Birth Photography

by admin on October 15, 2013

I do a little photography as a sideline (just for fun and friends). I get news feeds from several professional photographer’s pages via my Facebook because I like to see what others do and get inspiration and ideas. However one of these photographers -who specializes in babies- posted something that had me a little puzzled and rather bemused (or is that grossed out?).

You see, she is now offering photography of you (the client) in the act of GIVING BIRTH!! That’s right, she comes into the delivery suite with you and photographs the entire process! The photographer claims that she will do it in a sensitive ‘photo-journalist’ style….but I had to wonder….is this going a little too far?!

Hey, I’m okay with a nice portrait of mummy showing off her big round belly or a cute shot of the newborn (although I’m a little puzzled by the ones that insist on photographing it naked). But do you really want a special occasion like giving birth, a time when frankly nobody looks their best, being captured by a stranger wielding a camera and flash equipment? And what do the doctors and nurses feel about this? I’m wondering what the EtiquitteHell world has to say on this. 1011-13

The hospitals and some birthing centers in my area limit the number of “guests” in the birthing room to three or four — the husband, doula, and grandmom to be, for example.   When my eldest daughter gave birth, I yielded my “spot” to my younger daughter because the staff would not allow more than three in the room during delivery.   If my youngest had been bumped out of the room by the photographer, there would be some hard feelings about that.   Hiring a professional photographer to record the experience who must therefore displace a family member seems to me to be an example of wanting good photographs taking precedence over relationships.

 

 

{ 102 comments… read them below or add one }

Rachel October 15, 2013 at 3:01 am

Where I live it is very common for people to take pics or film delivery of a baby; however it is normally done be a family member or very close friend. Having a someone unfamiliar take such pictures thought seems weird. Also the photos are kept private and shared with only a few people, for example mothers and sisters usually.

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Lex October 15, 2013 at 3:11 am

Eurgh. Birth is messy, bloody, and quite frankly horrifying. I’d hate to be photographed during the process. Although some people feel compelled to document the event (as evidenced by the number of YouTube videos and photos a simple web search will find) in all it’s gory (wordplay on ‘glory’ intended there).

I’ve banned LeBoyfriend from taking gory pictures when it’s our turn. After all, what are you going to do with them? It’s not like you’re going to frame them and hang them in your house is it?

That being said, to each their own. If a woman wants to hire a photographer to take photos of her special event then it is up to her. It doesn’t sound like she’ll be hanging around unwanted taking photos so if a mum to be chooses to hire her then fair play.

It may not be to your taste but kudos to her for capitalising on an untapped market in such difficult economic times.

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Rowan October 15, 2013 at 3:19 am

If someone had tried taking photos of me while I was giving birth, I probably would’ve shoved their camera where the sun doesn’t shine.

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Kirsten October 15, 2013 at 3:58 am

I think this is entirely down to the mother. If she wants it, it’s up to her. One of my friends was videoed giving birth by her husband. Privately, I wondered why on earth they wanted it and who on earth would ever want to watch it, but then that’s me and it was their choice. Similarly, there is no way I would ever have had anyone beyond my husband and medical staff when giving birth, but some of my friends had sisters, mothers and even in-laws. That would be my idea of hell.

I’d be more concerned about the photographer getting in the way. Someone’s trying to give birth! I don’t think serious procedures are really the time or place, and suspect the medical staff might not be thrilled, but some people do the whole thing – big belly shots, belly casts, videos, photos, uploading ultrasounds. It’s their choice. It wouldn’t be mine, and I’m not interested in seeing the results, but to each their own and it sounds pretty harmless.

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onehitwonder October 15, 2013 at 4:19 am

To me it’s weird, yes, but is this really an etiquette issue? If it’s what the new parents want, and it’s not barred by the hospital team, aren’t we just criticizing the personal choices made by others?

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Louise October 15, 2013 at 4:32 am

Call me crazy but when I give birth in february I only want my partner and medical professionals in the room..

Why on earth would I want a mass of people crowding around me at that point in my life, especially a photographer who I don’t know on a personal level.. Why on earth would people want photos of that moment?

My family, his family and anyone else can wait until I’m ready to see them before entering the room.

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Debs G October 15, 2013 at 4:56 am

There is a trend towards home births nowadays, so perhaps this photographer is aiming at that category of moms.
When I was working the OBGYN circuit, I have noticed many parents bringing video recording or photography equipment into the birthing room to capture those first few precious moments with their newborn, and it is difficult for them to be fully ‘in the moment’ if they are looking through a view finder. In that case, I guess hiring a professional is an option, although I can’t see how maternity wards or operating theatres would have the space accommodate a professional photographer + lighting equipment. I suppose if the photographer is unobstrusive an quiet it might be ok.
Otherwise, I am quite sure if the photographer is a fool who keeps touching the sterile instrument or gets in the way of people trying to do their jobs when active labour begins, that photographer is going to get Kicked Out.

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Jill October 15, 2013 at 4:58 am

Well, except that a lot of hospitals don’t have that policy, so you’re not bumping anyone. My hospital welcomed photographers if the family wanted them. Many people want photographs to remember this event, and I see nothing wrong with it if that’s what you choose. I didn’t, but my husband took some photos as my son was born and right after that I cherish. I can see the appeal of having a professional do it, both for better photos, and so that every family member can focus on the birth itself. I’ve seen some truly beautiful professional birth photos. I see it as a matter of personal preference; something to be worked out between the family and hospital, not something weird or gross, and certainly not bad etiquette.

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drnic October 15, 2013 at 5:43 am

I work in a hospital where we do a fair number of deliveries on a daily basis. While photography is allowed after the birth and before the birth, it is most certainly not allowed during. It would be a distraction to the staff at the birth and could put both mom and baby at risk. And as you said, we limit the number of people in the birthing room.

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Lo October 15, 2013 at 5:45 am

I think birth photography is probably better suited to home births. I cannot imagine hospital staff being too thrilled at having a professional photographer in the room. That sounds aggravating at best.

That being said I don’t think there’s anything wrong at all with wanting someone to document the birth by hiring a professional photographer for the process. I doubt these kinds of photos are going up on the walls or anything. (and hopefully not on Facebook!) This is probably a private album for the parents who will want to relieve this moment and I have seen some truly beautiful works of art come of this kind of photography, including one taken right as the child was emerging.

I don’t know it’s like to give birth but I’d surely be interested to see my own birth if it had been documented this way.

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Rose October 15, 2013 at 6:29 am

Of course, not everyone chooses to give birth inside of a hospital. If the birth is at home, the woman may have whomever she wishes in the room, including a photographer.

I seem to recall that in the 1980s, filming the birth was pretty popular, as was taking still photos. One lady in particular used to like to show these photos to members of our congregation while recounting the details of the birth. She was modestly covered in the pictures, so we really just saw the faces of her and the midwife. By her fifth child, the whole thing had gotten fairly monotonous to everyone but her.

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Virg October 15, 2013 at 6:48 am

My thought is that it’s not intrinsically rude to do this, and if that’s what the paerents-to-be want then it’s their choice. There are many who don’t want the “legal limit” of relatives to attend their birth (my wife wanted only me in there during the event despite being allowed two others, for example) so while I agree that the parents should consider the relationship impact of doing this, it’s not a certainty that doing this is choosing pictures over family.

Virg

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admin October 15, 2013 at 7:39 am

Another factor to consider is whether birth has become just another photojournalistic event attended by a member of the papparazzi. I find it odd that someone would purposely limit the number of family in the room yet pay for a stranger to record the birth. I personally wouldn’t hire a few birth photographers whose work I’ve seen because I consider the lack of discretion in photographing the woman’s genitals to be a problem. The most peculiar photos I’ve ever seen included shots where the pubic area filled the picture frame to reveal a slightly crowning baby’s head. Hmmmm…I didn’t really need to see that. TMI.

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Abby October 15, 2013 at 6:57 am

I personally would not want that at all, but some people might. I know of a woman who had an elective C-section and her husband took pictures of the procedure! That’s not something I’d want on my mantle. I think this is an issue unrelated to etiquette, and more relating to personal preference.

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o_gal October 15, 2013 at 7:01 am

I see nothing rude about this. If this is what the parents want to do, and it is allowed by the hospital, I don’t see anything wrong with it. This is a moment between the mother and father and it is completely up to them, mostly especially up to the mom, about who is in their hospital room and what goes on in there. I don’t see anywhere in the post about the photographer displacing anyone.

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Anonymous October 15, 2013 at 7:01 am

I understand the letter writers and admins points. I do however, look at it in a different way, and maybe that’s because photography is something that is very important to me.

While I would not personally feel comfortable with photographs of the most graphic portions of the event, I can see appreciating a professional session of the time in the room together, photos of the baby immediately after birth, etc. I also would never be comfortable with anyone other than my husband in the room, so maybe this sounds strange but a photographer is a stranger like the nurses, etc. who will be there for the birth of your child. A photographer can give me a lasting memory of a time I may not be completely “with it”, which means more to me than the discomfort of having other people I know in the room during a medical procedure.

It definitely wouldn’t be everyone’s cup of tea – maybe most, but I can see how it could appeal to some. I actually saw (on a favorite photographers blog) the photos from the delivery room of the photographer done in a photo journalistic style. They honestly made me cry they were such a beautiful portrait of a family as the younger siblings were there to welcome their new brother.

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Margaret October 15, 2013 at 7:06 am

Ew. I hate this trend of having all of the family and the mailman (unless he’s the father, of course!) in the delivery room. I didn’t want anyone other than DH with me.

Do you get your money back if a C-section is necessary? I’m sure photography would not be permitted in the OR.

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The Elf October 15, 2013 at 7:13 am

Well, it’s her birthing experience. She can do with it what she wants. I don’t have kids and never attended a birth, but I can’t imagine wanting ANYONE there other than my husband and the doctor/nurse/midwife/doula staff. Grandmothers to be, sorry, I love you but NO.

Ice cream comes in different flavors for a reason. As long as she truly doesn’t get in the way of the medical staff and the parents want her there, what’s the harm?

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Betty October 15, 2013 at 7:52 am

The parents-to-be (and really, the mom-to-be) get to decide who is in the delivery room. If they want a professional photographer and the hospital says it is ok, it’s their call. Why judge? If they want no one, that’s ok too. If they want certain people and not others, that’s also ok.

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Z October 15, 2013 at 7:56 am

I have a high school classmate who does birth photography. She and her partner have separate wedding/portrait businesses, but they run this together. It takes a certain kind of mother to want those photos. I would not be one of them. They do a lot of home births and I have seen a C-section (they didn’t go on the other side of the curtain). The pictures are tasteful (no pubic area), with focus on the mother/father interaction beforehand and the interaction with the baby right after.

I agree it feels odd, but I don’t see it as an etiquette issue.

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Miss-E October 15, 2013 at 7:58 am

I was born at home and my father (a photographer) took pictures. They were not out for display or anything . Just to commemorate this monumental moment in our collective lives. As a kid I thought it was gross but now that I’m studying to become a midwife I see the beauty in it.

It might not be to the OPs taste but it isn’t an etiquette issue and it isn’t really for her, or anyone on this site to judge.

Now, if you went to someone’s house for dinner and they handed you an album of birthing photos that would be another story.

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ketchup October 15, 2013 at 7:58 am

I always thought that home births were supposed to be more intimate even, so I don’t think people who do home births want a photographer around any more than people in hospitals or birthing centres. I’ve heard about women doing theirs all alone without any support (not my cup of tea by the way, what if something goes wrong?!).
I wanted to do a home birth myself (I’m from the Netherlands, the only W-European country where that is a legal and normal option), alone with my husband and a midwife, but alas, it wasn’t to be and I delivered in a hospital with three nurses, and two doctors present, and a pediatrician hovering as well as some pediatric nurses… not at all what I’d planned. Anyway… I really didn’t want any photos taken during, only after, and I also wanted only my husband present. No mothers, sisters or whatnot. I can’t imagine having another stranger, not medically trained and used to all that, there at all!!

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another Laura October 15, 2013 at 8:04 am

I would agree that this is really more of a preference issue than a etiquette one, provided of course that the photographer doesn’t get in the way of medical personnel.
That being said, I had two very difficult labor and deliveries, and there was no way I wanted any part of them preserved for posterity, even if my husband would have taken them. I didn’t want the mirror so I could watch it myself even. We waited until I had a shower, and we were safely ensconced in the regular room (instead of labor and delivery) for pictures, and visitors.

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Mae October 15, 2013 at 8:21 am

To each their own, as the saying goes. I think a good majority of hospitals limit the number of people that can be in the room during the delivery, so if that is the issue, I can could see how maybe a sister or grandma might get their feelings hurt if the Mom & Dad choose to have a photographer instead of them.
I did not want anyone except my husband & the medical staff in the room with me.

What if it was the photographer’s first time filming a birth and the “experience” (blood, gore, pain, etc) was too much for them to handle and they passed out? I can see how something along those lines might cause the hospital to put some sort of policy in place.

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Jay October 15, 2013 at 8:35 am

Admin, that’s a very specific response.. don’t think it’s what the question actually was asking, though. I’m sure there are many places with fewer restrictions on who’s in the room, and many couples who, even with a restriction, would have room for a photographer. When my wife gave birth, it was just the two of us there. Her parents live 1500 miles away.

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Brighid October 15, 2013 at 8:40 am

They are generally not photographing the process (blood, actual birth etc) but the experience. There are plenty of examples on blogs out there and they are very beautiful moments of a time you won’t remember much of. A husband/partner holding a hand or supporting the woman while walking the hallways. The first time they see the baby, hold the baby. Very unobtrusive and very flexible to how the parents are feeling. All the examples I’ve seen have been soft and understated. It’s art, not a Grey’s Anatomy episode.

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Anonymous October 15, 2013 at 8:44 am

Wow. One of my favourite expressions that I’ve seen on E-Hell is, “If you weren’t there for the conception, you’re not invited to the birth.” So, if I ever have a child, I don’t want an entourage in the delivery room. People can visit after the baby is born, and as for photographing the process……that just grosses me out. I hope this doesn’t become a “thing,” and I hope I don’t end up seeing photos on Facebook of my own friends in the process of giving birth.

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SweetPea October 15, 2013 at 8:50 am

This is not the first time I’ve heard of this. I don’t think it’s an etiquette problem (unless, like the admin suggests, a family is bumped out of a “spot” in favor of pictures), just more of a choice that I would not have made.

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Gena October 15, 2013 at 8:50 am

I had a family member pay a lot of money for pregnancy photos. these were extremely intimate shots of her and her husband wearing very little clothing, and were taken late in pregnancy. these are displayed prominently in their home, and I find them quite embarrassing.

I think this is just part of the trend of new parents believing they are the only ones to ever give birth, and their pregnancy and birth experience is more “special” than anyone elses.

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Barbarian October 15, 2013 at 8:55 am

If it interferes witht he delivery of medical care to the mother and baby, it should not be allowed.

I do think a photo of the baby shortly after birth would be a special keepsake. I had an emergency C-section so we did not think to take pictures of my child when we first saw him but the memory will be forever engraved upon my heart.

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inNM October 15, 2013 at 9:09 am

While I’m of the mind that the person pushing the tiny human out of them gets to make the decision of non-essential persons who are in the room (within the doctor’s/nurses’/hospital’s rules), I am not sure I understand why someone would think that their friends would want to see the raw, uncut process of childbirth. I’m not a parent/mother yet, but between my own mother, my friend’s mothers, my sisters-in-law (two of whom have had babies over the last 6 months), the best part I have heard up until the tiny person enters the world is when the the epidural is administered. I won’t go into the details of what I have heard about birth, but if this was any other medical situation, would the person going through it want to relive the moment?

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Lynne October 15, 2013 at 9:09 am

Errrr, personally, I don’t WANT a bunch of family members traipsing through my delivery room. That, to me, seems like the most personal, private thing in the world, and nobody is welcome except me, my midwife, and my husband. (and possibly a doula or midwife’s assistant).

I’ve seen photo shoots done in the delivery room, and they can create quite lovely and tasteful mementos. It’s very powerful photography, and evokes a lot of emotion and memory. I can see why people might want to have it done.

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DGS October 15, 2013 at 9:09 am

Personally, I would not want “birth photography” in the midst of the blood and gore of the birth process, even if it were discreetly done. I can’t imagine that a picture of my face beaded in sweat and contorted in a grimace of anguish while squeezing my husband’s hand to be of interest to anyone…on that note, any of the times I’ve given birth, I have not wanted anyone but the medical professionals and my husband in the room (my parents and in-laws were in the waiting room). My husband did take some photos after the baby was born, including a picture of me kissing the newborn as the baby was placed on my chest (nothing below my waist was in the pictures, thank goodness), and those were sufficient to capture the overwhelming joy of that moment.

However, my first birth experience was characterized by sheer terror, as I had to deliver extremely prematurely twins due to a double placental abruption (they subsequently died within 2 days of being born; a year later, I gave birth to their healthy and full-term, thank goodness, and beautiful little brother), and I cannot imagine wanting to capture those moments of agony and pain on film, as they are seared into the back of my corneas permanently. It was a tragic and traumatic experience, and birth can be very unpredictable (what if labor stalls and the baby decel’s, necessitating an emergency C-section? What if PPROM or a placental abruption or placenta previa cause a premature delivery? What if the cord prolapses, and the baby suffocates?) At that time, the fewer non-medical people in the room (other than whoever needs to be there to support the laboring mother), the better, and why would someone need to capture on camera the frantic, messy, terrfiying moments such as those?

I agree with Admin that kicking family out of the room to have the experience captured by a professional is tacky; I also worry about this trend contributing to the narcissistic voyeurism so pervasive in our culture. An acquiantance who has home births posted pictures of the entire process, complete with blood-covered birthing tub and her with her head thrown back in pain (private parts not in the picture) on Facebook. While I appreciated the adorable pictures of her cleaned up in bed cradling her newborn, I had absolutely no desire to witness such intimate moments as her in transition, and I felt like I was witnessing something I had no business seeing (such as her being intimate with her husband or her defecating). Some things are for the eyes and the memories of the closest family only.

I have no objections to having a professional photographer there once the baby and the Mommy are okay, having some newborn photos taken (and including the grandparents, siblings, etc. in the photos) – in fact, the hospital where I delivered, and the hospital where I work, all offer that service for an additional fee.

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Rebecca October 15, 2013 at 9:12 am

My mother is a maternity nurse. She says they are constantly having to chew (and sometimes even toss) photographers out, because they aren’t limiting themselves to the mom and baby. They’re taking pictures of confidential things like the patient’s chart. She says some are good and well-behaved, but most act as nuisances, distractions and obstacles.

Mom has never gotten facebook because she values her privacy. She doesn’t even like it when I post “unauthorized” pictures of her on mine. Imagine her shock when people come up to her on the street and say “you’re Nurse Sandy, right? I saw you in Alice’s online birth album!”

I agree that it’s the new mother’s choice, and that its grossness has nothing to do with etiquette. But the way it disturbs the staff is most certainly an etiquette problem! These people may need to save the life of the baby, or the mother, or both.

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Kim October 15, 2013 at 9:29 am

I think birth shots are beautiful. Not gross or gory. I have 3 kids and wish I had a photographer. I looked awful and in all likelihood I would be the only person enjoying them in years to come, but like I said, you’re capturing a beautiful moment.

So I say yes to the photographer. Dad and other family members are often too busy supporting mom to take pictures. You can also have a choice – birth pictures that don’t show genitals or crowning or that DO show the full monty. It’s not an all or nothing sort of thing.

This is not an etiquette matter. These parents want to capture an incredible moment of their lives. Leave them alone.

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Beth October 15, 2013 at 9:29 am

I don’t see how this is an ettiquette issue. While this isn’t my cup of tea, I have actually seen some of these types of pictures and they have been very artistic and kinda neat. the ones I have seen haven’t been inappropriate. If the parents want the pictures taken-then what is wrong with that?
Further, it made be hard for you to believe, admin, but not everybody has a bunch of family members they actually want to be in the delivery room. Many people have mothers that are overbearing or sisters that are self focused or fathers that are un-involved. many women only want their husband/boyfriend in their because their other family members wouldn’t be good support for them. In those cases, the photographer isn’t taking anyone’s place! If anything, it might give her a reason to not allow someone she DIDN’T want! With how many stories of ridiculous family members that come across the pages of ehell, I’m surprised you couldn’t imagine out that scenario yourself!

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JJ October 15, 2013 at 9:31 am

OK this one actually annoys me, not because of birth photography but because the admin assumes the “spots” rightfully belong to family. I am having only my dh in the hospital (no photographer FYI). I am not having other family in the room because I do not feel comfortable with anyone else being part of the experience. I am a worrier and a people pleaser and feel that having family in the room would make me tense and hyper aware of any grossness or sounds I am making. I am fine with hospital workers because they are doing their jobs, see birth every day, and I don’t have to see them again etc.
That being said, I have seen some beautiful birth photography which usually do not include any shots of the baby actually being born, but the expressions of the parents as they smuggle their baby for the first time, the father supporting the mother, or other sweet moments. I have also seen this primarily at home births where the amount of people is not an issue.
This is such an intimate issue and the choice of the parents and I do not feel it lies under an issue of “etiquette”. Anyone who feels that there are choices to be made other than by the parents is severely overstepping boundaries.

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Double You October 15, 2013 at 9:33 am

Over here in Belgium, it’s not that common for family members to attend the birth – apart from the baby’s father, that is – so adding a photographer to the proceedings is not likely to become a “headcount” issue. Furthermore, I think it’s up to the parents: if they would like there to be pictures of the birth, then by all means let them have pictures. What they do with them, and who they share them with, is up to them…

I’ve only ever known one couple to actually have a full-on photo shoot during the birth. They were good friends, and offered to show me the album, but only if I wanted to see it. I took them up on their offer, and it was a series of photos in black and white. Yes, there was some nudity and some blood, and no, none of the participants looked very glamorous… but the result was a true, honest, delicate and very touching slice of life. I felt privileged being allowed to see it.

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WillyNilly October 15, 2013 at 9:37 am

I am currently pregnant. I don’t plan to have delivery photos taken, but I can certainly see the appeal of journalist shots of my husband and I interacting, and those very first moments of new life in our arms. Just because some photographers take distasteful shots doesn’t mean they all must.
If I did choose to have a photographer there though, they absolutely under no circumstances would be taking anyone’s “spot” as no one gets a “spot” other then myself, my husband, and the professional staff. My mother, MIL, best friend etc are in no way shape or form invited, nor should they expect to be. Heck my husband does not even want to call anyone to tell them we are at the hospital until *after* the babies come out – he does not feel it is anyone’s place to be pacing the hospital corridors. I am fine with that decision if that’s what he wants, my only rule is no one is allowed in the room with me to spectate – its not a show.

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Victoria October 15, 2013 at 9:41 am

While I only had my husband with me, and my stepmother guarding the door to prevent unwanted visitors, I do wish I had a few pictures of the time. Not pictures of my bits on display, but some of when the kids were newborn. Because of complications, and the drugs that came with them, I don’t have much memory of that time. We didn’t have any pictures of the babies for the first couple days.

On the other hand, if you’re willing to pay someone to take those pictures, go for it, it’s your business, and I’ll just be over here minding my own.

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Stacey Frith-Smith October 15, 2013 at 9:42 am

This one puzzles me too in this respect- a birth is an exhausting, deeply private, lengthy and emotional experience. Who goes into the delivery room is a matter of personal preference. It’s not like a wedding where etiquette has a role for the parents, attendants, etc… SO- the long and the short of it- if you aren’t invited in- don’t go, don’t judge, and don’t demand. For some mothers it might just be herself and the medical team. I guess that for others a videographer or photographer are wanted. But telling someone who is about to give birth who “should” be present, “should” be able to visit first at home, “should” be able to stay with the new parents to help… that’s just a dark place to go, one fraught with the potential for conflict and hurt. People do make claims on one another of all kinds in a family- but the line about the kinds of claims that can be entertained from even close family should end where the need for privacy and security begins…I’m guessing that’s the bedroom and bathroom and, by extension, the hospital room or surgery.

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psyche October 15, 2013 at 9:45 am

I’m reminded of a Jeff Foxworthy bit where he talks about men who film their wives giving birth, wondering why anyone would want to film such a nasty thing, and suggested that, in revenge, they film their husbands doing things like getting a prostate exam and make their friends watch that with running commentary as well.

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SamiHami October 15, 2013 at 9:46 am

I think the bigger question is: when did giving birth become a spectator sport? I can’t imagine wanting anyone (aside from medical staff) in there except the baby’s father. It’s not a place for grandparents or for the papparazzi, imo. I know others feel differently than I do, and I wouldn’t dream of telling anyone else what they should or should not do. But if I were ever in that position (and I definitely won’t be! :) ) I wouldn’t consider allowing anyone but DH in. And if he brought a camera in, I would shove it up his nose.

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Lily October 15, 2013 at 9:53 am

Well if thats what someone wants and pays for then more power to them but I didnt allow anyone near me in the delivery room, not even my Mum or Husband.
Unfortunatley the staff got nagged into letting all the relatives in right away afterwards, there was blood pouring off the sides of the bed which upset both Mum and Man… If you had just WAITED! *eyeroll*

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Glitter October 15, 2013 at 10:07 am

I can only think of two people I’d want in the room with me. My partner, and possibly my mother. And mom is totally negotiable. I love her and all, but I’m not so sure I’d want her there for the whole shebang. I’m also not so sure she’d want to be there for the whole thing, she loves and supports me but it’s hard for her to watch me in pain and know she can’t do anything about it (she had problems watching me get a tattoo). I’m good without pictures or video of the actual process. Yeah, yeah, cool thing women can do, miracle of life, yadda, yadda, yadda, it’s still kinda gross and not something I’d like to sit down and watch on DVD one afternoon with nothing else to do.

All that having been said, I do think it comes down to the parents, and more exclusively the one giving birth. Even if the photographer isn’t in the room, that doesn’t guarantee mom to be will still want future grandparents/aunts/uncles/ect with her either.

I do know the birthing center I’ve looked into (I’m not pregnant…just like research), doesn’t exactly limit the number allowed in the room but does remind you this is an “intimate” experience and the rooms aren’t very large so to limit the number of viewers. They recommend three. But I get the feeling this isn’t strictly enforced. And they do allow professional photographers present if the parents so choose.

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EJK October 15, 2013 at 10:12 am

I side with Miss-E on this. It is not an “etiquette” issue, but a matter of personal life choices. It is not anyone’s place to judge the merit of birth photography except the people involved in the actual birth. Our personal opinions are completely irrelevant.
Also, this idea of people believing their pregnancy and birth being more “special” than any other is rather judgemental. Each pregnancy is unique and special and should be celebrated (or not) how the pregnant parties feel is appropriate, provided it does not infringe on other people’s expectation of reasonable enjoyment (IE maybe don’t post photos of one’s crowning genitals on social media; take all the photos you like, but keep them in a private photo book, please).

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Ellex October 15, 2013 at 10:18 am

Eh, if it’s what the parents want then whatever.

Now if the parents want to show me the “crowning moment” that’s different. I’m going to be busy refilling the bean dip.

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EllenS October 15, 2013 at 10:55 am

I think the real etiquette issue comes in SHOWING the photos. If this is a memento someone wants, that is their business. But they definitely shouldn’t spring these on someone without ample warning and the opportunity to decline.
Even if the photographer is not taking graphic shots of the mom’s intimate parts, you still have a total stranger – who is not your doctor or nurse – in the room while you are naked. I can’t imagine choosing that.
If many photographers start offering this, I suppose women will feel like it is one more thing they are “supposed” to do. As if moms don’t have enough arbitrary “supposed to’s” already. Yuck.

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Ruby October 15, 2013 at 11:00 am

As long as a photo of a big birth canal doesn’t show up in my Facebook news feed as I’m eating my Cheerios, to each her own.

The logistics could always be worked out.

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Calliope October 15, 2013 at 11:11 am

Nobody has a right to attend someone else’s birth, so if the parents-to-be decide they’d rather have a photographer in the room than Mom or Aunt Maude, that’s their right. I didn’t want pictures taken during my children’s births, but I understand the reasons that a person might like it. Photos or no photos, it’s no skin off my nose. I don’t see this as an etiquette issue unless the proud parents try to show off the “crowning achievement” photos at a dinner party or something.

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Ruby October 15, 2013 at 11:11 am

Posted by Gena: I think this is just part of the trend of new parents believing they are the only ones to ever give birth, and their pregnancy and birth experience is more “special” than anyone elses.

Yes, yes, and more yes. I also see parents whose child is the first one in existence ever to do anything at all, like get shots, cut teeth, go to “school” (aka 2 year old daycare).

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