I am a childbirth photographer who captures the emotions that are involved in the miracle called Birth. Through my experience of working with so many women who welcomed their babies in this world, I have understood why birth is considered a marvel. Birth photography, more than just capturing the happy and tough moments of childbirth, also captures the strength of a woman.
During labor and delivery, one can clearly see the intense and raw phase of the parent’s life; the mother working hard on her body, her husband by her side comforting her, their love and support for each other. This is when you realise the power of love.
As a photographer, it is overwhelming and scary at the same time to see the amount of pain the woman has to go through during childbirth. These women never resign; they never let their agony overcome their resolution.
It is at this moment when I realise why women are considered the embodiment of mental strength. But as a birth photographer, as much as you want to stand and appreciate such moments, you cannot let your emotions overcome you. You need to stay focused and capture these memories for the parents, as that is what such moments demand.
Birth photography is something that helps a mother live such moments in the future. She would not remember what she had gone through during childbirth and these photos jog her down that memory lane; her and her family’s first expression when they saw the baby, the baby’s first expressions, baby’s footprints etc.
Babies come out of the womb and look incredibly different an hour later so much so that by the time the dad has a chance to pick up the camera their head shape would have already changed, feet stretched out, crooked nose already slightly straightened. There is so much that goes on behind the scenes that only a birth photographer can capture them. As the father and the family, one should focus on supporting the mother; enjoy holding the newest member, greet family visitors etc. These moments should be lived and enjoyed as much as they can.
I have seen this concept work well in the western cultures but before introducing the concept in India, I was a little concerned about its acceptance by the masses. Being a new concept, birth photography faces a lot of apprehensions; concerns and worries about what kind of pictures would be taken inside the labor and delivery room, privacy of the mother, safety of the newborn etc. I like to call it the fear of the unknown.
Furthermore, there are superstitions/ beliefs that make matters worse. Beliefs such as: a mother should not flaunt her baby bump; the baby should not be introduced or shown to an outsider for a month, a sleeping baby should never be clicked. Even though such superstitions are majorly restricted to the elderly generation, a lot of times the willing couples are also forced to bend down to their elders’ superstitions just out of respect for their feelings.
But yes, times are changing. People are getting more aware of this concept and once I show and explain my previous work, more often than not, people accept the idea.
As a photographer and as a woman myself, I feel proud to be a part of these moments that define a woman’s strength. Watching a woman struggle for a lifetime of happiness makes me understand the miracle of childbirth. After every photo shoot that I do, I just want to run back to my mom and give her a tight hug because now I clearly have seen and understood what she must have gone through to bring me into this world.
Urshita Saini, a Delhi based-lawyer turned photographer, is currently working to introduce and spread the concept of Birth Photography to the masses in India. She is working under the brand name of InfLens.
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