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The Creating of A Collective

So here you are, on my website. My virtual home, if you will. You’ve likely read a bit about me, Anna. And today I want to tell you about something new... St. Louis Birth and Baby. Here I'll tell you about who we are, how Dana and I met, what came before St. Louis Birth and Baby, and why we decided to create something new.

Four years ago, in 2020, there were two birth workers doing their thing. Dana was a few years into a successful birth photography business. I had recently moved back to St. Louis and was in the beginning stages of building my doula business here. Building a birth business can start off slowly, so I spent lots of time reaching out to fellow birth professionals in the area to learn and build connections. Dana was one of those connections! We first connected on a video call to talk about all things birth. I asked a million questions about building a successful business, and Dana shared lots of wisdom and encouragement. After finishing that call I definitely thought “What a cool person. I definitely want to be friends with her one day.”

Fast forward a year or two, and we got together again with a couple other birth workers, first at a beer garden (I actually missed that one because she was at a birth) and then at a wine bar. The friendship was sprouting. By this point, I had also built a successful business focused on doula support. A year or two later, we met up again to talk about birth photography. Dana again shared loads of wisdom, and sold me her first camera. I took a course on birth photography and began to practice taking photos in and out of the birthspace.

Once I felt ready to begin accepting clients for birth photography in combination with doula support (doulatog is the lingo in the birth world), I came up against a bit of a challenge- there were no other doulas offering professional photography in the St. Louis area. This presented a challenging situation because I would need to hire two backups if needed vs one backup who could also fill both roles. Not impossible, but definitely a bit more challenging. So, of course I reached out to Dana again. Dana had previously taken a doula training to bolster her skill set in the birth space, and, while she was not at the time officially acting as a doula, she was much more than a ‘fly on the wall’ type of photographer. This is where the idea of the collective was born.

We’d both had dreams of a collective one day- a way to make this work we love and cherish so deeply feel more sustainable. We met up again and talked for hours (we closed out the brewery) about all of our hopes, dreams, fears, and challenges. It clicked into place for both of us that this is a dream we need to build, so we agreed to meet weekly for the next several months to get to know each other more deeply and to create this dream of ours that you can now experience.

So now here we are ACTUALLY DOING THIS THING! EEEK! It feels a bit like a pinch-me moment. Two people with skills, personalities, desires, and values that complement and support each other. It’s also absolutely terrifying to bring something new into the world (if you’re here reading this, I’m sure you can empathize with this sentiment), but we have trust in each other, in our community, and in our clients. If we want this collective so strongly, there must be others out there who align with this idea, too. We’ve worked so hard to make this dream a reality, and we seriously CANNOT WAIT to meet you. We know that sharing intimate moments in life with others can be scary and overwhelming, but we also know that building a community and leaning on that community in intimate moments can bring more joy and peace than if we try to do it all ourselves. We'd love to meet you.


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