Defining moments | NJ birth photographer

Last June something unexpected and a bit life-changing came my way.  An incredible woman invited me into her sacred space for the labor and delivery of her third child, in order to document the event through my pictures.  Never in a million years did I think I would jump at the chance to photograph a birth.  But there I was, awe-struck, humbled, and petrified that I would pass out at some point (I didn't.). 

In retrospect, I suppose birth photography was a natural progression for me.  My obsession for taking pictures took off when my first child was born.  When I later considered photography as my own career and art, I was driven by images of childhood, parenthood and motherhood.  I photographed first children, then families, then newborns, then nursing mothers.  I gravitated toward unscripted, documentary-style photos showcasing emotional connection.  What is the epitome of a raw, emotive event in parenthood?  Birth. 

Needless to say,  I was pretty pumped waiting for the call to drive to this birthing center.  A lot of photographers choose not to shoot births because of the on-call nature of the job.  But the anticipation of dropping everything at a moment's notice to witness a new life enter this world is partly why I'm drawn to birth photography.

Many people (my husband included) think birth photography is all about the moment the baby arrives straight out of the birth canal.  Let me tell you: it is so much more.  I photographed this mama riding the ups and downs of labor, encircled by her husband, sisters and mother.  There was waiting and wondering and pain and soothing of pain.  There were compassionate nurses and a rock star midwife and many cups of coffee.  There was calming music and crushing hand squeezes.

And then there was a tiny human being taking his first breath.  A defining moment.

Instantly, the room was flooded with joy, and out of no where tears streamed down my cheeks.  More magic followed with skin-to-skin embraces and baby's first latch.  Eventually, there was the housekeeping to tend to: cutting the cord, taking measurements, cleaning up.  And this little man even had his first face time session. 

When I left the birthing center in the darkness of early morning, I was high on the power and beauty of this event that we so often take for granted.  I knew then that I wanted to capture the artistry of birth for more families, to preserve the memories of life's truly miraculous defining moment. 

Christine Wright