The sensationalist writings of mainstream journalists on birth choices continues to anger me at their lack of feminist punch (http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/stellar/lights-camera-delivery-ward/news-story/4f40bffa08b3bcb1f6ad986a7f8db3a2)
From the catch cry “Lights, camera…..delivery ward? When birth becomes an ‘event’ “ I feel the bubbling up of frustration of living in a country where the media fails to publish articles honoring the sacredness of birth and the importance of women owning their birth experience. Childbirth is an ‘event’. Alongside menarche, the childbearing years are held in high esteem in many cultures across the globe. Women are honored and revered and the sacredness of transition in this incredible right of passage is celebrated. Come to Australia however, and the perception is that if you aren’t laying on your back being delivered of your child, perceivably doing all you can to have your baby ‘saved’ from the horror of childbirth then you are some kind of self absorbed prima donna. Just the term ‘delivery ward’ tells us of the lack of women centered focus by this journalist.
The article questions all kinds of birth choices. Choices are just that, a choice. Some will choose highly medicalised care, others a Midwife attended homebirth with a doula. Some may want epidurals, an elective caesarean: others aromatherapy and affirmation cards, some may want a birth photographer present others couldn’t think of anything worse.
In my mind the importance is not so much the choice but having those choices respected by the support team. I think it’s a farce to think that the only thing that matters when it comes to birth is the health of mother and child in this ‘potentially life threatening medical event’. To me feeling supported physically, emotionally and spiritually trumps that. When a woman is supported holistically, the health and wellbeing of mother and babe IS paramount.
When it comes to birth photography the journalist seems to think that we orchestrate birth to suit our own agenda. This idea couldn’t be further from the truth. Just last week I was contacted by a potential client. She wanted me to photograph her birth over her pregnancy so I could capture the rawness of the journey. No direction, no make up, no fancy clothing. Just my camera and I moving around the room quietly capturing the simplicity of life in its most primal state.
Birth photography is about being a fly on the wall, it is documentary photography. Capturing the journey as it unfolds. It is less about crowning and more about connection. The heightened emotions in the room…. the joy, elation, at times challenging moments makes for wonderful imagery. The images are a beautiful reminder of the day you met your babe and the moment she took her first breathe.
“ My images take me right back to THE BEST experience of my life (well one of three!). They capture all the raw emotion so vividly that I can experience it all over again just by looking at the photos. I can’t wait to share them with my son one day… what a privilege it will be for him to actually see himself being born, to see how joyfully and tenderly his Mum & Dad welcomed him and adoringly met his gaze for the very first time. Priceless, perfect & so so precious”
Even when a birth journey takes a different path to what was hoped, birth photography can prove to be an invaluable part of a woman experience.
“I now whole heartedly believe a caesarean IS a birth, a miracle, a magic moment. My body did NOT fail me. It birthed my baby, birthed all my babies, then it healed. My scar, I’ll never look at it the same again. I am so proud. I saw my baby come out of there.It is a reminder of the strength and determination my body had to bring my babies here safely”.
There is a lot to be said for mothers sharing with mothers and I’m more than happy to share birth images if I have the blessing of my clients. Positive birth images have so much power, power to dispel the negative birth stories sprouted by the media. Power to change our culture, to educate, to inspire and to change mind sets.
I am excited by where women are taking birth into the future. Women of earth really are taking back their birth regardless of the terrible writings by fear mongering journalists.