by Hayley Yourkowski
Doula & Birth Photographer
A Doula is a professionally trained birth support worker who is educated and experienced in childbirth, hired to serve a couple through pregnancy, birth and the immediate postpartum period. We are committed to serving, educating, comforting, protecting, and nourishing the pregnant and birthing woman. The word doula is roughly translated to "woman's slave".
We attend all manner of pregnancy/birthing scenarios including medicated or unmedicated, hospital or at home,, vaginal or cesarean. We provide evidence based research, emotional support, and hands-on assistance including comfort measures, pain coping techniques, guided relaxation breathing, birth positioning tips, or practical errands. One of the Doula's most important roles is to empower parents make informed decisions and to advocate for themselves.
Doulas work to build a personal relationship with the family and provide them with unbiased, and non-judgemental support. This includes and text/phone support throughout pregnancy, and continuous personalized support during labour. A doula will support you in achieving your ideal birth, whatever that looks like. Our main goal is to help you feel empowered, fully supported, confident, and satisfied with your personal journey and birth experience.
Yes! I work specifically with each client to determine their preferences prior to the labour. This is what our prenatal meetings are for. I will only capture and deliver images that you request. I work around YOUR comfort level - some mothers want to see full crowning images, others request complete privacy and discretion. Some want lots of placenta images, some can't handle the sight of blood. Either way, I'm totally confident we can create a beautiful one-of-a-kind album telling your unique birth story.
Another misconception... No. We only share what you are comfortable sharing. We LOVE seeing birth photos 'out there' in the spirit of normalizing and celebrating childbirth! Some clients agree and are happy to have their images shared. Other clients desire total privacy above all - and we honour that too; these empowering photos are for you more than anything else. (We have images that have never been shared with anyone other than the client - and that 's your prerogative!)
The feedback from birth partners we've worked with has been overwhelmingly positive! By having a professional photographer available, Dad can focus 100% on supporting the mother and experiencing the moment - without having to hold up a camera or iPhone! Bonus - he gets to be documenting as your heroic pillar of support during this life changing event! And heroism looks good on him.
Couples spend thousands of dollars (tens of thousands!) on wedding photography - the birth of your child is no less important. A wedding is also booked on the calendar for a year in advance - no one can predict when a birth will happen! Your birth photographer works on call for four weeks surrounding your due date. We carry high quality professional gear, specialized for the low lighting and close quarters of the birth space. Again, the response from birth photography clients is overwhelmingly positive: the investment you make in your Birth Story photos is well, well worth it.
In a word - yes. If you think about Pregnancy and Birth as an enormous iceberg, the actual time of delivery in the very tip. Doula support and prenatal education occur extensively in the months and weeks leading up to your delivery. Birth planning, pain management techniques, fetal positioning, and more! Acting as both your Doula and Photographer is birth a privilege and a balancing act! This works best when I know what your expectations are ahead of time. We will have plenty of time to discuss how I can best meet all your needs as a birth attendant and photographer. Squeezing your hand or stepping back and squeezing the shutter button while you and your partner have an intimate moment. This looks totally different for each client; know that I am committed to serve YOU in whichever way necessary, depending on the flow of your labour and delivery.
Everyone is a stranger before they become a friend! We meet every client and their family 1-2 times before the birth to begin building that trust and relationship. As soon as you hire us, we become an important part of your birth team! Your Partner, Doctors, Nurses, Midwifves, Doctors, Doulas, friends... your team should be made up of pros who you trust, who are committed to helping you achieve your optimum birth experience. As doula or photographer, our experience and training gives us the ability to work with and around your team as a pillar of confidence and support. We believe in you and are here to help you achieve your best birth experience possible!