Bijgewerkt: 12 feb 2020
Each year The International Association of Professional Birth Photographers (IAPBP) organises a Birth Photography Image Competition. This year I decided to take a chance and I submitted only one photo. But there's a great story behind this image!
This birth was on the 22th of march 2019. When I made the photo I knew this was magic. I went home and asked the mom in the picture if I could share the photo, because I thought it was awardwinning. She said no. And I had to accept it and tried to 'forget about it'.
But then! Right before Christmas she sent me a text (almost 9 months later!!!) : 'Hi Jessica, you can share this image, and please promise me to join a competition with it!' OMG! I jumped around the room, couldn't believe it! And damn sure I was gonna do that!
So I did, I submitted the photo, and when I saw it between all the other submissions I didn't knew if people would love it as much as I did, because I was emotionally connected with it because I was there. I saw this beautiful baby being born and this mom rocking her homebirth that went so fast I almost missed it.
And then, the 6th of february 2020. I was already asleep because I had to get up really early because of a birth. My phone kept on ringing! 'You won!' 'Congratulations!' I jumped out of bed and ran down the stairs to my computer, in my underwear and sleeping mask still on my forehead. It was true! 'Overall winner and winner 'postpartum', holy f*ck. (yes I'm a happy swearer)
I was shaking, tearing up and about to throw up. My son and husband hugged me and I was so tired, emotional and my body still aching from the birth this day that I broke down in tears. This makes everything worth it. The social events I missed, the times I had to cancel because of a birth, the time I missed my sons birthday...it's all because of this. My love for my job, my passion, this simply is my calling. And this award is the universe's way of saying I am doing the right thing. Thank you!!!
Back to the image now. I love it how everybody thinks to know the story behind it: homebirth on the couch. But this is a water baby! She is born in the birthpool in the livingroom, placenta also delivered in the pool. When mom got out of the pool she lay down on the couch. We made a picture of the baby with the placenta on top of mom. (that's why there's blood) And mom had really really bad after-contractions at the moment of the photo. (totally different than you thought right!) And still the image feels so calm and peacefull. I love the look on her face, the box on the background, the warm socks ready to wear, the fruit, water, tea and bar of chocolate. I love the blood dripping down, the almost organised mess.
This amazing mom wrote something for you all:
Giving birth to a human being, I think is the most vulnerable moment in a woman’s life. You are bare naked and completely open both literally as figuratively. It is in thát moment everything that happens with you and around you can have a deep impact. Unfortunately, I know that from my first delivery. One of the reasons I wanted to engrave my second birth story in photographs. I fell in love with Jessica’s work and arranged a meeting. I think she has a great eye for beauty, pureness, raw emotions, and above all a perfect sense of timing. I think her pictures are absolutely stunning. I was beyond thrilled with the forever memories she gave me with my pictures. As a woman in labor I am the only person who doesn’t see what giving birth looks like. And now I do. Now I can also sée how vulnerable it is. How all these raw emotions look like. When Jessica asked me if she could share her work, I said no. Especially after my boyfriend joked and asked if I wanted that al his friends saw me naked like that. But the remark from Jessica that this one photo was her absolute favorite and could be “award winning” kept coming back inside my head regularly. I personally love photography myself and could see “objectively” that this was indeed a great photo. When my daughter almost turned 9 months, just before Christmas, I texted her that she could use it anyway and that I hoped she would win a competition with it. And so she did... ánd she won! So now I lay here, in all the vulnerability of just have given birth, naked, on the world wide web. And I couldn’t be more proud.
Please take a look at the other winners on the IAPBP website: