What Birth Photographers Really Think about Cesarean Births

We've all seen the viral text message exchange that's been floating around the internet this week. In it, a birth photographer supposedly refuses to photograph a mom's cesarean birth because it's a surgery and not something worth capturing. 

As one of the co-founders of Birth Becomes Her, I can say with complete confidence that the birth photographers I know LOVE cesarean birth stories. In fact, many of us find cesarean births to be the most rewarding stories we can capture. 

Handwritten graphic by Dear Little One Photography

Handwritten graphic by Dear Little One Photography

Cesarean moms are some of the bravest and strongest women we know. In the moments leading up to surgery, a cesarean mother must hold onto the strong and fierce love she has for her baby.  She lets fear wash over her...and then she lets it drift away. Although she knows a cesarean birth is the best choice for her or her baby, she also knows she’ll endure major surgery with real wounds and scars.

Some women have weeks to mentally prepare for a cesarean, but many only have hours or minutes. Suddenly, everything she envisioned when meeting her child has changed: the room she’ll be in, the position she’ll be in, who will be surrounding her. We humans don’t tend to do well in situations of sudden change. And yet these brave mothers find a way to let go of their pride and connect with an inner-strength that allows them to enter the operating room and give birth to their child.

Below are some of the many beautiful Cesarean birth images that birth photographers have captured. These are birth stories from around the country and the world. We're here to say to all cesarean moms: your birth stories are beautiful, powerful, and worth seeing and sharing. 

#everybirthisbeautiful

And suddenly, she looks up and sees the love of her life.  www.monetnicole.com

And suddenly, she looks up and sees the love of her life. 

www.monetnicole.com

“We experience birth so differently from the intimate spaces of our bodies and minds, it feels disingenuous to strike comparisons and place value judgments. Any woman who experiences the vulnerability of carrying a child in her body (or heart) and bringing it earthside is heroic in my estimation. This idea that there is a special medal danging on the tree for going without meds makes us undervalue ourselves and depreciate the ordeals we have endured. Loss moms, adoptive moms, cesarean birth mothers…We all open. We all tear, somewhere (body, heart, soul). We all both wildly embrace and struggle to embrace these experiences. It all takes courage and that courage is always worth celebrating.” — Rachel Lorena Brown www.churchinphotography.com

“We experience birth so differently from the intimate spaces of our bodies and minds, it feels disingenuous to strike comparisons and place value judgments. Any woman who experiences the vulnerability of carrying a child in her body (or heart) and bringing it earthside is heroic in my estimation. This idea that there is a special medal danging on the tree for going without meds makes us undervalue ourselves and depreciate the ordeals we have endured. Loss moms, adoptive moms, cesarean birth mothers…We all open. We all tear, somewhere (body, heart, soul). We all both wildly embrace and struggle to embrace these experiences. It all takes courage and that courage is always worth celebrating.” — Rachel Lorena Brown

www.churchinphotography.com

Mom and baby enjoying skin-to-skin time and a beautiful moment of family bonding after a gentle belly birth. www.capturingjoybirthservices.com

Mom and baby enjoying skin-to-skin time and a beautiful moment of family bonding after a gentle belly birth.

www.capturingjoybirthservices.com

A very unexpected C-section, but this Mama said at the end of the day, she got her healthy baby. www.melissacatephotography.com

A very unexpected C-section, but this Mama said at the end of the day, she got her healthy baby.

www.melissacatephotography.com

Even in emergency, family centered Cesareans are still obtainable www.jessiephotodoula.com

Even in emergency, family centered Cesareans are still obtainable

www.jessiephotodoula.com

Such bliss. All birth is beautiful.  www.facebook.com/jessicabarnettphotography

Such bliss. All birth is beautiful. 

www.facebook.com/jessicabarnettphotography

Her birth didn't go exactly as planned but yet she was supported and they gave her the best experience she could have through her cesarean""I was her doula and photographer and they allowed me to be right there with her to support her and her husband""and of course to capture those first moments together. www.littleplumphoto.com

Her birth didn't go exactly as planned but yet she was supported and they gave her the best experience she could have through her cesarean""I was her doula and photographer and they allowed me to be right there with her to support her and her husband""and of course to capture those first moments together.

www.littleplumphoto.com

Baby's first breath is always an incredible moment. Whether that birth is a vaginal birth or cesarean, those first cries will always be imprinted in a mama's heart.  rgvbirthphotography.com

Baby's first breath is always an incredible moment. Whether that birth is a vaginal birth or cesarean, those first cries will always be imprinted in a mama's heart.

 rgvbirthphotography.com

Within minutes of entering the OR, she birthed and met her beautiful baby girl surrounded by a team that loved her, cared for her, and genuinely had her, her husband’s, and their baby’s best interests in mind. She gave birth. Period. www.KatieGaetaPhotography.com

Within minutes of entering the OR, she birthed and met her beautiful baby girl surrounded by a team that loved her, cared for her, and genuinely had her, her husband’s, and their baby’s best interests in mind. She gave birth. Period.

www.KatieGaetaPhotography.com

Amidst the noise of the OR they created their own silence to pray over their daughter. It sent chills down my spine.  www.lightthewaydoula.com

Amidst the noise of the OR they created their own silence to pray over their daughter. It sent chills down my spine.

 www.lightthewaydoula.com

I never get tired of saying this, but ALL births are beautiful! It's the first day a baby comes into our world and we, birth photographers, are privileged and blessed to be part of that incredible day!  www.benzelphotography.com

I never get tired of saying this, but ALL births are beautiful! It's the first day a baby comes into our world and we, birth photographers, are privileged and blessed to be part of that incredible day! 

www.benzelphotography.com

This was my sister's birth. After 3 hours of pushing she consented to having a cesarean birth. This moment made it all worth while. www.pennylaynephotography.com 

This was my sister's birth. After 3 hours of pushing she consented to having a cesarean birth. This moment made it all worth while.

www.pennylaynephotography.com 

Seeing their baby for the very first time. Beautiful.  www.ashevillebirthphotography.com

Seeing their baby for the very first time. Beautiful. 

www.ashevillebirthphotography.com

As a cesarean Momma myself I know well the emotions that may go along with this experience, especially if it was not what we were planning. I will say this, c section moms are fierce, the bravery it takes to lay there and be cut open for the sake of your baby is nothing short of amazing.  www.hollymichellephotography.ca

As a cesarean Momma myself I know well the emotions that may go along with this experience, especially if it was not what we were planning. I will say this, c section moms are fierce, the bravery it takes to lay there and be cut open for the sake of your baby is nothing short of amazing. 

www.hollymichellephotography.ca

Their fourth child. Their first boy. Lovingly welcomed via her first cesarean.  www.theartofunscripted.com

Their fourth child. Their first boy. Lovingly welcomed via her first cesarean.

 www.theartofunscripted.com

Birth is defined as the emergence of a baby or other young from the body of its mother; the start of life as a physically separate being. A c section is not less beautiful, not less emotional and does NOT make you less of a mother or father. www.hollymichellephotography.ca

Birth is defined as the emergence of a baby or other young from the body of its mother; the start of life as a physically separate being. A c section is not less beautiful, not less emotional and does NOT make you less of a mother or father.

www.hollymichellephotography.ca

Some of the most beautiful, sacred and emotional moments I've ever documented were captured during cesarean births: Birth is beautiful-Captured by Ina 

Some of the most beautiful, sacred and emotional moments I've ever documented were captured during cesarean births:

Birth is beautiful-Captured by Ina 

If this isn't bringing forth new life, then I don't know what is. www.foxvalleybirthandbaby.com

If this isn't bringing forth new life, then I don't know what is.

www.foxvalleybirthandbaby.com

Baby girl born after attempting stalling at 7cm and contractions every 1-2min for 5+ hours. www.daniellehobbsphotography.com

Baby girl born after attempting stalling at 7cm and contractions every 1-2min for 5+ hours.

www.daniellehobbsphotography.com

Skin to skin after their cesarean birth.  www.kimberlingrayphotography.com

Skin to skin after their cesarean birth. 

www.kimberlingrayphotography.com

This mama labored for so very long, in hopes for a VBAC. From her previous birth she was convinced her body would have trouble progressing past 5cm. She rocked it, all the way to 10, then had a uterine rupture and birthed her baby via cesarean. Her birth was beautiful. Life saving. Life giving. Beautiful.  ravenivory.com/birth

This mama labored for so very long, in hopes for a VBAC. From her previous birth she was convinced her body would have trouble progressing past 5cm. She rocked it, all the way to 10, then had a uterine rupture and birthed her baby via cesarean. Her birth was beautiful. Life saving. Life giving. Beautiful. 

ravenivory.com/birth

Her much anticipated Rainbow baby...Safe in Mommy's arms. www.douladianne.com

Her much anticipated Rainbow baby...Safe in Mommy's arms.

www.douladianne.com

This belly birth was an empowering experience because this mama was supported, respected, and given options. After 3 previous c-sections and all boys, this family opted to welcome their 4th via c-section, and to their surprise, the baby was a girl! www.elisehurstphotography.com

This belly birth was an empowering experience because this mama was supported, respected, and given options. After 3 previous c-sections and all boys, this family opted to welcome their 4th via c-section, and to their surprise, the baby was a girl!

www.elisehurstphotography.com

After hours and hours at 9cm with the head engaged, this family opted to meet their baby boy via cesarean.  www.thesophiaco.com

After hours and hours at 9cm with the head engaged, this family opted to meet their baby boy via cesarean. 

www.thesophiaco.com

This Mumma had this amazingly healing c-section after two traumatic births. www.facebook.com/firstlightbirths

This Mumma had this amazingly healing c-section after two traumatic births.

www.facebook.com/firstlightbirths

This mama's cesarean birth was priceless to her and so are her birth images documenting the first time she met her son.  www.pushphotos.com

This mama's cesarean birth was priceless to her and so are her birth images documenting the first time she met her son. 

www.pushphotos.com

Planned repeat cesarean for mama whose baby had anencephaly. She waited until the right time to plan her cesarean so her baby could be born alive and donate organs. And that exact plan happened because of her cesarean. www.anyawait.com

Planned repeat cesarean for mama whose baby had anencephaly. She waited until the right time to plan her cesarean so her baby could be born alive and donate organs. And that exact plan happened because of her cesarean.

www.anyawait.com

The beauty is this: In one blurry moment, your soul can feel both pride and shame, wonder and fear, love and pain. This is one of many times a mother's actions will state, "I will ALWAYS put you before myself." This is the welcoming into motherhood, an unpredictable journey that shouts, "Buckle your seatbelt, this is going to be a wild ride."  www.ashleyshortphotography.com

The beauty is this: In one blurry moment, your soul can feel both pride and shame, wonder and fear, love and pain. This is one of many times a mother's actions will state, "I will ALWAYS put you before myself." This is the welcoming into motherhood, an unpredictable journey that shouts, "Buckle your seatbelt, this is going to be a wild ride." 

www.ashleyshortphotography.com

Waiting patiently for mama to get out of recovery. Sometimes a cesarian is not the plan, but it's birth, and it's beautiful. www.alyssakellert.com

Waiting patiently for mama to get out of recovery. Sometimes a cesarian is not the plan, but it's birth, and it's beautiful.

www.alyssakellert.com

I had some clients and family members tag me in social media. They were shocked that anyone would say something like this. I was disgusted. I cannot ever imagine saying that to a potential client. The first c-section I ever photographed was one of those life changing moments for me. I knew caesarean moms were rockstars. But, I didn’t quite imagine the level of sacrifice they endure to birth their babies. I watched as this client of mine unquestionably gave her body to an ob/gyn and the entire medical staff. She trusted that they would bring her baby earth side with skill and respect. She laid on the table as they tied her down and provided pain relief. She let go of any sense of control. She gave it all. And when her baby was out and she heard her cry. She cried a sigh of relief, then she let the drug take over as they closed her up. I was there watching, capturing as her partner took over and loved on his baby. You can see his worry as he glances back at her on the table. It’s not an easy thing to watch the love of your life cut open on the table for your child. I cannot imagine the recovery time. I cannot imagine the pain. These women are my heroes. www.nataliawalth.com

I had some clients and family members tag me in social media. They were shocked that anyone would say something like this. I was disgusted. I cannot ever imagine saying that to a potential client. The first c-section I ever photographed was one of those life changing moments for me. I knew caesarean moms were rockstars. But, I didn’t quite imagine the level of sacrifice they endure to birth their babies. I watched as this client of mine unquestionably gave her body to an ob/gyn and the entire medical staff. She trusted that they would bring her baby earth side with skill and respect. She laid on the table as they tied her down and provided pain relief. She let go of any sense of control. She gave it all.

And when her baby was out and she heard her cry. She cried a sigh of relief, then she let the drug take over as they closed her up. I was there watching, capturing as her partner took over and loved on his baby. You can see his worry as he glances back at her on the table. It’s not an easy thing to watch the love of your life cut open on the table for your child.

I cannot imagine the recovery time. I cannot imagine the pain. These women are my heroes.

www.nataliawalth.com

This mom labored for hours and ended up pushing for two. Her baby boy safely entered this world by a c-section! www.RachelDemandPhotography.com

This mom labored for hours and ended up pushing for two. Her baby boy safely entered this world by a c-section!

www.RachelDemandPhotography.com

This mama labored at home until she was almost completely dilated in hopes of a VBAC home birth. After hours and hours of laboring, due to previous scar tissue, baby could not make her way all the way down in order to push. She ended up transferring where they opted for a cesarean. It was necessary. It was achingly beautiful.  abeillephotography.com

This mama labored at home until she was almost completely dilated in hopes of a VBAC home birth. After hours and hours of laboring, due to previous scar tissue, baby could not make her way all the way down in order to push. She ended up transferring where they opted for a cesarean. It was necessary. It was achingly beautiful.

 abeillephotography.com

Mama and baby enjoying their first moments skin-to-skin in the operating room.  www.angieklaus.com

Mama and baby enjoying their first moments skin-to-skin in the operating room.

 www.angieklaus.com

Although she tried her hardest to achieve a successful VBAC, when her birth didn't go as planned her midwife stayed by her side the entire time they were in the operating room. www.lanebphotography.com

Although she tried her hardest to achieve a successful VBAC, when her birth didn't go as planned her midwife stayed by her side the entire time they were in the operating room.

www.lanebphotography.com

This beautiful girl was born by Cesarian and carried straight into her mom's view. Breathe In Photography - Ottawa Birth Photographer

This beautiful girl was born by Cesarian and carried straight into her mom's view.

Breathe In Photography - Ottawa Birth Photographer

Here's a mum starting the long walk down the corridor to welcome and meet her baby via c-section. Lcrazebirthphotography.co.uk

Here's a mum starting the long walk down the corridor to welcome and meet her baby via c-section.

Lcrazebirthphotography.co.uk

Recovering together after a cesarean birth.  www.jennifermasonphotography.com

Recovering together after a cesarean birth. 

www.jennifermasonphotography.com

ALL BIRTHS are amazing and worthy of documenting. Whether they are cesarean, planned or emergent, whether they are vaginal, breech or otherwise, whether they involve additional intervention like forceps or suction, or whether they occur in water, in a car, or in a field.... whether baby is born healthy or not, alive or asleep... ALL BIRTH is incredible, ALL BIRTH is a journey worth documenting and worth being in utter AWE of. Professional Birth Photographers respect every single pregnant individual and family out there, regardless of your unique circumstance, choices, accessibility, gender, occupation, and so on. Your stories are important and we want to tell them. We want to be there for you. Cesarean births are beautiful, wondrous things, made possible by the amazing progress medicine has made, and by the skilled hands of birth practitioners throughout centuries of dedicated birth work. Our job - our PASSION - is to tell your story. No judgements. PERIOD. www.ellianagilbert.ca 

ALL BIRTHS are amazing and worthy of documenting. Whether they are cesarean, planned or emergent, whether they are vaginal, breech or otherwise, whether they involve additional intervention like forceps or suction, or whether they occur in water, in a car, or in a field.... whether baby is born healthy or not, alive or asleep... ALL BIRTH is incredible, ALL BIRTH is a journey worth documenting and worth being in utter AWE of.

Professional Birth Photographers respect every single pregnant individual and family out there, regardless of your unique circumstance, choices, accessibility, gender, occupation, and so on. Your stories are important and we want to tell them. We want to be there for you. Cesarean births are beautiful, wondrous things, made possible by the amazing progress medicine has made, and by the skilled hands of birth practitioners throughout centuries of dedicated birth work. Our job - our PASSION - is to tell your story. No judgements. PERIOD.

www.ellianagilbert.ca 

A baby gently emerges during this cesarean birth.  Belle Verdiglione - Perth Birth & Motherhood Photographer

A baby gently emerges during this cesarean birth. 

Belle Verdiglione - Perth Birth & Motherhood Photographer

A scheduled birth. beautiful. family centered. this hospital gladly welcomed the family's birth photographer into their birth space. www.jenniferlivphotography.com

A scheduled birth. beautiful. family centered. this hospital gladly welcomed the family's birth photographer into their birth space.

www.jenniferlivphotography.com

Every birth is beautiful! Crew's family eagerly waiting in the waiting room during his birth. I was proud to be able to capture his first breath.

Every birth is beautiful! Crew's family eagerly waiting in the waiting room during his birth. I was proud to be able to capture his first breath.

After weeks of contractions and days of labor, mama finally met her little one via cesarean. The anesthesiologist lowered the drape for mama to watch her little girl's birth, and so that I could capture this beautiful moment, to be cherished forever. www.jeanetteleephoto.com

After weeks of contractions and days of labor, mama finally met her little one via cesarean. The anesthesiologist lowered the drape for mama to watch her little girl's birth, and so that I could capture this beautiful moment, to be cherished forever.

www.jeanetteleephoto.com

Family Centered Cesarean Birth www.brittanybrooksphotography.com

Family Centered Cesarean Birth
www.brittanybrooksphotography.com

The reactions of mamas meeting their children for the first time is precious and priceless, regardless of how baby is born.  www.breelinne.com

The reactions of mamas meeting their children for the first time is precious and priceless, regardless of how baby is born.

 www.breelinne.com

Their little one was diagnosed with Mosaic Trisomy 13. They had no idea how long he might live. His first cry was the most powerful thing. http://lydiaphoto.com/  

Their little one was diagnosed with Mosaic Trisomy 13. They had no idea how long he might live. His first cry was the most powerful thing.

http://lydiaphoto.com/
 

They already knew this was the day they would meet their sweet baby girl. It's an incredible privilege to witness powerful women birth their babies, no matter which way they enter this world. Every birth is beautiful! Facebook.com/LeiaGracephoto

They already knew this was the day they would meet their sweet baby girl. It's an incredible privilege to witness powerful women birth their babies, no matter which way they enter this world. Every birth is beautiful!

Facebook.com/LeiaGracephoto

"When I was suddenly and unexpectedly diagnosed with severe pre-eclampsia at 35 weeks, the doctor wanted to begin the induction process immediately. I weighed the risks and ultimately requested to have a cesarean. I feel empowered by my choice and I'm grateful we are both safe and healthy. I'm thankful that the hospital staff accommodated my wishes and we had a gentle, family-centered cesarean which included delayed cord clamping and skin to skin in the OR." www.karynloftesnessphotography.com

"When I was suddenly and unexpectedly diagnosed with severe pre-eclampsia at 35 weeks, the doctor wanted to begin the induction process immediately. I weighed the risks and ultimately requested to have a cesarean. I feel empowered by my choice and I'm grateful we are both safe and healthy. I'm thankful that the hospital staff accommodated my wishes and we had a gentle, family-centered cesarean which included delayed cord clamping and skin to skin in the OR."
www.karynloftesnessphotography.com

Birth is beautiful. Especially when the room is so full of love, just as this OR was when Grace took her first breath.  http://kreederphotography.com

Birth is beautiful. Especially when the room is so full of love, just as this OR was when Grace took her first breath. 

http://kreederphotography.com

This is a shot from my first time photographing a csection with the use of a clear drape. Mom was able to lean her head up and watch her son being born. I was able to capture this moment just after. It takes a lot for me to say I have a new favorite but there is so much beauty in this 1/200th of a second. I intentionally didn't crop out the bottom, as it tells a more complete story of sweet boy's birth. Mom's hands are gently cradling her baby, baby's hands are reaching for the comfort of the one who gave him life, dad's reassuring hand can be seen coming into frame, and the doctors hands below caring for mom. Each of these hands is doing their loving best to care for everyone. This is humanity. This is love. This is birth. www.kerfox.com

This is a shot from my first time photographing a csection with the use of a clear drape. Mom was able to lean her head up and watch her son being born. I was able to capture this moment just after. It takes a lot for me to say I have a new favorite but there is so much beauty in this 1/200th of a second. I intentionally didn't crop out the bottom, as it tells a more complete story of sweet boy's birth. Mom's hands are gently cradling her baby, baby's hands are reaching for the comfort of the one who gave him life, dad's reassuring hand can be seen coming into frame, and the doctors hands below caring for mom. Each of these hands is doing their loving best to care for everyone. This is humanity. This is love. This is birth.

www.kerfox.com

 

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