Story and Interview by Miwa Sakamoto
Ah yes, the Tree Butter Tree House, as I call it. It’s technically a 1-bedroom in a 2-story duplex that sits near the top of Mt. Washington. It’s in the middle of downtown’s metropolitan skyscrapers and the Griffith Observatory – a city sanctuary. It’s really like a tree house in that light pours in every side of room, even reaching the fallen leaves and twigs just outside the door. Easily the most indulgent and playful space I have ever lived in, it’s also the first one I can really call my own. We painted, built, hammered and hung relics of our lives – so it’s eclectic and textured, but also intentional.
Sitting in a dark movie theater by myself; taking a sweaty dance class and absorbing the choreography so much that you don’t think about it anymore and it becomes yours; soaking in steam rooms and being scrubbed at Korean spas; watching TED talks from bed; night time strolls around the reservoir. Repeated albums playing are: Paul Simon, Haim, Pure Bathing Culture, and Fleetwood Mac. I’m a sucker for oldies and female lead singers (or sisters). Also, nature is a perfect blend of functional and intentional space. It’s stunning and exceptional in the precision of its design, but it also has a purpose. Everything is there to work with something else and it just so happens it’s beautiful as well.
Quietly making coffee in the morning so all the sounds and smells slowly fill the air, going for walks around the hood or some kind of physical activity, skimming the Daily Skimms, playing Ruzzle mid-day when I need to take a break from reading dense medical texts, and whispering good bye to Omar in the middle of the night when I have to sneak off to a birth.
My style is sort of eclectic – I love me a good pair of Tevas as much as a black cashmere sweater. I like to mix old with new, casual and classy with cool and sexy. So much of what I like is what my mom would wear when she was my age; but it’s not only what she wore, but how she wore it. It represented a bad-ass and classic beauty.
Until I was around childbirth, I saw women as equal to men. But now I look at every woman as a mystical, powerful being. When I see a pregnant woman, it’s like seeing a unicorn in real life. It’s a totally unbelievable thing that a woman can create life with her body, birth life with her body, and then nourish life with her body. The design of procreation is mind blowing. And yet, most women don’t relish their innate capabilities. Instead they are fearful of this one thing that differentiates them from men, the most powerful thing of all: to give life. Childbirth is often the first time some women recognize their power and it’s completely heartbreaking and inspiring all at the same time.
I want to capture the beauty of totally ordinary moments in life. I’m a big fan of street photography and the capability of a photographer to trust his or her instinct. I find taking photographs is an exercise in being present, of consciously absorbing and registering my surrounding. I love the natural and humorous ironies of coincidental color choices, or people and places, and I’m inspired to catch it on film (and display them on my blog).
One that is small, secretive and spontaneous – like driving to Ojai for a hike early in the morning and driving back.
I hope I can crack the code around those mysteriously predominant thoughts, ideas, and fears surrounding childbirth. I hope I can influence women to trust their bodies and themselves through birth. I feel like if it can start from the root – the deepest part of women – then it can grow and flourish to other parts of their lives. I hope midwifery – both in and out of the hospital – becomes more mainstream, a realistic option for everyone who wants it. I hope that I can travel and learn from other cultures. I hope that I can deliver all that I have learned and experienced to the world at some point in my life. For more information on Hayley’s Midwifery Practice or if you’d like to see some of her photography, here are the links! www.collectivewisdombirth.com http://midwifemilktrails.tumblr.com/ http://thebalesandthebeez.tumblr.com/