Birth

Incredible Captures of Doulas At Work | World Doula Week 2017

In over 7 years as a birth photographer, I have been privileged to capture over 75 births and many of the families I've worked with have also hired a doula to help them manage labor, delivery & postpartum.  If you had asked me 10 years ago what a doula is, I would have had virtually no idea. But through this work, I have come to know some of the strongest, most compassionate, knowledgeable women in the Hampton Roads area.  Here is my take on what a doula does:



Doulas watch.  

doula support

They watch a laboring woman carefully. They have seen labor.  They have seen the dance, the sway, the instinctive movements of a laboring mom. They have heard the sighs, the groans, the grunts.  They have seen the power and the grit.  They know what to watch for and what it means, oftentimes before the laboring woman, her partner or even her care provider!  They focus all of their energy on watching a laboring mom and giving care in ways each individual woman needs.

Doulas guide. 

They guide women through the labyrinth of labor. Birth is unpredictable and ever-changing. One of the things I love the most about capturing birth stories is that each journey is unique and powerful. And doulas help parents navigate the uncertain waters. They provide a shoulder to lean on, a helpful presence, answers to questions, and a calming nature essential to protect the birth space.

Doulas walk alongside their clients.

Doulas walk along side their clients in times of struggle...they walk in times of triumph...they walk in times of heartache...they walk in times of joy. They are called to walk no matter the journey.  

Doulas do not replace partners. They support partners.

I have seen the most loving and incredible couples work through labor as a team, totally in sync. Doulas do not disrupt that relationship. Instead, they work alongside it, helping partners to anticipate a laboring mother's needs, suggesting alternative coping techniques when needed and strengthening the support system that is already present. Alternatively, when a spouse is deployed, a doula can be a vital part of a birth plan and help to stand in when needed for family and spouses who are not able to be at the birth.

Doulas comfort in times of struggle

Doulas are a great source of comfort in those moments when a laboring mom doubts herself or doubts the process.  They draw on their wealth of knowledge about birth and their experience guiding women through. They use soothing words, a healing touch, an encouraging look. When plans go awry or the unexpected happens, a doula is there to comfort.

Doulas hold legs, hips, and more

When needed, doulas physically assist laboring moms in a variety of ways.  They spend hours hunched over applying counter pressure, they walk up and down the same hall week after week, they hold a hand, apply a cool cloth, or fetch ice chips for the thousandth time.  They hold a leg and encourage as a mom pushes for much longer than anyone thought was possible.  Doulas stay awake all night but never look tired, never letting on that they are exhausted.  They seem superhuman at times and always put their clients needs above their own.

Doulas assist with that precious, (sometimes awkward) first breastfeeding 

A first time mom often needs just a little help with that first latch. And doulas are perfect for assisting! Nurses often help, too, but a doula can help not only at the hospital but also in the first few days or weeks at home! 

Doulas celebrate with you

They stood beside you and walked with you on that great adventure called labor....and when you finally get to meet the new baby you worked so hard for, there is no one who celebrates with you as much as your doula!  I've seen the tears in their eyes and the giant grins on their faces time after time after time.  They feel the joy as if it were their own because each client is forever a part of their history. 

Happy World Doula Week to all of you!!  
If you are interested in seeing more images, please visit my Birth Photography page!  

Sneak Peek ~ The Birth of Zealand | Virginia Beach Birth Photographer

What an emotional and awesome Christmas morning we had welcoming this baby into the world!  While they were not expecting a Christmas baby (the due date was mid-January!), everyone rallied together to make it the perfect birth day.  His momma was so strong and committed to her birth plan and his daddy was overwhelmed with joy when he announced, "It's a BOY!"  Enjoy a sneak peek at the birth of Zealand!


Top 12 of 12 ~ Birth Photography | Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Hampton Roads Birth Photographer

Birth is an intimate thing.  And every time I am invited into a woman's birthing space, I am in awe.  In awe of the power, the strength, and the love.  In our culture, giving birth has become something that women don't often share with others; it is something that we almost feel the need to hide because it is 'yucky' or 'gross'.  But I see birth as a beautiful, natural, & amazing process.

A woman in labor is a fierce warrior.  She is more powerful, yet more vulnerable than ever.  And in the end, when her baby is born, there is so much love that surrounds her and her family.  It is the love that I strive to capture with every birth I photograph.  The love of a new life.  The love of a new family.  When people ask me, "Why would you want to photograph THAT?", I simply smile to myself.  Because anyone who asks that question has never seen the raw emotion that can be captured at the labor and delivery of a new baby.  Capturing that first glimpse of life, the first breath of a newly born baby, the first time a mother or father holds their child, the triumph of a woman bringing a child into the world on her own terms....that is birth photography.

Enjoy some of my favorite captures from births in 2012.  I hope you can feel the moment along with me.


And a personal first for the year (so it's a fave of mine) - a self-portrait right before being allowed in after a c-section for the very first time!

Sweet Sweet Babies | Virginia Beach Baby Photographer

My popular Milestones Plan includes minisessions at the 'milestones months' - 4 months (when babies start to be more interactive with strangers, smile & coo), 8 months (when babies are sure to be sitting up on their own, clapping, and jolly), and 12 months (where we celebrate their birthday with both regular portraits and a smash session!).  These are just a few of the adorable Milestones Babies that came to the studio this fall for their four or eight month session: