In September 2014, after many months of discovering beautiful birth photography work, I decided it was something I could really love and get into. A huge motivator for me was honestly thinking about how I was tired of having 3-4 months in the winter with zero income, and babies don't stop being born just because it's cold. So I contacted a few birth photographers, received such sincere and helpful advice, did my research, and set out to be a birth photographer.
In November I photographed my first birth for free, hoping to start a small portfolio and begin advertising. The sweet momma had some complications and under the advice of her doctor elected to schedule a c-section. And this is where I begin to really tell my story as a photographer.
I'm so hesitant, so nervous, about the words I'm about to write. I want to preface it all by saying I hope to offend nor hurt anyone. My NUMBER ONE reason for not taking on births anymore, is because my family is a one car family. And it will likely remain this way for a very long time. Having one car is simply way too stressful for the on-call and demanding lifestyle of being a birth photographer. That said, I should have known that my first birth ever would be a foreshadowing of the journey that lie ahead.
Even though my first birth was a c-section, it was thrilling and incredible and an experience like no other. I was hooked. And it didn't take long before I started getting inquiries for 2015. I booked several births, far exceeding my expectations for my first year. The first client was due in May, and she was having a planned c-section because she was having twins. And she had a doctor who was more than willing to allow me into the OR. This was hands down the most incredible thing to be a part of. And I certainly wasn't naive to the fact that I was incredibly lucky to be there.
The remainder of 2015 was full of extreme highs and extreme lows. The highest high was my first (and to date, only) home birth. Nothing compares guys. It changed my life and I vowed that if I were ever given the chance to have another baby, it would be born at home. I was shooting through tears and praying nothing was blurry. I came home from this birth bound and determined to be a full time birth photographer.
Unfortunately, it would be mostly downhill after that. My journey became riddled with clients deciding while in labor not to have me come (after being on call for them for weeks and choosing not to plan anything with my family), and then c-section, after c-section, after c-section. This is where I'm trying hard to tread with caution. I hope especially for my c-section momma's that you don't feel like I'm angry or upset - absolutely not!! Each of your births were so personal and so beautiful, and you brought life into this world. But doctors repeatedly not allowing me into the OR was draining and disappointing (for both of us!) And the strain of being on call with only one car available was adding more stress than I could handle.
Finally, by late March this year, I knew I couldn't do this anymore. I had one more birth on my calendar for 2016, and that would be it. And here we are today, I shot my final birth last week (which ended in a c-section, no less), and I'm transitioning back into weddings. I learned a lot about myself these past 2 years. I'm far more extroverted than I realized, and at weddings I get to talk to tons and tons of people (many of them hilariously drunk). I'm also a scheduler, and although incredibly spontaneous, I like having an open and predictable calendar that allows for spontaneity. And if we're friends and you're having a baby, I'll still photograph your birth! But I'm being super selective about the work I take on from here :)
Birth is beautiful and sacred, and I KNOW what an honor it was to be asked to come into each woman's birthing space. I'm indebted and thankful to each of you. I have no regrets, none at all. I never would have known had I never tried. And who knows, maybe one day I'll be in a place where I'm able to pursue it with all my heart once again.