Use the words "birth photography" to any mom, and you're bound to get one of two reactions. Either moms are enchanted by the idea or more than a little freaked out about having someone with a camera catching such an intimate moment.
Ask a photographer, on the other hand, and the reactions are much the same: birth photography, as Laura Eckert says, is addictive. Eckert is the woman behind New Creation Photography, an Iowa photography studio, but she's also the mom behind the wildly popular Birth Photography Facebook group, a place where folks like her share images of magical moments inside the delivery rooms and bedrooms where babies come into the world.
Why would anyone want a camera in the room in one of the most personal moments of their life? Well, when you ask Eckert, the better question is why not?
"We take photos of all the milestones and events in our lives, big or small, from hiring a wedding photographer to taking your own iPhone photos of what we're eating for lunch," Eckert told The Stir. "Why wouldn't you want beautiful and tastefully captured images from one of the biggest days of your life?
"Birth is SO much more than just that moment."
Some moms are easily convinced about birth photography -- they're fine with a camera in the delivery room. But why not just let your partner do the honors? Well, says Lindsay Dever, a former nurse turned photographer, your partner is supposed to be there for you -- not to capture the birth.
Pond didn't hire anyone to man the lens when she gave birth, and she regrets it.
"[My husband] did capture certain images I wanted, but during my Cesarean, he was attentive to me and less interested in photographing the first breath and first moments," Dever recalled. "Some of the photos were out of focus, and the worst part was that his camera had accidentally put in images size in email mode. All the images were basically ruined. If we ever have another baby, I will insist on hiring a professional!"
Moms like Dever are behind a bona fide trend. In fact, these days, hiring someone to snap your birth is so popular there's even an actual association of birth photographers with members all over the globe.
As Eckert explains, it's not just about getting photos of baby, it's about capturing your own memories.
More from The Stir: 10 Strange & Unrealistic Stock Photos of Pregnant Women
"A lot of times, moms who are really in-the-moment in their birth don't have a lot of memories of exactly what went on during their labor. Seeing their birth photos really helps fill in the gaps as they 'relive' their labor and delivery through the eye of the camera," Eckert says, "not to mention the baby getting the chance to relive their own birth sometime down the road!"
Not sold on whether or not birth photography is for you? The Stir asked some of the top folks in the business to share some of their most beautiful images -- and the stories behind why it is they do what they do.
Number 10 is such a magical photo -- would you pay to have one like it?
Image via New Creation Photography