The Spine & Story of Crow Birth
By far, the most common response I hear when I tell others that I provide birth photography and emotional support is, in some variation, "What made you decide to do that?!" Birth feels so clearly beautiful and so widely impactful to me that it took me a while to question the real "reason" behind my work. However, I think it is important information share with my clients and collaborators!
What is the "spine" that moves and holds me up through this physically challenging, unpredictable, intensely intimate, and emotionally demanding work?
The easiest answers may be that, as an artist and caregiver, I am drawn to the visceral, near-magical space of bringing in new life, and that I believe birth-givers deserve fulfilling, supported experiences. I find the birth space fascinating and inspiring, I revere those who carry and give life, I am passionate about uplifting cultural perceptions of femininity, it feels good to follow the rhythms of passion, love, and new life rather than set schedules, and most importantly, I care deeply for those who trust me to see, hear, and hold space through their birth stories.
However, I feel that my true motivation is both deeper and broader than the immediate appeals of birth work. I have completed a wide variety of trainings, workshops, and certifications to find my birth niche, and I am so grateful for the opportunity to carve out my own way of showing up in the diverse Colorado birth community. I am excited to work beside women and families who feel connected to this project! (If that is you, you can contact me here!)
(To name a few, I have researched anthropological literature on the cultural movement of birth from homes to hospitals, have attended midwifery workshops in Colorado and CIgarrones, Spain, and in fact began the process of becoming a midwife, have trained as a labor doula with CAPPA and Birth Arts International, as a Birth Art Process facilitator and BIrth Story Listener with Birthing from Within, as an Ecstatic Birth practitioner, and gained certification as a birth photographer through Birth Becomes Her.) I don't think I could have created Crow Birth without exploring so many facets of birth support, listening to such a variety of voices, or sinking so deeply into the complex web that spirals out from the basic concept of childbirth!
I see birth is a metaphor for everything (as anyone who hangs around me long enough will tell you-- I am constantly relating what I feel in the birth space to relationships and activities!). It is a condensed, magnified, amplified, microcosm of daily life. The urgent shifts between contracting and expanding; the demand to adjust, and readjust, to change; the interaction of body, environment, emotion, knowledge, and relationships; the hopes, disappointments, promises, fear, mystery, need for control, need for surrender, need for support, need for autonomy-- it’s all there, a whirlwind of life at its most tangible, moving you from the inside-out.
Really, there are many ways to support and celebrate the “Female Experience.” I happen to believe that the awesome life-giving potential is as potent in women who do not have children as those who do; it is merely channeled differently. I also believe that femininity should be celebrated in people of all genders. Yet, immersion in the birth space allows me access to a level of creativity that fuels my ability to serve others more honestly, fully, and with more compassion.
I am sure that the moments that bring a new soul into the room matter. Of course, most agree that quality reproductive care matters to women and babies. We know that the moment a baby leaves her mother’s body something tremendous happens to each of them. However, that effect ripples out so much further than is easily detected.
It touches upon not only reproductive rights, but issues of racial equality, socioeconomic equality, resource allocation, institutional standards, private ritual, spirituality, pragmatism, personal growth, societal growth, cultural evolution, sexual pleasure, sexual trauma, consent, gender, and the deeply ingrained attitudes we carry about women and the divide between nature and culture. Birth connects us all so deeply that it is a leftover commonality we share with not only human ancestors in every part of the world, but to some degree, with mammals in general. In birth we cannot help but be a bit “too” honest...
So, when I feel the call to show up for clients during their most intimate, intense moments, it is both because I genuinely care for them as individuals, and because I value the broader implications of a protected and revered birth space for the world in general. I believe that we are each entitled to affordable, authentic support and connection. I believe that the raw images of birth are a feminist vehicle, which can change what is accepted as beautiful, gross, wild, or deserved. As an artist, I want to help celebrate the true, messy beauty of your story through images, and as a caregiver, I want to listen to your heart and hold your hand.
My services will remain affordable to everyone, on a sliding scale, as artistic services help fund low-cost support services. I believe each person in our community is entitled to beauty, autonomy, and connection.
Please don't hesitate to reach out at any point in your experience! I am here to help you express your story in photographs, belly casts, custom portraits, to hear your challenges through Birth Story Medicine, and to facilitate your own, inner preparation either privately or in groups. I am currently offering discounts on both Photography and Doula Support! I can't wait to meet you~