Fostering, adoption, birth... I love and celebrate the many different ways children become part of families. Our family has welcomed babes through both adoption and birth. I love that each adoption is unique, and no two births are the same. Family is so complex and fascinating and mysterious, and I will never grow tired of hearing stories of women becoming mothers and men becoming fathers. I will never tire of witnessing people open their hearts and homes to little ones. It makes my heart flutter and tears well up. Those of us who are mothers and fathers know there is no greater challenge and no greater reward than being a parent. And most of us, when we've done it once, we want to do it again.
I feel that way about birth photography.
It only took one opportunity to capture life entering the world to hook me. I had a feeling it would happen. My two births were some of the happiest experiences of my life, and I had already attended a few friends' births. I already knew I loved birth, and I knew my favorite form of photography is when I can almost go unnoticed, documenting what I see as purely and simply as possible. So it had to be a good fit.
I just didn't know it would be this good.
When I arrive, Mama is already getting ready to push. We knew labor would be fast, and I am glad to get there before Little One arrives! Mama is in the water, swaying and in the zone.
It isn't long before the newest member of the human race is swimming (yes, swimming!) in the tub.
And as Mama cradles babe on the outside for the first time, she is cradled by the joys of those who love her most. Little One is gently monitored within her mother's embrace, next to the heartbeat so familiar to her. Her first scents are of Mama and home.
In time, Mama and babe settle into the very chair where they have passed hours together already--Mama, reading about pregnancy and growing baby and birth; babe curled up inside.
Now they are connected again, baby tasting milk for the first time. Her little hand curls by her ear, no doubt as she did in the womb only hours before.
When this sweet little girl is weighed, everyone knows she is a hefty bundle. But WOW! Well over 10 pounds?! Everyone gives Mama several extra well-deserved doses of congratulations.
Everyone can feel the euphoria. It is a miracle seen, felt, shared. Dad's face when he cradles his youngest daughter for the first time...eyes full of love and awe. She is his miracle. He welcomes her into his arms and studies her nose and toes. She is perfect.
And then, a little later, after more nursing and toe counting, Mama receives some tender loving care; and Big Sister meets Little Sister for the first time beside the Christmas tree, amongst carefully wrapped gifts.
But this gift--a baby sister--makes the others pale in comparison. The bond of sisterhood begins with that first meeting, where the one with wild curls of blonde puts socks on one with strands short and dark.
And then she brings a story, for Daddy to read to both of them. She wants to make sure there is still room for her. And there is, because love is like the light of a candle: It doesn't diminish when it ignites other flames. It only expands.
And love has expanded greatly tonight, beneath night's sky, here in this home.
And I leave changed, not because I am confident of what I captured. I leave changed because I have captured (no matter how dimly) the emotion of something sacred.
So welcome, Little One! Your life story is already a beautiful one.
This is only the beginning of my journey with birth photography! I am so excited to be offering an incredible exclusive package for Oak Grove Midwifery clients. If you haven't subscribed to the blog (see sidebar of this post) or liked Carryingwonder's Facebook page yet, make sure you do. You won't want to miss this :)