As mother of three, birth photographer and mentor I have seen pretty much all kinds of births – hospital and home births, water births and induced births, natural births and c-sections – and whilst I understand why a natural birth with minimal interventions are viewed by most as the ‘trophy birth’ (I wished it for myself), I do often wonder if the perfect birth might be a myth. Beautiful? Absolutely! Empowering? Definitely! But perfect? Mmmmmm.

I’m sorry if I’m bursting your bubble, but trust me, you might thank me later. Before you burn me at the stake however, let me clarify by saying that whilst I do not believe in promoting a perfect birth (who gets to define what perfect means?), I absolutely believe in the importance of a positive, optimized and compassionate birth experience.

You see, whilst a gift and privilege, becoming a parent in itself is challenging and I see how promoting the idea of a ‘perfect birth’ (however you want to define that) just puts unnecessary stress on already overwhelmed parents and more often than not ends in disappointment. Becoming a parent is more important than how you become one – that is a fact. That being said, this truth is often unfortunately abused by medical experts to coerce women into choices driven by fear and ignoring the importance of the birth journey would be irresponsible in itself. I’ve experienced this first hand when I suffered severe post-natal depression after a traumatic birth experience. Your birth experience may not be perfect, but it matters. Very much so. It may not be as important as becoming a parent, but it is nevertheless important. It feeds into your emotional wellbeing in birth and (as we all know) your physical wellbeing is heavily intertwined with that of your emotional.

To love something does not always mean that it is perfect. We can often love ‘in spite’ of.

So I would like to encourage you today to love your birth, no matter what. To feel like the brave, powerful mama bear that you are and to wear your birth stripes (or scars) with pride!

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We will be posting the first video of Love Alda’s Antenatal videos soon.

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Alda is the mother of three beautiful children and one of Cape Town’s foremost and well-published maternal, birth & family photographers. Being a mom has had a profound influence on her work. Birth photography is a labour of love to her – a joyous celebration of this beautiful, fragile life we all share and she has attended and captured many, many births both natural and c-section.

She is the founder and chair of the South African Birth Photographers Association and has recently completed a course through UCT in Medicine & The Arts.

As birth professional and mother she strongly believes that mothers should feel beautiful, special and taken care of before, during and after birth and it is with this in mind that she is working on a new maternal wellness & lifestyle range called ‘Mother by Love Alda’.