Always the Birth Photographer, Never the Mom

Always the Birth Photographer, Never the Mom

My little nephew Sam, the delight of my life

Okay folks, this is my first blog. So let’s just dive right in and get real, yeah?

(Don’t worry, I’m not gonna get depressing!)

I’m a birth photographer. And I don’t have any kids. I’m telling you because I know that your pregnancy and birth journey is one of the most momentous and life-changing seasons of your life. Everything changes forever and every step of it is intense. It’s aches and pains and mood swings and hormone changes, and cravings. It’s the proverbial glow. It’s swelling ankles and stretch marks, and a tiny human doing the hokey pokey with your internal organs.

It’s holding her in your arms for the first time. It’s weeping as he rests on your chest. It’s watching her meet her daddy’s adoring gaze. It’s diapers and sleeplessness and worry and love and unspeakable joy all tangled up together.

Sam’s baby brother Joel, the other delight of my life

I know that as part of your journey, you need people around you who understand and empathize. And I want you to know that I can do that, even if my experience is different than some. I’m not one of those people who thinks owning pets is the same as having children (which is good because I’m not actually a great pet owner). I know there’s nothing like it.

So let me tell you just a little about myself. I’m 35, and I always was very sure that by now I’d be a stay-at-home mom with four kids. The life I pictured included marriage and babies galore and all the joys and pains of motherhood.

The best laid plans, right?

Okay well it may be true that the best laid plans go awry but if we’re being honest, I didn’t plan very well. I spent my entire twenties in a tiny little church in a tiny little town, devotedly serving an authoritarian pastor and assuming I would somehow meet someone and get married. I won’t go into details, but I basically set myself up to never achieve that. Both my priorities and my circumstances made it next to impossible. Thus my life did not turn out the way I had hoped.

Are these not babies? I swear, they were born yesterday! Nephew Kale, sister Molly, and niece Arden, my sweet little weirdos.

Praise God, I got out of that situation and into the real world (I still love Jesus… just more sincerely) and began to pursue some of my other dreams. I began to connect with communities where meeting people is actually a possibility. I finished a novel and started working toward publication. I moved away from the security of a full time W-2 job to do freelance work. And somewhere in the middle of that, my friends started asking me to do photography for their births.

Having been a photographer for nearly 18 years now, I was intrigued. It had never occurred to me to do births before! But immediately I felt a connection to birth photography I had never felt with photojournalism, wedding photography, portraits, or any of the other projects I had worked on, rewarding as they were. Even though my first few births were pretty clumsy and amateur looking, I knew I wanted to become a pro at this.

I am the second of eight children and have attended the births of several of my siblings and nephews and nieces (all of whom have me completely wrapped around their fingers) so the birth process wasn’t a surprise to me. But I was surprised and deeply moved at the images I produced from it. What a treasure!

My newest niece, Violet! I love this sweet little girl, even though I have yet to meet her.

So let me close this up. My heart’s desire is to be a servant to everyone I meet, to be a friend, a helper, a support system. I haven’t experienced the joy of carrying a little human in my womb and finally meeting her. But I’ve experienced the pain of childlessness and the grief of wondering if it’s too late, and the hope and joy of watching my sisters welcome their sweet babies into the world (as of the writing of this blog I have a brand new little days-old niece in fact!) I’ve been a vocal opponent of cultural trends that demean motherhood and treat it as less than the high and noble and staggeringly beautiful calling that it is.

I love motherhood. I love children. I love photography. And it will be my absolute joy and honor to provide you the support, camaraderie, and top-notch photography you deserve, mama.

  1. I can relate so much as a mama to feeling like my dream life plan would just fall into my lap as I followed God. There were many times in my faith that I either didn’t see the big picture or I wasn’t mature in my discernment. I also thought following God meant he would give me things in my timing, boy was I wrong lol! Your newest niece is adorable! What is your favorite way to make your birth clients feel special?

  2. That’s a great question. And I don’t think the answer is a specific service. I think the way to make a client feel really special is to LISTEN to them! Did she mention something she feels strongly about or a favorite? Something she finds soothing or helpful? Even if it’s just a comment in passing, using that information to enhance her experience lets her know she’s special. Like if her baby’s name is meaningful to her I might choose a keepsake for her package that is related to that. If I understand my client I can anticipate her needs. I know one thing I value highly as a woman is feeling like I’ve been heard.

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