A few decades ago, men weren’t even allowed in the delivery room. Now it’s your man, your Douala, your doctor, and your birth photographer.
Every day, more and more woman are voluntarily putting their bodies and new babies in front of the camera to capture the first moments of life. It started with celebrities and trickled down to the hippies, home birthers, and Kelle Hamptons. Now it’s commonplace.
When I was pregnant with Waylon, I swore off any photos or offers to videotape the birth of my son. I was sensitive about being embarrassed and worried it might get a little National Geographic in there, with images better kept out of the family scrapbook.
In retrospect, I regret not having the moment I saw my son for the first time on camera. I can hope my brain will never forget it, but sometimes I wish for proof of my soul filled joy.
After researching it a bit, I found that this new niche of photography does have its own set of problems. Some hospitals ban photography while women are giving birth. Videotaping tends to set off even more alarms and is often strictly forbidden. There are places, however, where the doctors and nurses on duty unofficially set their own rules, some even allowing birth photographers to be present during C-sections. Obviously home births are the easiest gig. There, the mother calls the shots (Source).
Admittedly, I’m not sure I want a whole photoshoot of my lady parts in such a sad state of affairs, but apparently I don’t have to. In fact, most clients just want pictures after the baby has made their way out of the ring of fire, which makes sense. The whole thing is a bit messy.
I will say, however, that having done it once has changed my pre-baby National Geographic fears. Yes, birth is raw, but a pregnant woman drenched in sweat and bellowing has become beautiful to me. I kind of wish I could watch the whole thing over again. I’m already scheming about including my BFF (and amazing photographer) in the next ordeal. At the very least, I hope to set up a tripod.
Things could get weird.
What about you? Would you hire a birth photographer?