Photographer Maegan Dougherty knows better than to enter any given birth shoot with expectations. So when a women in labor took a moment to breastfeed her 2-year-old before contractions became too intense, Dougherty went with the flow and started snapping.
“We definitely didn't plan this photo,” Dougherty tells The Bump. “As a birth photographer, I bring to a birth my experience and knowledge—and very few expectations. I document each family's story, however it may unfold.”
In fact, Dougherty didn’t even think the toddler was coming.
“I didn't expect to see Kate's daughter at the hospital,” she says. “I was excited when she was, because interactions and connections between parents and their children are my favorite to capture.”
While the photo has gained plenty of attention for showcasing a mom’s ability to divide her attention, Dougherty sees it another way.
“To me, this photo isn't about being a supermom or women being good at multitasking. Those are just attention-grabbing headlines, apparently,” she says. “This photo is about making your birth what you want it to be. Finding a provider who will allow your child to visit, if that's what you want. Who will allow your mom and sisters and birth photographer to be there when you give birth, if that's what you want. Who will teach you about natural induction methods, if you are interested. It's also about birth and breastfeeding being normal and natural, while also beautiful and miraculous at the same time. It's about doing what we know is best for our own family, and accepting without judgement that that is different for everyone.”
We truly couldn’t have said it better ourselves. Below, more of a glimpse into the New Jersey couple’s birth shoot. Check out more of Dougherty’s family-centric photos at MaeganDougherty.com.