By Tui Benjamin
Birth photographer Lacey Barratt – whose powerful images frequently go viral for their honest depictions of childbirth and motherhood – has revealed her 2017 roundup of her best pictures.
The Australian snapper and doula, 30, has received global acclaim for her honest, thought-provoking and heart wrenching images of mothers in labour and with their newborns.
Lacey, 30, has also produced compelling photo series tackling misconceptions and stigma around breastfeeding, postnatal depression and stillbirth.
The mum-of-four’s collection of images, featuring Melbourne mothers of all ages from who gave birth in 2017, show women in their first embraces with their newborns before their umbilical cords are cut.
In others, Lacey, from Melbourne, has captured women in the midst of labour by being present in their homes or in hospital operating theatres to photograph their experiences.
Below are Lacey’s comments on each of her favourite photos.
Amy O’Brien: “Amy kept control of every aspect of her birth. She was not swayed and not once bullied into alternate forms of intervention. This was right after her girl was born standing and she raised her to her chest. This is the moment of relief and happiness.”
Maddison Gore: “Maddison’s birth in the hospital was so special because her boy was born so quickly that when the staff handed him to her she didn’t realise he had been born. This image captures the moment she realised she did indeed have a baby, and the ride was coming to a close.”
Felicity Susteren: “I really adore this image of postpartum. Baby close to chest, pad between legs, swollen postpartum belly. There is nothing else more truthful than this image.”
Brittany Attard: “Brittany’s babe was born with so much hair. I remember seeing her and thinking how she looked like Rapunzel out of the womb.”
Lacey Barratt: “This is a self portrait that I released of myself exactly 12 months ago. It marked the rebirth of myself into a new mother, new wife and new human. This was to explain not everyone feels connected to their babies at first, and that’s ok.”
Michelle Simmonds: “We don’t see dads talked about a lot
in birth spaces, but I really love to capture the connection between mothers and fathers. They are integral in making the woman feel safe and loved and raising oxytocin. Here you can see how Michelle’s husband was totally submerged in her everything and dedicated to serving her however he could.”
Chantelle Watt: “I don’t always get allowed into
theatre, so when I do, I always make sure to ask if they can lower the drape or I can come on the other side. That isn’t exactly greeted with the best of responses, but as my job, I have to ask. This team was so supportive of mum having pictures. She lowered the drape and motioned for me to grab a pic and help up her baby just perfectly.”
Jorja Carter-Smith: “Jorja is a repeat client of mine whose baby was born so quickly. I love this because when I arrived, she was at the bottom of the shower saying she was trying not to push. When she saw me in the corner of her eye, I vividly remember her saying, ‘oh thank f*ck Lace is here, I can push now!’ And she did. He baby was born on the bottom of the shower where she was left unhindered to bond.”
Mama (Unnamed): “There is way more about birth that isn’t normalised than what is normal. I fight really, really hard against social media to make sure my images stay up and aren’t removed. This was my last birth for 2017 and this mama gently guided her own baby earth side. Not enough women are touching their babies, so I love this!”
Karly Tomkin: “Karly’s birth is so special because her baby was born a short 10 days after my baby was born. So, when she rang me, I grabbed my trusty ring sling, grabbed a few maternity pads, and loaded up my camera – and my baby. Together, we documented the birth of her sweet daughter Ebony.”