It doesn’t happen very often in The Netherlands that there is a doula and a birth photographer at the same birth. This is also a reason why there are not many photos of doula’s at work. A frustration of many doula’s when looking for image material.
A few weeks ago I got a call from a man that his wife was in labour and their birth photographer was sick. She had offered a back up photographer but their midwife had recommended me. So he asked if I was available to photograph a birth somewhere in the coming hours.
The advantage of always being on call is that you are always ready to put everything down for a birth. I had no clients about to give birth so I was really excited to be invited to an unplanned birth. So I made an agreement with the father-to-be and said I would wait for their call to join them so I could document the birth.
I knew the doula and the midwife and as it turned out I had met the mother once at a pregnant ladies tea party I organize. I quietly slipped into the delivery room and quickly became part of the furniture (as we say in English.) There is something so special about entering a space and energy that is focused and so intent to bring forth life.
I loved watching another doula at work and seeing just how hard she worked. I knew she was utterly exhausted but she never complained and tirelessly continued supporting and giving counter pressure through almost every single contraction!! Watching the sweet relationship she had with the woman and how she gently supported the man with a knowing look or the touch of a hand… who would not want that? I thought. Unconditional loving support from your partner AND your doula while going through the most intense experience of your life. Doula’s really do rock your birth with you!
Photographing this birth for me was extra special because I got to take a side seat and document another doula at work and on occasion I quietly got to doula the doula and give her a back rub too. It was a pleasure Justine <3
A special thanks to this family for allowing me to share these images. Such love and sweetness <3
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