In Luie journal you get to meet people that inspire us from the everyday life.
Have you ever wondered what it’s like witnessing a woman giving birth? Ebba Barkenbom knows all about it. She is both a doula and a birth photographer. We got to ask her a few questions about her life and what it’s like being in the birth room.
What does a day look like in your household?
– Right now, a day looks like we all three have breakfast together. Then we go to preschool and work. I have just recently started working after 2.5 years at home, which was a time I loved, but now we have a new everyday life with a little more routines. It feels better than expected. I long until the afternoons and the pick-up from preschool, and to have quality time together at home in the evenings, while I think that the days at work are fun and rewarding! In the evenings we usually either meet some friends or stay at home and cook and play. It is both my and Oscar’s favourite moment to sit and listen to Ingrid’s little thoughts around the kitchen table in the evenings.
You are a birth photographer and doula. Why did you become one and, what is the best thing about it?
– I started photographing births after giving birth myself. I then discovered what an incredible and powerful experience it is to give birth to a child. I also felt that it was the biggest achievement of my life in every way. And I thought: if this is what you get to experience in the room when a child is born, all the emotions, all the big things that happen, it has to be captured. A birth is private and intimate. And I think it should be. But it is also one of the biggest things in life. And it’s worth highlighting how amazing all women are, both those who give birth but also the midwives for the work they do.
– I decided to become a Doula after photographing many births and always felt that I wanted to do more once I was in the room. I have seen couples and women give birth who may have wanted and needed more support and help. A hand to hold. Security and encouragement. A little more preparation and better conditions, which I believe and know today, make such a big difference when giving birth.
What is it like to be involved in such intimate situations?
– It’s a privilege. It is always such a special moment. You get to be a part of something so big. Time stands still when a child is born and, the happiness, relief, love and joy that arises when the baby comes is unbeatable. It can not be explained and can hardly be photographed, but I try my best.
Do you have a moment that is the absolute coolest thing you have experienced in the delivery room? (Except maybe when you gave birth yourself).
– Except when I gave birth and got Ingrid on my chest, which was the biggest moment of my life, it’s hard to say a specific event. I can think back on every single birth and get warm in the heart of all the memories and everything I have been able to experience. What is so incredibly cool to see and follow every time is how the woman fights, the emotions go up and down, the couple goes through so many emotions together and finally often after a long time of fighting, tears and pain, then finally comes the moment when the baby comes out. A relief, joy and calm appear in the room. You can almost touch that feeling because it is so strong.
Do you have something you want to say to women who are going to give birth?
– Prepare yourself the way you can by reading books, taking a prophylaxis course, listening to podcasts with people who have the knowledge and experience of having children. Trust yourself and your body, but also do what you can to give yourself the best conditions. I believe that knowledge gives security and a sense of control. When giving birth to a child, you need love and protection and, you may need help to maintain the peace and security that we want to give birth in. Having a doula with you when giving birth is a great help for both the woman and the partner. A doula’s task is to help the mother to have a positive birth experience by constantly feeling seen, safe, respected and listened to. And I do not think you can get too much of it during childbirth. So that’s my tip!
What do you want to say to new mothers and fathers?
– Do what you think is the best for your child and trust yourself. I wish I had been more secure from the beginning with making my own choices and not listening to much at what society says. The norm is not always what’s best for everyone. The best you can give your child is your love, time and security.
Having children can be challenging – do you have a life hack to share with other parents?
– The life hack that I try to challenge myself with every day is to, as often as I can, let go of what I’m doing and stop. Whether it’s from cooking, hurrying to preschool, answering a text message on the phone, fixing the counter or whatever it is that I “have to” do. Instead, sit down with Ingrid in my arms, meet her where she is, hug her and say I love her, ask her how she is, listen to something fun that happened during the day and take a few minutes in the middle of it all and pause, and take care of the most important thing I have, my child. It is the little things that matter the most.