The profession of a childbirth photographer came to Russia five years ago. However, those who are officially employed in Moscow and have chosen this as their life's work can be counted on one hand. One of them is Maria Zhi. In an interview with Moscow 24, she talked about who worries about childbirth more than others, with what facial expressions people are born and how a photo project with twins and triplets, in her opinion, will help infertile couples decide on IVF.
First childbirth "When I first photographed childbirth, I forgot to breathe," Masha recalls. "But I continued to photograph. Moreover, at that moment I was actually" hanging on a chandelier. " With one hand I rested against the ceiling so as not to fall, and with one foot - into the closet. I was filming the process, but I forgot to breathe."
According to Masha, there are only a few officially employed photographers for childbirth in Moscow. Periodically, other photographers try their hand in this direction, but after a few shoots they leave. Masha herself came to the profession after many years of work as a business consultant. Tired of endless flights across Russia from client to client, the girl decided that she needed some kind of outlet and took up studio photography. And when she went on maternity leave, I realized that she prefers live photos to staged ones.
So Maria unlearned from Sergei Maksimishin (a Russian photojournalist, two-time World Press Photo winner, sixteen-time winner of the Russia Press Photo contest. - Ed.), Started filming stories about people and at one point came to the hospital. As a result, Masha did shoot in several other maternity hospitals, showing everyone that it could be interesting and in demand. “I just came and told the doctors that I would shoot. The reaction was:“Wow! But when they saw the photo, it was also a revelation for the doctors that childbirth can look beautiful.”After a successful experience, Masha was invited to work, including where the photo report was initially skeptical.
During childbirth, Masha strives to be as inconspicuous as possible: “I try not to interfere. Doctors know that if you ask me to leave, I’ll leave. To leave, I’ll leave. And in general I am such a local, invisible ficus, so there are no questions with doctors. it was not possible to shoot at a cesarean. At first, it was generally very tough with this, but now there are no problems, go and shoot. The main thing is the presence of a medical card and complete sterility."
Dads cry too Recently, dads themselves often initiate an invitation to a photographer for childbirth, especially if this is not the first child in the family. But at the moment of X, even the most strong-willed men cannot restrain emotions. "Fathers cry, and quite frankly. But fathers are not even interested in tears, but an attempt to hold back tears. From the sidelines, I see how he calmly strokes his mother with one hand and does not seem to worry, and the other hand is pressed with all his might into the operating table. he is trying to press his emotion into this table. I really like to photograph such moments, "says Masha.
Sometimes a man is with his wife all the time of labor, and at the moment of attempts, when there is very little left and the child is about to be born, he cannot stand it and leaves. There were times when dads fainted, right at the photographer.
Natural childbirth is a long process, so dads have time to worry and calm down. With a cesarean section, it is more difficult, everything needs to be done there in 15 minutes. The photographer's task is to clearly explain what will happen: “We go in, we have five minutes. The baby is born. He will lie on the changing table, you can go there and look. Then they will swaddle him up, and you yourself will carry the baby to the children's department. " How can I carry it myself ?! "- future fathers often react in shock. As a mother of two children, Masha herself asked her husband to be present at her birth." I gave him a camera and said what to shoot. For the first time in my life, during childbirth, my visuals turned off. I didn't even remember the midwife, only then I saw her in the photographs.”At the same time, Masha admits that after the birth of her children, she began to be more sensitive to other people's births.
Every birth for Masha is pure joy. She cried many times at other people's births, but admits that it is simply impossible to "sob" every time, because she sees this process all the time. Moreover, having a basic medical education, the girl assesses the situation well and immediately understands if something went wrong: "I am very worried when something is wrong. I have nothing written on my face, but I will know in advance. what's happening".
There are situations when a mother hopes for a natural birth, and Masha already understands perfectly well that the outpouring of amniotic fluid happened more than a day ago, that the temperature rises and, most likely, there will be a cesarean. And the woman in labor needs to reorganize to a cesarean, because she is emotionally not ready for this, and Masha needs to help her with this.
IVF twins and triplets "Among those who have come to this world there are many dissatisfied," Masha tells about the first reactions of newborns. the expression “and what are you standing here.” But when they begin to squeeze the umbilical cord, all the babies, with their appearance, seem to say: “Why are you touching me?”
Despite the fact that children change a lot from the moment of birth, Masha remembers everyone she photographed and can recognize them even after three years. "Faces change, but there is no physiognomy," she assures. This curious observation prompted the photographer to an interesting project - a photo of twins and triplets born by the IVF method.
In fact, Masha's professional interest in IVF appeared a year ago, when she was first asked to film operations and doctors in honor of the anniversary of the IVF department at the clinic. The photographer went to the shooting to visit the children, learned amazing stories about how the baby turned out after the 20th attempt of artificial insemination, or how I had to give birth to a baby with donor material, because it did not work out with my own.
This hooked Masha so much that she decided to make a photo project and show how children in twins and triplets change with age. It was decided to take IVF children, taking into account the fact that twins and triplets are now more often born using this method.
There are situations when two eggs are transferred, and one forks. And it turns out that twins are born similar plus one dissimilar. For example, two identical boys and a girl who is not the same with them. "I would like to take a slice in time and track how similar or dissimilar they are," says the photographer.
Attitude towards IVF in Russia According to Masha, the attitude towards IVF in Russia has changed dramatically in recent years. If earlier people hid the fact of conceiving children by an unnatural method and considered it a personal omission, today many people openly talk about it. People are ready to share their experience so that others who cannot get pregnant can go to IVF more easily: "We could, and you can."
The changing attitude towards IVF over time has provoked an interesting phenomenon. For a free photo project, we quickly managed to find children up to seven years old, conceived in this way. But with children over seven, difficulties arose. People who conceived a child using IVF 8-10 years or more ago hide this fact and are afraid to admit it. To find such children, Masha had to make a post on the social network.
The most interesting thing was that people who have kept a family secret for years, in fact, really want to share it with someone.“There were several people who called me and said that they could not participate, because the dad in the family believes that IVF is his personal omission. But people needed to speak out, tell me how difficult it was. And I did not interrupt. realizing that it has been accumulating for years, says Masha.
This photo project unexpectedly revealed the question that many teenagers today simply do not know that they were conceived with the help of IVF. Parents do not tell them about it. There is also a category of people who are not happy with the photo project and say that with the help of it the author wants to show that IVF children are not like everyone else.
"I cannot change this world. But if a photo project helps someone who has no children to grow their family with IVF, why not? I do not pursue the goal of showing how great it is. I want to show that the world is different and amazing And if a person, looking at these photos of children, makes his own choice, it seems to me that I have fulfilled my mission."