It started with a Facebook status update. A photographer friend asked if there were any pregnant women she knew about to give birth. I was heavily pregnant and thought free bump photos – fabulous. However, she wasn’t meaning pregnant belly pics, she wanted to capture the glorious messiness that is labour. When she informed me that this was what she was after, my initial response was no way. I didn’t need to have photographic evidence of ‘that part’. What if the business end of childbirth ended up on celluloid? No one needed to see that, not even me!
So I did what any reasonable person would do and texted all my closest friends to see what they thought. I expected an avalanche of ‘don’t do it’, ‘it’s too invasive’, ‘its about you and the baby’. Yet every single one thought it was a fabulous idea. And so did my partner.
So I agreed. My lovely photographer Kate met us before the big day and talked through our expectations, and what we were and weren’t ok with. I wanted the moment after my second baby was born and put on my chest captured, after my first child’s birth was a grainy out of focus iPhone photo 20 minutes after she had arrived. I rationalised having Kate in the room was like another midwife or doctor but with a big lens always pointing at me.
The birth did not end up going at all to plan. I had a rushed induction after routine monitoring showed low amniotic fluid. The cord was wrapped around my daughter’s neck and after 7 minutes of a low heart rate they told me I had 2 minutes to push her out, and I did, in front of a full resuscitation team, and the camera.
The photographs don’t show that though. Instead of the camera capturing the craziness, it shows the moment of wonder when I first saw her face, the pure exhaustion I felt, the pain and then the relief. I now have incredible images to show my daughter that I loved her from the first moment I saw her.
The shutter clicks during labour were well worth it. After all, any mum knows during labour you don’t have time to think or care about who is in the room.
Check out some of the photos below of my daughter Willa being born.
Check out Mary Coustas and Clare Bowditch chat about child birth On The Couch below.