Once you’re holding your newborn baby in your arms, gazing down at those beautiful big eyes, it can be hard to believe the baby came out of you.
If it wasn’t for that all too real memory of crowning and the associated burning sensation, you might not believe you birthed the baby at all.
Not many mamas get to see the moment their baby’s head is born, after all, it would take some pretty impressive flexibility to be able to see down there at nine months pregnant!
Marry Fermont, a professional birth photographer from the Netherlands, has created a photo series capturing the exact moment babies’ heads are born.
Fermont wrote on her blog, “When I was just starting out with birth photography in 2011, I was terrified of missing something. I focused on the parents’ emotions, and everything else I could get on camera was a bonus.”
Capturing The Moment Between Womb And World
The turning point came in 2012 when the birth photographer was able to get a clearer image of a baby crowning. A baby was born was the cord wrapped around his neck, and the midwife chose to cut the cord when only the baby’s head had been delivered. This allowed Fermont and her camera to capture an amazing image of the baby being born.
When Fermont shared the photo online it sparked an intense debate about whether or not the midwife had made the right call. Fermont says of the image, “I loved the photo so much, that I decided I wanted to take a photo like it far more often!”
Speaking to BellyBelly, Fermont said: “This is a moment that just happens. Most women don't even realise their baby is born, they are in a different place. To have a photo like this and to really look back at this moment is very special.”
The intimate nature of the photographs mean Fermont isn’t often able to share them online. She told BellyBelly, “Normally I can't share these images because a lot of women find this a really personal moment, although you don't “see” anything. But this moment is magical. This is when you actually realise there is a whole baby inside that belly! It's also the moment that you are ‘almost there', in most cases: one more push and the baby is born. Technically they’re are not born yet, they are born as soon as the shoulders have appeared”
The photo series has given a veil of anonymity to the women featured, allowing the photographs to be shared with the world. The stunning photographs capture that moment just before a baby is born, as they enter the world for the very first time.
Birth Position Controversy
There has been some controversy about the images, with some people complaining that all of the births seem to have taken place while the mamas are lying on their backs. Fermont told BellyBelly, “It would have been nice to have more photos of women birthing not on their back! Unfortunately, that's still something you see often here in the Netherlands, although it's the worst position to birth your baby.”
Upright positions are generally better for labour as they allow gravity to play a part in helping the baby to travel down the birth canal. You can read more about the benefits of upright labour here.
If you love Marry Fermont’s work, check out her photography series showing how babies fit inside their mother’s wombs.