Doulas Aren't Just for White People
Before I even considered becoming a doula myself, I always assumed having a doula was a white luxury like shopping at Whole Foods or Nordstrom. The lies! Birth support is historically black and brown, with our people fine tuning the skills and using them all over the world before it was trendily repackaged to us by well-meaning women in BK and Malibu in the name of reproductive justice.
Regardless of who discovered or gentrified birth work, one thing is for certain: black women are dying in childbirth and immediately after, due to lack of access to care and an oppressive/racist medical system. Sadly it will take decades of political reform and systemic change to balance the scales that try to force black women to lose in almost every area of our lives, but we can make vast changes on our own in our own hands.
I call myself “the hood doula” because I find that in the eyes of the average black woman the birthing community there are poles: either you’re a earthy, crystal wielding, witchy woo woo, all natural holistic or you’re white.
I find there is a gap for women who might feel like they are “just black”. Women who might quickly scroll past a hyper politicized post bc they are just trying to pay their bills, graduate their programs, or handle whatever task is the most important at the time. Women who might indulge in The Shaderoom, who may have never tried essential oils or drinking herb tea, has no clue who their ancestors are, and practice a “mainstream” religion and/or doesn’t consider themselves spiritual at all.
My aim with my doula work is to close that gap. All black women deserve a doula, whether they want to birth completely at home, or have plans to get induced and have an epidural at .1 cm dilated. In our efforts to educate women on their birthing rights, we often ostracize/judge women who may have never had a chance to be or feel empowered in any capacity. You might walk into a room I’m working and hear Migos, smell the mix coming out of my oil diffuser, watch me light a sage, and lead the parties in the room in a prayer. All at the same time. I encourage all of us “just black” women to ask our mothers our birth story, and consider becoming a birth worker as your 2020 side hustle. The industry is already over saturated with nail artists, Instagram boutiques, “buy a plate” chefs, and Uber drivers. Nothing wrong with those things at all! Multiple streams of income are imperative to wealth. But aside from the money, doulaing is enriching, fulfilling and will stretch you beyond your mind’s capacity for empathy and compassion, not only for others but yourself.