And I don’t just mean applause! Will you please join me in making a donation today?
Rachel and I aren’t just running businesses and making a living as doulas who happen to live in Chicago, we also take our obligation of service to Chicago’s communities of pregnant, laboring and postpartum people and families very seriously. One of the ways we do this is through our support of the organization Chicago Volunteer Doulas (CVD).
I have been personally involved at CVD as one of the volunteer doulas since 2008 before the organization even had 501c3 status (as an official non-profit). I also serve on the board of directors, most recently as co-chair. I have become more and more involved in supporting CVD over the years because I see that there are multitudes of pregnant people who are left in the gaps between those served by community based doula programs and those who can afford the fees for private doulas.
These are the people who would otherwise not have doulas. This is where CVD comes in. CVD provides on call doulas to four different hospital midwifery programs in Chicago as well as offering traditional model private volunteer doulas to families with incomes under $50,000 per year. Until community based doula programs have expanded to meet the needs of unserved populations, and/or government funding and insurance reimbursement for private doulas is common place, volunteer organizations like Chicago Volunteer Doulas are essential part of changing birth culture. And so is our support.
I have volunteered at community based doula programs such as HealthConnect One, and also continue to work privately. I believe adamantly however, that *any* pregnant people or families who want a doula, need and deserve access to doulas.
One way that my co-blogger, Rachel, supports Chicago Volunteer Doulas in changing birth culture is through consistently offering a scholarship position in each of her DONA International doula trainings for a woman of color who is also a CVD volunteer. This is also, in my humble opinion, one of the ways Rachel is awesome, but I digress.
CVD is just a small part of changing birth culture, but for many Chicago parents, it has been an essential resource. Will you join us this Giving Tuesday and give what you can to Chicago Volunteer Doulas? Then please spread the word to others!
H/t to Radical Doula for information about this new website designed to help trans* parents find trans* friendly providers: Trans Birth:
Trans Birth is a directory created to connect trans* and gender non-conforming people and their families to midwives, OBGYNs, and doulas who provide welcoming care to our communities.
Categories include Midwives, OBGYNs, Doulas, and Other Providers. It does not have a category for Childbirth Educators/Classes, but perhaps that could be included under Other Providers.
As of this writing there is no one listed from Chicago or Illinois. Let’s change that! If you’d like to be listed, here’s your chance.
ChicagoDoula’s own Rachel Dolan Wikersham (who in addition to being a doula is also a Ceritifed Professional Midwife or CPM) joined local Certified Nurse Midwife, Hillary Keiser today on WBEZ’s Morning Shift with Tony Sarabia. In addition to addressing concerns of several callers, they explained the difference between types of midwives, discussed the opposition of MDs in Illinois to licensing CPMs, and went further into details about homebirth and requests some parents are making in birthing such as delayed cord clamping. Listen to the full interview here:
Here’s a delightful, eloquent, funny post from myrubygirl.com, a mother of three who had never heard of a doula before recently attending her brother and sister-in-law’s second birth.
If you’ve had a doula or been a family member who has worked with one, or you are one yourself, you’ll find lots to relate to here. There are so many things to love about this piece and the way it personalizes the benefits of doulas. Here are just a few highlights that I particularly like:
- She’s is so right-on about the whole Pacific Northwest vs. Midwest crunchy-by-association thing. And the doula=birkenstocks and patchouli oil thing! As someone who grew up in Chicago but lived in Portland, OR, I get that. All. the. time. And yes, I recycle, but nuh uh, I do not wear patchouli or Birkenstocks. Doulas really do come in many forms – as evidenced in her post as well as here and here.
- Doulas work the room! We definitely do. This is one of the under-discussed but utterly worthwhile and fulfilling parts of my job. When I am doula-ing, I often get to meet fascinating, loving extended family members. We go through such an intense experience together as labor unfolds and their new little one arrives. It is always an honor and a privilege to be “their doula” and an honorary member of the family, even if just for a little while. She may give short shrift to dads, but she is right that a doula will be helpful for everyone in the room, not just mom.
- Do we all have that person in our family who snaps pictures like the author of that blog?! I certainly do in mine. And I recognize and have given that “universal look of annoyance” to a tee.
A word of caution: there may be potential triggers here for some folks in the author’s description of a contrasting birth she witnessed where there was no doula present – and things did not go well for the birthing mother or her labor support team. But if you can, don’t let that stop you – in fact it makes the post that much richer.
Enjoy. And here’s to the converted!