I'm so excited to share this guest post with everyone. My dear friend and first birth client Tori Caswell shares about her experience with hiring me as her birth photographer. Tori writes about why her photos are so precious to her, and why she decided to hire a birth photographer.
Her birth photos are here. And her birth video is at the bottom of the blog post if you want to watch it again.
My Birth Photos Are Worth More Than Gold
We are not wealthy people. We don’t buy fancy wine or new phones or vacations. My husband works long days to keep our warm little house stocked with everything we need and more. It felt a little extravagant hiring a Birth Photographer for the birth of our 3rd and most likely, last, child. If she wasn’t a friend already, I probably would have hesitated more. In hindsight, hiring the photographer was one of the best decisions I made. The moments she captured are frozen in time, that hormone soaked, surreal moment where we all met him and he met us.
As a birth doula myself, I know it can be a hard sell to parents, to invite a stranger into their birthing space. New parents want birth to be intimate, rightly so, they need to feel safe and uninhibited. I birthed my son at home and I never noticed the photographer. Through all my laboring she worked seamlessly with my midwife and doula to make it all happen around me.
Having a baby is expensive. The consumer culture we live in could make you think that hundreds of gadgets are required to care properly for a tiny new human. Thankfully, our third time around we knew better. We had the basics and that was it. We skipped decorating a room because we already knew that baby would be sleeping next to me for several months, if not a year. I asked friends to donate items for a garage sale to raise some funds and I paid her a little every few months in my pregnancy. These things made it easier to set aside the several hundred dollars for Birth Photography.
As a birth nerd, I was most excited about finally capturing the actual moment of birth. As the one giving birth, my experience is surreal, distorted by massive amounts of hormones, distracted by intense sensations preceded by the intensely hard work of labor. I wanted to see my birth from another perspective.
When my photographer unveiled the photos she had taken, it wasn’t the moment of birth that strummed my heart strings so tenderly, but the moments after. My children were present and old enough to truly understand what was happening and she captured their tender curiosity. She captured my husband’s heart opening to receive our baby. She captured the excitement and the intensity of the fleeting moment.
When I got married my mama said, “Tori, don’t waste so much time and energy on the details. Focus on 3 things; the cake, the dress and the photographer. People came to see your dress and the cake and you want the pictures to treasure.” It really simplified things for me and she was right.
So when you have a baby, focus on 3 things. Do it your way. You are not there to please anybody else, not a mother in law, a nurse, nobody. Capture the moments because they are the beginning of the rest of your life and lastly, be kind to yourself. Having a baby is a huge shift, it changes your body, your mind and your whole life; don’t compare yourself. Trust yourself and reach out for as much help as you need and more.