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Birth Photography? No Way!

Pregnant woman showing tummy holding a no photo symbol with two hands

Pondering if birthday photography is for you? Our writer says, ‘Get the camera away from my downstairs. Thanks! 

When I was pregnant with my first baby I was all over every detail of the upcoming birth. I had all the regular worries about pain relief, making it to the hospital on time; and of course, the one we all obsess about but never mention over brunch ‘geez I hope I don’t poop in labor’.

So, when someone asked me if I would be documenting my labor by having someone photograph the birth? I was floored by the suggestion. People actually did that? After I regained my balance I replied ‘Are you crazy lady!? No one on God’s green Earth needs to witness that. Especially not in Kodak high-resolution color!’ I didn’t hesitate in my answer, I didn’t even need to think about it. Birth photography was not for me.

I can’t begin to imagine what type of occasion would necessitate someone bringing out their photo album of giving birth;

Tea with your father in law? Here’s a picture of your grandchild crowning. Oh yes, that’s my vag. Yep, Brazilian wax…

Book club with the school mums? Hey, here’s my snatch. Before the stitches… Turn the page, yes, here’s the stitching photos….

Hello 785 Facebook friends? What’s that you’re eating? Never mind, here’s my placenta pics!

Kinder project: Bring a photo to school from when you were a baby… Well say no more but the kids would need counseling. Probably the teacher too.

Don’t get me wrong, like many others, I aspire to be the ultimate embarrassing mum when my kids become insufferable teenagers. But even I know that breaking out those photos for an 18th birthday is grounds for emancipation. Of course, I’m sure people actually have birth photos taken “just for themselves” and not willy-nilly public consumption. But for me it’s still a no. I don’t even like my crying face let alone, well… yep.

Recently I was blessed with a unique experience.  I was asked to be the birthing partner for a dear friend of mine.  As women, we often don’t get to be on the ‘receiving end’ of a birth so I was over the moon about being asked to play such an important role. Super keen, I even packed my own hospital bag weeks before the actual ‘mum to be’ packed hers. We sat down and discussed the ‘birth plan’. Now my friend is a far more sentimental person than I am so I obligingly put the offer out there. “So, pics? I am willing and able to zoom RIGHT ON IN THERE and take happy snaps if you feel you need to capture every minute of this adventure”. She thought about it for a solid 5 seconds and then replied, “Yeah nah, I don’t think we need to capture every moment, let’s stick to head shots”.

Seems I wasn’t alone in not wanting the downstairs documented.

As it turned out this wee little baby had his own plans and made a rushed entry into the world. We hadn’t even left my driveway and my gal pal was in hard labor and we had to call an ambulance.  The woman on the other end of the 000-line advised me to ‘feel around’ for the baby’s head, so I quickly apologized to my friend, ‘dude don’t mind me, I am just feeling for a head, we have never been this intimate before’ and dove on in there! The phone operator laughed and then gave me further instructions until the ambulance finally arrived. All of this had occurred before I even had the chance to whip out the camera for any ‘happy snaps’ (of the waist up, of course..!)

Next minute we are all crammed in the ambulance (two Ambos, my friend, her mum and me) when I realized I had dropped the ball and needed to get some pics.  Due to a lack of space in the ambulance, I managed to get several extreme close ups of my mates’ mum’s ear and the back of my friend’s head.  This precious little baby was born sound as a pound just as I managed to get my video camera working to document my friend who more or less just gave birth in my driveway. The shot? Her saying, ‘Wow he is so lovely. What great team work, go team!’ and then she high-fived the ambulance officer. #bestmomentever

Birth is amazing. It’s raw, it’s beautiful, it’s scary and incredible. I’ve been there, done that and got the t-shirt. Pushed out my own and half delivered someone else’s. But do I need the photos? No, I can remember every detail just perfectly. There’s nobody on this planet that needs a photo of my lady bits. Not even me.

If birth photography interests you, here’s 9 Award Winning Birth Photos from 2016!

Renae Butson
Renae Hall-Butson is an immature 30 something born and bred in Perth, W.A. Mother of three and survivor of twins. A former Technical Writer who has traded writing fascinating ‘think pieces’ about Mining equipment for writing about the chaos and terror caused by raising small children. Currently the operating a Technical Writing business from home and assisting her punk ass husband with his Music Promotion business (not all heroes wear capes). Hobbies include harassing her mother with prank phone calls, creating awkward and embarrassing moments daily and giving her husband the stink eye. A devoted Pepsi Max enthusiast who copes with adulthood by trying to find the funny in all situations. Once awarded the title of ‘professional turd polisher’ who enjoys the challenge of making the mundane interesting in an effort to make people smile.