Childbirth is one of the most important times of a woman’s life — photographer Katie Lacer says it can even surpass your wedding day. On Wednesday, Jill Krause, the voice behind the blog BabyRabies.com, shared one of Lacer’s touching images in a Facebook post that has since gone viral. The photo depicts a nurse helping a woman post-delivery, and it stirs up a lot of emotions. “I’ll never forget the faces of the nurses who followed me into the bathroom after delivering each baby,” Krause wrote. “That moment when I was so vulnerable, so tired, scared, shaky. My swollen belly deflating, and my modesty long gone. They treated me with such kindness and dignity.”
The post, which was shared over 42K times, continues: “For me, these have been moments of empowerment and confirmation that I have a real village to help me, even if just for that little bit of time in a bathroom, on a toilet, while a kind nurse shows me how to put an ice pad on my mesh undies. This photo by my friend MommaKT Shoots just takes me right back. Like, I can smell the Dermaplast. Let’s hear it for the nurses and the doulas and anyone else who shows us how to make ice pad underwear (or helps with that first shower post c-section!)”
Lacer, who first started birth photography in 2011, is closing in on her 100th shoot. She told GoodHousekeeping.com that she tries to meet with clients ahead of their due dates so that they can establish a relationship and talk about the process.
“Being a birth photographer requires a lot of flexibility, and I have to be able to walk in, read the situation and figure out if I have a bubbly, excited laboring client or a client that needs a lot of focus and quiet,” Lacer said. “Every birth is different, and it’s important that I can cater to a wide range of personalities.”
Though each delivery is unique, the way Lacer captures these women at their most vulnerable is breathtaking and beyond words.
Lacer’s most memorable shoot, she recalled, is a recent home birth with a mom she describes as having “labored like a goddess.” The connection Lacer had with this client was particularly strong.
“When she reached down to pick her baby up out of the water, it was pure magic,” the photographer said. “Getting a good start to breastfeeding was extremely important to her, and her baby found the breast on its own, latched like a champ and all of us — every single person in that room — burst into tears. It was everything that she needed to heal.”
One of the photos from this experience — bare, raw and undeniably stunning — is pictured below.
Moms everywhere know the feeling — to give birth is to truly live. And Lacer agrees, “it’s pretty incredible to watch that happen.”