Dear Just Add Baby: I'm debating whether I should have photos taken of my baby's birth. On the one hand, I know they'll probably be a treasure. But on the other hand, I don't think I'll ever want to look at them. Any thoughts on this?
Penelope: In my opinion, birth photos can be amazing, whether you're taking about shots of the baby actually emerging or pictures of your newborn shortly after birth. Even if they're not exactly G-rated, they're great to have just for you and your partner -- and maybe to show your baby one day.
Andi: Do it! I say you should take every reasonable measure you can to record your birth experience. You don't ever have to look at those pictures if you don't want to. We have very few photos of my firstborn's birth, so I learned this the hard way: If you change your mind and do want to see the pictures someday, you can't look at what you don't have.
Penelope: And you may be surprised at how much you do want to see those photos, maybe even sooner than you think. Most of us are pretty out of it by the time our babies are born. Pictures and video can help you reconstruct the big event. And, trust me, they become even more treasured as the years go by.
Andi: So true -- we torture ourselves each year (a waterworks display on my part!) with those emotional birthday photos and videos. It was a magnificent time, and I love reminiscing about it. We have very few photos that are explicit, so these are things we're comfortable sharing with family and friends. I can say from experience that well-framed photos taken over Mom's shoulder capture the moment of birth without too much intimate detail.
Penelope: But be warned: For liability reasons, some hospitals and caregivers will not allow pictures or videos to be taken during birth. Others simply require you to get permission first, and may make you sign some sort of "hold harmless" disclaimer. Check with your hospital and/or caregiver in advance, so there are no unpleasant surprises on your special day.
Andi: If you do decide to get photos of the birth, consider having a friend or someone in your family take the shots -- try not to make that part of Dad's role. He'll have more than enough to do already, especially if he's participating as your labor coach. You could also hire a professional photographer who specializes in birth.
Penelope: As one last note, consider using two cameras -- one with color film and another with black and white. You'll capture very different feelings with the two.