Vancouver-based doula Jackie Dives has been photographing home births for the past three years. For the uninitiated, a doula is a person who provides physical and emotional support during childbirth.
Dives picked up photography by accident as she happened to have her camera with her at the very first birth she attended.
According to Dives, home births are her favorite kind of births to photograph as they are peaceful and comfortable. "At a home birth, the couple has chosen exactly who they want to have present, so they are able to be themselves, which I believe is a very important part of birthing, especially for the mother...Literally seeing a being come into the world is quite special, and to be asked to document that moment in time, is the pinnacle of documentary photography for me."
She recently shot a series of photos where the mother-to-be Julia was playing the piano while her sister massaged her back. She captured Julia getting into a birth pool while her partner Cris helped her breathe deeply, with the rest of her family members joining them to witness the birth of baby Katherine.
The resulting images are strikingly beautiful and intimate, and Dives hopes to erase negative notions of birthing, and to show and educate women that home births are safe.
View Dives' photos below and head over to her site for more of her work.