Monet Moutrie is a birth photographer based out of Denver, Colorado. In her infinite spare time (ha), she co-founded Birth Becomes Her, where she teaches the art and business of birth photography, spreading awareness and doing her part to normalize a variety of birth experiences. As if that weren’t enough, she’s also mom to three little girls—Lucy, Eliza, and Dorothy.
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- 1:54 – How she got the apropos name “Monet” and the myriad ways it has served her.
- 6:04 – Why birth never gets boring to Monet. (Word!)
- 8:50 – Just like all of us, Monet does the juggle. Here's a little insight into what she chooses to prioritize.
- 18:15 – It's not just me, birth photography is exploding in popularity.
- 22:45 – Why our generation is into birth photography all of a sudden. (Hint: AUTHENTICITY.)
- 29:45 – Monet's advice around hiring a great birth photographer.
- 42:56 – How husbands feel about birth photography (and home birth, for that matter.)
- 46:40 – Dear ORs everywhere… give birth photographers access!
- 51:58 – Birth photography is a thing in the west, but not as much in other cultures.
- 56:27 – Monet's favorite resources for pregnant moms. (Surprise, it has nothing to do with pregnancy!)
- 59:47 – Monet's favorite baby gear for the first few years of parenthood. (Books!)
What Monet Said
The coolest thing about my job and about birth in general is that it’s never boring. Every time I enter a birth space, I have no idea what’s going to happen. I have no idea when it’s going to happen. It’s always exciting. I feel like I learn something new each time.
I think [sharing birth stories] is a really powerful way to connect with other women too. Because regardless of how it goes, it does change us. And it gets to the heart of who we are as people and as mothers.
There’s a strong desire for authenticy. We don’t want to see pretty Photoshopped perfection. We want to see real moments. Vulnerable moments. We want to see rawness. I think that’s something our generation is attracted to. Once people started seeing how powerful and how evocative these [birth] images are, they realized, “Wow, I remember that moment.”
My six year old wants to see her birth photographs all the time, and every time we reach her birthday she wants to watch her birth film. I’m so happy we can do that together. I can’t wait until she—if she decides to have kids—I can’t wait for her to see those images in that light.
There was a lot of fear about letting someone document something that you have zero control over, but I think our generation is starting to realize, even if it goes completely sideways, there's value in being able to see and process what happened.
I get it. I was in labor with my third baby trying to put mascara on and my makeup on, so I know that’s there, but eventually I got to the point where I was like, “I don’t care. I don’t care where this baby comes out or how this baby comes out. I’m just ready to be done.” We all reach that point in labor and even if you have a photographer, you reach that point in labor.
Hire someone who really understands the birth process and puts your birth story ahead of getting all the amazing shots. For me, yes I want to document your birth story but more importantly, I want you to have an amazing birth experience.
We are all used to seeing these really beautiful home birth images where babies are born in the water, and it’s this very natural experience—which is great and beautiful, but most women give birth in the hospital and a third of women in our country give birth in the OR. So I try to keep my portfolio as diverse as possible to show women there are so many different ways to give birth. And they are all beautiful. And they are all worth capturing.
Okay fine, so we mostly talked about birth. WHAT OF IT?
- Monet Nicole Photography – Monet's birth photography website.
- @monetnicolebirths – Stunning birth photography by Monet.
- @birthbecomesher – Stunning birth photography by a variety of talented artists.
- @monetmoutrie – Monet's personal Instagram.
- The Baby Dove Commercial – Best of luck not crying!
- Cesarean Birth Photography – Just a small sampling of Monet's cesarean birth photography work. (It's so cool, right?)
- The Cesarean Birthrate in Brazil – According to this NPR article, the cesarean birth rate is 80-90% at private clinics (woah) and 30-40% at public hospitals (also woah.)
- The Birth Becomes Her Photographer Directory – Start here if you want to hire a great birth photographer.
- Eva Rose Birth – The Norwegian birth photographer whose name eluded us. (She's hoping to do a trip around the world to document birth which would be SO cool.
- The First 40 Days by Heng Ou– A beautiful book about nourishing oneself and allowing oneself to be nourished during the tender postpartum period.
- The Birth Hour – A podcast by Bryn Huntpalmer that is really just an oral history of incredible birth stories.
- Babywearing – Monet swears by her Solly for the early days and by her carrier for the days thereafter.
- Babywearing International – Where moms who babywear meet up. Whether or not this is your thing, it's a great opportunity to try out different wraps, slings, and carriers before buying!
- Unruffled by Janet Lansbury – The only parenting podcast you'll likely need.
- No Bad Kids: Toddler Discipline Without Shame by Janet Lansbury – A toddler parenting bible.
- The Whole-Brain Child by Daniel Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson – You might learn something about yourself too.
- No Drama Discipline by Daniel J. Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson – Similar to No Bad Kids but with pictures.