Hello! I'm so glad you're here. I've been trusting that the right women would find their way here, and to me.
I'm the sister in Sister Birth. You might call me a doula(ish?) and a birth photographer, but it isn't quite that simple, either. I'm an out-of-the-box sort of person, and that comes through here as it does in so many areas of my life. :)
I'm a 30-something wife and mama in Grand Rapids, MI. And though none of these things alone define me, you might be interested to know that in addition to all things birth, I am captivated by the enneagram, the creation of beautiful living spaces, midwifery memoirs, ice creams with chocolate as the primary ingredient, bulletproof coffee, lazy Saturday mornings at the beach with my family, essential oils, and nature exploration.
What follows is the story of how I came to be a Sister who gives herself to walk with and serve birthing women, as well as the assorted skills/trainings/passions of which my tool kit is composed.
The back story
My love affair with birth, and my passionate belief that every woman should have the opportunity to birth abundantly supported, in her power, and fully informed started before I even had my first child, but was strengthened and multiplied by each of my own births the births I witnessed with a camera up to my eye. My work as a birth photographer organically developed some doula-like flavor, as my photography clients and women in my community began come to me with questions about natural childbirth, home birth and postpartum. Women began choosing me as their photographer not only for the beautiful photos they knew I would create, but also for my supportive and peaceful presence during their labors and births.
Over these years and exposure to diverse experiences surrounding birth, my fierce protectiveness of the normalcy of natural physiological birth has expanded to include an equally vibrant concern for the holistic wellbeing of mamas (and families!) during pregnancy and throughout the fourth trimester (aka: postpartum).
It is my unwavering belief that birth can be trusted and that most women can — if given a chance and adequate trust and support — birth their babies in power and love. I am just as passionate about walking with women through their transformative pregnancy/birth/postpartum times as I am about documenting that process in stunning imagery. I'm honored to be able to blend these passions together to witness and serve you on your journey.
I became a mama in 2011 after a 48-hour home birth. Since then I've had three more babies (all born at home, thankfully with much shorter labors!). Growing, birthing, nourishing and mothering my two daughters and two sons is my primary qualification. It is here that I have not only suffered a crash course in pregnancy, birth, and postpartum but also where my character, perspective and heart have been formed. I see you, mama, because I too am a mama.
I've been shooting births professionally since 2012, both in hospitals and homes. As of December 2017, I have photographed 57 births in homes, hospitals, and birth centers. And an RV one time, too! I'm also a family photojournalist. You can see my photography website here.
student of Midwifery
In 2016 I woke up to a calling to become a midwife, and have been devoting myself to becoming equipped to serve families in this way ever since. The road thus far has included lots of self-study, some apprenticeship, and an eye on further midwifery training further down the road. My studies and experience here end up being equivalent to a doula training program... and then some!
in 2006 I graduated from Western Michigan University with an MA in community and agency counseling and a certificate in holistic health. Though I have opted not to work as a professional licensed counselor, this training flavors my relationships personally and as a birth attendant.
holistic health counselor
In 2007 I completed a year-long program in NYC at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. This unique program covered most of the major dietary theories and many methods of holistic health care, but emphasized the centrality of "primary" food, which isn't edible. i'll tell you more about that later.
Pastor's Wife / ELder
Since 2013, my husband and I have been the overseers and elders of a small, missional, urban prayer community. In this role, I've walk with younger women as a their mentor, met with God in prayer, and guided others through inner healing prayer ministry.
Young Living Consultant
I've been an essential oil user and informal "hobby consultant" since 2012, mostly self-taught as I've found what works for my own family and have shared the passion with others. I carry Young Living oils with me to births and also am able to assist anyone wanting to begin integrating these healing aromas into their lives and homes for mind and body.