Updated: Dec 1, 2020
As I pondering on another issue surrounding physiological birth I think on the true value of the doula role. I often think of this role as one of absolute servitude, something done out of the complete act of selfless giving. One that is to give without expecting anything in return; because we care to make a difference. I can't help but too often think of how we have come to make doula work one that only a few can afford?
We see the statistics of Black mothers and Latinos having the higher mortality rates. We also know that Blacks and Latinos and other minority races makeup a big percentage of Medicaid members. It is not new the big financial gap between these races and non people of color. I constantly ask myself are we in birthwork to serve and make a difference or cash in on our services and make them impossible for mothers, who truly need them, hard to obtain?
The doula role once was previously performed by our sisters, cousins, aunts, mothers or neighbors. It was that support person who just simply was there for whatever the mother needed. We are slowly trying to introduce this back to birth since it was taken away when birth became a "medical event". To some having a doula is a privilege but to many it could be life or death. It is statically proven how having a doula improves birth outcomes.
I believe we can be whatever we set our minds to. But, I also believe that we cannot honestly be present and serve when we are set our intentions on something other than monetary gains: how much are you giving for what we are getting paid. Of course, our time is valuable, specially time away from our families but, lets also make safe birth obtainable.
Let's rethink our role. How we serve. What can we do to bridge the gap? I challenge every doula/birthkeeper to have a sliding scale, payments plans, or host a fundraiser. Bring your wisdom to marginalized communities that wouldn't have access any other way. At the end are we trying to build an empire or simply be present to support and be a witness of the miracle of life?
Always feel honored to a part of the sacredness of the birthing space.