When it comes to remembering your birth, there are a lot of different avenues people go down. Some hold onto the umbilical cord or write, some choose to invite a photographer. My dear doula sister Abbie is one of the luckiest women that I know. Her eyes capture something that mine have yet to be trained to do. Not only is she a graduate of the same Holistic Doula Program as me, but she is a true artist.
Her medium: Photography.
I don’t remember an event where Abbie has been present without a camera in her hand (or.. if it’s not in her hand, she’s showing someone else how to use it.) She is always snapping at something, finding the little things that make you stop and think. I appreciate what she draws my eyes to see and that is why I have asked her to write about birth photography.
Is hiring someone to take photos something you find necessary? I mean, anyone can pick up an Iphone and take a few snapshots. Some people don’t want photos of these events– that’s completely okay as well! It is hard to know how you will feel about another person being in the room, another person seeing your raw energetics rock the foundation of your body. Birth holds a vulnerable space.Other people want professional memories to share with their family for generations to come.
Of course it is up to you, but if you are in the Okanagan and can get Abbie as your doula, she will truly do it all. I asked Abbie to write a little bit about her feelings on birth photography and what it means for the person behind the lense.
This is her offering.
A piece by Abbie Wilson on Birth Photography.
I remember the first time I was invited to photograph a birth.
It was a late summer evening, warm, mosquitoes nipping at me as I opened the screen door into the basement suite. Mama was in the middle of a surge, rocking back and forth, moaning. Papa was making tea and rubbing her back when she needed. I paused, taking it in- the lights hanging from the ceiling, the summer air, the birthing song. It was holy ground.
There are few transitions as holy as that of partners (or person) to family. The birth of a child is incredible- humans bringing life into the world, flesh of our flesh.
To be invited to witness this incredible dance- and as a witness, also a story teller, because the photos help them remember the dance. The lulls, the swirls, the surges, the cries, the laughter, the fire, the passion, the fear, the joy. The transition
Birth photography is nothing like wedding or portrait photography. Yes, there is beautiful newness and celebration- but there is no glossing over. No glamour, no posing. No glossing over the pain or intensity of the surges, no glossing over the scary moments or the negative emotions. But that’s the beauty– there is such raw, real, and holy depth to births. The photos are meant to also help them remember how strong they were, together, and how powerful she was. How well the partners worked together, how much they loved eachother. The emotions running high in the birthing space- laughter, tears, peace, everything in between. There are few times in life so raw and powerful as that of birth.
The goal of most birth photographers is to capture your birth and your story-journey through photos. We bring our skills and creativity- but most of all we bring our humble awareness of the powerful transition you as a birthing woman/family are walking through.
I love photographing the parent(s) before the baby arrives- to remember who they were before- and to see the transformation into new parent(s). The story of birth is unique to everyone, and it doesn’t ever fit a copy/paste model. Birth photographers are adapting, changing, to every turn in the road of birth, with you.
Note: Sometimes this transition to familyhood is disrupted, and some birth photographers offer their services to families experiencing loss. This can be very healing in such a painful time.
I thank Abbie for letting us in to these moments of life. For more information on what Abbie does, please visit
With Love, From Ficus