Everything I know about being a doula I learned from photographing a wedding.

I will preface this post by saying that I do not shoot weddings. Even if you ask me nicely. I will have to tell you no, and then shudder at the thought.

I did not know this about myself when I agreed to photograph my friend Mel’s wedding. It was beautiful and I appreciate her for letting me be there, but…never again. Nope. Besides the fact that I don’t want to ever be a wedding photographer, I learned a lot from this event.

It seemed to me that it was very stressful for her, that she was trying so hard to achieve something wonderful and memorable. And that reminded me a lot of birth. I found myself being a bit protective of her and her and Kevin’s space, and trying my best to help make the process as easy on them as possible.

So here’s what I learned, photo essay style:

Help her keep her nerves calm as she prepares. Try to keep the mood light and cheery.

Try your best to rescue her from nurses guests that keep distracting her from the task at hand.

Smile and charm family members guests. Keep your professional composure. No matter what.

Look on in abject horror as the well-meaning doctor wedding coordinator steals the spotlight from the couple and assures them that she knows better than they as to how to birth their baby cut their cake.

At some point, she will probably become overwhelmed and want to give up. Be kind. Reassure her that she’s doing great, and that the end is near.

Know when to step back and let the love flow. This day belongs to these two, and these two only.

Soak up the joy. Oxytocin is contagious.

 

Congrats to Mel and Kevin! Thanks to you guys for letting me be a part of this day.

 

 

An Anniversary

I was reminded this morning by a sweet friend that today was an anniversary for me – the first homebirth I attended and photographed.

It was exactly a year ago today my friend Jenny called and told me it was time to come. I was so excited, I said something stupid like, “Really?!” I’m still not sure why I asked that. As if she wouldn’t know that she was in labor with her third child, or that she would play that kind of joke. Thankfully she’s a gracious friend.

 

 

I learned so much from this birth. Women – including my beautiful friend – are powerful!

 

Birth isn’t an emergency. Sometimes, it’s even fun.

 

I got to see this midwife at work for the first time.  Little did I know I’d be so lucky to working with her a year later. She’s the best.

 

Birth is beautiful. The calmness, joy, and love I witnessed healed so many hurts I had from my own births. I will forever be grateful to this family for allowing me to learn this with them.

 

The adorable babies? Are just the icing on the cake.

 

Happy Birthday to baby Robert. Happy birthing-day to my dear friend Jenny.

 

And happy anniversary to me.

 

 

The Hope Warrior

 

There were many firsts for me at this birth – my first time attending a first-time mom, and my first time at a birth where the gender was a surprise! It made for much joy to see a sweet couple become a family.

Welcome earthside, Baby Liza!

A Timid Hello

I have decided to start a blog.

 

Actually, I decided to start one a long, long time ago. I’ve flirted with this idea for years, but never gathered up the courage. I’m not sure exactly what tipped me over the edge and gave me the confidence to start now. Perhaps the beautiful and supportive circle of women I’ve befriended? The knowledge and faith I’ve been learning to place in myself in my new role as a midwife apprentice? Or maybe just because I vainly wanted a place to show off the delicious bellies and babies I’ve had the absolute pleasure to photograph? All sounded like lovely reasons to me, so here we are.

 

I’m not sure where this website will go, but hopefully you will enjoy discovering that with me along the way.

 

– Jenn

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