Mother-of-three Jessica Jackson was outraged when she read about a photographer who refused to work with caesarean births.
On more than one occasion, the Hobart-based Ms Jackson – who is a birth photographer herself – has fought her way into the birthing suite.
‘Standing there being told that I was not going to be allowed to enter the operating room to take photos of the birth of this baby, and support this mum to be, made my heart absolutely ache,’ she wrote in a candid blog post.
‘As a three time caesarean mother myself, I know first-hand how important these images are and the immense healing power they serve in the postpartum period’
‘I was gutted to say the least. I stood in the room, in front of the parents trying so hard to fight the tears from rolling down my face, (I swear I was blinking like an indicator), biting my tongue so as not to make the situation worse.’
Ms Jackson can’t help but wonder who made the policy that dictates who can and can’t take photos in the room with a mother-to-be.
‘As a three time caesarean mother myself, I know first-hand how important these images are and the immense healing power they serve in the postpartum period.
‘Having had an emergency caesarean due to a life threatening condition at 32 weeks during my first pregnancy I know all to well what it is like to have little to no recollection of the birth of your baby.
‘I wish almost everyday that we had just one image from her birth. Just something to trigger a memory or anything that recorded that day.’
Science tells us that during a vaginal delivery, the neocortex part of the brain turns off allowing the body to purely focus on pushing the baby out.
Ms Jackson sees her job as a way of ‘piecing the overall birth story together without gaps in memory.’
‘It allows her to heal if there was birth trauma, it allows her to be empowered, inspired and gives her the opportunity to share her birth story to educate future generations.
Birth Photographer Jessica Jackson wants to normalise all births by taking pictures in the operating room
‘It allows us to help normalise birth; all types of birth.
‘While there probably isn’t that significant brain change during a caesarean section, you are usually not an active participant in the birth process. You are most likely strapped to a bed, arms spread, numb from the boobs down, hooked up to a tonne of machines.
‘You’re most likely feeling queasy, highly anxious, and not to mention fully exposed in a room full of strangers.
‘It feels as if the whole world is watching.’
Some women might have the curtain lowered during a C-section to watch their baby being born. But they miss other moments, Ms Jackson said, that are just as important to capture.
‘The baby is immediately whisked away to be checked over while you lay there to be stitched back up.
‘You miss the cutting of the cord, the first examinations, seeing your baby covered in vernix and miss seeing your partners face while he looks and touches her for the first time.
According to Jessica Jackson caesarean mothers already have certain rights and decision taken away from them. Being able to remember the birth of your child shouldn’t be one of them
‘You lay there feeling alone and so overwhelmed, that it is near impossible to comprehend that you have even actually just given birth.’
For this reason alone the mother-of-three insists that women should be allowed to have a birth photographer.
‘I don’t care if you birth at home, in a car, in a birth suite, in theatre or on the moon.
Its time for change and, I promise you now, I am going to work damn hard to make that happen.
‘To me having your birth story photographed is such an important part of the post-partum healing and recovery time and to me it seems absolutely ridiculous that hospital policies say there is to be no photographs taken during this most vulnerable time.
‘I can say that I suffered zero post natal depression after the birth of my third baby (having suffered severely after the birth of the first two) and while most might say ‘You’re just saying this’ I truly believe that the images we have from pregnancy and his birth really allowed me to process all that I went through on that day.
‘It allowed me to heal from my previous birth trauma because it gave me the answers to the things I missed.’
‘Why are we as society treating caesarean births so vastly different to vaginal births?’
According to Jessica Jackson caesarean mothers already have certain rights and decision taken away from them. Being able to remember the birth of your child shouldn’t be one of them.
‘We all threw our arms in the air and carried on because a photographer refused to photograph a caesarean birth, because she didn’t believe it was birth, don’t you think we need to stop and think what we are doing wrong to make women think that way?
‘Why are we as society treating caesarean births so vastly different to vaginal births?
‘I am a professional; I have studied and worked extremely hard to perfect my craft, just like the doctors and nurses in the birth room or the operating room. I have been hired by the parents to do my job in that birth space. I fully respect the role they play in the birth space and would absolutely love to have that reciprocated by those who write those stinking policies.
‘Its time for change and, I promise you now, I am going to work damn hard to make that happen.’