Today I’m going to talk to you about having photographers or videographers at your birth and whether or not it’s a good idea. That might seem like a bit of a crazy question because so many women love birth photography do photograph their births and they absolutely love what they get as a result – often incredible images.
Some of them are just so beautiful and I really enjoy birth photography myself. I love a gorgeous image that tells a story. They say an image tells a thousand words. Definitely, some of the images of birth are just absolutely incredible and there are some really amazing photographers out there. I also believe that these images of spiritual birth contribute meaningfully towards natural birth advocacy and to women exploring healthy birth choices.
I love photography and I love video. I love being able to tell a story with images. It’s one of the things that I do when I’m not facilitating workshops or working on ‘Birth into Being’ stuff and I do all my own video/tech as well.
But saying that, I thought long and hard about having cameras at either of my births because of what it does to the way that you think and perceive and act. Even the people most experienced with having cameras around tend to shift their behavior a little and in an intimate, pivotal experience like birth, I really wanted to be 100% present in the experience and not have even a single part of me in the role of observer.
I wanted to be thoroughly in it. And of course, there are people who manage to have wonderful photographers at their birth, people who they know well and have an amazing connection with and they don’t feel like that that was a hindrance but there are a few things to be cautious of if you are approaching conscious birth and you’re thinking of having a photographer present.
Number one is, is that person sensitive? Are they sensitive and receptive and understanding of the different images that can arise in birth? Are they willing to be there in that space without taking up too much space themselves? Are they experienced with birth? Are they trusting of birth? Are they okay with nudity?
There are some things that you would probably be best to know about your photographer before you actually get into those kinds of close quarters, or the intimacy that birth is. So if you don’t know them already, I thoroughly recommend getting to know them and having numerous opportunities for sharing information and feeling comfortable with each other.
And if any of those things arise and you feel uncomfortable with that, then change your arrangement. Don’t feel like because you have made a commitment with somebody that you can’t change it. If you’re the birthing mother, you’re the boss.
That’s one of the tips. The second thing is that if you really do want to have a photographer at your birth, then I suggest expanding your comfort zone around having photos and videos taken of you prior to the birth. You might end up with a very well-documented pregnancy but that would be quite fun in a way. You might even, eventually, get around to doing something with that footage but one thing is, just filming and taking loads of photos and getting really really comfortable so that then in the actual labor, it’s less likely to disturb you.
So that is another tip, get comfortable.
Get to know your photographer, get comfortable and the third tip is to get clarity around whatever your decisions are around nudity. And about exactly what angles you want to have the photographs taken from in birth so that your photographer has some very clear boundaries and guidelines. Instead of assuming that they would be discreet and not photograph your genitals when they might be presuming that you want your genitals photographed.
You don’t want any potential for disconnection to arise when you’re actually in labor. If you can, have all of those nitty-gritty conversations around exactly what you’re expecting and exactly what you’re comfortable with in relation to sharing your body in imagery. I just think it has the potential to eliminate confusion in labour. It removes the potential for discomfort between the two of you.
Because in the birthing field, you don’t want anything to catch your mind and bring your cortex into action in your brain whilst you are actually in the process of birth. You want to be able to completely lean into the experience of giving birth and not using your thinking rational mind at all.
If you have a bit of a think about those three tips, about getting to know your photographer, about expanding your comfort zone with having photographs and videos taken, and about having those nitty-gritty conversations about exactly what body parts you want photographed in labor. And discuss what your comfort zone is around nudity and all those things with your birth photographer so that they can be no reasons for your brain to get hooked up during birth.
I wish you the most blissful and expansive experience of bringing your baby into the world. And if you have a birth photographer there, share with us some pictures. I’d love to hear from you. If you liked this article if you found it helpful in some way. I’d like it if you liked it, shared it etc.
If you want to have a conversation about it, get started in the comments box…
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