When women give birth in a hospital they usually have one or two support people by their side, but when Virginia's Casey Teller recently gave birth she had her whole family there. The mother of six chose to give birth at home, where her daughters could share the experience.
"Everyone was comfortable being in their own space. The girls could come in and go freely, they all wanted to be there," Teller tells Motherly.
Her daughters witnessed the first moments of their little sister's life, and Teller wouldn't have it any other way
Teller's five little girls—12-year-old Audrey, 10-year-old Ella, 7-year-old Lillian, 4-year-old Zolie and 2-year-old Zuri—were thrilled to be the welcome wagon for their new little sister, Talullah.
Talullah's birth was Teller's second home birth. Zuri was also born at home, but this was the first time Teller had a professional photographer with her to capture her birth. The experience was also a first for photographer Rebecca Burt. She usually does wedding and lifestyle shots, but jumped at the chance to capture Teller's midwife-assisted birth.
"I photographed like a fly on the wall. With birth, you can't control the story. You just have to let it unfold in front of you and capture it honestly," she tells Motherly.
Teller, her midwives (and the kids) were prepared
Teller considers herself lucky to have had a history of low-risk pregnancies and uncomplicated births, but she wanted her children to know that there was still a possibility that the baby would be born in a hospital if she had to be.
"We even talked about how plans can change in certain situations and transferring can also be necessary but we had a plan in place for if that happened, they know as natural as birth is it can be very unpredictable," she explains.
Waiting for Talullah
Teller had been having irregular contractions for a couple days when they finally got close together and she knew Talullah was coming. The midwives were called at 8 o'clock in the morning.
Less than 5 hours later, Talullah arrived
Teller's sixth child was born into a family that is raising its girls to "see birth as something to be celebrated and not feared," she says.
Teller's advice for other moms
Teller loved her birth experience and suggests that other moms experiencing low risk pregnancies look into it if options are available in their state.
In Teller's home state, Virginia, there are "lots of amazing midwives," but home birth support can be found in most areas, she says. "Meet with your local midwives and find a home birthing support group," she suggests. "There are so many birth options, research them all and decide what will work best for your birth."
A mother's choice
Teller believes that mothers should be able to choose how and where they experience birth, and she's glad that Tallulah's birth was not only a teaching moment for her daughters, but also for thousands of other mothers, thanks to how her birth story has spread on social media.
"It is great to show women that they have options," she tells Motherly. "How strong they are and what their bodies are capable of."
Teller is one strong mama, and she's raising five (now six) strong, capable girls.