Why I Wish I Had a Birth Photographer

They say your wedding goes by in the blink of an eye.  And it's true.  You spend all of this time preparing, writing vows, trying on dresses, interviewing and hiring DJs and bakers, DIYing your decorations, and tackling the pages-long list of things to do.  And then the wedding day comes and goes. And then it's gone.  Forever.  And you're married.  And THANK GOD you hired a professional photographer or videographer to capture the day that already seems so fuzzy in your memory just a few months later.

If you've ever given birth before, you know that childbirth is exactly the same.  And once again, whether the labor felt long or short, the details get hazy before you can even celebrate your child's first week of life.  As mothers, we're wired to tell and retell our birth story.  We want to know what happened from every angle and from every vantage point and we want everyone's perspective.  It's part of processing our experience.  

The birth of our baby is the most important day of our lives.  We want it to be ingrained in our memories forever as joyous and worthy of the most magnificent celebration. We want to remember how hard we worked and how relieved and elated we were when we finally held our babies in our arms.  Every year on the day of your child's birthday, you recall the story of how they came to be here on Earth and how important they are.  And each year, the story becomes less and less detailed.  

When I gave birth to my first daughter, Clara, I wanted a photographer, but there weren't any options on the Eastern Shore at the time that I knew of.  I had a long, slow, and relatively low-key birth experience, but yet it felt like the world stopped!  It was intense, insane, and beautiful.  When I came home with her, I couldn't even unpack my birth bag.  I didn't want the biggest moment of my life to be over.  It felt so new and yet so far away all at the same time.  My eyes were closed for most of the labor, but when she was born, she looked directly into my eyes and we stared at each other in silence for what seemed like forever.  I was in denial that such an earth-shattering moment could be lost in time and I would be only left with my quickly fading memory.  I eagerly talked to all of the people at my birth and wanted them to tell me all the little details I missed, like how in the car on the way to the birth center it was raining so hard that my husband couldn't see more than one car in front of him ON THE BAY BRIDGE.  I wished over and over that I could have had a photographer to document that whole evening so that I could use those photos to jog my memories in the future.

It sounds kind of funny to say now, but during my days of "baby blues", I was feeling really nostalgic about my birth and I just desperately wished I could experience it from the outside.  I felt so "out of body" throughout the whole experience that I had a hard time recalling details.  I just wanted to see my face when she was finally born and to hear what people said around me and to watch her look into my eyes from the outside.  And then, one night, I ACTUALLY SAW IT.  I had a very clear and vivid dream.  It was literally the video of my birth, taken from my left side, as if a camera really had recorded it.  I watched the video from the last few pushes.  I saw myself pull her up out of the water beneath me. I heard the noises I made.  I saw my face crunch up as I cried tears of joy and relief.  I heard her first weak cry.  I watched us lock eyes for what seemed like hours.  

And then I woke up.  And that was it.  And I felt like a huge weight had lifted from my shoulders.  And I finally unpacked the birth bag and did my laundry that day.  It felt so refreshing and like my birth experience was finally complete and I could move on to my new life and role as mother.

the only photo i have of me in labor.  my doula was thoughtful enough to snap this on her cell phone (in the dark).

the only photo i have of me in labor.  my doula was thoughtful enough to snap this on her cell phone (in the dark).

When my friend April* hired a birth photographer, she explained that since it was her 3rd birth and she had been through labor and childbirth before, she knew that she needed something in print to give her inspiration during her postpartum time.  Her postpartum experiences had all been difficult, as the change of lifestyle and hormone transition took a toll on her physically and emotionally.  She knew that this time, she may be having her last baby, and she wanted this phase of her life to be remembered forever in beautiful media.  The day she received her birth photos, she sat and looked through them for hours while holding her warm, swaddled newborn.  And each day, when life began to feel overwhelming, she came back to her birth photos and video to remind herself of the treasure that was her baby's birth and what that special day meant for their family. 

That's why I knew it was important for our community to have a photographer dedicated to capturing these memories.  

Alexis Southward, THRIVE's birth photographer, will come to you in active labor, preserve the experience of your birth on camera without disrupting your labor or the space around you, and will return your professionally edited photos in an online gallery within 14 days, while it still feels fresh!  Professional printing, birth storybooks, and a slideshow with video clips and photos set to music are also available.  

To request a free consultation with Alexis, contact us today and we'll be in touch.  Our first 5 contracts will be offered a special "portfolio" discount while we build our photography gallery--save $200!

*Name changed for privacy