I stumbled upon a birth photo session from a local photographer (Keri Duckett Photography) posted on Facebook yesterday. The preview pictures looked beautiful, but I wasn’t compelled to click through (really was doing my best to not waste too much time while trying to work on a deadline) until I saw the description below them.
the birth of Josephine. (surrogate)
These are two best friends. One mama was too high risk to carry another baby and she had just about given up the dream of more children. Her best friend made the offer of a lifetime by carrying and birthing her beautiful little girl for her! Grab your kleenex!
Yeah. I had to click through after that.
Birth photography is always inspirational and fills my heart to begin with. There’s something very magical happening under the surface. A family is forming, a bond is sparking. But, these pictures tell a story that is so much more complex.
Can you even imagine the love in the room as baby Josephine’s mom caught her as she was born, after growing in her mother’s best friend’s womb?
And as if this miracle of birth isn’t enough to be just absolutely, well…. miraculous, the mother was able to nurse Josephine. Yes! She was able to take some supplements and pump so that she had a milk supply when Josephine arrived! (I read in the comments that the surrogate will also be pumping to help out.)
Best friend overjoyed at the sight of mama nursing her baby! Mama didn’t think this could happen!
I reached out to Keri to ask if I could share this story here and link back to her album on Facebook. She doesn’t have a blog right now, so that’s the place to go to see the rest of them. I also asked her some questions about her experience with all of this, as it had to be very special to be on the other side of that camera lens.
How long have you been doing birth photography, and what got you into it?
I started birth photography in the spring of 2009. My mother has been a midwife my entire life, so it was natural for me to be involved somehow in the birth community. She owns two birth centers, Gentle Beginnings Birth Center. I worked in the office when they first opened so I was able to photograph some of her clients to start my portfolio.
How did you meet these women, and have you ever photographed a surrogate birth before?
This was my first surrogate birth, though I hope it to not be my last! They are clients of Gentle Beginnings Birth Center and T contacted me to photograph their birth.
What was it like to witness this bond, and what was the atmosphere like after Josephine entered the world?
It was such an honor to be trusted enough to capture one of the most intimate and joyous times in their life. I feel this way about every client I have. The mood after Josephine’s arrival was that of accomplishment and celebration. These couples had worked together for so long for this very moment, and it had finally arrived. It was very touching to see L so happy for her best friend who finally had her baby in her arms. I’m sure the reward for her was beyond words. It was also incredible to see Josephine’s mom and dad get to know her and fall in love with her, something they weren’t sure they would ever get to do again. It was a truly emotional and inspiring experience.
Keri is unsure if and when the mother and surrogate will publish a public birth story, as they are both busy healing and nursing a very special baby girl right now. If they do, though, I’ll be sure to link it up (with their permission) and let you all know.
I really hope we can learn more about their story. It reminds me that the heart of life is good.
Keri is a DFW area birth photographer. You can visit her website here.