Being invited into somebody's birth journey is an enormous declaration of trust and a huge privilege. Although I had thought a lot about this beforehand, I was still blown away by that feeling during the night of the birth. It was completely magical to be in a room with two people doing such an amazing job, waiting for the presence of someone little and new, listening to the steady breath of the mother, seeing the love in the eyes of the father - basically being allowed into the most private of spheres. The whole experience was not made any lighter or less magical by the fact that these two people are some of my dearest friends, that we have known each other for twenty years and been through a lot together. Letting your friend be there when you give birth, is crossing a border within, and when you even ok that she can take pictures of you while you're doing it - well, that is just plain braveness. And that's what I was so touched by in those quiet hours; that trust. It still makes me teary-eyed when I think about it.
Then there was the experience of seeing my friend being in labour. I have birthed three children, and I remember vividly the feeling of it, the phases I went through, the work. Witnessing my friend going through those same phases, listening to the changes in her breath, almost feeling what she felt, knowing so well where she was; that transformation she went through right before my eyes was so fascinating, it was such a revelation to me. She became every woman. She became me when I gave birth, or I was her, or we were simply a part of the same organism, the birthing woman. I know it sounds absurd and abstract and maybe I'm just rambling on here, but there was certainly a strong feeling of shared womanhood from my part, I can say that. And recognition.
I think I could go on about this forever. It was one of the most amazing things I have ever experienced. I am so intensely happy that I did it, that I have chosen this path for myself, that my friends invited me in, that the photos turned out well.
I am blessed, and grateful, and one happy birth photographer. Can't wait for the next one!