This is what birth can look like- calm, controlled, joyful.
She closed her eyes, breathed through each contraction, rubbing her belly, and focusing on the life that would soon emerge to complete her family. She chose to laugh in the moments between. She chose to be fully present and experience the highest bliss at the moment her son arrived. She chose to let her husband's hands welcome her son into the world.
You may recognize this mama from her gorgeous waterfall maternity session we recently shared.
Birth Story captured by Cradled Creations, located in Abbotsford, BC
This mama is carrying her 5th beautiful baby. She knew this was the last member to join their family, and wanted to celebrate the last time carrying life inside her with a very meaningful photo session in nature. We chose Bridal Falls located between Hope, BC and Chilliwack, BC. This session wasn't just about photos, it was about feeling apart of the deeper power within nature. Overwhelmed by God's beauty surrounding us and the vastness in nature, we lost ourselves in the rhythm of raindrops, and strength of these powerful waters. Likewise, she held the same strength. Steady. Capable. Allowing the life inside her to lead. Listening to the ebb and flow of the growth within. And then surrendering to the journey.
Here are a handful of images from our maternity photoshoot in a waterfall.
This client is more than just a "client." Sasha has become a friend, photography peer, and we've been through a lot together over her last 3 births. Her family has been kind to me, her dad is my favourite "Papa" that has ever been into a birth room, we've also shot a birth of a mutual friend side-by-side, and recently taken on sueing a large media company for misuse of one of her birth images (but that's another story for another day.)
This 3rd birth story was everything! Everything she had dreamed it would be, and everything I dreamed it would be for her. She has planned a homebirth for every baby but this was the first homebirth that started and finished at home (without any unexpected transfers.) She is one of the calmest, most present labouring women I have seen. She has had her mom catch all of her babies, and the amount of love and joy present in her birth space is endearing...
(turn phone sideways for better viewing of video)
Hit video to play.
I remember starting up this business 9 years ago and people would look at me with confusion "you photograph WHAT?" I patiently tried to explain birth photography was about capturing so much more than that 1 photo. Sometimes they would understand and sometimes they wouldn't. Despite their reactions in the early years, my heart called me to push on and keep shooting births because I loved what I did and the mother's who "got it" were sooooo appreciative of the photos I gave them. Even though I love it, it's hard. In fact, it's exhausting work... I wish I could take more holidays. I wish I didn't have to check my phone 50 times a day. I wish I could tell my kids "I'll be there..." but sometimes I won't be and luckily they get it. I have chosen to do what I LOVE. Capturing birth stories and supporting women during labour makes my heart happy. Thank you to True Calling for telling my story.
I titled this post the "Strength of a Mother" because I really stood at this birth in awe of this woman's power the entire time. This was her 3rd birth (it's also the 3rd birth I've captured for her) and all I could think about was how much stronger motherhood has made her since we've met. Labour is not easy, and it's not made any easier when it goes slowly. 3rd births are always unpredictable but this was her longest "active labour." She did "it" all with such grace and force of mind, body and soul.
What a crazy incredible year this has been. It started off in January (while I was vacationing in Hawaii) when I got a call that I won "Best Birth Image of the Year" from International Association of Professional Birth Photographers. This was a huge honour and I interviewed with People Magazine and The Today Show while sitting beachside.
And here are my FAVOURITE images of the year... from my own birth. These were taken by the talented documentary photographer: Kyla Ewert (located in Abbotsford, BC)
I normally create a year end video, but have been busy mothering this year, so I will leave you with my highlight film from last year... THIS IS WORTH A WATCH...
Happy New Year!