I do. And I also remember that although it wasn't explicitly explained, the answer to that question was supposed to be only one career.
It took me a long while to figure out that in reality, people can and often do have many interests and it's totally okay to do different things to earn a living throughout your life.
For the past few years, most of my efforts and passion have been focused on being a doula and helping people prepare for childbirth in traditional and not so traditional ways. But before being a doula, I went to film school. I am and will always be a storyteller (and a rather visual one!)
The very first birth I ever attended I also photographed. And ever since, I have loved bringing my camera to births. At the beginning, I wasn't getting great imagines. I struggled with the very specific challenges of a delivery room, but with some fantastic additional training and supported by an ever-growing amount of experience and practice, my confidence as a birth photographer has gotten stronger.
Lately, I have been asked an interesting question a lot:
How do you balance both documenting the birth while staying present as a doula?
Many things that can get on the way of truly "staying present" at a birth.
Whether or not I'm taking photos, before entering the space where someone is laboring I always take a moment to stand at the threshold of their door and purposefully leave my own baggage behind.
When people hire me to be both a doula and a photographer, doula support always comes first. However, there are usually a lot of moments during the birth in which I would naturally step back.
A lot of my work and my personal style as a doula is to guide you moving from one position to the other, offer suggestions, information, and support. I'm not the kind of doula who interferes much unless it's necessary. I have a deep trust in birthing people and my main focus is, mostly, on creating an environment that allows you to follow your intuition and your body. Not to tell you what to do or to "help" you through every single movement. I find it pretty natural and easy to do that work and in the "in-between" moments, step back and snap pictures that tell your story.
At the time of the actual birth of the baby most of the times I will step back whether or not I'm taking photos, because the midwives or doctors need space to take over and focus on guiding the baby out.
It's also true that there are some times when a birthing person needs TONS of physical support and every single member of the birth team is literally providing hands-on help. In times like that, I put my camera away and if I don't get a lot of photos of labor, I focus on getting photos after the birth when you're getting to meet your baby for the first time.
It's also true that I usually deliver smaller galleries than you might get if you hire a photographer who is 100% focused only on documenting your story. My birth galleries tend to be 70-150 photos, while birth photographer might give you considerably more photos than that.
But of course, a huge advantage of having a doula who is also a birth photographer (doulatog in birth world lingo) is that you will have a smaller birth team and most likely a closer relationship with that one person.
I strongly believe that there are many amazing photographers out there who can take great photos of your family, but it takes a birth worker to really walk into your birth space and be able to navigate its unique energy, its particular challenges, its unfolding magic.
“There are many amazing photographers out there who can take great photos of your family. But it takes a birth worker to really walk into your birth space and be able to navigate its unique energy, its particular challenges, its unfolding magic.“