My many years on the triage desk at The Womens’ Hospital has attuned my ear.

I raced across the road, took a deep breath and stepped into the house as gingerly as I could. They were right in the zone. Dad in the pool with mama and the nurses were relaxed but close by. This baby wasn’t far away.

When I went back to look at the time of the photos from the moment I arrived out the front of the house to babies arrival was nine minutes!

This mama so calmly breathed her baby out and I will never forget the looks on their faces when they realised they had a baby girl after two boys. Because Silver was born into water, the nurses explained, she hasn’t realised she’s been born. She was so calm as Rhiannon gently blew air onto her face as a way to let her know she had reached the surface.

Im so incredibly blessed to work with these amazing families who not only allow me to witness and document such a sacred moments but also allow me to share these image with you.

CapelSoundDaylightHomebirth