IAPBP Photo Contest 2020 - A year in review...

Updated: Jan 25, 2020

Last week I shared my favorite images from 2019 births that I had the opportunity to document and support. Then, nervously yet courageously, I entered my top 5 images to the IAPBP Photo Contest! The International Association of Professional Birth Photographers is an amazing organization that has worked and is continuing to work so hard for the Birth Photographer community. 10 years ago, when they began their work, birth photography was taboo. Today, birth photography is still pretty taboo, but gaining traction in popularity and understanding. More and more families and healthcare providers are realizing that birth is as special of an event as any other... in fact, perhaps the most special experience one can have. The catch is, most mothers do not remember all of the details of their birth and struggle to process it. For many families, birth photography has become an important tool for not only remembering the most important day of your life, but for processing what the heck just happened. Birth photography shows the power, beauty, strength, and vulnerability that are so palpable during the birth of a baby; the creation of a family. The coolest thing about IAPBP's contest is a portion of their proceeds (entry fees) go directly to purchasing birth kits for birth centers in impoverished regions. How awesome is that? Not only do they work hard to tell the stories, they're making a literal difference in the world. So without further ado, I want to share with you the photos that I entered in this year's contest!

Midwife holds open amniotic sac to show where the baby lived during 9 months in utero. The placenta is inside the sad with the white cord curled up, and the thin red amniotic membranes are stretched out to get an inside view as if you're looking into a bag or a burrow
Baby's First Home: The amniotic sac, placenta, and umbilical cord

Yeah, I started strong here, huh. This image is my favorite! It was shared on the Birth Becomes Her facebook page and had the most online interaction yet. This image, to some, is scary, and maybe even gory. To me, this image defines the miracle of life. This was your baby's very first home. For so many months, your baby lived here. nestled up into a ball, and stretching out like a yogi. Your baby was nourished with this amazing organ. Protected, by this amazing organ. Your body CREATED, this organ, expelled it with your baby, and then, if you become pregnant again, will recreate a similar but unique organ just like it. When I think about the miracle that is pregnancy, I think of this photo. When I think about the mystery of the female body and pregnancy, I think of this photo. And maybe THAT is why it is so scary for some people.

Mother sits in water filled tub with red blood tinged water after the water birth of her 9 pound baby daughter. The midwife assists the mother in cutting the umbilical cord. The pinkish purple baby is laying skin to skin on her mommy's tummy, nestled between her breasts
"No matter what, we'll always be connected"

This image is pretty raw. I know one like this is scary to a lot of people. There is blood. There is meconium. There is vernix. But what I see is the most beautiful, content baby girl snuggling on her fierce Mama Bear. As far as I'm concerned, the best birth photos don't need too many words.....