back to top

A New Father Took Beautiful Pictures Of His Girlfriend Giving Birth

Photographer Gustavo Gomes said that he hopes his daughter will be able to experience "a bit of the great adventure it was receiving her".

Posted on

When Brazilian photographer Gustavo Gomes' girlfriend, Priscila Bochi, gave birth at home to their daughter, Violeta, he decided to capture every tense and intimate moment.

Gustavo Gomes / Via

"I've been photographing whatever happens in my life since I started photographing," Gomes told BuzzFeed, "so recording the time from when we learned about the pregnancy until the day Violeta was born was only natural for me."

According to Gomes, Bochi was completely comfortable with the process so long as he still supported her during the labour.

"Priscila is very used to my photographing her, and she was aware beforehand that I would record this moment as well," he said.

Gustavo Gomes / Via

"I'm always photographing our daily life, so it wasn't something deliberate. Now and then I'd ask her to pose with the specific purpose of having some traditional pregnancy photos, but these ones mostly came out a bit cheesy and too romantic."

Gomes said he and his girlfriend decided on a home birth after seeing the "touching movie about childbirth" O Renascimento do Parto.

Gustavo Gomes / Via

"There are actually more pros than cons in a home birth," he said. "Many people might think it can be dangerous, but it's not, if it's been a healthy and regular pregnancy. It's a long and tiresome process, so it helps a lot spending all these hours in an intimate place.

"And sure, sleeping with Violeta by our side on her very first night was priceless."


The couple hopes the photos will raise awareness of how positive a home birth can be in Brazil, where births by caesarean section are common.

Gustavo Gomes / Via

"Our country has notoriously high caesarean rates – around 50% of births in the public health system, and, shockingly, 87% in the private system, most of them with no medical reasons, just because C-sections can be scheduled and are quicker for the doctors to operate," he said.

Instead they chose to deliver their daughter at home with the assistance of a doula (a person who provides non-medical physical and emotional support to the mother during birth) to massage and support Bochi through the labour, as well as an obstetrician and a paediatrician to safely manage the birth.

Bochi's labour lasted for 20 hours, with Gomes shooting images intermittently.

Gustavo Gomes / Via

"There are gaps in the contractions, rest periods and long hot showers, and I photographed a lot in these gaps," he said.


The intensity of Bochi's experience is clear in Gomes' images. "She looked totally out of herself," he said, "and kept saying she wouldn't make it, but we knew she would."

Gustavo Gomes / Via

When Violeta was born, at 7:30pm, "we were shaking a lot, and I burst into tears," Gomes said.

Gomes didn't capture the actual moment Violeta was born, because, he said, he was "too thrilled and involved to photograph then".

Gustavo Gomes / Via

"When Violeta was about to come out I quit my role of a photographer and sat on the floor alongside the doctor to be the first to grab her. I didn't think about taking a single photo for two hours after I first saw her."

Now 2 months old, Violeta is "the sweetest thing on earth," Gomes said. "She giggles a lot in the morning, to our delight, and she loves being glued to Priscila's breasts, almost all day."

Gustavo Gomes / Via

He said that as Violeta gets older, he hopes she is not annoyed by her father having photographed her birth, but instead will be able to experience "a bit of the great adventure it was receiving her".