Why Did I Become a Birth Photographer?

In 5th grade, the entire class was asked to fill out an "All About Me" sheet. The only question I remember answering was "What do you want to be when you grow up?" I answered OBGYN. I wanted to be a part of the birth process from early on, but I wasn't quite aware of how to become part of the team. The "team" seemed singular, and I thought I needed to become a doctor to be with women as they labored. 

After two months of Chemistry my Freshman year of college, I begrudgingly changed my major from pre-med to public relations. My dad, knowing my true heart, suggested I still stay in health care and either choose nursing or speech-language pathology. Since all of my friends were nursing majors, of course I signed up for the major sounding more unique. 

I have loved everything about being a speech-language pathologist, but there has been something in me that ignites when the subject of natural birth comes up. I spent a month in the Philippines volunteering at a midwifery clinic and attending 9 births as the person who gets water, assists the women in different positions during labor, and, mainly, wipes their poo. Yes, that happens during birth. IT WAS THE BEST EXPERIENCE OF MY LIFE AND I WAS WIPING THEIR POO! 

A month later I found out I was pregnant with my first son, and my passion for birth flared into a gigantic bonfire. The journey of his birth and my second's son's birth were both gloriously and painstakingly long. I experienced both births naturally and had both births photographed. Studying each photo took me through the journey again and let me process how I surrendered to God to bring my two boys into the world. 

I want other women to also get the chance to remember the details of this transformative event.  It is usually marked by the celebration of the child's birth day, but rarely identified as the woman's overcoming of tremendous trepidation, complete surrender to the process of birthing, and triumph in bringing forth a new life. Those moments are forgotten, and I want them to be remembered. 

It took me 13 years to realize I do not have to go to medical school to become part of this beautiful birth process and 2 1/2 more years to hear God's voice telling me to follow my heart and join the birthing team in another way. Although I still have dreams of pursuing midwifery, I am excited to join the team as the birth photographer.  

Thus, Elise Hurst Photography was born. Pun intended.