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Meet Our Doulas Q&A: Jessica Thomas

Pittsburgh Birth photographer and doula

Do you have any special skills or other services you provide other than being a birth doula?

Yes, I am a birth photographer! There are only a handful of photographers in our area that have experience capturing birth and very few who take birthing clients on a regular basis. I am one of the most experienced birth photographers in our city and the only certified doula photographer.

Where did you grow up? Where have you lived?

I grew up in very small town of less than a 1,000 in rural Southern Nevada! I went to college up North in Reno, Nevada where I lived for 5 years and then Denver, Colorado for another 5 years where I kick-started off my doula career. Now our family live in Pleasant Hills here the Pittsburgh area.

You’re going out to a birth. What are your jams to get you in the mood driving out?

I may not look very hardcore but I get pumped rocking out to some loud Rock and Roll or even Metal!

What are your favorite places in Pittsburgh? Top 3:

I’ve only lived in the Burgh for 2 ½ years now but I LOVE this city. There are so many good places it’s hard to pick...

  1. Everyday Noodles in Squirrel Hill

  2. Natural History and Art Museum in Oakland

  3. Three Rivers Heritage Trail along PNC Park Downtown

What is the most memorable moment at a birth?

Last year I had a client who birthed and delivered her own child on her living room floor while I was on the other side of a locked door coaching and giving her words of encouragement. It was wild and super amazing to be a part of that birth. Her story and photos were published in a handful of places, which was cool. I wrote more about the experience on my blog HERE.

What are your favorite things when you’re not being a doula?

Perhaps it is cliche but I truly love lifestyle photography, so I am often busy taking photos of our family from day to day. I also dabble in cityscape and love to go out exploring our city, often with my family in tow! I also play guitar and enjoy cooking. My family and I are always exploring and doing fun things on the weekends.

What are you exceptionally awesome at as a doula? What makes you unique?

Taking photos! But really, I feel like I am easy to get along with. I am also pride myself on my organization skills and being able to give my family’s a current list of resources in our area as well as guide them through many topics in their prenatal appointments.

Tell me three places on your bucket-list you’d love to travel and vacation at:

  1. Italy – To see the small village my grandfather grew up in (we are going THIS YEAR)

  2. Japan – Because it’s so beautiful and we love their interesting and unique cuisine

  3. Yucatan, Mexico – To see the Myan ruins

What is something fascinating about you that people may be surprised to learn?

Music was one of my first passions. My BA is in music. I studied on the clarinet and guitar. I am a Rock and Roller at heart starting from a very young age with my 60’s hippie parents blaring Zeppelin, ACDC, Bob Seger, and Fleetwood Mac on cassette tapes. I learned guitar from a retired audio engineer who used to work shows for Kiss and Hank Williams Jr. If I wasn’t a Doulatographer and had two small children at home I’d probably play guitar in a hard rock band in my spare time!

Spring, Summer, Fall or Winter?

Fall! Especially here in the East. They are amazing here!

It’s 8PM on a Thursday. What are you probably doing (In an ideal world)?

I’d probably like to be at a really fun and awesome restaurant trying something new with my husband. Then we’d take a walk somewhere downtown and my husband would let me take all the photos I want.

In the real world though, we have just put down the kids to bed and are settling downstairs in our home theater to watch a movie together (which is also pretty great).

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