I took this photograph back in 1979 in Oregon City, Oregon, minutes after my son, Ben (Benjamin Elias) made his debut after a rapid three-hour labor. The midwife and her assistant barely made it in time. At that time home birth was common in some areas of Oregon. In the Eugene area about 12% of all births were home births. This picture has appeared in a flyer about home birth and also a short book on the topic. Unfortunately I no longer have a copy of it.
You can see the uncut umbilical cord prominently in the photograph. Just out of camera range was my two-year-old son, Nick (Nicholas Nabíl), who watched with intense concentration. After the baby appeared he lost interest and began to play across the room with a new toy truck. When he was about five I asked him if he remembered the birth. He said yes so I asked him to tell me about it. When he hesitated I asked him if he remembered how big his brother was at birth. He cupped his hands about six inches apart and said “This big!” I told him the baby was bigger, stretched my hands apart and asked how did it get so big so fast. He said, “Ben was teensy but then mommy blew him up through the hose!” So now you know what the heavy breathing at birth is all about!
This image has been on my website for years. Until yesterday it was one of only three images on the site that didn’t have a quotation attached to it. Thanks to suggestions from J.S. it now has one: “O SON OF BEING! With the hands of power I made thee and with the fingers of strength I created thee; and within thee have I placed the essence of My light.” (Bahá’u’lláh, The Hidden Words). She also suggested two other beautiful quotations from the Bahá’í writings: “Verily Thou art the Precious, the Ever-Bestowing, the Open of Hand.” (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of Abdu’l-Bahá, p. 121) and “. . .the mother is the first educator of the child. It is she who must, at the very beginning, suckle the newborn at the breast of God’s Faith and God’s Law, that divine love may enter into him even with his mother’s milk, and be with him till his final breath.” (’Abdu’l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, p. 138).
Early next year I expect to make gallery quality prints of my work for sale through the Absolute Arts website.