The Power of Voice
As you can read in the "about" section of our website, I have always been fascinated with the human body. As a child, I wanted to be an OBGYN so badly. I recall finding medical journals in my parent's basement and getting lost for hours looking at the diagrams and reading as much as I could muster to understand. I even sat stuffed animals at the dining table in order to teach them a thing or two about surgery or "boo boos" and definitely about birth. I found myself most enthralled with the process of carrying and birthing human life. To me, it was and still is the most profound "normal" bodily function that there is!
Similarly, I was always very interested in film. My mother had this hutch filled to brim with prints--family vacations, historical photos, classic childhood scenes, etc. I would pull out as many as I could, sit on the floor and look through every one. The fact that each moment had been stilled and captured forever was just so enamoring to me!
Random disposable cameras and off chance moments when I could grab my mom's 2002 digital camera were the only mediums I had access to until I got my first HandyCam in 7th grade. I became "that friend", the one who always had my camera ready to capture a party, silly skit, or the county fair.
Somewhere along my journey, I lost touch with those desires, maybe after realizing the monstrous loans associated with medical school or after buying into the lie that being a jock is much cooler than making art.
I continued on to pursue and obtain my degree and license in Social Work. But, as babies began to enter my life, one nephew at a time, my love for mother and baby was ravished once again. I had already begun pursuing photography in 2014 when I had the pleasure of photographing my nephew's fresh48. From that moment on I was unable to stay away from birth- from reading about it, talking about it, from photographing it! I even helped present a group senior thesis presentation on Global Maternal Health regarding Labor and Delivery in 2015...while pregnant. :)
Unbeknownst to me, around the same time that I began pursing photography, Aly Level had achieved her certification as a labor, delivery, and postpartum doula. In doing so, she founded Voice Birth Options- a business birthed out of a desire to ensure that the voices of mothers and families were heard. Aly believed that the most essential ingredient in creating a positive birth experience was found in ensuring that families felt validated, respected, and supported as they created their own experience. It was her mission to be the Voice that gently reminded her clients, "This is your story. You can do this."
Although Aly & I had gone to high school together we were merely acquaintances, until my husband and I hired her as our labor and delivery doula. Then we became more than friends..I'll tell you...there is something SO special about trusted "strangers" in your birthing space (more on that later). With my developing skill in photography and understanding of the birth process, I began to dream of becoming a birth photographer. Up unto that point I had photographed portrait sessions, weddings, random events and even dabbled in boutique photography but after my daughter was born, I knew that birth was were I wanted to hone my craft.
I shot my first birth in early 2016 and it was confirmed, THIS is where my passion lied-in capturing the beauty of becoming a mother, in documenting the tender service of fathers, in ensuring that children see the strength of their parents, and in preserving the moment that new life passes through a threshold of grace.
I believe it was the day after my first birth that Aly and I began discussing what it would look like to partner with one another and just like that, Aly welcomed me onto the Voice team. I am ever SO honored that she allowed me a platform to blossom, to discover and care for my craft. She, being my friend, doula, and birth educator, taught me almost everything I know about the process of birth and birth culture at large. I will forever be grateful that she afforded me an opportunity to serve women and families through photography.
After partnering with me to bring photography to Voice, and as her work expanded into postpartum and placenta services, Aly's specific passion for supported breastfeeding and lactation education began to reveal itself. She then made the decision to completely invest herself into becoming an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant. In doing so, she "proudly and confidently" allowed me to continue the essential work of Voice.
Again, I'm honored to be trusted with such necessary and weighty work. Currently we are solely offering birth and motherhood photography services but capturing the motherhood journey is much more than creating beautiful images. I not only see photography as a medium to tug on hearts for decades but also as a platform to humanize birth, especially aiding people in understanding that birth is a profound and intrinsically beautiful part of the human experience. I hope that my work induces respect, value, and celebration in the face of birth--real, raw birth.
However, my hope is two-fold--to create stunning artwork that chronicles the motherhood journey, and to become a versatile resource to the Greater Springfield, Ohio area, carrying on the hopes and desires of Voice's founder, Aly.
I hope that Voice Birth Services evolves into a hub for all things birth--midwives, doulas, birth/motherhood photographers, prenatal education, maternity consignment clothing, etc. Whether these services are readily available through Voice or if Voice is just the connection to them, I hope Voice Birth Services validates, respects, and supports women and families as Aly had intended from the beginning.
If you are a birth worker or someone interested in supporting such efforts, I would love to chat with you! Navigate over to our contact tab and shoot me a message.
Cheers to healthy women, babies, and families!
In celebration, we are offering a complimentary maternity session with any birth session booked between now and September 18th! Book now or contact us with questions!
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