We Invest in what is important to us.
Ask any woman, or any man for that matter, “What was the most important day of your life?” Chances are you will hear one of these two answers…”My wedding day” or “The day my child was born”.
Weddings and births have something in common. No matter how it goes, it is a day you will remember vividly for the rest of your life.
It is no question that these are defining moments in our lives. That is why the average amount of money spent on a wedding in America is over $30,000. According to CNN Money that figure is the national average. That number is varies depending on the area you live. New Yorkers are spending an average of $76,000 when tying the knot. Costofwedding.com says that even here, in frugal Whatcom County, the average is in the $20,000 range.
We spend a lot on weddings (regardless if we have the money on hand or not) because we want the day to be memorable, personalized, and run smoothly. We splurge on the dress that makes us tear up when we see our gowned reflection for the first time. We book the expensive venue because we know it will make an amazing backdrop for our photography.
We want the big day to be the best it can be. We are willing to invest our money to make that happen. After all, we are going to be looking at those wedding pictures forever, right?
It all makes me wonder.
As a culture we are spending so much on weddings. Most would agree our child’s birth is an equally important day, so why do we spend so little- if we spend at all- on the day we birth?
With the astronomical amount of money spent on weddings, what is stopping us from justifying investing in our birth experience?
In my opinion there are 3 things that can dramatically enhance your birth experience. Doula support, childbirth education and birth photography.
The cost of these, even if you invest in all 3, is a fraction of what is normally spent on a wedding. The benefits of all them are incredibly beneficial and meaningful to the mother and her partner.
The benefits of having a doula at your birth are clinically proven. Women who have a doula’s continuous support in labor are:
- less likely to have a cesarean section
- less likely to request pain management drugs
- less likely to require use of forceps or vacuum extraction during vaginal delivery
- less likely to describe their birth as a negative experience
- less likely to have a baby with a low APGAR score (newborn health assessment)
- found to have shorter labors
Doulas support the partner too. Doulas model the comfort techniques to them, empowering them to be the best support to the mother that they can be. The helpful addition to the birth team gives them guilt free breaks, and allows them to focus also on emotionally supporting the mother
Along with the prenatal and postpartum support a doula provides the benefits of hiring one for your birth make it money well spent.
With any physically demanding event, training is essential. I asked local childbirth educator Christi Banks to share a few words on the value of childbirth education:
“I feel that childbirth education is often overlooked. Women don’t feel it is valuable or worth the investment. I often hear things such as “My sister/mother/doula/partner will be there to help me.”, “Birth is natural and my body knows what to do.”, “It’s so expensive and I’m reading a ton of books.” — And usually, women are caught totally off guard by their labor.
The local midwives actually prefer their clients take a comprehensive birth class (as opposed to a weekend/one day or no class). They find that fewer women transfer who are fully educated and have practiced different techniques with their partners.”
No matter how you are birthing, with an epidural, natural, having a VBAC, Childbirth Education is the ideal way to prepare your mind and body for birth.
Check out Christi’s available classes at http://www.naturalbirthofferings.com/#!childbirth-education/cx3
Thankfully birth photography has evolved since the Polaroid “crotch shots” taken by well meaning partners in years past. Today’s professional birth photographers provide us with tasteful, beautiful, and emotional art that we can cherish for the rest of our lives.
It is hard to look at Renee Bergeron’s heart warming work without getting a little choked up. Renee is the face behind Little Earthling Photography, and the amazing birth photos in this blog.
She shared with us, and gives us a glimpse why more and more women are choosing professional photography at their births:
“I’m a birth photographer.
What exactly is birth photography? It is not uncommon for me to see people recoil slightly at the idea of birth. Isn’t it messy and bloody and personal and intimate? Birth can be all of those things, but as a birth photographer I see myself capturing the raw emotion.
The moment a couple becomes a family.
A baby’s first breath.
Those moments during labor and just after birth are often a blur to new moms. So many hormones and body changes in such a short period of time. When I give birth photos to my clients it is not unusual for moms to say things like, “I didn’t realize that such and such was happening” or “I totally forgot that moment”
Birth photography is both a luxury and an investment. But it is one I never hear people regretting.
Those first moments of you baby in the world.
Wrinkly feet, pink skin.
I try to arrive at a birth once a mom is in active labor. I try to stay in the background, capturing what is happening. I have moms not even realize I have arrived until after the birth of their baby.
The relationships and the details.
I believe every baby deserves the gift of birth photography.”
We all have a few pictures in our lives that we hold an emotional connection to. Birth Photography is a unique art because few things are as emotional as birth. The images captured at our birth are not just photographs, they are treasures.
See more of Renee’s work at http://littleearthlingphotography.com/
Invest in your birth!
Hindsight is 20/20. I wish I would have invested more in my births.
I would give almost anything to have shots of the emotional moment when we met our precious babies. Not hiring a birth photographer is something I have always regretted. If I ever get pregnant again you can be sure I will hiring one for my birth!
I am thankful for all I learned in my childbirth education class. I don’t think I would have been able to have my babies naturally without that preparation.
Looking back, a doula’s support to implement what we learned in class would have been amazing. My poor husband spent hours doing hip squeezes. If you have ever done them before, you feel his pain. I think he will agree having someone to trade off doing them so he could rest his arms and focus on me would have been worth the cost.
Investing in your birth is valuable. Take advantage of birth professionals! It is our job to make birth better and more memorable. It is worth it!
Report on women’s childbirth experiences: http://www.childbirthconnection.org/pdfs/LTMII_report.pdf
Clinical trial report: Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2012 Oct 17;10:CD003766. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD003766.pub4. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23076901