What do births and weddings have in common? Other than being a couple of the most important days in a lifetime, they both deserve to be documented and remembered. They both deserve to be photographed!
The birth of your baby is one of the most emotional, monumental, and important events in your life. Consider the amount of planning and preparation that goes into other important life events, like your wedding, and relate this to the birth of your child and see the parallels.
For your wedding, you select the perfect venue, a beautiful gown, flowers, and a delicious meal for your guests. If you’re like the average American couple, you spend thousands upon thousands of dollars preparing for this special day. The average cost of a wedding in the US is over $25,000, with the majority of couples spending between $18,900 and $31,500. Source: http://www.costofwedding.com. On top of that, you eat healthy, maybe hire a personal trainer so you can look your absolute best, then there are the makeup artists, hair dressers, and on and on. On that list of expenses, usually right at the top, you’ll find photography. I personally can’t imagine a wedding without a professional photographer, because there is so much hard work and planning that goes into perfecting this special day. So many little details that would be long forgotten without documentation. So many moments that would be lost in the excitement and chaos of the day.
Likewise, when you become pregnant, you interview care providers, choosing the one you feel fits best. If you choose a hospital or birth center, you will tour the venue, read every piece of information you can on pregnancy, eat healthy for you and your baby, maybe practice a little prenatal yoga to keep you feeling well, and so on. Then you purchase all of that “gear” that everyone keeps telling you you’ll need. You’ll get the crib, the bassinet, the hoppy, the wipe warmer, changing table, carseat, swing, etc.
Are you seeing the parallels? You are doing all of this hard work leading up to the birth of your baby and it all culminates in one indescribable moment, the moment you meet your baby. Why would you not want to be able to relive that moment over and over? When it’s all said and done, most women remember very little of the details of their child’s birth. The flood of hormones, the incredibly hard work of laboring and pushing a baby out, the exhaustion that comes after the baby is born, etc. Did I mention the hormones?
So what about dad? Dad should be fine to snap a few photos during the process right? Well, yes and no. Let’s go back to the wedding for a moment. Of course you could let Uncle Bob with his hot new DSLR photograph your wedding, but Uncle Bob is a guest. Don’t you want him to be able to enjoy all that hard work you did to make this day perfect? Aside from that, is Bob trained to shoot in the unique conditions that some weddings present? Actually, a more accurate comparison would be letting the groom photograph the wedding. Sounds a little crazy, right? Well, the same thing goes for having dad take photos of the birth of his child. Dad needs to be by your side, holding your hand, rubbing your back, offering encouraging words, and telling you what a goddess you are. Dad needs to be there to help catch and bring baby up to your chest and soak up those first precious moments. He can’t do that when he’s behind a camera. And don’t you want to have your partner in the photos with you?
One of my favorite parts of delivering birth photos to a family is when mom sees the images of her partner supporting her during the labor and the way mom looks at her husband the first time he holds their baby. Melts my heart. One of my favorite images ever is this one of mom and dad during labor. This images speaks volumes to the amount of support and love he gave his wife while she did the incredibly hard work of delivering their baby.
I have photographed many births and I have never come across a mother that regretted having her birth photographed. Quite the opposite, actually. Many women have gone on to have their 2nd and 3rd births photographed as well. As a matter of fact, I had two of my four children’s births photographed. My first two were photographed by my husband and, while I am so grateful to have those images, I missed seeing the role that he played in the delivery room. The second two, I had a professional photographer document my labors and deliveries. Those images are among my most prized possessions. I still look at them at least once a week and my children absolutely love sitting down with me and looking through the photos. It is so special to me that they will have this documentation of the moment we first met.
On that note, I want to urge you to really consider the option of hiring a professional to photograph your birth. These are moments that you will never be able to recreate and you will most certainly forget much of the details from the excitement, hormones, and sleep deprivation to follow. With a photographer, you will have someone there with the sole job of capturing the details and emotions of your journey to meet your baby.