NAME: Samantha Warrayat
JOB TITLE: Birth Photographer & Doula
MOVED TO THE UAE IN: 2007
Samatha is a mum of three daughters, with a passion for birth! She is a Birth Photographer (capturing Birth Stories) and Doula (teaching, guiding and supporting parents / partners through the pregnancy and birth process). Women and couples hire her to be present for them through some of the most intimate and special moments of their lives.
What does her day look like..
6AM - I’m up with my three girls, at the beginning of what is bound to be a morning of family chaos with three small kids; nursing, diapers, breakfast, getting dressed, walking to the park… My oldest asks if the baby that I’m waiting on is coming today. It’s a birth client’s due date, but there’s only a 10% chance she will birth her baby today, so I tell her “probably not!”.
8AM - The girls get time to play (supervised by our nanny) and I head to a prenatal session with a new couple at their home; they are expecting their baby four months from now. When I arrive, we have tea together, and talk about their hopes, dreams and fears about becoming parents. Every session is unique to each couple, based on their needs and specific circumstances. Hours pass like minutes, and it’s now time for me to head home. My phone beeps and it’s my Due Date client saying “no sign of baby yet”, followed by a run down of her various family members and friends asking if baby has arrived. I send her a meme of a grumpy, furless cat that says “ask me if the baby is here yet. One more time.”, and the winking emoji. She send back the laughing emoji and then something about how she can’t laugh without peeing a little.
12NOON - I’m home in time to put my middle daughter (2) down for a nap, spend some 1-on-1 time with my oldest (6) and nurse my youngest (9mo.). I fight off the mom guilt from being gone all morning, and remind myself that I’m the luckiest person in the world for getting to do what I love, and still spend tons of time with my own babies.
2PM - I head to a quiet café near home and settle into my corner spot to edit a maternity gallery from yesterdays’ at home Maternity Session. I am so excited to send this mama her sneak peek images. At home sessions are my favorite because I find it’s where my clients are the most comfortable being vulnerable and expressing their emotions. My style is very candid, emotive, romantic; “lifestyle / natural”. Separately, I have 1,200 images from last weeks’ Birth Story at Parkview to sort through, but that will have to wait until my kids are asleep and it’s quiet at home. I can never edit birth stories in public! Birth images are for my eyes only. Privacy is paramount; my clients trust me with images and video from their most vulnerable moments and I take that very seriously.
4PM - Oh no. I just realized that in an hour and a half the kids should be eating dinner. The daily dinner dash begins… what should I make? Why do I go through this everyday? Why don’t I ever think ahead about what to make for dinner? Ugh. Super quick stop at the store on the way home. While in the check out queue I get a whatsapp message from my Due Date client that she’s having some Braxton hicks contractions, but she doubts it’s the real deal. I tell her that I’m ready and waiting for her whenever she needs me, but to take a shower and a nap to see if that changes things.
6PM - The kids are eating whatever I’ve slapped together when my phone rings. I know the moment I see the caller ID that I’m about to head to a birth, and NOW. It’s my Due Date client calling and I can tell just by her voice that things are moving fast. I announce to the nanny that it’s baby time and my oldest cheers (because this means she gets to watch a movie while her little sisters get ready for bed). My bags are already packed by the door, and I am so grateful that I’ve just eaten a full meal. You never know how long a birth will last, and Birth Doula and Birth Photography is very physically demanding work. My husband comes through the door and instantly knows it’s Baby Time because I have my Birth Doula backpack on and I’m loading my camera gear into the car.
6.40PM - I am standing in front of Labor and Delivery Room 6 and I remind myself to pause and take a couple deep breaths before I enter this special Birth Space. Tonight I am here as both a Birth Photographer and a Birth Doula. It’s my job to support the couple, and also document their experience. I consciously remind myself to leave all previous births behind me, including my own labors, and enter into this space with a fresh mind and fresh heart. I have my camera around my neck, but I know I won’t use it right when I go in. It’s so important that the mama feels uninterrupted in her birthing process. I take a photo of the sign on her door and tick it off my mental list of “details to capture”.
11PM - Baby is here! Mama was so strong. Her husband was so supportive. This is exactly why I became a Birth Photographer and Doula. What a beautiful birth.. They made such a great team. I have another 1,200 images and so many videos, but right now I just sit in the hospital parking lot and reflect on how lucky I am. I just witnessed a miracle. I was there when a couple became a family! I head home to get some sleep before coming back the next day to capture their Fresh 48 Session (the first 48 hours after birth).
11.45PM - My husband is up watching Netflix and pleasantly surprised to see me home “so early” from a birth. Last weeks’ birth started at 2AM on Sunday and the baby wasn’t born until 11PM on Monday. Tonight, I watch 5 full minutes of TV with him before the baby wakes up for a feed.