The moment a woman becomes a mother is one of the most incredible, pivotal moments of her life. After years of dreaming, 9 months of waiting, and several hours or days of labour, you receive the biggest reward of a lifetime. The main reward is that little person that lives and breaths, but the secondary reward, and perhaps the greater reward is the transforming gift of motherhood.
When you become a mother, you become someone new. Baptized into this roll that is not for yourself but has you living and giving to another. The exhaustion, determination, confusion, loneliness, togetherness and selflessness converts you into a better version of yourself. This version grows just as the little ones grow. Your heart beats a little different. Your soul sings a new song.
After my own birth, I remember feeling more powerful than superwoman, like I had conquered the world and in that moment, I must have been the strongest woman alive. The adrenaline rush was incredible and I was floating above the world. Then seconds later, I immediately had more gratitude for my own mother and instantly felt more bonded to her. The days and weeks that followed were hard and they transformed me into a better, stronger, more capable version of myself. The days are still hard, but I wouldn't change it for anything. Because of those 2 amazing little people that I have been entrusted to raise, I am filled with an immeasurable amount of love, laughter and life… so much so that I feel like I could burst.
I asked some of the women who invited me to capture their journey into motherhood to tell me how they felt "the moment they became a mother…" This is what they said:
"The moment I became a mother, I was changed forever. From that moment on, everything I would do, I would think of someone else first. My baby boy changed the way I looked at every problem, every joy, every experience. Time slowed down and sped up all at the same time. Being a mother is something indescribable. Like your heart is now walking around outside your body, never to return."
One of my favourite quotes is, "The moment a child is born, the mother is also born. She never existed before. The woman existed, but the mother, never. A mother is something absolutely new."
Happy Mothers Day.
My sister. I only have one sister… and we've always been close. She's been at both my births, and I've been to hers. This was a special birth because it's the last time she will travel this journey and experience these emotions. (I'm crying just typing those words.) Birth is hard. It's not "fun" but there is something about it that's magical. Despite the pain, women want to give birth. My sister is an amazing birther. She is in control in her labours, she's focused, she knows she needs back pressure, silence and water. It's been the same every time, so it was nice to know what to expect this time, except we didn't expect things to happen as fast as they did.
Rewind back to the holidays. All through Christmas we were waiting for this little babe to arrive. My sister was overdue and we were waiting… in anticipation at every family event. Finally on Boxing Day, after all the family events were wrapped up, she called me at 8:45pm to let me know things might be starting but were "early." I hurried to her house which was quiet and peaceful. It was a beautiful night for life to enter this world. The kids were all sleeping, and she and her husband were working together. The 3 of us offered up a prayer for safe delivery. Things moved quickly… the midwives soon arrived to set up and when they checked her, she was already 10cm. The tub was finally full and she crawled in and melted into the water… (oh, I remember how good that water feels.) 5 minutes later and another boy entered her family at 9:59pm, still in the bag of waters (you can see it slipping off him as the midwife pulls him up out of the water.) PS: Thanks to the midwives from Abbotsford Midwifery Group and West Coast Health Collective for being so awesome.
To my sister: Thank you for inviting me in to capture this birth and all your births. I've seen you at your strongest. You are such an amazing mama from birthing to potty training to home schooling. I'm so happy we live close together and raise our kids side by side.
Watch the full birth story:
When I arrived at this birth, this mom was still walking around, getting her kids ready for bed while listening to her hypnobirthing affirmations. When compared with most labouring women, you wouldn't think she was in labour at all. She was 5cm at this point and soon decided to hop into the tub. She continued to listen to her beautiful affirmations that were playing aloud and when she felt the baby coming, she reached down and pulled him up herself. The next 20 minutes were spent just chillin in the tub, admiring the little man that was inside her for the last 10 months. When she felt her placenta coming, she reached down and delivered it as well. This birth was an absolute gift. She was strong and in control of all the sensations her body was feeling. It was an honour to witness this family welcome this new baby into our world… and yes, now I believe hypnobirthing can truly make a difference in labour and birth.
Birth is one of the most empowering events of a woman's life. When I look back on my birth images I feel like superwoman... I pushed LIFE into this world!!! It was the hardest, most rewarding thing of my life.
I have rarely shared images of the actual moment of birth to protect my client's privacy, however I have received permission to post these incredible images of these little super-humans when they were only half earth-side. Don't be scared to be amazed by these images! This is human life before it has taken it's first breath. Suspended between 2 worlds, life is waiting for that final push to be born.
This post may not be for everyone… but as a birth photographer I always share the beautiful strong labouring woman and the shots afterwards of mama cuddling her squishy new baby, so I also want to show you how miraculous and beautiful the moment their child enters the world can also be. Celebrate how amazing life is and enjoy these images of the actual MOMENT OF BIRTH!
Cradled Creations has photographed nearly 80 births in the Vancouver, Fraser Valley region. To see what an entire birth story looks like from start to finish, click here.
Since I have been getting a lot of traffic on this post, I would love to know who linked you to this post. Comment below to tell me where you are from and how you found me. Make sure to follow me on Instagram at @cradledcreations and like my Facebook page.
This was a beautiful and very quick home birth. I arrived at the house on a calm, rainy evening and didn't expect things to progress so quickly. Events were slow and serene until all in one sudden this mama felt like she had to push… so right there on the bathroom floor, this baby was born surrounded by love, support and warm fuzzy towels.
Watch this beautiful Abbotsford home birth story below:
This has been the most amazing year of my life so far. First, I am grateful for my 2 crazy kids that keep my life busy and full of little moments that make me smile on a daily basis. They are so patient when I have to run out to a birth and my 3.5 year old son surprises me with his mature understanding of what I do, "A mama is having pains in her belly and you have to go take pictures of her baby being borning?" Yes.
This year I had so many highlights in my business. My first highlight was in March, when The Vancouver Sun featured me in an article on birth photography. Then I was pretty floored when Global News and The Globe and Mail did follow up stories. It helped spread birth photography even further and hopefully normalized it in even more people's eyes.
In June, My Modern Met featured a series of my photos of men becoming dads. This was a huge honour because My Modern Met is an art blog and they have a large reach in the art community. This series will also be published in a book soon to be released titled, "Inspirational Photo Series That Restore Your Faith in Humanity."
I ended off my year with an amazing Christmas Day feature from BuzzFeed titled: "15 Stunning Images Of HomeBirths at Christmas." Then, I shot a Christmas Eve birth in Chilliwack and ended my year with my sister's birth on Boxing Day in Abbotsford.
This year was so so so amazing. I constantly leave the hospital inspired from many amazing and strong women. Their strength and perseverance in labour keeps me going on a daily basis. I look at their images every night when I'm editing and see beauty in humanity. Their fresh babies are all little miraculous humans that give me tingles in my tummy. I hold my own children tighter and love them more because of the love I see from so many families on a daily and weekly basis. So... thank you for that.
I have many goals for 2015. I want to push myself in videography even further this year. I'm planning to take a few more video courses and want to add birth videography to my offerings. I also have a birth photography bucket list, and hope to capture some of these stories. *Twin birth. *Surrogacy birth. *Maybe even a car birth… one can dream.
I invite you to watch a few of my highlights from 2014. Happy New Year and thanks for travelling this journey with me.