We had the good fortune of connecting with Martha Lerner and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Martha, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
Prior to me starting my own business I was a public school teacher for 15 years. At that point, I did not fit into the public school system anymore and was not happy with the direction it was going. So when the time was right in 2015, I took a bold leap and started my own business. The idea had been gestating since my son’s birth in 2010, but I needed to wait until he was old enough to handle me being away for long periods of time. I wanted more time to fuel my own passions, to create my own schedule, to have the time for the things that bring me joy, so starting my own business seemed like the logical thing to do! My business, zenmamalove, is all about supporting mothers & their partners before, during, and after birth. It allows me to immerse myself in my passion, birthwork. I am a doula, a birth assistant, and a Birth, Motherhood, and Family Documentary photographer. I had a great pregnancy, but NOT a great birth, and even rougher postpartum period. I quickly learned what I was lacking, what I wished I had in the postpartum period, why some things went down the way they did in my own story…..so I used that to help fuel my fire to improve birth and perinatal outcomes in our community. 5 years later I am still just as passionate as empowering moms, educating them and supporting them every step of the way (and then afterwards as well) so if they are seeking help, or guidance, or struggling….I want them to know they have choices, options, and someone to turn to so they don’t feel alone in their struggles.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
As a photographer, the images I make honor the real, raw journey of self discovery, and of the journey and transformation as a human and as a parent. We are ALL works in progress. Through my artwork, I focus on empowering humans, lifting them up, showing them they are NOT alone. I do so with permission, and with respect. I am most proud that this year, I finally have worked up the nerve, and carved out the time, and entered my artwork in several professional competitions, and have won 5 prestigious International Awards all for my images revolving around birth ! That is super exciting and I’m super proud that my work is resonating and empowering people on a WORLDWIDE level! That didn’t happen overnight, it came from years of polishing my craft, constantly seeking more knowledge and education, not being afraid to take risks and show what I “wanted” to show, not what I thought I “should” show. There were setbacks, which I see as learning opportunities, and every one taught me a lesson and therefore propelled me forward. I have learned that if you speak and show your truth, the right people will resonate with you and your art. And many others will not, and that is more than okay, it’s desirable! I want to work with the people who resonate with me, with what I stand for and appreciate. So in order to do that, I have to consistently stay true to myself with the work I put out.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I love being outdoors in nature…I would love to show them my favorite nature spots, like the Sawgrass Levee where I like to take my walks, Deerfield Beach, all the beautiful parks and nature areas South Florida has to offer. I would definitely visit my favorite coffee shops, like Carmela Coffee, Ella Cafe, and Lady & the Mug. There would also be much wine drinking and viewing of sunsets. Maybe even a side trip to the West Coast to Ft. Myers to capture the beautiful sunsets on that side of the state.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
A huge shoutout to my friend, partner, and mentor Paulina Splechta, who has helped me every step of the way and helped & inspired me in so many ways to become a better photographer.