I’ve attended more births than I can count, both as a doula in my past life and as a photographer in this one. I’ve seen dozens of natural births and been a part of the welcoming committee for more beautiful babies over the course of the past ten years than I can even remember. But I’ve never had an experience quite like the one I had with Laura and Blake and their midwives as they brought their daughter into the world at home.

Homebirth is magic. I fell in love with the idea when I read the book “baby catcher” and I fell in love with the reality about a decade later as I witnessed Laura work in the peace and safety of her own home to bring her daughter into the world. I wish I could nail down exactly what it was that gave it all a deeper reverence and more potent beauty than the many hospital births I’ve attended.

Maybe it was the quietness of their home or the patient and grace-filled way Laura “does” labor. Maybe it was the daylight pouring through the windows and Debussy spinning on the record player that afternoon. Maybe it was the way blake sat quietly at her side, championing her in stillness. Maybe it was the confident, hands-off approach the midwives took, and the patience reflected in their gaze. Maybe it was the biscuits and gravy their good friend cooked up from scratch after the baby was born, so we could all share a hearty meal together and celebrate like a family. Whatever it was, I will be flipping this experience over in my head and my heart for years to come like a fluffy, inspirational pancake.

I made this film for them and they have given me permission to share it. It’s wildly, intensely personal and raw, so they are doing a great kindness to me in letting me share it with you here. I hope that you can feel an ounce of the peace, the light, the magic I felt in being there. And then the images. These are just a little peek into what I saw and the moments that stopped me in my tracks that day and night.

Laura and Blake, you two showed me an experience of being human that I had never experienced. It’s as though you pulled back the curtain and revealed a holy and magical world that I only dreamt could exist. Thank you for your openness, your trust in me, and your spirit-filled lives. It was a joy to watch baby Liza come into the world.

with love,

ash

 

the film:

 

the photographs:

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