I have been a volunteer birth, stillborn and new-born photographer for almost eight years, to one entire state of Australia.
Before COVID I photographed stillborns in hospitals only, but after the mandates home birthing has become more regular. Before COVID, I’d get about two or three stillborns a week, spread out across the entire state. Within the first three months of the mandates, in September 2021, I noticed an uprise in cancelation of new-born photo shoots due to miscarriages.
Stillbirths gradually increased. About eight months into the mandates, around April-May, I photographed eight stillborns in one week. This was in one hospital. Between April 2021 and April 2022, I was getting 15 to 20 calls a week to photograph stillborns. I couldn’t keep up with the workload.
Some weeks I did six, some weeks I could do 12. I just did as many as I could. Before COVID, I would do a total average of about 70 a year. From April 2021 to April 2022 I did almost 400.
Since everyone has stopped getting the vaccines, still births have gone back down to one to two a week for me. I think it comes down to people no longer getting the vaccines. However, I have noticed a lot of mums are bleeding during pregnancies and there is a significant increase in mothers who are delivering early. Usually up to two or three weeks early.
I’ve also noticed an increase in unsettled babies with digestive issues, like reflux. They are constantly alert and awake, to the point they can’t sleep. ‘Wired’ is a good description. I can usually get a new-born to sleep for two hours during a photo session, sleeping the whole time. I have also seen a lot more deformities, for example, one eye is larger than the other, one side of the head is bigger than the other, sunken fontanel, jaundice, lung and kidney problems, just to list a few.
I have had many conversations with midwives who know this is from the vaccine. When I would walk in the hospital, they would look at me and say, ‘another one’. It’s like it’s become normal. Some of the parents had no idea and made no connection, whereas others knew, because it was only days after the vaccine. I would say it’s about 50/50. Most of the women I spoke to only got it because it was mandated.
I’m just one of many photographers in my field and I haven’t spoken to them all directly, but I know I’m not alone. This has been happening country wide. I would like to put the call out to all still born, birth photographers and midwives to come forward and share their story.