Images and Ideas

Welcome to my blog. I hope you enjoy reading the ideas and feasting your eyes on the images contained in the following posts. I really enjoy creating them! ~ Harriette Hartigan

Birth is as Safe as Life Gets


Being with the immense reality of birth
as photographer and midwife
affirms for me
Women know how to give birth!
Babies know how to be born!

This spiral is created from photographing
woman in labor, her body
strong and profound.

Nature of birth brings us all to earth.
Spiral of birth circles our presence.

Pasture Perfect

She just gave birth minutes ago, and licks amniotic fluid
from her newborn’s body.

I walk toward mother and babe, through high pasture grass.
Morning clouds soften the sun and mountains surrounding
San Rafael Valley, near Patagonia AZ.

Mama warns me with her gaze, “Don’t get too close”.
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Gently I say to her, “I am a midwife”.

I do believe mama understands. She resumes licking her newborn.
Slowly I move closer to mama cow and baby calf.

Calf soon tries to get up, stumbles, falls, tries again,
stands…… and begins walking.


Newborn walks to mama’s udder and begins nursing
in the beauty of the valley!

       ~blessed to be present~

View from the Womb





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~life worthy of our sight~

Breastfeeding: Delicious Beauty

 Exquisite giving and receiving nourishment ~ from one body to another.



Mom and babe sharing the loving grace of emotional and physical harmony.



Breast and mouth sculptured in a delicious beauty of touch and taste.




“More Than Food: Breastfeeding Moments” dvd includes 34
photographs of breastfeeding experiences to inspire,
encourage and delight!

I do believe I midwifed a snapping turtle.

She was sitting in the street near my neighbor’s house,
pausing on her slow walk, woods and wetlands a block away.
Folks gathered, gazing at turtle and wanting to protect her from passing cars.

The safest place for her would be in the woods. I picked her up by her shell,
halfway between her front and back legs. She was snapping but her short neck
could not reach back to my hands.

As I was walking to the woods with turtle, children living near by were happy and  excited
to see a snapping turtle so close. In the woods I put turtle on the moist, wonderful earth,
patted her shell and wished her well.

Later pondering with a neighbor about why turtle was on McComb Street,
we both had a sense that she might have been getting ready to lay her eggs
and was heading for the woods. From past experiences with turtles,
we felt this was a real possibility.

And if so, I do believe I midwifed turtle to a safe place to give birth.

Birthing Her Buds

My peony is beginning to birth her buds.

Watching the buds open, I think of babies heads crowning out of their mothers’ bodies.

Birthing babies and buds share the amazing energy of creation.

As we trust flowers to open to new life, so can we trust birth.

Please check out  “Of Nature and Birth“, a DVD that  brings to sight the power and beauty of women laboring, opening to birth and babies being born. It begins with peonies opening.

Still in Awe!

35 years since first photographing birth,  I’m still in awe of
women giving birth and babies being born.

Babe -fresh from her mother’s warm body-just several seconds old.
Breathing- reaching into her new world.
Mom and dad are newborns too-parents for the first time.
They gaze with first sight on their daughter-seeing-touching-feeling-
holding her earthly presence in their love and awe.

Midwifery Metaphors

The Midwifery Way  is abundant in daily life,  even beyond the profound care  for women giving birth and babies being born.

Midwifery  guides with skill and expertise,  attending and trusting women’s
abilities and strengths.  Supporting possibilities and challenges.

Human experience thrives on such wise and wholesome energy.
Again and again cultural references to the midwifery way
are in our thoughts,  words and deeds.
The metaphors are many.
Here are a few:

“The purpose of intimate partnership is for us to midwife the perfection in each other.”  Marianne Williamson.
“Democracy needs to be reborn in every generation and education is its midwife.” John Dewey.
“I want you to counsel me the way you midwife birth.” K.L.
“I am a midwife, looking for the truth.”  Socrates, whose mother Phainarete, was a midwife.

Have you been noticing midwifery metaphors too?
They’re in articles, books, conversations. Where else?

I am gathering these metaphors  to help make more public
a  cultural consciousness of midwifery.
With this  work in progress, I invite you to  share with me
the metaphors you find.
This project will benefit by your participation! Thank You!

Laboring Thoughts~~~

With the grace of mysterious timing,
pregnancy ends and birth begins.
We do not understand what starts the dynamic process of labor,
yet the wisdom of two bodies, mother and babe know.

The uterus, strongest muscle in the human body, contracts with absorbing persistence.
In giving herself to the power, birthing woman opens fully, instincts accurate and ancient.
Intensity from this enormous effort stretches consciousness beyond language,
to a borderland marked by relentless emotional and physical sensations.
Doubt that she can do this mighty work,
and determination that ‘Yes’ she will, are both true.

Family and friends give comforting words of encouragement,
and touch her with love. Care providers offer their skill and expertise.
These sustain birthing woman in the
solitary work that only she can do.

Excerpt from Brought to Earth by Birth