She decided to take photos of the moments leading up to the birth, while also using it as a means of coping with the stress.
Editor's Note: This article was originally published on April 1, 2022. It has since been updated.
Giving birth is one of the most intense experiences and includes a rush of emotions ranging from anxiety and fear to exhaustion, relief and joy. Having a child is life-altering and it's natural for people to document that event. When San Francisco photographer Lisa Robinson was giving birth to her second child, daughter Anora, she decided to take photos of the moments leading up to the birth as a means of coping with the intense event and to capture memories lasting a lifetime. She was both nervous and excited at the same time. She and her husband, Alec, already had a 9-year-old son and had been trying to get pregnant again for years. It was a frustrating and exhausting journey for the pair as she had suffered two miscarriages.
The pair had given up on having a second child and stopped trying after multiple failed attempts. However, they were pleasantly surprised when she got pregnant. It was a miracle as far as they were concerned. When it came to delivering the baby, they were both nervous. Robinson wanted to document the birth of her daughter and brought her camera along. It was also her way of calming her nerves. It started out as a joke between her and Alec, but then Robinson thought to herself, "Why not?" Alec was game and said it would be great if she could actually take pictures.
They asked the hospital staff if it would be okay and they all encouraged her. Her doctors and nurses felt it could serve as a nice distraction if she had trouble managing the pain or stress of giving birth. She soon realized that it wasn't going to be easy to hold the camera steady as her body was shaking. She was in labor and she picked up the camera in between her contractions to take pictures from the room.
Robinson took pictures even when she started pushing. "Eventually, when it was time to push and I was able to take the photos as I was pushing, I focused on my daughter and my husband and not so much the camera," she told Upworthy. Robinson photographed portraits and wedding events for a living, but turning the camera on herself and her family in such a moment was a surreal experience. "I didn't know if I was in focus or capturing everything but it was amazing to do." The pictures she ended up capturing were beautiful and captured the emotions of giving birth. "I couldn't have had an easier birth," said Robinson, reported TODAY.
After her daughter was born, she handed the camera off to her mother, who continued to take pictures. Of all the pictures Robinson took, the one of Alec breaking down on seeing the baby and of the baby alone really stood out. "Everybody was supportive and kind of surprised that I was able to capture things throughout. I even remember laughing along with them at one point as I was pushing," recalled Robinson.
Robinson was glad she went through with it, especially considering all the memories she managed to capture of Anora's birth. It also helped her through labor. When asked if she would recommend the idea to other moms-to-be, she said it was very subjective. One of the main reasons it worked for her was that it was centered around her profession, which is also her hobby—photography. It need not be the same for everyone else. Some might find it more taxing or tiring to take pictures while giving birth. But, if you're into photography and want to capture those moments, then why not. Give it a shot. The only advice she had for those who wanted to try it was: "Don't put pressure on yourself to get 'the shot.'" She also said it was important to "enjoy the moment as much as you can."