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Giving birth in your very own living room.

Being asked to photograph a midwifes birth is always such an honour. I am always thrilled to lay down my doula role now and then to focus on documenting the story of midwives and their families.

On a beautiful May morning I got the call that contractions had started. When I arrived, I walked in to find this beautiful mama already in the birth pool. Her two older children were playing close by in the living room and her husband was siting next to her giving her his hand to squeeze. It was a peaceful atmosphere.

I softly said ‘Hi,’ unpacked my camera, introduced myself to the kids and sat down on the floor. The midwife, and friend of Michelle’s, was on her way.

The labour was progressing in intensity and Michelle was calm and concentrated.

Dad effortlessly and calmly divided his attention between supporting Michelle and helping the kids. Suus, the midwife, arrived and quietly entered the room, giving Michelle a kiss and saying Hi to the children. She left Michelle to do what she was doing so well and observed her quietly while matching the peaceful and gezellig (cosy) atmosphere in the room.

Michelle didn’t speak, she stayed focused and Suus gave an occasional affirming look as if she knew what she needed without a word spoken.

The children came to look every so often as if it were the most normal ‘happening’ in the world. One thing was clear, these kids were well prepared and knew all there was to know about the birth process.

Michelle’s labour was progressing fast. Big sister went upstairs on a mission at some point when she realised the baby was almost coming. She came back with her book ‘Hello Baby’ and climbed on Suus’s lap to read it.

When the baby started to emerge Michelle called her son over to come and watch. He dropped his lego and ran over to see.

They didn’t know the gender of the baby so that was going to be a big moment.

And it is a boy! “And do we all agree, we will call him Jip?”

And then the moment when big brother and Papa cut the chord.

And everyone moved to the sofa.

“Mama, where is the placenta?” She knew exactly what needed to happen and when!

And when all the excitement is over, Oma comes to take the kids for the rest of the day.

And on with studying and enjoying the new baby.

Welcome sweet Jip. You are loved and will be taken good care of.

This is just one story of home birth. THIS is midwifery care. THIS is safe, low risk home birth! Down to earth and normal. In its essence safe and simple. For the kids, educational and natural. And what could be better than ending cuddled up together with your newborn in your own bed? And do you notice the casts of Mama’s pregnant belly for each of their three children.<3

For more info having children at your home birth and how to prepare them see blog here.


The Fun Stuff

I love many music genres but Big band is a favourite. I also have a soft spot for musicals. Don’t judge me for that. I don’t like to watch movies twice or start them half way through. There are a whole bunch of films that came out when the boys were small that I never saw the end of because for years I couldn’t stay awake to the end of a film!!

When I am not supporting expecting and new parents you may find me baking or cooking, both of which I love. My favourite dessert is cheesecake although my good friends know I am very picky and a definite cheesecake snob. Best cheesecake I ever had was yes.. in Paris! True story 🙂 I am even crazier about roasted vegetables and will eat them like candy. You can wake me up for Tony Chocolony’s caramel & sea salt chocolate because salt… Oh I love salt.

I love to travel with my husband and love to be out in rugged nature. I grew up in Cornwall in SW England and love the coast and moors of my youth.

I am co-founder of Birth in Holland serving the english speaking community with a passion, teaching The Confident Birth Course and other courses together with my midwife colleagues, Elinor and Martha  and my doula partner, Farola.

I am a doula trainer at InBloei teaching and mentoring new doula’s.

The Passion

In 2010 I left catering behind me to follow my passion for women and birth. I trained as a doula and have been working ever since supporting families during this amazingly unique time in their lives.

I love supporting women and seeing them find a strength they never knew they had during the labour process, and seeing them become mothers. I love supporting the partners and helping them discover how they can best support the process so together they can have the best birthing experience possible and the best start for their family. I love that moment they look at each other and their eyes triumphantly say “We did it!”

The process of labour and birth looks different for everyone and that makes my work interesting and very rewarding.

My doula work is beautifully complimented by my passion to document the birth. I fell in love with birth photography when it became popular and available on social media in 2009. My passion grew from that love and a desire to give the story back to the mother so she would have a positive memory of her experience. I love to capture the beauty and rawness of the labour process and those first moments of a baby’s life. Such a precious memory to have.

My goal is that every woman I support or teach can find the best birth for her and her baby and look back at her birthing experience with a satisfied feeling of accomplishment and empowerment. Labour is preparation for parenthood and a good birthing experience gives a better start for baby and parents.

A quote that motivates me in my work is this one by Jane Wiedeman
“Giving birth should be your greatest achievement not your biggest fear”
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