This is the kind of thing that has me thinking more and more about photographing births. I am grateful for technology and science but when it comes to birth I’d like to see and hear more about ones that happened without much of either. In this one place, I think the less interventions necessary and enforced, the better. I definitely think that, if it’s at all possible, it would be ideal for births to happen at home, in the bosom of our family, with an experienced midwife and a hospital nearby should an emergency present itself. And I believe that with a little support, most women can and should have this mindblowing expansion of their bodies on their own terms. I believe it’s better for the baby and the mother.
There’s something incredible about our entrance into the atmosphere. We come out of our mother’s bodies and out into the world, and if we believe the hype, we’re immediately separate and alone. That’s not really true though. We’re not alone. We can’t even be born alone. In the best possible scenario, we’re born with the help of our mothers and fathers. Otherwise, we do it with the help of midwives, doulas, doctors and nurses.
I wish it were possible that our association with birth was that it was a normal, exciting, enthralling, beautiful, powerful, empowering, sacred part of our lives that was connecting. It’s a process that’s been perfected over millenia and there has never been a time when the human race was in danger of becoming extinct because not enough of us were being born!! Ha!! So, let’s reclaim it. Let’s own it and work it.
It was such a thrill to feel my contractions begin back in 2009 and know that I was doing something that millions of other women had done before me, to think that it was something like this that told my mother that my birth was imminent and her mother before her.
We’d had nine months of awe, watching my body grow and change. As we felt the baby inside develop and then interact with us, we knew that mostly we just had to trust. Trust that our bodies knew what they were doing. I was constantly amused by the fact that I’d crave something (like fish) and then find out that at that point in the pregnancy, my little baby was in need of whatever that food provided (like omega 3s so he could work on his brain). 🙂 We planned for a homebirth, and had a midwife that we really connected with and trusted. We also had a doctor. We laboured at home (20 odd hours) but wound up transferring to the hospital and after labouring some more over there (another 24 hours or so), we wound up deciding that a caesarian was necessary and our perfect little boy came out none-the-worse for wear, thank goodness.
I think birth is a process that is nigh on perfect. Each part supports the next part and mostly just requires us to surrender and live in the moment. Which seems to be what life requires of us as well. On the whole. It’s hard to give up that control and not believe that we know better though. I get that. Especially when a lot of what we see around us suggests that it’s better to be in control. Whatever that means. Ha! Look. I certainly think that you have to put your oar in and paddle away from looming cliffs but let’s not pretend we can control the tide. How’s that for a metaphor?
So. I want to photograph births. Homebirths, hospital births, whatever. Homebirth or hospital birth. Natural, medicated or caesarian. Although I wish you a natural, peaceful, orgasmic birth I totally get, respect and honour that things change. So, here’s to living in the moment and making the best choice possible for that moment. Here’s to a healthy baby and a healthy mama.
Here’s to an image of the most incredible moment ever. The moment of birth.