Doula Essence
A course for Birth Photographers

Mama Bamba collaborated with SABPA (South African Birth Photographers Association) to conceptualise and design this unique and in-depth offering. By harnessing our collective expertise in both photography and doula practices, we meticulously crafted a course that explores the most important aspects of labor and birth. Our aim is to impart the core essence of doula work, enabling you to cultivate a profound understanding of how to create and hold sacred space in a birth room.

With years of experience as a birth photographer, Kristen (head of SABPA) knew first hand the pivotal support role birth photographers play. However, she also recognised a knowledge gap in this crucial area of offering support, which often left her feeling out of her depth in birth spaces. If she was feeling this way surely others were too, this got her thinking about how educating herself and understanding more about both the physiology of birth as well as the deeper emotional aspects would greatly enhance the service she could offer her clients. This added depth of knowledge would allow her clients to feel supported and recognised throughout their birth experience and would reflect in the images she captured. 

Another key motivation for creating this course arose from our realisation that many women choose birth photographers and often do not have doula’s present at their birth. Frequently, you, as a birth photographer, step into the role of capturing poignant imagery for your clients while also providing emotional support and maintaining a nurturing environment for both your client and their birth partner. The tools and skills that we share in this course will allow you to feel more confident in this multifaceted role.

how this course is structured

This is a self-paced, online course, each module starts with a video presentation.  You will have access to the learning platform for 12 months from your date of purchase allowing you plenty of time to absorb the information and practically experience it.

There are additional resources within each module to expand on the important topics and offer you further reading. At the end of each module, we have compiled a list of questions for contemplation and journaling to give you the opportunity to unpack and clarify your thoughts. Once you have completed the modules, you can submit your answers for assessment and to receive a certificate of completion.

The goal of this course is to spark contemplation and encourage you to think deeply about birth and how you can be a part of creating an atmosphere of support.

Your journey of exploration and learning is a deliberate process, and the end objective is that you feel confident in applying the knowledge you’ve gained.


Course overview

Module 1

  • What is a Doula?
  • Why is continuity of care important
  • How does our presence impact birth?
  • Spacious stillness
  • The overlap
  • Significance of birth
  • Hormones of birth
  • Stages of labour
  • Releasing fear & resistance
  • Your cameras presence in the room

Module 2

  • Prenatal visits
  • Establishing trust
  • Birth preparation
  • Birth partner support
  • Navigating birth spaces
  • Challenging situations
  • Counselling skills

Module 3

  • Listening skills
  • Holding space
  • Compassion & empathy
  • Becoming calm & centered
  • Trusting environment
  • Sacred Birth
  • Golden hour
  • Processing the birth with her

Meet the facilitators

Amy Mongie - Mama Bamba

My passion for birth was ignited by my own births. The right of passage of birth and finding my identity as a mother guided me home to my true self and the recognition that this work is fundamental in healing some of our deepest societal disconnects.

As much as I adore witnessing birth and holding sacred space for women, babies and families, my work as a doula training facilitator brings me so much hope and belief in a better world. 

Sharing this knowledge and the simple ways we can support and guide women and families in a way that has a lasting impact on their lives brings me so much joy.

Kristen van Staden - SABPA

As a mother of three I have such a passion for capturing these once in a lifetime moments for parents and I think that to be able to show a child the story of how he/she came into this life is an incredible gift to a parent, but also to that child one day.

I believe that a birth photographer should understand how to hold the birth space for a mother (and her birth partner) in a manner that shows empathy, understanding and respect for both the healthcare but also humanity aspects of birth with a particular focus on what it means for the parents. 

I have been the Head of the South African Birth Photographers Association since September 2018, and believe in the correct education for all to offer the right support for all.

Robyn Sheldon - Mama Bamba

Robyn specialises in assisting parents to connect to the souls of their unborn babies. She is a midwife, integration therapist, soul connection doula trainer and meditation facilitator. 

Robyn supports pregnant women to release birth fear and create trauma free births for their babies.

Robyn wrote The Mama Bamba Way to describe her birth philosophies. 

Believing that how we birth and welcome our new-borns can have a life-long effect on their ability to trust their outside environment, she recognises birth as a means of transformation and a significant event for forming a healthy psyche.

*Just a reminder that this is not a doula training nor is it part of a doula certification program but rather a course created to share the essence of being a doula with the aim of you enhancing the support and services you can offer your photography clients.

**If you are inspired to further your knowledge by either training as a doula with Mama Bamba or perhaps taking one of our other courses on Breastfeeding Support or Trauma Conscious Birth Care have a look at their offerings HERE

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