I’m not exactly a prude. I majored in drama in college which meant lots of costume fittings and backstage changes in front of cast- and crew-mates. In my 20s, when I was much hotter than I am now, I did a stint working as a figure model for an art school to earn extra money. Even since I became a mom, I did a sexy boudoir photo shoot as a gift for my husband’s 35th birthday. And I breastfed in public like a champ. So, I can confidently say that my body issues are under control and, in appropriate circumstances, I’m not afraid of letting it all hang out.
But there is no freaking way I would allow a photographer in the room while I’m giving birth. Nope, no way, nosiree, not no how. I may be in a minority of pregnant women, some of whom are eager to bring professional photographers into the labor room with them.
I’ve written already about how I won’t be using social media to document my upcoming birth because I consider this a very intimate, family affair. I have the same knee-jerk reaction of “That’s private!” after reading a New York Times article about the rising popularity of having professional photographers document labor and delivery.
Apparently, birth photography is a growing specialty as demand for documentation of the experience of birth expands beyond the photographic capabilities of a birth partner or friend brought in to snap a few shots of the big event. It makes sense that if you’re going to have pictures of labor and delivery, they should at least be good pictures and not blurry camera-phone snaps more suited for Instragram updates than for framing and setting on the mantle. And birth is indisputably a transitional moment in anyone’s life, moreso even than a graduation or a wedding, events that are photographed extensively and without question.
Birth photography gets tricky because birth itself is tricky. Photographers can miss the big moment by not arriving fast enough, hospital rules can prohibit photography, or a delivery might not go as planned resulting in the photographer being excluded from the big moment. There’s also the cost factor: one photographer interviewed charges $700 for a first-time mom. Another mother said she spent over $1800 for birth photography.
I understand the impulse to record a baby’s first moments of life because they are fleeting and precious. I was just recently cooing over the poorly lit, blurry snaps of my son’s first bath in the hospital when he was only an hour old. There are also some very sweet photos of him asleep on my shoulder the next day. But do I wish there was a picture of me grimacing through contractions or being wheeled into the c-section room? No, I do not. The sweet, snuggly shots taken by my husband while we all bonded as a family after delivery are good enough for me.
What do you think about professional birth photos? Yay or nay?
Photo credit: photo stock