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About Me

Photo credit: Randi Armstrong

Heyo, I’m Kristen

Do you know how amazing you are? You’re a parent-to-be or a parent who is pregnant again. Being pregnant is uncomfortable, weird and amazing at the same time. You’ll feel lower back pain, ligment pain, sore feet (and everything really) and baby’s feet in the ribs. But you’ll also experience the cute little hiccups in the belly, the body moving around and watch them suck on their thumb on the ultrasound. 

Then you’ll labor and give birth. BADASS WARRIOR status, yo! You’ll meet your baby for the first time. It’s the first time you meet the baby face-to-face. One of the most important moments of your life. AND…. you’re not going to remember all of it. (No one does, it’s A LOT to process in one day!)

Don’t worry! I’ll be a fly on the wall and capture it all for you so that you’ll remember the day you were born a parent and the day your baby took their first breath in this world. If you want me to be more hands-on, I can also support you as a certified birth doula. I’ll be your Yoda through your pregnancy, labor, birth and early postpartum journey. Not sure what a doula is? (Find out more here). 

I am a mother, too

My first kid was born in January 2018. I had an empowering birth supported by my husband, sister, and a midwife from The Midwife Center (which by the way is amazing) at Mercy Hospital in Pittsburgh. My second kid was born in July 2020 at home in Michigan surrounded by another amazing birth team – homebirth midwives, doula, sister, husband and toddler.

I had a birth photographer at both of my kids’ birth. AND I’m so glad that I did. I was in the zone during the laboring process so I don’t remember a lot that happened. Looking at the pictures remind me what happened and makes me think “oooohhh I AM a badass warrior” and I want every women to experience that. 

After I moved from Pittsburgh to Benton Harbor, I decided to pursue birth photography full-time so that families can remember their children’s BIRTH day. 

I remember when I asked my mom about the day I was born, she couldn’t remember much. I felt sad about that. When my son gets older, he can asked me that question and I will be ready to show him the birth story book with pictures.

Parenthood is HARD. During the dark days, when I question if what I am doing is right? What if I can’t do this? I look at the birth story book and remember. If I carried my baby for nine months and gave birth, I can do anything. I can get through this day. It gives me hope and reminds me that I have more strength within me than I realize AND that I have a support system that I can rely on when I need help or support. 

Also, I realize… that not everyone has an empowering birth experience for whatever reason. So I trained to be a birth doula and got certified from DONA International. I want to support birthing person during the labor and birth process. I provide physical and emotional support. I also provide evidence-based information so that you feel empowered to make an informed decision in your birthing space. I want every woman and birthing person to feel supported and empowered in whatever decision they make.

 

This was taken just minutes after my first son was born in a hospital.
Photo credit: Jessie Renee Photography.

This was taken after my second son was born at home.
Photo credit: Sprout and Blossom

Photo credit: Gabby Bishop Photography

Some Facts About Me…

Favorite Shows to Watch

It’s hard to pick one! I like a lot of different shows for different reasons. Here’s a sample of shows that I enjoy watching… Madam Secretary, Call the Midwife, Warehouse 13, Fringe, Legends of Tomorrow, SuperGirl, Raising Dion, One Day at a Time, The Great British Baking Show, The Legend of She-Ra, Timeless and so on.  

Things I like to do
I’m kinda of crafty. I haven’t painted much since my kid was born…but I love to bake and decorate birthday cakes. It’s nice to see a beginning, middle and end process to a project all in one day! Motherhood is not one of those, because it’s ongoing. For cakes, the end product is pretty AND tasty.  

In the summers, you’ll find me swimming in Lake Michigan, going for walks or camping with my husband David and kiddo, Ryan. 

In the winters and fall, you’ll find me inside my house in a hoodie or a robe staying cozy with a cup of warm cider or hot chocolate. 

How many kids do you have?

Two! My kids are 4 years old and 1 year old (as of May 2022). They are adorable. But gosh. Y’alllllll…Raising tiny humans is so exhausting. It’s an honor to be their mom. It’s a challenge to teach a tiny humans how to experience and navigate through their emotions as they explores this world that can be overwhelming to them sometimes.

Fun Hair Colors

I was born with blond hair. I see that as a blank canvas for something fun every now and then like purple, blue or pink hair. I also have tattoos. I have one on my arm that represent motherhood to me – a bird and baby bird snuggling. Awwww!

 

Interested?

I take the honor of being a part of a birthing space very seriously. Let’s chat virtually to get to know each other a bit to see if we’re a great fit!

Who Is Kristen Schell?

I am a certified Birth Doula and Photographer serving families in Southwest Michigan. I'm based out of Benton Harbor, MI and I serve families in the Benton Harbor, St. Joseph, Kalamazoo, South Haven & Holland areas. I can also serve Michigan City and South Bend area.

I am an LGBTQ+ friendly and transgender safe space. All family types are welcome here.

Kristen Schell Photography Logo, Benton Harbor birth photographer & doula

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Kristen Schell Photography © 2022
DONA International Certified Birth Doula in Benton Harbor, Michigan
International Association of Professional Birth Photographers Member
Certified BRM Body Ready Method Pro Benton Harbor, MI