I'll never forget a Dad looking at me after his wife, an ObGyn, had delivered their son and saying, "Wow, you're really on-call! Even she has a schedule!" I laughed because it happens all the time. The realization that I will stop whatever I am doing at whatever time I am doing it and be there for you. I think the gravity of it gets lost in the excitement of finding and booking a birth photographer, preparing for your baby's arrival and well, it gets lost because it is kind of overwhelming to think about. You are not only purchasing my artistic expertise, my childbirth experience and knowledge, my provider relationships and client experience...
You are purchasing my life.
My 24/7. At least 4 weeks of a phone charged on the ready and my every thought circling around your birth. My need for alternative plans. My holidays and my kid's birthdays. My birthday or anniversary. My plans always potentially being interrupted to serve you.
You are purchasing my limitations. I don't drink, but if I did, my desire for wine at dinner. Or a beer at a festival. My ability to go to said festival if it is more than one hour away. My need for clear, reliable cell phone service.
You are purchasing unlimited hours of my time. You are purchasing those hours to maybe begin at 2 am. Or 6 am. Or 10 pm. Birth photography asks your work day to begin at absolutely no set time. How much does that cost? Probably not enough, but I must decide what I can live with and pay my bills. What is affordable to all those Mama-to be's out there who want a birth photographer or doula. What missing some of my own very important moments is worth.
This is by no mean a complaint. This is just a reality. It's that time of year when I get asked about how to become a birth photographer or a doula. It's the time of year when I must reflect on pricing and all of the business stuff that eats away at creativity and slams a big financial slap across your face.
It's the time when I get excited for all the babies coming this year. It's the time when I am thankful. It's the time when I'm off-call reflecting on what it means to be on-call and have a life and support my family.
It means that I will get out of my warm bed for you and be there to encourage and document your journey. It means that no matter when you call me or if you call me and I go and it's not even your birthing time, I will assuage your guilt, hug you, and go back to bed.
Because that is what we have done. I've invested in your birth. You've invested in supporting my family, having childcare I trust so I'm not stressed at your birth, and having experienced back-up if something were to happen to me. Making sure I have a reliable car and backup equipment so that nothing prevents me from documenting one of the biggest days of your life. We've invested in each other.