Would you capture your childbirth? (+photos)

Keri-Anne Dilworth takes candid shots of the first hours of life.
Photo / Keri-Anne Dilworth
Keri-Anne Dilworth takes candid shots of the first hours of life. Photo / Keri-Anne Dilworth

Naked, sweating, crying, legs in stirrups, going through the most physically demanding experience of a woman's life - would you want that captured on film?

Photographer and mother-of-three, Keri-Anne Dilworth thinks so, and says there's an emerging number of New Zealanders who agree.

Keri-Anne has established herself as one of New Zealand's only childbirth photographers, and since making a go of it in May has snapped at least 25 births.

Gallery: Check out some of the candid moment's Keri-Anne has captured

"In the beginning people were still quite hesitant because there's still quite a mindset that births are really private, not for anyone else to see - a bit taboo and kind of embarrassing," she told the Herald online.

"It's taken a little while for people to come around to the idea that this is normal, this is natural and this is beautiful, even if you don't look your best ... that's not the point.

"The point is you're documenting the arrival of your child. That's probably the most important moment of your life."

Keri-Anne arrives on the scene when the woman is in 'established labour', about 6cm dilated. She captures candid moments until about an hour after birth, including the cutting of cords, weighing and measuring, and, if requested, the sometimes confronting - but "amazing" - full crowning shot.

"You just don't even realise how much your body is capable of until you see it."

Due to adrenalin, gas and the body's response, most women forget giving birth and the magic moments around it, Keri-Anne explains.

"Your body is just designed to forget and there are all these blanks you don't get to see (like) your partner's face for the first time when he first sees the baby - and I think those are moments that are sad to be missed out on.

"You've gone through the most difficult thing you're going to go through physically in your life and it's sad that there's no documentation of that. Your memory's quite limited and you miss out on all the amazingness."

She says couples often cry when they look at the photographs for the first time, and new mums can find it empowering.

"It also shows them how into it their partner was, they weren't really aware of it at the time ... and they actually sort of see them in a new light.

"They're moments that you just completely miss otherwise.

"I know that in this industry there are some people who just don't want to know or really disagree with having photographs because it's a really private moment and there are some who genuinely don't want to remember.

"(But) it's portraying birth in a really positive way."



Details: Check out Keri-Anne Dilworth's Facebook page here and her website www.firstlightbirthphotography.co.nz.

- www.nzherald.co.nz

Nicky Park

Editor of Life & Style.

Nicky lives to wine, dine and thrive. As Life & Style Editor at the New Zealand Herald online, she feels lucky she can call this work. Nicky crafted her writing skills as a cadet for an Australian news wire. Amongst the coverage of sport, news, finance and courts she found a favourite in features. A stint as a foreign correspondent sent this chipper Aussie across the Tasman, covering the big issues of the Pacific Islands. Every single day Nicky relishes the opportunities she has to mix and mingle with interesting people, feast on delicious food, visit new places and write all about it. Nicky wants everyone to make the most of their minutes, learn lots and live their best life.

Read more by Nicky Park

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