In recent weeks Babble has featured several birth photographs from the 2011 National Geographic Photography contest. The pictures all show birth in a way we don’t often see it: women are squatting, in the water, at home, reaching for their babies, sobbing with relief and awe.
Some of the comments from Babble readers registered their shock and disbelief: Several people thought one of the pictures was “staged” partly because the visual of woman giving birth in the squatting position is so unfamiliar as to seem impossible. But many, many more people remarked how fantastic it was to see real births. Not the Hollywood version.
All of this reminded me of this incredible photograph by an old friend, the photographer Pat Graham. It’s of the birth of son Huw. Check out the larger version here:
I knew Pat when he documented the punk rock scene in the 1990s. I remember him lying on stages, angling his lens up at the band or snapping fans leaning against tour vans outside scruffy clubs in crappy neighborhoods. Then he had a son. And boy did he capture that moment on film.
Like the National Geographic home birth pictures, this isn’t a version of birth we see all that often. And yet it is how a third of babies in America are born, via c-section. A baby is being raised up into the light, arms outstretched! Birth!
Thank you Pat for sharing this with us.
Babble rounds up these courageous moms’ Real Birthing Stories!