Let there be life
Back in early June I had the privilege of witnessing a baby be born into this world. As a mother of two myself, I knew roughly what to expect. Photographing it though was a whole other thing!
I met Ashleigh at the start of her second pregnancy and watched her grow as a mother, as well as physically grow with the new life developing in front of her. Getting to know her and her family a little before the birth gave me a real insight into who they are and made the whole experience so much more special for me. Having been through two births of my own I had an idea of what to expect. But witnessing it from the other side, and being trusted to capture the moments on camera, was something else entirely. This was an experience I had dreamed of being part of for a long time, both creatively and personally.
In the cold winter wind, in the very early hours of the morning I arrived at the Queen Mary Maternity Centre at the Dunedin Hospital. In the dim light of the birthing pool, Ashleigh laboured calmly and quietly, supported by her husband Julien, her midwife Fiona and a student midwife Claudia.
As the contractions intensified, I observed the connection between husband and wife. The bond as they navigated their way through the birthing journey together. The support. The calm. The love. It was beautiful to witness, and made me think how incredibly fortunate their children are to have such gentle, loving parents.
Watching the final stages of birth was every emotion under the sun, for all of us in the room. The sheer strength and wonder of a female body will never cease to amaze me. As does the incredible skill, knowledge and calming kindness of the midwives.
And just like that, Willow arrived into this world.
I want to say a massive thank you to the Barrie family for asking me to be part of Willow’s birth, and for allowing me to not only capture but to share this stage of your journey. Creatively this was such a fantastic experience to challenge myself with. But personally it was so so much more. I also want to say a massive thank you to Fiona Heares from Midwives on Main, and student midwife Claudia Munnick, for allowing me to capture them while they were working. Your warmth, professionalism and skill are exceptional. Any new parents would be lucky to have you guiding them into their parenthood journeys. And thanks to the team at Queen Mary for allowing me to film on premises, very grateful.
This was my first birth story, and it definitely won’t be my last. The miracle of life is an astounding thing and I can’t wait to watch it all unfold again another day.
If you would like to have your birthing story captured, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.