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Radical Doula Profiles: Kira Kim

Kira Kim smiling with red lipstick

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!

About Kira Kim: I am Mama to two awesome kids who are 3 and 1 and I live on the North Shore about 20 miles north of Boston. I am a labor doula, lactation educator and placenta encapsulation specialist. I am also a student midwife through the Massachusetts Midwives Alliance and loving every minute. Society likes to put us in boxes. I hate it and break out constantly. But if I had to be put in boxes, these would be them and of these I’m the most proud: I’m a wife, a Mama, an existentialist. A doula, a lactation educator and a student midwife. A biology nerd, lover of placentas, and an extroverted introvert. A cellist, an open-minded individual and an all around hypocritical oxymoron. Find Kira on the web, on facebook, or via email: kira@northshorebirthservices.com.

What inspired you to become a doula?

My first birth was traumatic in so many ways. I was uninformed going into it and didn’t have a strong support system. I was bullied by staff and since I had no knowledge that could cement me to the floor, I lost my ground. My second birth was amazing. There was so much of it that was similar to my first. But my support system was out of this world and with me the whole entire time. They left me when I wanted to retreat. They gathered around me when I felt that I didn’t have the strength to go on. I want every woman to experience this feeling of being so radiant and so warm and so powerful in the company of Wise Women.

Why do you identify with the term radical doula?

There are so many definitions of the word radical. The one that comes to mind quickly for most is going against the grain, following policies of extreme change, etc.

I prefer this one (from Merriam Webster): designed to remove the root of a disease or all diseased and potentially diseased tissue

The current medical system, in my frank opinion, is a diseased tissue. In order to change the face of maternal care in this country, we not only need to treat the effects, but remove the disease itself. Changing women’s views on their abilities and the abilities of their bodies is big for me. We are taught that are bodies are flawed (this is the effect of the medicalization of birth). If every birthing woman could have a doula and we could form the lost community of women who teach younger women, the trickle down effect of the medicalization of birth could be stopped. Then we could get to the diseased tissue which, in my opinion, is a combination of liability insurance costs and a lot of kiss arse policies that save practitioners while hurting women.

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

My philosophy is that your body knows that it is doing and that forming a community of women is an empowering way to come to an understanding of who you are. This fits into my broader views that interpersonal relationships have been completely destroyed and greed and corporations (*cough* pharma *cough*) are ruining us mind, body, and spirit.

What is your favorite thing about being a doula?

It’s humbling and awe-inspiring. Being invited into one of the most intimate and personal times in a woman’s life is humbling on a level that I’ve never experienced.

If you could change one thing about the experience of pregnancy and birth, what would it be?

That it be owned by the woman experiencing it. Not a doctor. Not a book. Not a company. By you. You are the owner of your body.

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