I know some people with perfectly picture clear memories, but my memory is fuzzy.
My husband is sharp as a tack, and remembers so many amazing details about our first dates together. Sure I remember the overarching picture and how I felt, but I need photos to remember all of the details that my memory loses so quickly. There are so many memories I have that I wish I had a photo of. It does not matter to me about having "perfect" pictures of these memories, I just wish I could go back in time and see things like my Grandmother standing in her doorway waving goodbye until my dad honked the horn, or photos of me with my beautiful sisters just hanging out and painting in the backyard. But I don't have photos of those things! And I regret it. Take a second to think about an experience you have that you wish you had a photo of. If it's still possible to get a photo of it, then do it, before it's too late.
Recently, I was spending some time with some of my amazing girlfriends on Oahu.
They were talking about childbirth—one gave birth recently (we'll call her J) the other was about to have her first baby (C).
They were talking about childbirth, and specifically the pain. And J said to C, "You know, it's only been 6 months since that day [baby was born], but it's so amazing to me that I have forgotten so much."
Which is great, for forgetting the pain! But it saddened me because of all of the other things she may have forgotten. I did not ask any questions or press into that, but that conversation has lingered in my mind of why I will definitely hire a birth photographer for my birth. It's not even a question to me. I want to remember my babies birth. I want to remember the day I become a mother, and my husband becomes a father. The day my baby breathes his or her first breath and melts my heart forever. I want that day to be just as clear in my brain as my wedding day, which I am so thankful to have had documented.
Of course, every mothers experience is different, but it seems every single time I deliver photos to a mother, she tells me while we are watching their video or looking through the photos, "I do NOT even REMEMBER that!!" And they are always so grateful to have photos of those moments.
When I say you *will* (mostly likely) forget, I can just imagine you thinking "GOOD!" but I don't believe you. Sure, we don't necessarily want to remember all of the pain, but we don't want to forget all the joy either. There is beauty in the struggle, and I know you understand that.
If natural childbirth can be forgotten, on the flip side having an epidural can also cause forgetfulness as well. And while you may think that you will remember everything while on your epidural, you never know how the drugs will affect you. Some mothers I have photographed who have chosen to have an epidural were completely cohesive and alert, while others were glassy eyed and exhausted and not able to remember everything perfectly. As an example, I myself recently had a procedure done and was given anesthesia (albeit, not an epidural) for the first time in my adult life. I was supposed to remain alert and awake, I just wasn't supposed to feel anything. As soon as they hooked me up to a low dosage, I immediately fell asleep for 3 hours. After I awoke, my nurses jokingly called me "sleeping beauty".
One mother whom I had the honor of working with was looking at her laboring photos and saw all of the sweet ways that her birth team cared for her, and how their dog ("their first child") was there the entire time, watching from the sidelines and a part of the experience, supporting by being present. That was so important to her! But she didn't remember much of it. Probably because her eyes were slammed shut during most of the painful moments, she was working really hard! But such a beautiful reason to surround yourself with a birth team that you absolutely love and trust. The days following her labor and delivery she was convinced that she was shouting the entire time, which was not true. She labored beautifully and while she was certainly more vocal as time went on, it was not at all to the extent that she remembered. This is so interesting to me! She was so thankful to have her precious babies birth documented. Not only for her son to see someday, but for her to watch and remember and heal and to be able to connect her monumental experience with my perspective. I am not there to replace memories, but to enhance them for your memory. Because, if your memory is anything like mine, you will most likely forget.
I know I rambled here, but I couldn't get this off of my mind and I just had to piece all of my thoughts together.
To boil it all down:
1. You *will* (most likely) forget lots details, or just miss out on details. Just like at your wedding. Assuming you had a photographer, without that person you would've forgotten lots of details or missed out on seeing details about your wedding day, like seeing your first kiss. You most likely will not be able to watch your husband's expression when he sees his baby for the first time. Why? Because, you will be very distracted.
2. So, don't let that happen.
3. I'd love to be a part of your birth team
4. But if you simply don't have the finances (which I get) or you have other short fallings, you should find a friend to photograph it for you. Please don't ask your husband. Because it is a big day for him and he should also be in the photos, not distracted by a camera. If you simply do not want photos, then total respect and I get that too. I just had to say all of this because I do not want you to regret your decision. #noregrets #nojudgement #allthefeels
<3 Love you all! Have an amazing weekend!
Amber DeCicco is a part of the Hawaii Birth Collective as a birth photographer. She is a photographer on Oahu, owning and operating Amber DeCicco Photography as lifestyle/documentary photographer. She loves good art, good food, good music, good people, and her amazing husband.
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