BIRTH PHOTOGRAPHY & DOULA SERVICES

Being present in the birth space is extra special for me, though I do additionally continue to capture imagery in other photographic genres. I recently contracted to provide doula services to a young first-time mom and I asked her if she would like me to photograph her birth. I was delighted when she said yes, but I emphasized that my primary role would be to provide her support and comfort measures.

But WOW, this birth was fantastic both from a doula perspective and a photography perspective. The birth plan included mom’s wishes for an unmedicated natural birth but due to a variety of issues she was whisked off to the operating room for a c-section. I observed the tremendous support provided by this young mom’s family (partner, mother, and cousin) as I witnessed her bring her baby girl earthside.

I am often at a loss for words to express what being in another’s birth space means to me. I watched this young first-time mom slowly transition into her new role of “mama”. My wish would be that all mamas receive the same amount of support and care. The L&D and operating room staffs were tremendous and did not push this mama to consider any interventions that were not absolutely necessary. My client seamlessly moved into self-advocacy and trusted that all decisions being made were not only in her baby’s best interest but in her own best interest, as well. The birth outcomes for African American moms and their infants are under severe scrutiny as the rate of maternity deaths for black moms is 3-4 times that of white moms.

I couldn’t be more proud of being a part of this young mom’s birth team.

There are so many different kinds of birthing experiences that I long to document. Being an adoptive mom, I would love to document an adoption. I would love to document a surrogacy birth. I would love to document a same sex birth. I’d love to document a home birth. Birth is birth any of its many iterations is magical and beautiful. Let’s bring it on! I want to document birth in all its manifestations.

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Freestanding Birth Centers - Addressing the Black Maternal Health Crisis

We as a nation are navigating a healthcare system that is failing black mothers and babies. Black mothers are 3 - 4 times more likely to die during childbirth than their white counterparts and their babies are 2 times more likely to die. Risks persist across income and education levels. Racial disparities are real and quite dangerous.

Boston has been slowly and methodically working toward bringing a neighborhood health center to the community. Studies have shown that women whose care is provided by midwives and supported by doulas represent a vital key to reversing this awful trend.

“Birth experiences and outcomes improve for all through the integration of an independent freestanding birthing center where comprehensive midwifery care will be available throughout pregnancy, labor, birth and the postpartum period.”

In communities where birth centers provide maternal care, community relationships extending beyond childbirth and the postpartum period are cultivated. Birth center safety has been studied and birth centers demonstrate excellent outcomes resulting from this model of care.

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THE MIRACLE OF BIRTH

My last blog post revealed how I revel in capturing different genres of photography. It continues to be difficult for me to choose one over the other because I love them ALL. But there remains something so pure and so special about maternity and birth that wins out every time and grabs my heart.

It is always with such joy that I get to capture not only a birth but the 1-year milestone. Sabrina just celebrated her first birthday and is thriving. She was a tad fearful of the camera. She is enjoying being little sister to her big brother whose birth I also captured.

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Birth Photography and Doula Services

I LOVE photographing birth stories.  I simply LOVE it.  I LOVE documenting the birth of a new baby as much as I LOVE documenting the birth of a new mom and a new dad.  I LOVE documenting dads/partners support their wives throughout labor.  It reminds me that when I was very young, fathers were not allowed in either the birthing room or the operating room to support their wives.  Fathers were not a part of the the immediate bonding that takes place when their babies are delivered.  Thank God times have changed!  I LOVE LOVE LOVE documenting dads as they comfort and support their wives.

I have recently taken on an additional birth responsibility.  I trained as a birth doula, someone who is there specifically for the birthing mom.  While doctors and nurses care for moms' medical needs, I care for their emotional needs and provide physical comfort.  I am astounded to learn that maternal death in African American women is 3 times that of other women.  Midwives and doulas are part of the answer to quelling this statistic. Birth is LOVE.  While medical attention is focused primarily on delivering a healthy baby, mom's health might suffer.  The story of the birth of Serena Williams' baby girl highlights this fact. While her baby's medical needs were being met, no one was listening to Serena's stated medical distress.  She almost became the next statistic. 

 

 

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CHOOSING ONE GENRE TO SHOWCASE. Why am I finding it so difficult to narrow down my interests?

Clearly my primary photographic love lies with maternity care.  I could document birth stories every day if the opportunity arose.  It could be birth in Labor and Delivery, c-sections in the Operating Room, births in stand-alone birth centers, and home births.  However, I am just about equally drawn to 2 other genres:  Dance and Portraiture.  Until I feel it is prudent to narrow my work down to one genre, I will continue to post work among all 3. At some point, you will notice that a decision has been made to focus on 1.  But right now I can't see that happening in the near future in light of a commitment to attend the Portrait Masters Conference in Phoenix, AZ in early September 2018 and the Havana International Ballet Festival in Cuba in late October/early November 2018.  Hopefully before both conferences, I will have documented several births.

 

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