Birth photography is gaining popularity, but even newer on the scene is birth videography. Whether you pay a professional to film your birth, or have a friend film it with your smart phone, there are several reasons to consider filming your baby’s birth.
First, you probably won’t give birth that many times in your life. Your baby being born is a really special and likely rare event. It could mean a lot to revisit so momentous a day as the day your baby was born in the future. And every birth is different, so even if you are planning to have multiple children, each birth will be unique, both in terms of your experience and for the baby born that day.
Plus, in the throes of labor, you likely will not remember details about the day or have much time to reflect on what is happening. By having your birth filmed, you can look back at the reality of the event. If you remember something a certain way—especially if you remember it in a negative light—but then see on video that it went down differently, the film could help positively shape your view of your birth and birth outcomes. Seeing the process of giving birth may also help you tell your birth story, which can be an empowering way to claim the experience of labor and birth.
A birth video could be a really wonderful thing to eventually share with your baby. I know that my preschooler loves to hear about her birthday. Watching video of it could bring the moment alive even more. Plus, showing your child your body doing this amazing thing normalizes birth and normalizes bodies in a culture that can foster a lot of body-based shame, especially directed at women.
If you have a partner, filming your birth might be a beautiful way of preserving the connection you experienced through the trial that is labor and delivery. You and your partner could then look back at this very intense and precious time where you worked hard and your partner supported you to bring your beloved baby into the world.
While we have discussed sharing your video with your child and your partner, you actually would not have to share your birth film with anyone at all. It might be just for you to look back on to remind yourself of your strength and power, and that would be great, too. Watching a person give birth is truly amazing and seeing yourself in that way could really benefit what you believe about what you are capable of. Having a reminder of how much you are able to manage can only be helpful as you move forward through the challenges of parenting a newborn, baby, toddler, child, and eventually preteen, teenager, and young adult.
On the other hand, you might want to share your video much more widely through a channel like YouTube or Facebook. Watching birth videos can be a great way to prepare for your own birth, and perhaps you want to make the film of your birth available to others who want to prepare for their own births in that way. And regardless of whether you have a vaginal or cesarean birth, letting a wider circle of people watch your video will also help to normalize birth, which could benefit society as a whole.
If you do decide you’d like to have your birth filmed, you can hire a professional or ask a family member or friend to do it. It’s probably best to make sure that you’re enlisting a person specifically to take photos and video and not expecting someone who is going to be at your birth already—such as your partner or doula—to also play the role of photographer or videographer.
Once you’ve hired or chosen someone to record the big day, talk through the logistics and your preferences with him or her. Discuss how you’ll let them know you’re in labor and when in the birth process you’d like them to come. Make sure they know what you want in terms of privacy and proximity. Help them to understand that you might change your mind about what you want during the birth and make a plan for how you or your partner or doula will communicate that to them in the moment.