Birth is one of those incredible life events where we practically become surprised onlookers to a supernatural and totally raw and primal event. To watch a person be humbled in the face of something that is out of our control (once upon a time we tried to control birth – to our great detriment, that was a dark age, thank God we have seen the light!) is, in itself, humbling. Mothers rock and roll with it, fathers rub hands and back, trying to be the support for something they find hard to fathom.
Watching Nerida birth Evangeline brought back the memories and tears to my eyes in the face of the slice of heaven that she participated with to bring Evangeline to us, to the world! Terry I also marveled at, who responded to Nerida calmly and sensitively. They were a team and it was fantastic to witness.
Birth photos are worth it, I think. I have some taken by my husband, and they are my most treasured pictures. While I’m not looking peachy perfect, my skin is exposed, ripped with stretchmarks, my body has expanded to generously accommodate another life, I am more tired than I have ever felt (after a five day labor), I am actually, physically, at my peak, doing with my body what my body is made to do. I walked into those midnight hours to birth both my children with heavy feet, a soft body and mind which was rich with emotional fragility, “I am woman” I cried with every pore “and I’m here to bring a life into the world”. The cosmos splits open and from within a human being comes another human being (“the kingdom of heaven is within you”)…how can we understand these things!?
So all that to say, while there’s no bunting, no flowers, no pretty dresses, no hundred guests, no feast for days and when diets for the months before have consisted of daily croissants and strange cravings and heartburn instead of 20gms of almonds, salads and daily runs, it is still worth photographing a birth where appearance is the furthest thing from the mind (we hope). Because, if photography is for collecting memories, I want to remember (how could I forget) the moment of birth, because in all my life those shadowy, night-time moments were some of the most quietly, deeply spectacular I have experienced in my life so far.
Anyhow, enough about that, about Nerida and Terry I can say very little because their experience was not my experience and hardly mine to tell. In such a private, beautiful moment my observations would hardly add to it! Suffice to say, they birthed a bonny, red-headed little girl on a sunny Monday afternoon in Canberra. I have kept the birthing photos to a minimum here as, the nature of them is private, however some of my favourite images were from when I went back a couple of hours after the birth to capture those first moment of brother meeting sister and extended family congratulating the newly re-formed family. Such newness and naturalness and new love. Beautiful!