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I am so excited because today we have a special guest with us, Meredith McCann. Meredith is a motherhood photographer and birth doula and today we’re going to talk about how to help mothers see beauty in their stories.
Ashley: Tell us a bit about what you do and what you are passionate about.
I had two very dangerous, very risky pregnancies and therefore have become very passionate about maternal healthcare and maternal mortality rates. I just feel like our testimonies are such a big piece of why we do what we do and I feel like God kind of allows us to walk through those things so we can offer comfort and healing to other people who are going through similar things.
I am also passionate about photography and helping moms to be healed through photographs. So often I feel like the motherhood image is lost. I hope that I’m able to provide an experience for my clients to help them connect to their motherhood and see it for the beauty it is.
Ashley: You are both a doula and a birth photographer. Tell us about that journey.
I happen to be a birth photographer who is a doula not a doula who happens to take pictures. You cannot be 100% of both, so in my case I am a photographer who is documenting as a primary and then a support doula in addition to that. In February of this year I was worried that photographers wouldn’t be allowed back in hospitals so I enrolled in a doula training. Not only would I be allowed in as a doula, but I would be more educated in how to support moms and know when to take pictures.
Ashley: You probably see a fair amount of trauma and loss in your field. How do you process that?
This is a God thing, first of all. The holy spirit is working in that relationship that I have with my client. I see my primary job as documentation and not inserting myself into their story. I am not their therapist but it is VERY important to listen to your client. Often after they share something difficult (like the pain of a miscarriage) I will offer to pray with or over her. The other important thing is that in stressful and difficult situations, to stay calm and listen to the medical professionals because they have way more training than I do.
Ashley: Is there one birth story or client that left a really big mark on you or stood out in some way?
I had a birth this summer that was a VBAC and was attended by her 11 year old son. I would have thought it inappropriate but it was truly a beautiful birth that went exactly as it was intended to go. It just pointed to the redemptive spirit of Christ. In the last few years I have come to a whole new appreciation for the medical field and also the change in birth in that it is more about the celebration of motherhood.
Ashley: How do you feel you can help mothers see the beauty in their stories?
The most important part is in my workflow. I take time before a session to discuss what working with me looks like and go through expectations so they are comfortable with the entire process and let me know what they want and don’t want. It is a very personal experience and I want to honor that. You need to make sure that communication and expectations are essential. I also try to be present, listen to them and not interject too much of my own story. I want the images to be authentic and true to life but also flatter her and take her insecurities to heart. Also, follow-up is key to the entire process.
Ashley: I know that you have recently gotten some awards and recognition. Can you tell us about that and where to find you?
I was nominated for an Austin birth award and I thought it was a mistake! I was surprised and truly humbled by it and I am still in shock. I was also featured on the unscripted posing app a few times. I keep pinching myself and every day I ask God, are you sure this is really happening?
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