Searching for Doula Stock Photos but only finding Michael Douglas?

***Be sure to check out my more recent blog post with an abundance of links to sources of free and paid quality doula stock photography. >>> Find great doula stock photos here!...

There are moments when it feels to me as though we have reached a tipping point in terms of awareness of doula care in North America. We see references on TV and in movies, celebrities who praise their experience with a doula, the birth section at the book store has exploded….

And then there are moments when I cannot Believe the invisibility.

Google, for example, still hasn’t figured out to included us as a profession in their settings for Google+ business pages. And then there is this screenshot below from the stock photo company I work a lot with...

On a whim, I did a search for the word DOULA.

The results were… Disappointing. A whole bunch of Kirk and Michael Douglas. Postage stamps of Frederick Douglass and Douglas Macarthur. A soccer player named Douglas. Some tropical coastal images. A few planes. A waterfall. Oh, and a few douglas firs. Not a single even vaguely birth or baby related photo in the mix. No birth balls, no compassionate gazes, no hands massaging backs, no conversations with a pregnant woman, zilch. Basically the filter stopped searching at the letter U. DOU.... ?

doulas stock photography

Many years ago when moving to Guatemala I was told that a sign of true fluency in a language is when you know all of the spices and herbs. Twenty years later, I have reached a high level of fluency in Spanish, and yes, most herbs are second nature to me now. I wonder when it is that the word Doula is simply known and used? Perhaps one sign of the true tipping point will be when stock photo companies Always include a selection of doula-related photos? It’s such a random small representation of the wider knowledge gap around doula care, but it was a striking one for me to see.

Maybe it’s not a fair assessment. Perhaps stock photography companies, notorious for their lack of racial and physical diversity, are going to be one of the last to catch up. Still, it seems to me that there would be a demand for photos of labor support, beyond just a nurse. Still when I tested it out by searching for photos using the keywords midwife, reiki, herbalist, and acupuncture, I found pages and pages of appropriate results.





And, just to be fair, I checked out a few other stock photography sites with vaguely improved (at least they recognize the term!) but definitely very, very disappointing results:

On shutterstock...


And on istockphoto...

doula stock photography

We've got a long way to go, doulas!