A resource to inspire, inform and empower parents.

Birth: A Cause for Celebration

Whenever I have asked readers if they had a birth photographer at their birth I get a lot of responses such as “yes, we loved it,” or “no, we couldn’t afford it,” but there is one type of answer that sort of bothers me… “I had a hospital birth so there was nothing to photograph,” or “I delivered in a hospital so there was nothing to celebrate.”

My first son was delivered in a hospital and we did not hire a birth photographer, but my husband managed to get some pictures and we sure as hell celebrated. I didn’t know then a lot of what I know and believe now about birth. For example, I didn’t have the perspective until much later that I wasn’t given many choices along way, that someone else was calling the shots, that I was victim to several unnecessary and risky procedures, and that hospitals and birth in the US has become a business. I have chosen to not birth in a hospital with this pregnancy and that decision is based solely on that experience. However, we were excited to have our son and I will not let any of that take away from how we look at the day that Jack came into our lives.


I’m afraid that the homebirth/natural childbirth movement is making women who deliver in hospitals feel like they are less of a birthing mother, that there is less to celebrate, that they can’t be proud of this life changing event. In my opinion the natural childbirth movement is supposed to be about choices. It’s supposed to be about informing women of all of their choices on where and how to deliver their babies. It’s supposed to expose women to information that many of us don’t or didn’t know about how birth has changed in our culture over the last century or so. It’s supposed to educate women on the power of their bodies. It supposed to empower women. It’s not supposed to say that there is one right way to do things or that if you choose to birth in a hospital that you are less or wrong.

Empowerment is in the ability to make an informed choice, not in the final decision itself. It’s about gathering all of the information, learning to ask questions, challenging the system, holding “authority” figures accountable, recognizing when someone is taking power away from you; then making a decision that is right for your individual situation, family and body. That is empowerment. Not homebirthing, not natural childbirth, not breastfeeding. Empowerment is information and freedom of choice.

Birth is cause for celebration. No matter where it takes place. No matter how it is done. Hospitals have policies about photography and that’s a whole different story, but birth is a time to celebrate. Celebrate the new life. Celebrate the new chapter in yours. Celebrate the most intense experience in human existence. And if you almost died then celebrate that you didn’t!

Clearly there are cases where women don’t get to choose. If you have health issues or other circumstances that don’t allow you to make many choices then that’s OK. Your birth is not less valuable or valid than anyone else’s. And there are times when celebration is not in order because of a terrible tragedy and all I can say is I am so sorry for your loss. I wouldn’t celebrate either. But this is not the majority of cases for women who are not treating birth like a celebration.


Maybe at 38 weeks pregnant I’m just hormonal and naïve, but I want us to continue to inform each other, empower each other and share information that can help women make their own informed choices. I want to do all of that without taking anything away from women who didn’t know, who chose differently or who didn’t have a choice. It’s the birth of a frickin’ baby! Celebration needs to be top priority.

Abby Theuring, MSW