Give Hervey Bay Women a Choice to Have Their Birth Professionally Photographed

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WHAT DO WE WANT FOR THE BIRTHING MOTHERS OF HERVEY BAY?

Any woman who is giving birth, whether that be vaginal or caesarean section, who wants their birth professionally photographed should have the right to choose to do so. 

There are already hospitals in Australia and around the world that allow this to take place, so this petition is not asking for any radical changes to a hospital's maternity policies; it is, however, asking that the hospitals that restrict or do not currently permit births to be professionally photographed, reassess and alter their limited policies so that every woman in the Wide Bay Region, regardless of which hospital she chooses to use (or has to use), is given the same right when it comes to photographically documenting her birthing experience. 
There are many professionals photographing births routinely and have set up fantastic (and safe) working arrangements with many hospitals. Birth photographers work often and aren't getting in people's way or sabotaging sterile fields.

Just because something is being done one way, doesn't mean it has to keep working the way it does. Nothing changes for the better if we don't challenge established ideas.

 
BUT WHY PHOTOGRAPHY?

The use of professional birth photography is rapidly becoming more sought after, namely due to the many number of women who are now choosing to take a proactive role in their birthing experience; and photography is one of the many choices these women make. Likewise, birth photography also serves as a means to break down societal stigmas and misconceptions regarding child birth, and the open sharing through discussion and images is a critical factor in prompting conversations and furthering birth education. 

One in five women will experience symptoms of mental illness during pregnancy and in the first months after giving birth, with suicide being a leading cause of death among pregnant women and new mums. Yet critically, women who have had their birth photographed have reported feeling a sense of connectedness to the experience; this is because during a natural vaginal birth we know that the neocortex part of the brain switches off, allowing the body to enter that primal state of purely focusing on bringing the baby down and out. Photographs serve as the perfect visual pieces which can fill in the gaps in a woman's memory, allowing her to process the whole experience. Birth photography plays a powerful role in healing birth trauma.

Coming out of birth alive should not be the ultimate outcome. We need to do better. Emotional, psychological and physical health of mothers and babies is paramount. Especially if we are to reduce rates of PND and nurture the mother-baby dyad.

 

AND WHAT ABOUT A CAESAREAN SECTION?

In 2014, 30% of all births were caesarean section.

Many women who have a caesarean section have very often experienced some kind of birth trauma in the past or they may have great fears around surgical birth. Photography acts as a powerful tool for healing, where a woman hopes to replace that prior experience with a new empowering one, or uses the images to feel connected to her birth experience where she may be grieving over the birth she wanted.

And whilst in a caesarean section the primal state isn't activated, photographs of the birth also allow a woman to see and feel how strong and powerful she is.

We say this from a place of love - there needs to be a better way. People want their births documented tastefully and wholeheartedly. And they deserve that option. We see the importance of this work every day.

Look at how much has changed in childbirth in the last 50 years alone? Denying women of their photographers (or doulas) for infection risk just doesn't cut it anymore. The hundreds of photographers safely and professionally documenting births all over the world, and increasing number of women requesting our services, is evidence of this.

 
WHAT DO WE WANT FROM YOU? 

We request that current policies that disallow or restrict professional photography during a woman's birth, whether vaginal or caesarean section, is changed so that a woman has the right to choose whether her birth is photographically documented. 

 
WHAT DO WE PROMISE?

We understand that policies are put in place for the protection of a hospital's patients, staff and the hospital itself. In order for a policy to be beneficial to all sides, we acknowledge it is also our role to work with policy makers to create effective policy that is advantageous to all parties.

We would appreciate a prompt response to this petition.

We thank you in advance for your consideration of this matter.

Sincerely, 

From those who believe in this petition.

 



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