Nothing Is Better Than Real Life
This was a hot day in June in 2018. It was a usual day for us. We were in the garden and as you may or may not know, when you have dirt, a garden hose and five children that means one thing – mud. At one point in our day we were surrounding the hole in which the mud making started and someone, I can not remember who, dropped a big rock into the puddle splashing myself and my camera. I remember shutting my eyes and taking a deep breath as they all looked at me in silence, unsure of how I might react. I remember telling myself, there isn’t any harm in a little bit of mud. So I checked that my camera was okay, then reached down into the squishy mud, grabbed a handful and flung it at my eldest daughters exposed tummy. An eruption of laughter followed as everyone joined in splashing and playing. Popsicles followed, the only logical snack on a warm, messy day. This particular photo was taken when I handed my eldest, eight years old at the time, the camera, hands wiped clean, and asked her to take a photo of Monty, having his snack. She snapped many photos, this one included.
I photographed my first birth in 2013 and was immediately hooked. Needless to say, when one of my little brothers and his wife asked if I would capture their third child’s arrival, I was thrilled.
I think when most people think of birth photography, they think of “the money shot” – A babe, only seconds old, being reached for by their mother, overwhelming emotion on the faces of all. While these moments immediately surrounding delivery are certainly important, those moments are only a small part of birth. Birth is a journey full of joy, anticipation, pain, fatigue, excitement and rest. It is truly an experience like no other. I remember many moments from my nephew’s journey earthside. It was the wee hours of the morning. Shelby, my sister-in-law, had recently climbed into the pool after labouring while moving between their kitchen and living room. Between contractions, she would recline against the edge of the pool and Dustin, perched on a stuffed cow, would lay his head down and rest. In this space between contractions, the house was quiet. Peaceful. In their home, bathed in light from the kitchen, and surrounded by the jumble of life with two young children who slept just down the hall. Contraction, breathe, comfort, peak, breathe, subside, rest. This is not a side of birth that is portrayed in our society’s media. And it’s a shame, because there is so much beauty to be shared.
This photograph was chosen for 10th place in the Documentary Family Awards Birth category.
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