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Doula's Breathtaking Photos Demystify Home Births

The decision to have a home birth is not one we take lightly, but it did come easily. It just feels like the right thing — considering this is my third and likely last child, I’ve never had any trouble throughout pregnancy or childbirth, and I want to accomplish giving birth in the way I feel it’s meant to be: a beautiful, life-altering experience directed by my body. Should I require medical intervention I will certainly seek it without hesitation, just as I would in any other scenario, but childbirth is not an illness and so I don’t feel like being strapped to machines in a hospital is necessary or even advisable for me.

I am excited to go into labor. Even though this is my third child, this will be my first time allowing my body to go into labor when it’s ready, my first time feeling natural labor pains as opposed to those created by pitocin. I keep envisioning my own birth and also check out every home birth story I can find. Recently I stumbled across Jackie Dives, a doula who specializes in photography for families who are interested in documenting their birth experiences.

“Too often, birth is portrayed as a scary and dreaded event in a woman’s life,” the 29-year-old told The Daily Mail. “As a doula and birth photographer, I witness wonderful births, and think they should be shared in order to demystify the experience.”

Jackie is doing great things in her effort to show women that they have options when it comes to how and where they want to give birth: “The main reason I think it’s important to share these images with the public is that the average woman of childbearing age isn’t aware that a birth like this is even possible. Sadly, most women fear birthing. I want them to know that there are other possibilities out there. I want people to know that it’s safe to birth at home. I want them to see a birth pool, to see midwives. I want them to start asking questions and become educated on birthing.”

One series of photographs Jackie recently shot has gone viral. My Modern Met describes the photos as “both beautiful and intense.”

As Dives writes on her blog: “When I arrived at this home birth Mama was playing the piano. The mood was peaceful, with candles lit and soft music on in the background. Mama was surrounded by love. Her partner, her doula, and two of her sisters were there, caring for her.”

The series continues with Julia getting into a birth pool. Her partner, Cris, experiences every contraction with her. As the series progresses we see more family arrive before they all witness the birth of baby Katherine.  Happy Birthday, indeed.

All photos used with permission from Jackie Dives, whose beautiful work you can find on her website.

  • Playing Through the Contractions 1 of 17
    home-01

     Julia tinkers around on the piano while experiencing contractions. As Dives writes on her blog, "Her strength brought tears to her sister's eyes."

    Image source: Jackie Dives

  • Playing Through The Pain 2 of 17
    home-13

    Focusing on hitting the right notes and listening to the music is a fantastic way to get to the other side of a contraction. Certainly not something you'll see happening in a hospital any time soon.

    Image source: Jackie Dives

  • Julia and Cris 3 of 17
    home-02

     Cris supports Julia through a contraction. I like how you can see photos of the couple during happy times surrounding them as they focus on their happiest experience yet, bringing their daughter into the world.

    Image source: Jackie Dives

  • Easing In 4 of 17
    home-05

     Julia gets into the birth pool.

    Image source: Jackie Dives

  • Julia In The Pool 5 of 17
    home-03

     Julia works through each contraction while in the birth pool.

    Image source: Jackie Dives

  • Connected 6 of 17
    home-04

     I love how connected Julia and Cris are throughout the labor and delivery.

    Image source: Jackie Dives

  • Staying Strong 7 of 17
    home-06

     Relaxing in the birth pool.

    Image source: Jackie Dives

  • Deep Breaths 8 of 17
    home-07

     Cris Helps Julia breathe through a contraction.

    Image source: Jackie Dives

  • More Breathing 9 of 17
    home-12

     Focusing together.

    Image source: Jackie Dives

  • Remaining Peaceful 10 of 17
    home-14

     Keeping calm and carrying on.

    Image source: Jackie Dives

  • Last Pushes! 11 of 17
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    Almost here!

    Image source: Jackie Dives

  • She’s Here! 12 of 17
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     Julia and Cris hold their baby daughter as her sisters cry tears of joy in the background.

    Image source: Jackie Dives

  • Happy Birthday 13 of 17
    home-09

     Marveling at their new daughter. Love the sisters' expressions in the background.

    Image source: Jackie Dives

  • Joy 14 of 17
    home-10

     What a beautiful second to capture forever.

    Image source: Jackie Dives

  • They Did It! 15 of 17
    home-11

     Proud new parents.

    Image source: Jackie Dives

  • Hello, Mama. 16 of 17
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     This photo and the next one will absolutely slay you.

    Image source: Jackie Dives

  • Unbreakable Bond 17 of 17
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     Looking right at mama! Oh, my heart. Just awesome.

    Image source: Jackie Dives

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