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The Problem with Birth Photography

I wish…

It’s one of the saddest phrases in our language. To me anyway.

I wish means that you want something that you can’t (or don’t believe you can) have. It often means regret. A desire for something that you can never get back.

We all have moments like this. Things we would change in the past. Hindsight is 20/20, and sometimes you don’t know the true value of something until you can never get it back.

Memories are like that. And as such, birth photos are like that, too.

Here’s the problem with birth photography. Although it is gaining popularity, it’s not yet as normalized as other types of sessions - like family or wedding.

Recently I asked this question in some local Facebook groups:

“Would you ever hire a birth photographer? Is it weird or awesome?”

Although I did get a few “why would you want a stranger at your birth” type responses, I was excited to see that the overall comments showed a positive attitude towards birth photography. I was equally sad that most people had regrets about NOT hiring a photographer for their birth.

“I wish I would’ve had one with mine”

“I would if I had the chance to do it again”.

“I definitely will for my third and last baby. Wish I would have for the other 2”

“I wish it had been a thing when I had mine. My labor and delivery was a blur so it would’ve been amazing to have someone to document it”

“My husband got a great shot last time but to document the entire thing would be so amazing. If I can convince him to have a third I’ll definitely push for a photographer”

“My hubby didn’t take many pics even though I asked him to. But I understand - he was also enjoying the moment.”

I imagine if I had asked the same question about wedding photography, I wouldn’t get as many “I wish” responses. In fact, I may ask the same question replacing "birth" with "wedding" one of these days for a comparison (stay tuned). Generally speaking, you don’t skip hiring a wedding photographer. It’s just expected that “wedding photographer” is on the list of things to do (usually one of the top priorities) when you get engaged and start planning. It’s not something that you weigh the pros and cons for. You don’t forfeit a wedding photographer because it doesn’t fit into your budget. You make it work and that’s that.

Now granted, birth photography may not be for everyone. Just like not everyone hires a wedding photographer. And any old photographer may not be the best choice for YOUR birth. But for the love of Pete, if I accomplish anything in my career as a birth photographer, I hope it’s to change the culture around documenting birth. It should be normal. It should be at the top of the list for things to consider when you become pregnant. Because if it were, there would be a lot fewer moms crying “woulda, coulda, shoulda”...wishing they could get those memories back that are such a blur now. I am one of them, and I definitely wish...

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