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Radical Doula Profiles: Grace Dillon-Moore

Gracie with baby, smiling in black and white photo

This is a series highlighting folks who identify as Radical Doulas. Are you interested in being part of the series? Go here to provide your responses to the profile questions and I’ll include you!

Gracie Dillon-Moore, a radical doula in Knoxville, Tennessee has a double degree in women’s studies and psychology. Intrenched in the psychology of pregnancy and birth and motivated to assist women in the physiological, unmedicated birth they desire, Gracie became a childbirth researcher, educator, and certified doula. Gracie seeks change in the American woman’s birth experience. She believes education, support and resolve can carry a woman through the birth experience, naturally. Contact Gracie here.

What inspired you to become a doula?

My own birth experience inspired me to help other women who desire an unmedicated, natural, physiological birth. I believe this process of birth as nature intended is a springboard to the rest of the mother and family’s life together.

Why do you identify with the term radical doula?

I identify with the term radical doula because unlike most doulas and childbirth educators, I choose to work only with women who seek unmedicated births. It may seem exclusionary to some but I find my student’s needs for information and support on giving birth naturally are sugar-coated and often dumbed down by those trying to honor all types of birth (which of course is necessary, too). If you are seeking a natural, unmedicated birth, you must build resolve, confidence and awareness. Only through respect of your body and the labor process can a woman own and champion an unmedicated birth in the United States. Therefore, I support Radical Mamas, who seek Radical Birth. I am a Radical Doula.

What is your doula philosophy and how does it fit into your broader political beliefs?

My doula philosophy is that every woman deserves support in labor and birth. That support should come from her partner first and her doula second. The doula is the guardian of both mom and partner, meeting their gaze at each glance-offering steady reassurance and unwavering compassion.

What is your favorite thing about being a doula?

My favorite thing about being a doula and childbirth educator is the change I witness between mom and partner. During my 12 week course, the partner shifts from passive to active participant in the birth process. During birh, both mom and partner are overcome with the gravity of what they accomplished together. Each time I attend a student’s birth I witness a couple, transformed by th power of their unity; this moment is my favorite thing about being a doula.

If you could change one thing about birth, what would it be?

I would change the dismissive, condescending, threatening, intrusive, disrespectful, non-evidence based “care” women receive in the majority of medicalized pregnancy, labor and birth. I would restore respect in women’s care during pregnancy and birth, encouraging women to tune into their instincts and intuition.

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3 Responses to Radical Doula Profiles: Grace Dillon-Moore

  1. While your reasons for working only with women seeking unmedicated births don’t seem exclusionary to me (not part of your target audience, in part because of physical anomalies and disease), I encourage you to think carefully about how the use of the word “natural,” which is always a loaded term when it comes to women’s experience, does subtly degrade other experiences. No one likes to be called unnatural, though as a lesbian feminist, it hardly comes as a surprise at this late date.

    Good luck with your practice.

  2. I am sorry you are offended by the term “natural” in reference to unmedicated, vaginal birth. I do see how this can be both subjective and “subtly degrading,” as you say. It is also a term that can only be applied retrospectively; I get it. However, it is still a rather common term among new parents who have not yet been exposed to the more current, politically acceptable (and less “degrading”) birth lingo, therefore I do include it occasionally in descriptions of birth – not to say these things (physiological, unmedicated and natural) are synonymous, but rather to draw attention to the differences between the descriptors. Thank you for your input; I will be sure to point out this tendency for the term to convey judgment or exclusion in the future. The last thing any woman needs to experience is judgement in birth.

  3. Sherrie Shuler says:

    Beautifully said and explained.

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