Birth photography is a relatively new genre here in Saskatoon. When people ask what I do and I reply "I'm a birth photographer," the first question I often get asked (well, the second question, right after, "you shoot birds?!") is why anyone would want a picture of "that."
I get it. Birth is not glamorous in the traditional sense. It's raw, it's primal, and, yes, it can be messy. By and large, our society is conditioned to think that birth is this ugly, dirty, horrendous experience to fear or to overcome. But when we approach birth with this mindset, not only do we foster feelings within ourselves of fear and anxiety (which, incidentally, slows labour and increases the likeliness of interventions), it prevents us from experiencing our births in ways that we otherwise could. Somehow birth has become an obstacle, the last hurdle between us and our beautiful, perfect babies, rather than a celebration of the power and beauty of the process of bringing new life into this world.
And so, rather than trying to simply survive our births, we should be embracing them. The process of bringing our babies into this world, of transitioning them from inside our bodies, the only place they've ever been, into our arms, the place we wish they would always stay, is a journey worth being present for. It's the beginning of our babies' stories, and the beginning of our stories as parents.
These stories deserve to be captured, to be told and retold so we can see that, yes, though it is not easy nor neat nor tidy, birth is normal and birth is beautiful.
And that's where I come in...