I became a birth photographer after I had already become a birth Doula in 2010. I wasn't sure that I wanted to even be a Doula, but after my first few births I knew that it was the right path for me.
As a Doula I am able to provide a constant, steady guide during pregnancy, birth and postpartum.
This is probably so appealing to me because I did not have that for my first birth experience (It was a great birth, but it was hectic and confusing).
I took a few photos at my first two births, but it was the third birth that I actually used photography to tell the story of my client's birth. And it was an incredible one. LONG, and amazing, with baby boy finally being born in the water as the sun rose over the Atlanta skyline and Lauryn Hill belted out "To zion"...yeah... I got in my car and sobbed.
I don't think I knew at the time why I was crying (aside from 36 hours without sleep), but I knew that I was a birth photographer doula, and I wanted to do that as much as I could. The combination at the time of a doula and birth photographer was rare--in fact birth photography was not that common yet.
I have been supporting and documenting births ever since, having attended 120 births over the years. I've attended all different types of births, and learned over and over again the strength of Women.
The last birth of 2020, a hard year, was a super fun one. Baby girl decided to arrive about 45 minutes after I did, in the dining room, caught by her aunt. That was not the plan.
I submitted the photo below to Everyday Birth Magazine, and I am so honored that it was chosen as the best birth photo. It was an extraordinary moment of courage, strength and support, and I am honored to have been invited to the party.
Chanda Williams is a family photographer and film maker in Atlanta, offering honest and emotive family photojournalism.